In case you missed it, too, there’s this piece from Slate that makes happy hash of the idea of extremely restricted fad diets:
Which reminds me that I have recently seen a meme that will, no doubt, show up on tees any second now (if it hasn’t already): “Nothing feels as good as chocolate tastes.” The Slate.com piece features a picture of Artful Dodger juxtaposed with one of Kate Moss, who (in)famously pronounced a number of years ago that “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” That, I think, may be the u-thinspiration, so we really don’t need to cover what I think of it, or of a woman who somewhat famously controlled her own appetite for food for years by replacing nutrition with cocaine (though I believe she’s been both clean and thin for a good long time.) Well, okay, it does raise a couple of questions: How would someone who’s never not been thin know that nothing tastes better than thin feels? And, how does she know how I feel? People are always telling each other how to feel. It’s weird. Or it’s at least weird with adults. I’ve known situations with teens where it was maybe appropriate to suggest they dial it down when something bad happens to someone in their school who they didn’t either know or like, but even then the business of “legitimate” feeling is all balled up with normal teen self-absorbtion and the fact that something that happens to any teen can, in truth, scare the bejeezus out of the rest of them.
Anyway, with all the talk about bullying out there these days, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about the everyday tyranny of one group or individual essentially telling another group or person what to feel. Who to hate, who to approve of, how sad you’re allowed to be, how long your grief is allowed to be visible. I’m not saying that folks don’t wallow in excess, and that there could be more “sucking it up” and a bit less emoting (talking to you, John Boehner), or that excessive displays of emotion aren’t essentially pleas for ATTENTION. I’m not sure I’d want to be the one forced to legislate what constitutes excessive, attention-hogging expression of feeling–it’s pretty much a case-by-case, know it when you see it sort of thing. But I am pretty sure Kate Moss (sublimely gorgeous though she may be) doesn’t get to tell anyone how to feel about their bodies. She especially doesn’t get to tell me (at least as far as I’m concerned.)
It pisses my daughters off no end that I mostly loathe photos of myself. All I can see in most photos is the bulk and the droopy double-chins. So I get ticked at them for telling me what to feel/see/think, and they get pissed at me for making them listen to me modelling self-hatred yet again. Then we get over it and move on. But it’s a small example of the complexities of the situation.
Back to the diet-satire from Slate, though. I liked the Neanderthal Diet best. Mind you, I have a friend who largely controls her MS with a fairly extreme version of the Paleo, and another who controls a congenital liver weirdness with that and exercise, and a couple of others who just feel better without eating grains. One friend feels better when she avoids gluten–not a big deal, no hint of celiac disease–she just feels better. Another is having a (to me) weirdly comfortable time using a calorie-counting app on her phone, but it makes her almost cheerful, so HUZZAH. My current “diet” consists of making a concerted effort to see to it that I have more than the basic 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day (thank you, Vitamix, and that most smoothie-enhancing vegetable, the avocado) and avoiding meat at dinner because, for reasons no one can explain to me, my morning sugars are better when I eat pasta for dinner than when I eat carefully carb-less salads and meats). As for “feeling good, I can’t say that any pattern of eating has ever made me feel one way or another, except for periods of really bad sugar consumption, which pretty obviously makes me feel like crap. I like the way it feels to breathe for a bit after I’ve exercised, and the sense of strength in my muscles, but neither has ever given me enough of a “high” to be seductive. I care less and less about eating in any pattern other than moderation + lots of veggies + no nitrates, but I do wish I felt more of a “call” to exercise. Sigh.
And I was crushed recently to find out that Stouffer’s is owned by Nestle, which is among maybe the Top Three Evil Conglomerates on the planet (they’re the folks who want to privatize ALL the drinking water in the world…) because their frozen spinach souffle is one of my pet go-to comfort foods. Seriously, it’s become impossible to avoid some evil empire or other unless you grow your own or buy from a CSA. My yard doesn’t even get enough sun for the former, and I keep forgetting to do the latter, which would only cover so much anyway. Isn’t it interesting how much attention we’re seduced into paying to how much our bodies weigh and how little (though you can easily find charts all over the net) we’re paying to how our food gets to us and with what sort of ethics the producers approach the planet? I’m not making a tin foil hat yet, but we might all be healthier if we demanded fewer ingredients, fewer pesticides and unnecessary preservatives, fewer attempts at World Domination (what was adorable on “Pinky and the Brain” is not very charming coming from the mouth of an already inconceivably wealthy COB like Nestle’s Peter Brabeck-Letmathe). Being fat ≠ inherently evil. Trying to own all the potable water on the planet: pretty decent definition of evil. And my some of my friends claim my knee-jerk anti-corporate bias is excessive…