How I Eat Exactly What I Want, Whenever I Want
Something's been bothering me.
I've been worrying about what people think when I utter the phrase, as I do on an almost daily basis, Eat What You Want.
Recently, whilst stirring a pot of hearty black bean soup, my boyfriend said to me, "Obviously, eat what you want, but it does feel good to eat healthy". And on he stirred. And I stopped.
Is that what people think when I say Eat What You Want?
Do people think that when I say 'Eat What You Want', that I actually mean 'Never Eat Anything Fibrous?'. That I mean 'Avoid Vegetables at all Costs'? 'Never Touch Anything Vitamin-Rich with a Barge Pole'? 'Cut Out all Green Foods'? 'Say No to Fruit'?
And it's happened more than once. Of late, there've been a couple of times when I've noticed that a friend has felt the need to justify ordering a salad by claiming that they ate a pint of ice cream the night before or shunning the bread basket by practically divulging their entire history of wheat-triggered IBS as if I am on some one-woman crusade to stop all my friends from getting their five-a-day. And I know why this would be the assumption. Because in the diet-crazed world we all live in, eating what we want, means eating what we don't allow ourselves, right? It's that forbidden fruit mentality. The more you restrict something, the more you want it. Even before I was properly in the throes of disordered eating, when I used to cry 'I'M JUST GOING TO EAT WHATEVER I WANT!' that usually meant that I was going to eat an entire tube of Pringles washed down with a Tex-Mex dip selection. But now, that means something different.
So, in the interest of clearing up what I mean by my most said motto, here's how I eat what I want, all day, every day.
In short: I eat in the interest of looking after myself.
I try to eat in a balanced way. I eat my veggies. Hand me a Jazz apple and I'm yours. I finally eat enough carbs that my body isn't so starved of glucose that I fly off the handle at any minor annoyance. I eat processed food. I eat home-cooked meals. I snack a lot. I try to eat intuitively and respond to my hunger and fullness levels, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes I eat more than I should and I get uncomfy- I went to a wedding last weekend and tried slices of all three gorgeous layers of the cake. And that's part of eating to look after myself- to enjoy food, to take advantage of the pleasure it can give, to take part in the experience- that means having a pizza with friends, a beer after work, a big slab of birthday cake. Eating what I want means I don't restrict myself- if I want a Mars bar first thing on a Tuesday morning, then I'll have one. Equally, if I want a smoothie, I'll have that instead. It means no judgement. It means food is just food. It means no meal plans or macros or fear or compensation or good/bad foods or cutting out food groups just because someone with a six-pack said to.
For me, eating what I want is not only eating foods manufactured by Mr. Kipling. I know I wouldn't feel good for eating that way. When I did eat those three slices of cake at the wedding last weekend, the next day I didn't try to run off the calories or only each spinach in an attempt to 'make up for it', but I could feel my body kinda hinting to me 'Hey gal, that cake was great, but maybe you could eat a few veggies today, that would make you feel a bit better'. And so I did. Not because I felt guilty or scared. Because I wanted to.
And so let it be known friends, that eating what I want is thus: responding to what my body, mind and soul need. Sometimes I need a salad. Sometimes I need strawberry laces. Don't judge me for ordering a burger and I won't judge you for ordering a salad.
If that's what you really want, tuck in. Eat what you want.