It's so bad but I'm eating it anyway

by Jessica Blankenship

This isn't about dieting. It's not about trying not to eat in general because, um, fuck that noise forever. This is about doing your absolute best to treat your body with kindness and respect by not shoveling processed, nutritionally deficient, admittedly terrible garbage into it daily. It's not about depriving your body – it's about giving it what it needs. Because it's entirely too easy to never do that. In the life of someone who is tirelessly flitting between work, school, social, and family obligations, days and weeks can roll by without consuming any actual, real food that honestly deserves to be called food. You can look up and realize you've been subsisting on deli sandwiches, bodega grabs, to-go coffee drinks, late-night delivery, and – the worst – fast food.

In the spirit of accepting the fact that we can literally only do so much in a day, I think most of us are pretty easy on ourselves, and forgiving of the dietary transgressions we commit against our own bodies. Regardless, for the ones who at least make an effort to be mindful of what they put in their mouth, the struggle to persevere against cravings is real. Extra real. Extra large real with a side of hot realness, washed down with an ice-cold, 64-ounce bucket of real-juice*.

*Which is actually only five percent juice from concentrate.

And some days, that battle is doomed to be lost. The process of how you get from that wonderful, early morning place of total food empowerment, to the happily sedated (and somewhat guilty) pit of giving in, looks something like this:

1. Resolve

“I am definitely not going to go to Taco Bell for lunch today. Aboslutely not. I made a vow to myself last night that today would be the official re-start of my commitment to not putting toxic bullshit into my body and I meant it.

2. Hunger creeps in

"Okay, I've consumed approximately 14 gallons of coffee and water this morning – the time has come. I need food."

3. Panic

"I literally can't think of anything except Taco Bell and I know it's because I told myself I wasn't going to eat it."

4. Back-peddling (and the first of many self-lies to come)

"The thing is, I don't actually care that much if I eat it. It's not even that bad for me, probably. That's just bad PR. I'm sure it's mostly a myth that this stuff is really that unhealthy. Besides, most of the "healthy" foods out there are just as bad. They just have better marketing. Should I really dictate my diet on that misinformation?"

5. Blaming the patriarchy for your feelings

“No, because fuck that. I’m amazing, and totally love myself, which is why I’m eating this calorie-fat-salt-sugar-bomb right now. Because I don’t need to deprive myself of enjoyment just to adhere to the unrealistically rigid body standards imposed on me by The Man and the fucking PATRIARCHY. I’m not obligated to be miserable and do without just to make myself more acceptable per some arbitrary standards cast onto all women. It’s basically an important feminist statement for me to eat this Taco Bell. I EAT THIS CHEESY GORDITA CRUNCH FOR ALL WOMEN.”

6. Post-rant reality check that, yes, society makes you feel ashamed about your body and food choices, but that's not what makes Taco Bell an unhealthy choice. That shit is science.

“But also, heart disease.”

7. Denial

“Well, that’s okay, because I’m still young! I’m totally going to seriously stop eating shitty food by the time I actually need to worry about being healthy. I have time."

8. Shamelessly telling entirely illogical lies to yourself

"Besides, no one is around. It doesn't count if no one sees me."

9. Surrender

"Fuck it. This is happening. I'm starving."

10. Justification

"I had a really stressful morning. This isn't the day to hold myself to such strict standards. I'm trying to make a whole life and career happen. I really just need to give myself whatever it is that gets me through the day. Like, now is not the time to be wasting energy stressing about every little thing I put in my mouth. That energy is required in other, more important areas of my life right now, and I won't apologize for that."

11. *Procures forbidden food; temporarily turns off amid exquisite foodgasm*

12. Abandoning all rational thought

"Whatever. I don’t even care. I do not care. Someone could walk in right now and tell me that everyone I love will drop dead if I finish eating this, and I wouldn’t even pause. Gordita is my family now.”

13. Self-Doubt

“This…is a lot of food. I might’ve overestimated my abilities here.”

14. Trying to save yourself

“I should just stop. It’s not like this is good for me anyway. It’s not like it’s important or beneficial in any way to finish this. I could just stop eating. Yes, that’s what I’m going to do. I will stop after this bite. Isn’t that what weird people with actual self-control always say? That you can eat whatever you want in moderation?”

*Eats the rest of all of it, obviously, and the crumbs, and licks the paper*

15. A little more thin justification

“At least I’m not a quitter. No one can call me a quitter. If nothing else, I at least can feel a sense of completion about what just happened here. I feel good. I did good.”

16. Self-Loathing

“I deserve better than this. How can I keep doing this to my body? Has society taught me to devalue myself so much that even I can’t give myself the respect and self-care that I want from others? Do I not even love myself?”

17. Resolve: Take Two

“I’m never doing that again. That was the last time. I’m going to get a green juice after work, which will basically neutralize that damage I just did to my body.”

Images: Giphy(17)