May 11 is National Eat What You Want Day! Isn't that cool? Finally, a single day on the calendar set aside so you can eat whatever your heart desires without those pesky feelings of guilt that inevitably come with having two cookies instead of one! What a great time to be alive!! Thank you, holiday gods, for bestowing this celebration upon us!!! EXCEPT WAIT NO STOP. Shouldn't every day be National Eat What You Want Day? Isn't every day Eat What You Want Day? Since when have we needed to designate a single day out of the ENTIRE YEAR to treat ourselves to a plate of nachos, or another scoop of ice cream, or any of the other delicious wonders this world has to offer? I'm always down for a celebration of almost any kind, but to me, the whole idea of labeling a day as one where you can "eat what you want" seems, at best, misguided, and at worst, really problematic.
The concept behind Eat What You Want Day is pretty straightforward — for one whole day, indulge in all your favorite foods with fervor, no second thoughts or negativity allowed. Which, at first, sounds like a dream as you think about the mega burrito order you're gonna unleash on Chipotle for lunch later on today. But then, you realize that the idea of having one day of the year allocated for eating your favorite foods no strings attached implies that eating your favorite foods any other day of the year does come with strings attached — and that makes me kind of sad.
I'm a big believer that people should eat foods that encourage wellness — both physically and mentally. And while I'm not saying you should eat deep fried mac and cheese balls for every single meal of the day just because you like them (I mean, what if your arteries close up and then you die?!), if, on a whim, you think to yourself "uh, yeah, I DO want another slice of pizza," well then go have another slice of pizza. Not just today, either — do this any day. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own happiness, and if a little extra sauce and cheese is what your happiness depends on at that moment, then so be it. Here are eight indisputable reasons why every day should be National Eat What You Want Day... because it is.
1. Food is delicious
Let's get the obvious out of the way first — food is one of the greatest parts of being a living, breathing human. It's freaking awesome, you guys. Whether you're munching on hummus chips as a daytime snack, sucking down a vitamin-infused, fruit-filled smoothie after a workout, or chowing down on a nacho trough with reckless abandon during happy hour, you're going to have a good time. Why deprive yourself of something that brings you unbridled, unparalleled joy? WHY?!
2. Oh, and it's also one of your basic survival needs
The way food works is pretty simple: stop eating it, and you die. Nourishment, my friends, is an essential part of being. You are doing nobody any favors — least of all, you — by denying yourself the joys of nutrients. So as long as you're consuming those necessary units of energy we call calories, you might as well do it in a way that makes you happy.
3. Because eating what you want makes you a happier person
And happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't.
4. Because NOT eating what you want makes you a miserable person
Look, as someone who has not only experienced the tempestuous wrath of hanger, but has inflicted it upon loved ones I rarely raise my voice to otherwise, I can tell you first-hand that not eating what you want messes. you. up. Every second you eat a salad even though you're dreaming of macaroni and cheese is another second wasted. So go ahead, order what you want, and save your friends and family the chaos and frustration that comes from you suffering through another boring, tasteless lunch, all because you feel like it's the right thing to do.
5. Because diets don't work anyway
Seriously, even science says that dieters are wasting their time — and we should listen to science. Statistics show that 95 percent of people regain the weight they lost during a diet in three years. And can we take this opportunity to talk about just how bad diets are for you anyway? Extreme calorie restriction and crash diets take a toll on your heart, weaken your immune system, and can lead to depression. Why put yourself through all that?
6. Because your favorite food will always be there for you
People come and go, but delicious Thai takeout from that trusty hole-in-the-wall down the street is forever. Food should never be seen as a constant emotional crutch, but there's no denying that sometimes food just makes you feel better about yourself. There's a reason you hit up that pint of Ben & Jerry's after a breakup — and there's absolutely no shame in indulging in something that makes you feel happy... especially when people are making you sad.
7. Because you are a grown-ass woman and therefore answer to nobody
You are not six years old anymore. You aren't required to sit at the dinner table and pick mournfully at the boiled potatoes your mom has plopped in front of you, cowering under the threat that you will sit there all night until that plate is clean. These days, you are the one responsible for your own well-being, and your own happiness, and therefore can eat whatever the eff you want, whenever you want it. Don't let yourself down — you're craving pizza for breakfast at 10 a.m.? Go ahead and eat pizza for breakfast at 10 a.m.
8. Because eating what you want when you want it sends a positive message to the rest of the world
To live in a world without any of your favorite foods is to live in a world without happiness. To live in a world full of your favorite foods and not touch any of them is to live a miserable, terrible existence. The pressure to fit certain societal norms, to diet, or to hold yourself to a specific image that's been dangled in front of you every single day is a very real, very emotional, and traumatic struggle too many women have experienced. And to that, I say enough. Bodies, in all their many shapes and sizes, are beautiful. They are something to be lauded, appreciated, and celebrated. And no celebration is complete without — you guessed it — a few of your favorite foods. So go ahead. Eat what you want, today, and every day.