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 they look.
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 email@example.com.
Graphic: Shawna Langer/ Graphics Editor