No, I don’t think so. I believe food should be eaten for both fuel and pleasure.
Thanks, Amanda for letting me ramble today!
As the holiday season approaches and we are continually bombarded with messages like “start your New Year’s resolution now” or “save calories this Thanksgiving,” it turns eating into a math test. “I should only be eating x amount of calories today so I can’t have another bite of that.” Eating for pleasure? Out of the question. Not only that, but it turns what should be a joyous, celebratory time of year into punishment. I understand there are people who don’t want the holidays to derail their diet, but completely shunning foods you know you love sounds not just miserable, but sad.
While this happens during the holidays, the rest of the year isn’t immune to it either. The banning of favorite foods shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard someone (who will remain nameless) say, “I don’t need to eat that,” or “I can’t eat that,” even though I know they like the taste of it. Sure you might not need it everyday, and I’m not saying you do! But c’mon, every once-in-a-while? Isn’t life too short to not enjoy what you love?
Admittedly, I used to feel guilty for eating certain things I liked the taste of, even just occasionally. These foods weren’t even considered “treats,” but for some reason I had the idea that they should be off-limits. To me, this is a sad and unsustainable way to live. Food is more than fuel.
I do want to clarify that considering food as fuel isn’t an unhealthy mindset, in fact, it can be life saving for disordered eaters. But for those who associate food with numbers and nutritional stats, you should know that it’s so much more. Food is a part of our culture and traditions. We have memories of dinner at Grandma’s. We bond with family member’s over shared meals.
The fact that we get satisfaction and pleasure from eating foods we love is not something to be ashamed of. It’s an important- and healthy!- part of our lives.
Balance. Moderation. It’s possible.
Of possible interest:
Everything these two write is incredible.
WIAW: the whole perspective
5 Ways to Love Your Body
Thanks for sticking around for my random (hopefully understandable) thoughts, now I want to hear yours…
For awhile (mostly during my disordered days) I definitely saw food as just fuel. I convinced myself I didn’t “need” any extras when in reality I was starving myself. But when I started entering recovery, I began allowing myself to enjoy those milkshakes and pizzas because my RD told me I needed them…as fuel for the body and for the soul. So I guess overtime I was able to transition to a more relaxed approach where now I eat rainbow cake because it’s good. But I also eat foods that I know are going to fuel me well :)
Sarah recently posted…One of those weeks
Fuel for the body and the soul…I love that! I do still think of food as fuel when it comes to exercise and keeping my body healthy. But keeping my entire person (soul) healthy is just as important.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I think food is a beautiful work of art that nature provides us to enjoy and cook into even more amazing thing to share with the ones we loved. Food is “Life”. It is fuel, nourishment, happiness, joy, celebration, art, culture. It really is everything. But now people over think it and make it the enemy. Something to overcome. Just another stressor and burden in life. I kinda hate this season in the blog world because EVERYONE posts “tips to stay on track/healthy/not pack on the pounds”. I know they are just trying to get pageviews and readers….I just skip those posts because they are only helping to fuel the fire of making food the focus and enemy of such a beautiful happy time. (End rant) ;)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Sweet Pumpkin & Bell Pepper Sprouted Black Eyed Peas
I completely agree with everything you said. Everyone is all about not gaining weight during the holidays and it makes me sad because this time of year is so special. The diets and workouts will always be there so they shouldn’t distract from this happy time.
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
Food is wonderful. Ultimately, we have the ability to transform food to be whatever we want it to be and taste how we want it to taste. It’s very personal, but it’s a way in which we connect with the people we love and share time with them – preparing, eating, and enjoying. It’s delicious, and yes, it sustains us. But it can do so much more. It makes life not only possible but more enjoyable. I think it’s sad that people tend to take away the enjoyment and replace it with guilt. (So basically, I think you are SO right :) )
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #6: Confessions
You said this better than I ever could have :) Food is a gift and it nourishes our bodies and souls. Something that shouldn’t be taken for granted!
Emily @ Sweets and Beets says
Wow, Emily.. thank you so much for sharing this. I am with you 100%, and I’m working on this every day. I’ll be honest- it’s not always easy. I admire you for having such a positive, mature mindset. We need more good influences like you!! =)
Emily @ Sweets and Beets recently posted…This Day in History + My Year in Photos
You’re so sweet, but I’m still working on it too! It’s not easy, and it’s something I have to remind myself. As lame as it sounds, I sometimes just have to think “YOLO,” and dismiss any guilt.
Amanda @ .running with spoons. says
I was part of the “food is fuel” camp for a pretty long time, and while I do think its important to give our bodies high quality, nourishing foods, I also think it’s important to treat our souls with foods that have no rhyme or reason other than “just because we love them.” The stress that we cause ourselves when we’re constantly restricting is far worse than what those occasional treats will do to us. Life’s too short, and food’s too good!
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #104 .
Yes, it doesn’t even have to be a holiday for us to eat what we love!
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
I think the “food is fuel” mentality is helpful when I’m in a training cycle but want to eat candy for dinner – I know I need something more substantial to perform my best. But I totally agree that the holidays (and other special occasions) can be celebrated with extra treats! I just try to focus on not over-eating or making myself feel “gross,” but otherwise I indulge more than normal.
I agree, when it comes to training “food is fuel” is important to remember so we eat more of the high-quality foods to repair muscles, sustain energy, etc.
Kay @ Kay Bueno says
I think I’m somewhere in the middle with food.
Sometimes I just need to use it as fuel. I’ve had hikes I was unprepared for, where I just needed to replenish carbs, and wanted to do that in a way that was healthy. Where I’m not deriving pleasure from the food. I know, for example, that if I don’t eat protein for breakfast, that I’m a grumpy grumpy person.
But at the same time, it’s not only fuel. It’s celebration, and socialization, and moderation. Love your post.
Kay @ Kay Bueno recently posted…Sweat Republic Surf Set Review
Thanks for your comment! When it comes to eating for exercise (and daily life) I do think “food is fuel” is very important. High-quality, dense foods that can support our busy lifestyles. But, yes, food is so much more! Limiting food to just fuel is where it gets tricky.