As I intimated in my last post when talking about eating out for every meal, I am absolute bullshit at feeding myself.
You’d think at 40 years old I’d have figured it out, but given nobody else in America seems to have it together in that department either, I guess I’m not that special. Everyone is constantly worrying about what to eat, how much of it to eat, how often – and if you care about the state of the planet, human rights, or animal rights, there’s a whole ‘nother level where you’re screwed. There are entire industries that exploit our dysfunctional relationship with nourishment – don’t get me started on those!
I’ve always wanted to be good at meal planning, though – I see all the nifty meal planning bullet journal spreads or printables and I just long to fill them out. I also love all those “meal prepping” videos where someone buys a gigantic cartful of produce and then spends an entire (I would assume miserable) afternoon chopping, cooking, stirring, and portioning an entire week’s worth of lunches or what-have-you. The elegance of it, the certainty of knowing what you’re going to eat and knowing it’s healthy and homemade, enchants me.
I have yet to find a way to apply any of those things to my life that lasts longer than one or two weeks or, at worst, one or two meals.
I am a grown-ass lady. I’ve written what, thirteen books now? Seven of them were traditionally published which meant deadlines under contract. I’ve managed to stay alive through literal decades of depression. And I can’t figure out what to eat!
If you had any idea how much money I’ve wasted on junk food and fast food (french fries = hella vegan) you’d think I was insane. You’d be right, really. If I could get back half of what I’ve spent on nutritionally bankrupt frankenfood just because it was tasty, cheap, and required no work on my part other than shouting into a clown’s mouth, I might even be able to pay my student loans.
(pause for my own uproarious laughter)
I think a large part of the reason people flock to diets, “lifestyle changes,” “plans” and whatever the latest “fitspo” speak is for diet, is that we desperately want someone to take charge of our relationship with food. We don’t trust ourselves – if we just ate what we wan’t we’d all eat nothing but cake and be SO FAT, right? – or our own knowledge even though we’re constantly bombarded with information about “good” foods and “bad” foods – and the relative simplicity of surrendering our autonomy to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or Keto Jesus (or whoever’s in charge of that craziness) is such a relief. Thank God, someone will tell me what to eat! I already have so much stress, thank you, Keto Jesus, for giving me a list of what’s good and bad, virtuous and shameful, so I know what is right and wrong for me!
The only problem is eventually we chafe under that yoke. We want our power back. We’re scared to really take it, scared of living without rules and restrictions, so instead of just making our own choices full stop, we rebel against The Plan. Cheat Day here, Cheat Day there. I’ll be “good” tomorrow.
Lucky for us, once we’ve crashed and gone on a spree, then realized we’re no good on our own and need restriction and possibly punishment, there’s always a new Plan or list of “naughty” foods or $40/month solution to our horrendous lack of willpower. There’s always tomorrow with dieting! Right? It never worked before, but clearly I was the problem. It’s not him, it’s me. I set him off, I was bad, I ate the bag of cookies, I know I shouldn’t complain when he works so hard all day, and on and on.
Yeah, I said it. We’re in an abusive relationship with dieting. The really shitty part is that society wants us to stay in that relationship forever and never question who’s really losing and gaining what.
Wow, that went off on a bit of a tangent. I suppose it’s not surprising given my history.
At any rate, the point here was that after four decades in a world full of that kind of bullshit, even with all I’ve done to try and repair my relationship to food and my body, I’m still neck deep in it because there is literally no escape. Not in America anyway. If you decide to stand on your own and remove yourself from the diet industry, just like from the animal products industries, you have to fight with your culture the rest of your life. You have to create your own safe spaces because the world is not safe for you.
The world wants you to stay dysfunctional, to go on making those meal plans and then saying “fuck it, I’mma have curly fries again” and then feeling bad about yourself, eating ice cream, going on a Plan the next day, screwing it up a week later…
But aside from that, the truth is, I’m also lazy AF. Okay, maybe “lazy” is a harsh word – I’m tired AF. I have zero energy most of the time, and what I do have I devote to the acquisition of a paycheck so I can afford to have zero energy inside a house instead of in a cardboard box on the street. Even something as relatively low-stress as making a sandwich is beyond me most days. Thank God all I have to do for the cats is dump kibble in a bowl – imagine if I had kids, they’d eat nothing but Cheerios.
Actually the all-cereal Plan does sound pretty good.Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!