Why are people, including me sometimes, so afraid of food?
What happens when you’re in a morning meeting and someone drops a box of donuts in the middle of the table? People groan and agonize. Immediately, they feel tempted and even threatened by the presence of an innocent baked good.
What happens from there? If you’re like me, you reason with yourself about why you shouldn’t have a donut. The calories, the fat, the sugar. It’s a “bad” food. It’s “unhealthy.” It’s “not good for you.”
You try to reason with yourself by cutting the donut in half like, “I couldn’t possibly eat this whole donut! No, not me. I’m being good today! Half will do it.” Ten minutes later, you eat the other half anyways, because like, there’s just half left, right?
What happens next? Maybe the guilt sets in. You start to reason with the guilt. “I’ll go to the gym today. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll run this afternoon, then lift weights. I’ll have salad for lunch too. Fat-free dressing on the side. I’ll skip my morning snack.”
But here’s the real question. WHY ARE WE AFRAID OF DONUTS?
An old fashioned donut, you know, the glazed yeast donuts that send people into an instant hand-writhing agony, has 320 calories, 22 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbs, 9 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein. Is it the most nutritionally balanced, nutrient dense, heart-healthy food you could choose? Nope. Will it kill you to eat one in your morning meeting. NOPE.
Do you know what’s worse than eating the donut? The agony of not eating it if you really wanted it. The agony lasts longer than you think. Say you resist the call of the donut and just have black coffee instead. Ok, great. You leave the meeting feeling like the Willpower Goddess. Maybe you post a picture to your fitblr like, “Look at these donuts I resisted in my morning meeting. #cleaneating #fitfam #fitblr #healthyeating #blessed.”
Good for you, girl. But those donuts will haunt you. Why? Because you wanted one!
It’s simple: The more often you deprive yourself of things you want, the more mental energy you put into depriving yourself of things you want. Your thoughts, strength, energy and willpower all go into something as silly as resisting the call of the donut. But how long can you go on that way? Eventually you’ll cave. The call of the donut will win out and you’ll find yourself eating cake out of the trashcan on a Tuesday after work (No, I didn’t do this, why do you ask?)
Day by day, the deprivation eats away at you. The donuts rule you.
Ok, so how about this. What happens if you just eat the donut? Right in the moment, as soon as the donuts are set down, and as soon as you realize you want one, you just have it.
What happens if you eat what you want, when you want it? Food loses its power over you. That’s what happens. The call of donut withers away until all that remains is your own voice asking, “Does a donut really sound good right now? Nah. I had donuts yesterday so I’m good.” Or, “Does a donut really sound good right now. Uh, yes. I haven’t had a donut in a while! Maybe I’ll get crazy and have two of those suckers.”
As someone who has spent most of her life fearing food and resisting the call of the donut, let me tell you: It’s not worth it. The call of the donut will always win because you’ve already subjected yourself to its temptation by pretending you don’t want it. Once you take control of what you want to eat, instead of letting the guilt, calories, macronutrient counts and social pressure control your food decisions, the call of the donut won’t control you.
And you’ll be the person who, in the meeting, when the donuts are set down, grabs one (a full one) eats it, enjoys it, feels not a shred of guilt, while everyone else looks on with their half a donut and wishes they could get on your level.