Thursday, March 13, 2008

Food hang-ups

Last night, Homer, Maggie and I went to a local burger joint as a treat. This place has really good burgers (including veggie burgers), amazing onion rings and a huge selection of hard ice cream, in case you haven’t indulged enough with your first course. Kids love the environment because it’s bright and loud (the workers sing as they’re making your meal) and kids always get a free ice cream and balloons.

It was fun and Maggie loved being the centre of our universe, eating French fries with ketchup! And Pickles! And Chocolate Milk! And Ice Cream! Not a healthy meal, by any means, but thankfully she eats well and the daycare feeds her good stuff all day.

I had the veggie burger and Homer and I shared a small order of onion rings. Homer took Maggie up to select her ice cream and got some for us to share. I felt a little gross after eating all that junk, and immediately looked up the nutritional information when I got home, which made me feel even worse.

Why do I do this? I eat really well most of the time, but when I do indulge, I feel guilty and sick and a little fatter than an hour before.

I have some really strange food hang-ups. Like, in my building at work, there is a food court with all manner of healthy and not-so-healthy meal options. I have access to donuts, fresh pastries, cookies, chips and chocolate bars all day. There are 4 different places I can go for coffee. Sounds convenient and awesome, right?

EXCEPT, I don’t like other people to see me eat junk food. So, I WON’T buy the cookies or the chips at work. I have never had a pizza slice or even a sandwich on a onion bun here. If I don’t bring my lunch, I usually opt for a whole-wheat bagel with light cream cheese or a bowl of soup.

I usually buy two coffees a day, but never 2 from the same place in a day. What if the ladies make a comment about my coffee consumption?

If there’s a potluck, people always comment that they count on me to bring something healthy.

At the grocery store, I feel the need to tell the cashier that the bag of chips amongst the sea of fruits, vegetables, yoghurt and whole grains, is for my husband. We wouldn’t want this random person who I do not know to think that I’m scarfing down that whole bag, would we?

Last week, I spotted a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookie when I was ordering my coffee. Man, I wanted that cookie. Did I buy it? No. Did I go out after work that day and buy white chocolate and macadamia nuts and make my own whole-wheat version of the cookie? Why, yes I did. So, instead of buying the one cookie for $.89, I spent ten times that on ingredients for a whole batch. But, at least I’m eating them in the privacy of my own home.

I know these hang-ups are just weird. I’m sure it’s somehow my mother’s fault, but I don’t know how. It’s like I have a health rep to protect. Like, if I’m *caught* someone will out me for not being who I pretend to be. Like one walk on the junk side will take me from health hero to health fraud. Except, I’m not a health hero, so what am I doing?


Jess said...

I used to be the same way. I hated people seeing me eat anything other than fruit, basically, because I thought they were judging me and thinking, well, that explains why she's overweight. And I don't think I was being totally paranoid because I find myself thinking that about other people.

But now that I have taken active steps to become much healthier, I've stopped caring as much. People can judge but it doesn't change anything.

But I don't really know what to say to you because you already live a very healthy lifestyle. But I can relate.

JMC said...

Oh, LoriD, go ahead and set yourself free! Next time you go down to the food court at work, buy the biggest pastry you can find to go with your coffee, and make a point of telling the cashier that you intend to sit down and eat it ALL IN ONE SITTING. I promise it'll feel good and lightning won't suddenly strike you down. As healthy as you eat normally, a little indulgence won't hurt. And you certainly shouldn't care what anyone else thinks about it. Though they'll probably think, "Oh, THANK GOD, she's normal." ;)

Flibberty said...

I agree with JMC. I'd be totally relieved to see you eat a french fry or 30 because it would mean you were like everyone else. Also, one of the secrets to life (so Oprah tells me) is that 90% of people are not thinking about you, for they are too busy thinking of themselves.

Banana said...

I know exactly what you mean. I hate eating fast food in public - it makes a gross meal feel dirty and more shameful.

But I agree with Flib - people are too busy with there own shit to notice what's going on around them.

Misty said...

Women have issues with food. Period. Welcome to North America!

It sounds like you have really incorporated healthy eating into how you see yourself as a person. And it seems to have an ethical tinge to it, explaining the feelings of guilt and the worries that other people are judging you as... hypocritical, maybe? Does the cookie negate who you are and make you a phony? Not really. But maybe you feel that way.

Everyone has the junk they deal with. This just happens to be yours. I refuse to even judge on whether or not you should try to get over it. I have my own hang ups.

SLynnRo said...

I do the exact same thing. At my office, I am Ms. Gym-Goer-Healthy-Eater and if I have anything, people are all over me for it. It's good in some ways and completely irritating in others.

Tessie said...

Lori! This is FASCINATING to me. Great post.

I've heard many people share the same issue, but most of them, like Jess said, are overweight or unhealthy, and clearly you are not.

I will say that BR struggles with this a little at work, since he works in a wellness/fitnessy environment and has the WORST DIET EVER KNOWN TO MAN. People are always SHOCKED and I know it must get old to him.

"I'm sure it's somehow my mother's fault"--HAHA!

Pickles & Dimes said...

This is really interesting. I agree with the others who said everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to think about you. And those who aren't: screw 'em!

Lisa said...

I wouldn't worry abou it too much. The basic rule is, Does it interfere with you living your life the way you want to? If it does, then change it. If not, the heck with it. I guess we're all at least a little egocentric. I'm always worried about people judging our groceries when I'm at the checkout. Moreso now that I'm hugely pregnant.

Chantal said...

Guilt bloody guilt. We all have our hang ups don't we. At least you are eating, and you are healthy. You are ahead of the game. I have a cousin who has an eating disorder and it isn't pretty. Sounds like you are okay on that front.

Family Adventure said...

Fascinating post. You are obviously aware that you have an issue here, and if I were you I'd try to buy that cookie next time. It's just one cookie. It won't hurt you. Give it a go!


Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I am not a huge health nut, I try to feed my family healthy, well-balanced meals but not a fanatic. I still have similar hang-ups. I get perverse pleasure in pushing my cart filled with fresh produce through the supermarket and feel completely embarrassed if we have any processed foods or junk items. I always have to explain them... birthday party, cook out, camping...
And I only buy junk or fast food of any sort if my dh is with me, then I feel I can blame it on him.:)

LD said...

My issue isn't whether people at work see me eating junk (I'm kind of known for having candy in my desk) but how much. I've always been aware of my weight, so I'll never order a full lunch in front of colleagues and eat the whole thing. I always leave stuff. weird, eh?
As for the healthy thing - when we go to the food court at work my favourite place is Lettuce Eatery which everyone thinks is super heatlhy. It's not totally since I get caesar dressing, but I like that they think that!

amreen said...

i've got similar food hang ups, except they're with my kids. I don't like for people to see my kids eating junk food - you know that whole "bad mother" thing that starts with the breastfeeding mania in the hospital. Hypocritically, however, we sometimes indulge in junk food at home (esp when I'm pregnant like right now) for a special treat, and my kids partake of that. don't know where it comes from, this pressure to appear so perfect for the world? thanks for sharing.

desperate housewife said...

This is a FASCINATING post and great comments. I totally do the shopping cart embarassment. As I'm loading up the conveyor belt I start examining my purchases and wondering what the cashier thinks of me based on them. Which is SO STUPID because a, she's probably just wishing her shift would end, and b, even if she does make some random judgement, WHO CARES?
Me, apparently. We all have our issues, don't we?
That said, I'd totally eat that cookie. IN PUBLIC. You'll feel more honest, and if someone spots you indulging, they'll love you for it, I promise.