Food — we all need it and we definitely couldn’t live
without it. However, in a day and age where social media reigns supreme, it is
often difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
In a society of ever-changing ideals and narratives of how
the average person should look, many people develop a restrictive outlook on
what they are eating. The foods we consume are often directly correlated with
our body image.
People might think that a healthy diet will ultimately lead
to society’s physique du jour. This perspective perpetuates a negative mindset
surrounding food that has historically been portrayed as “unhealthy,” and
people begin to categorize foods as “bad” or “good.”
Good food is commonly perceived as fruits, vegetables and
lean sources of protein. Don’t get me wrong, these foods are wonderful for your
body and provide people with the nutrients and energy that they need.
However, junk foods are given a bad rap due to the fact that
they are often high sources of fat, sugar or carbohydrates. These kinds of food
are seen as impediments to living a healthy lifestyle. It has become all too
common for the average person to eat what they believe is a healthy diet only
to think they’ve “ruined it” with a small treat or snack.
I can even admit to doing this myself. While I’m not
condoning eating junk food all day, everything is perfectly fine in moderation.
Eating high calorie foods is just a part of life for most
people. It is unsustainable to think that the average person can eat whole,
natural healthy meals 24/7. In fact, allowing yourself to have a nice treat
every once in a while can actually spare you from binge eating later.
Our society’s portrayal of food fuels these misconceptions
of how people should eat and, by extension, body image. People feel like they
have to eat a certain way and if they don’t follow that routine all of the
time, they have somehow failed to achieve their goals.
This type of mindset may lead to eating disorders or
restrictive eating, where people refuse to consume anything other than what
they deemed as necessary to achieve a particular physique.
At the end of the day, all food is fuel for the human body.
More importantly, food is also a huge part of life. Many
social events and gatherings are entirely based around it. If you are afraid to
eat certain things, how can you truly enjoy yourself in these settings? Some of
the best memories in life are those turkey dinners with your family, ice cream
dates with your significant other or movie dates with friends.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with food can translate
to a better social life and a healthier outlook on life itself.
It is so important to always remember that you control what
you eat and what you eat should not control you. Each and every person in this
world is special in their own way, regardless of how they choose to eat or how
Instead of worrying so much about not looking like that
Instagram model after you at a big meal with loved ones think about how you
feel. As well, please refrain from making comments about what other people eat
because they may be facing demons that you are unaware of.
Food should ultimately be your friend, not your enemy. Maintaining a healthy relationship with what you eat is a crucial part of loving yourself. Instead of labelling food as “good” or “bad,” take into account what makes you feel the best. Life is too short to place your self-worth in the hands of the food that you eat.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a rebuttal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic: Shawna Langer/ Graphics Editor