On Monday, while putting together a post on how to make a dessert stand, I realized that the post needed something to illustrate how desserts would sit on the stand. I have a strict “no sweets in the house you’re not willing to eat” policy, since I’m trying to curb my sugar intake, there were no desserts lingering around the house. I mean, who can live with donuts laying around? Those things are going to get eaten, right?
I put fruit on the dessert stand, meh. Not exciting. I put fake food on the stand. Even weirder. I realized I had to put SWEETS on the dessert stand, so off to the supermarket. I looked around for the biggest visual bang for the buck… cupcakes were kind of pricey. Cookies weren’t big enough. Donuts. Now we’re talking. The whole while, I was thinking… “But I’m trying to cut sugar. Will I be able to resist? What will I do with these donuts after I photograph them?”
The anxiety kept building. I had 18 donuts in my possession and I wanted to eat them all. Or at least one.
So I photographed the donuts, and each time I smelled them, my mouth watered. I started to shake like I really wanted to eat them.
But I didn’t.
I washed my hands even, not even licking my fingers for a “taste.” Because the previous week I fell for that while making cake for my son’s birthday party and ended up eating at least one cupcake’s worth of cake batter.
Sugar is a slippery slope.
I battled with the notion of throwing them away. Of spraying Windex on them so they would smell disgusting. Or ruining them somehow so I wouldn’t be tempted.
Then I thought how fucked up it was to think of that.
So at the end of the photo session. I washed my hands again, and placed them all neatly back in the packages, and drove the donuts to my son’s daycare, and gave the donuts to the care workers.
I did not eat the donuts.
While it was fucking hard to do (yes, that f-bomb is completely necessary)… NOT eating the donuts made me think of all the beautiful photos of food we put out there. How much of that food was junk food and why we fetishize gluttony. Posting the donuts on my Instagram account, I even got a comment… “I’m liking this post for the donuts.” Yesterday I posted a pizza (which I DID eat, and have witnesses to prove it!) and people commented how delicious that pizza looked. Yes, pizza is my favorite food. I love donuts.
NOT eating the donuts made me think of all the beautiful photos of food we put out there. How much of that food was junk food and why we fetishize our gluttony.
But in a world that rewards thinness and the ability to eat crazy food (as long as you’re thin) what message does that really send? It’s ok for some people to eat certain food, but not others? That some people are above the laws of caloric intake?
How much social media love do you think broccoli gets?
A few years ago, the Daily Mail reported a new trend in eating disorders called “Liarexia” going out to eat and eating horrendous portions of carbs with your friends, then eating “clear soup” or whatever low calorie diet that person has at home in order to stay thin. Stating that thin women feel pressure to eat large portions or high-calorie junk foods either as a way of avoiding commentary about their bodies or as a way of giving the impression they don’t have to try to be thin.
It’s the dietary version of “having it all.” “Having it all” is the purple unicorn that makes us all feel bad about ourselves because it seems really cool, but doesn’t really exist.
I recognize I’m relatively thin, but not always. I have been everything from a size zero to a size 12, and I recognize I can comfortably hover around a size 4-6 without trying that hard. Like, pizza once a week, a burger once or twice a month and sweets, and walking for exercise. Granted a lot of my other meals are measured out and loosely portioned, it doesn’t feel like WORK. But to be a size 0? That always takes a lot of work and concentration for me. Sometimes I think it’s worth it, sometimes I don’t. Thus, I fluctuate.
That said, I can’t help but to feel that this fetish of the thin person who eats junk food is weird, not cool (eloquent today?) and certainly not healthy. It’s the dietary version of “having it all.” “Having it all” is the purple unicorn that makes us all feel bad about ourselves because it seems really cool, but doesn’t really exist. Sure there are people who eat junk food and are thin, but they aren’t eating 4000 calories a day, every day, and not exercising.
There is the hugely divisive Instagram account of “YouDidNotEatThat” which satirically, albeit sometimes brutally, documents thin women who pose with carbs. I’ve been in the fashion industry long enough to know that a lot of size zeros have crazy eating habits that rarely includes donuts. For example, going to a lunch and ordering a iced coffee with half a Splenda. Or just pickles Or take you to a bakery and order nothing at all. YES ALL THOSE THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. So while it’s not cool to make fun of people, there is the larger issue of rewarding thin people for eating crap, or at least giving the impression they are eating crap. What’s interesting about YDNET is that it’s one of the first viral social media accounts that addresses the absurdity of this fetish.
Obviously, I don’t have a real answer here. I’m very aware of my own bullshit. It’s just this thing that I’m noticing, and it kind of needs to be talked about.
What do you think about the obsession with food that’s bad for us?