I Overate Because I Felt Guilty Eating
Posted by BroadBlogs
What if I just have a small slice of raspberry cheesecake? I was good today, I deserve it. Maybe a bigger slice would be okay if I eat celery later? They would cancel each other out, right? Or I could eat the cake while jogging in place?
These are the musings of a young woman’s mind in a Yoplait yogurt ad. (See ad here.) Sound familiar?
Does to me. Evokes the mantra that once ruled my twenty-something brain. Back then, food was both magic and evil. That’s a noxious combination, known to create obsessions and addictions.
A person who feels guilty about eating often overeats. They obsess about food. Food calls to them. Think you’ve had a little too much? Feel guilty! Now that you’ve sinned you might as well go all the way. Besides, a pint of Häagen-Dazs feels sooo good. At least while there is still some left in the container.
Works the same with alcohol. To the Irish, spirits magically change your mood. But overindulging brings shame and disgrace. Imbibed a bit too much? Might as well drink more and feel better. The Irish have fairly high levels of alcoholism. It’s different in places where alcohol is simply a part of dinner. A good wine is a dining must in France. And alcoholism is low.
But back to eating disorders. Some are more serious than mine. Jenni Schaefer survived both anorexia and bulimia. She told the Huffington Post that you start to divide foods into “good” and “bad” categories until they all seem bad. “I was shocked by how (the ad) really nailed it on the head,” she said. “That’s exactly what I thought every time I opened a refrigerator door.”
Experts worry that the ad’s message makes this sort of obsessive thinking seem completely normal, with some responding by eating too little, while others eat too much. To their credit, Yoplait pulled the piece once concerns surfaced.
I was lucky to eventually hear a different message. I was shocked to find a diet that denied the notion that food is bad. Maybe because the book, Eat to Win, was written for athletes with tennis champ, Martina Navratilova, a fan.
The notion that food is good and shouldn’t be an obsession had a profound effect on me. I highly recommend a healthy perspective on food that recognizes the need for nourishment and enjoyment.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. I blog for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.
Posted on June 22, 2011, in body image, feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, women and tagged body image, culture, eating disorders, feminism, gender, perfect body, psychology, sexism, social psychology, women, Yoplait commercial. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.