The Blame Game
I think it’s very telling about lil’ old me that I originally drafted this blog post as ‘Total Shit about Food and Health that I Have Believed’.
And that, my friends, is because I am a blamer.
In my mind, I am always right and mistakes are rarely my fault (this talk by Brené Brown explains what I mean!). I think I’m getting better at it but as my long-suffering boyfriend will attest to, I have real trouble admitting when I’m wrong. Sometimes, obviously, I am right and BZ must take my word as creed. Examples: I am always right about how porridge should be made, I am always right what time we need to leave to get anywhere punctually and I am definitely right about which Band Aid single is the best (still weighing up whether his view that Band Aid THREE trumps the 80’s original is grounds for breaking up, tbh).
And so, in my attempt to become more accountable for my wrong-doings, I decided that perhaps writing a lengthy blog post blaming other people for the skewed view of food and fitness I had for a while wasn't a great idea. This shake up was also inspired by stumbling upon the really, truly brill podcast Don’t Salt My Game podcast with Laura Thomas, PhD and listening to an episode with Pixie of Plant Based Pixie, in which she discussed her blog post on the language she used to use about nutrition.
It’s all very well me now believing in balance and evidence-based nutrition and intuitive eating and having a bloody huge slice of cake if you want one, but for a while, when I was really heavily into dieting, under the guise of ‘clean eating’ and ‘healthy living’ and ‘sucking most of the joy out of things’, I believed, spouted and encouraged some total, unhealthy shit. So in the spirit of admitting culpability, here’s me, Caitlin ‘The Blamer’ Meredith, saying a big fat soz to most people who encountered me when I was mad into dieting. These are the bidding prayers of apologies peeps- each should be followed with the slow refrain, ‘I am sorry’.
- To my pals who had to endure hearing about my workouts or what diet I was on or what food group I was cutting out or how it was ‘so annoying’ that all my clothes were getting too big (vom). I was so boring. So effin’ boring. I’m sorry I sometimes blew off dinner plans because I wanted to go to the gym, too. I told you I couldn’t cancel because I’d booked a class. I could. I was just so effin’ scared of what would happen if I didn’t go spinning and had pizza with you instead.
- To everyone who I made sweet potato brownies for. I mean, come on. They are not good and they are certainly no replacement for the real ting. I am Potatelin Meredith and even I have never tucked into a cake and thought ‘Hmm, yeah, this is passable but it could really use a bit more starch’. Eat real brownies. They aren’t ‘naughty’ or ‘sinful’ or ‘full of nasties’, they’re just bloody great. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t add a sweet potato.
- To those who attended a party with me and thought they stood a chance of accessing the bowl of Doritos. Given that I timed my ‘cheat day’ to co-inside with any social occasion, I had to maximise hugely on the ‘bad’ foods that I wouldn’t be allowed the next day and thus needed to eat everything on offer. I am in debt to you all by at least one bag of Cool Original each.
- To everyone whom I encouraged to read Deliciously Ella’s blog and Amelia Freer’s book. I think most of us have come to terms with the fact now that ‘clean eating’ is total BS but for a while, it was my religion, even if I only stuck to it 6 days a week (hello Sunday ‘cheat’/binge sessions). Even though both of these women often linked food and health with morality and worth, and proposed a ‘clean’ diet free of toxins and preservatives and refined sugar and certain entire food groups and hash browns and joy, I believed every single word. And I encouraged others to get into their restrictive, non-evidence-based diet plans too.
- To everyone whom I spoke to about the ‘evils of sugar’ and how unrefined sugar was great because your body can handle it better or some rubbish. I spouted this for a while, so to atone for this I urge you to read this excellent piece on it by Laura Thomas.
- To everyone who followed my weight loss Instagram. Bloody hell, that was awful. I’m so sorry that I added to the intense guilt and shame that is already so rife around food. I’m sorry for the amount of pictures of my trainers on a gym mat or my dinner or my ‘cheat meal’ (jus’ so you know, your diet isn’t a test or a game, so you can’t cheat at it) that I slung a filter on in the name of ‘health’ when in reality, it was such an unhealthy behaviour that encouraged the same in others.
I don’t blame myself, or anyone, for believing all that stuff. As a society, and particularly as women, we are reminded constantly that our worth lies in how our bodies look and increasingly, what we put into them. It’s easy to get wrapped up in it all, and for a while to an unhealthy extent, I was. In the interest of karmic retribution, I feel the need to now encourage you to seek out more weight-neutral, intuitive, evidence-based, body positive approaches to eating and health. Stop believing everything you read on Insta or in magazines or what your colleagues and aunties say. I’ve got a lil post on some recommended reads just here, if you’re interested.
And so for lil’ old blamey CM, I hope that these days I’m making up for all that bad energy I put out by writing this here blog thing, supporting the anti-diet community and encouraging people to eat donuts without going to confession directly afterwards.
Huge love n vats of peanut butter,