It was another Monday morning, like so many others, where I woke up with renewed motivation that this week was going to be the week. I was going to eat healthier and start shedding some of the baby weight I’ve been holding onto for two years. There was going to be exercise. There was going to be enough water to keep me in the bathroom for half the day. There was going to be kale. And I was going to stick with it this time.
And then the end of the week came, and while I had lost a few pounds fairly quickly and felt excited when I stepped on the scale each morning, I was a major grump. My head had been pounding for days. I didn’t enjoy that shitty kale at all, so I was hangry. My legs were sore and fatigued from running and squats, and every time I wanted to sit on the toilet, I had to engage in a trust fall. Staring at the calendar, planning for the week ahead, I couldn’t find joy or excitement in any of the activities or events coming up. Social gatherings all represented temptation instead of fun.
But at least I had stocked away a little something for me to indulge in, and I could look forward to that. I bought a pint of protein-based ice cream that everyone and their mother was raving about. It was tucked in my freezer, waiting for when I needed it. I have been down this road countless times, and I know that at the end of a week of success, I like to reward myself. This would be my guilt-free treat.
Fast-forward now, to the moment after I tried this fancy new ice cream.
I am opening my email to write my congressman and implore him to introduce a bill stating that no one should be allowed to call this shit ice cream. Ever.
That ice cream-flavored ice went straight into the damn garbage. Exactly where it belonged.
Irritated and hungry and craving actual ice cream, I thought back on the week of work I put in and how, even though I was seeing results, I was in a terrible mood and just wanted something to enjoy. Thinking about all the foods I wanted to eat that would never be caught dead in a room with a sad piece of kale, the dumbest phrase in existence popped into my head:
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
What a crock of shit that phrase is. It’s something folks often say to make us think that any indulgence will derail our efforts, or that eating something you enjoy is a sign of weakness.
You know what? Screw that.
I feel strong as shit. I ate rabbit food for a week, and I stayed away from pretty much everything that I actually like. I didn’t snack or cheat, and I worked out each day. I feel like shit, but I did it. And let me tell you, if this is what that archaic adage is referring to, then even kale tastes as good as skinny feels, and kale tastes like what trees use to wipe their butts. So, there you have it.
Loads of things taste as good, if not better than skinny feels. Bread. Chocolate. Cheese. Bagels. Milkshakes. Pizza. French fries. Corndogs. Foods you can only find deep-fried at a fair. Tacos. Cheesecake. Pancakes. Gummy worms. Bacon. Actual fucking ice cream.
And that’s not to say there is anything wrong with skinny, or thin, bodies. There’s absolutely not.
But what doesn’t feel good to any of us are these all-or-nothing attitudes about diet and health that make us feel like hopeless failures for indulging or not meeting arbitrary standards. I don’t want to be “skinny” if it means all my pizza has to be made of cauliflower. A life with no Treat Yo Self is no life at all. I may fit into my pre-baby jeans again, but at what cost? The cost of real ice cream? That is a price I am no longer willing to pay.
No more bullshit about nothing tasting as good as skinny feels. The next person who tells me that, or some other stupid shit like “Sweat is just fat crying,” is going to get an earful of “No. Sweat is the body’s way of cooling itself by releasing moisture to help regulate my body temperature. These tears are me crying because burpees are a tool of the devil and he’s trying to kill me. Not today, Satan!”
And even the faintest whisper of “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” will be met with a detailed explanation of how this cookie spends a moment on my lips and then passes through various points in my digestive system before it ends up in a toilet about 33 hours later. I’m fucking done with these nonsense phrases.
How about “Many things taste as good as healthy feels”? Because when I really think about it, skinny is not the real goal. Not being afraid of the number my doctor reads when she gets my cholestral levels is the goal. Being able to run up and down the stairs is the goal. And living a life where I am making sensible choices most of the time and not feeling like I have ruined my life because I ate some fries is the goal.
Healthy is the goal. And healthy looks different for everyone. Healthy absolutely does come in various shapes and sizes.
We can have our cake and eat it, in moderation. Instead of guilting ourselves over every misstep and pushing ourselves to exist within narrow parameters of what society deems worthy, why don’t we get okay with healthier. Power through the spinach and steel-cut oats and chia seeds. Then have a cookie or two, or a glass of wine at night, if you feel like it.
And whatever you do, don’t feel like you’ve sabotaged your entire existence once you treat yourself. See the journey as a journey because the destination does not need to be the angry person at the end of the tunnel who would sell her own mother for a goddamn donut.