Sorry for the hiatus, y’all. I’ve been showing my house and packing and etc. Oh, and going to the racetrack, but that was just for fun, not related to moving.
Anyway, the other day I read this post on Junkfood Science about BodyWorks, a government-sponsored anti-obesity program for teen girls. Check out the post. It’s comprehensive, as Junkfood Science always is. Among the problems with the program is this “healthy eating plan”, outlined in a BodyWorks recipe and menu planning book:
Breakfast recipes include those for cereals, egg white omelets, austere fruit dishes, French toast and pancakes, with an average 226.50 calories and 4.3 grams of fat per serving. Among 63 servings represented in the recipe choices, they contain a total of 5 tablespoons oil and 3 whole eggs.
Lunch recipes offer a range of vegetable salads, sandwiches and soups. Each serving averages 0.25 teaspoon oil and 0.02 teaspoon salt. Lunches average 227.25 calories and 8.2 grams of total fat per serving.
Dinner is an enormous collection of vegetable-intensive recipes dishes that are equally ascetic, with a mere 1 ½ teaspoons salt total for 191 servings and 0.07 tablespoon of oil per serving. The dinner recipes average 264.2 calories and 2.18 grams of total fat per serving.
The “healthy desserts” are fruit-based, averaging 1 teaspoon added sugar per serving. Desserts average 184.5 calories per servings, with 2.69 grams total fat.
Even if the girls are allowed dessert, a full day following this “healthy” meal plan would provide them with 902.45 calories — about one-third (37.6%) of the daily calories needed by girls this age and activity level, according the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutritional Research Center at Baylor, used by the Dietary Guidelines.
(Apologies for the long quote. There’s much more on Junkfood Science. You really should read it all!)
Reading this, I realized that I don’t really know how to eat; I just know how to diet – and I know how to blow off a diet. I’m guessing this won’t come as a shock to most folks out there in the Fat Acceptance world – I bet that’s true for a lot of women, and maybe men, too. I think I even knew this, intellectually. Yeah, yeah, I’ve basically dieted on-and-off for my whole life, I believe that pretty much all the eating that women do is disordered in its obsession with quantifying nutrition, etc., etc., etc.
But seeing that diet plan made me realize – again, and viscerally – how fucking crazy it is, and how fucking crazy I’ve been. Because that’s how I’ve eaten – or, more accurately, how I’ve tried to eat – my whole life. I’ve happily chewed on 180 calorie Luna bars and considered them breakfast. I’ve packed 270 calorie Lean Cuisines and counted that as lunch. On the flip side, I’ve eaten half a pizza at a time, gone through a half-gallon of ice cream in a couple of days, snuck down to the gas station to buy three candy bars.
I’ve dieted, and I’ve… well, I’m not sure if I’d call it binging. I don’t want to minimize Binge Eating Disorder by comparing it with my more generalized overeating. But the point is, I’ve never just eaten normally.
And maybe that’s why intuitive eating is so hard for me.