Lately my head has been super-full. Ironically, it’s full of things like, “I should meditate to clear my mind. I should practice yoga. I should eat well and exercise and be a better person and yada yada.”

Do you ever have these thoughts, throughout the day? And late at night when all you want to do is fall asleep? They keep me awake, all these shoulds. I should be the perfect wife/daughter/employee/friend. I should eat healthy foods and exercise and do creative things. I should take walks and take photos and write letters and read more books and save the world.

Food is a biggie for me. Blame it on my nutrition degree. Blame it on my fear of diabetes and heart disease and colon cancer and breast cancer. Blame it on Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan and Walter Willet. Blame it on me. But every day, the first thing I think about is what I’m going to eat that day. Every little choice becomes a big one – I have a bad habit of thinking in extremes, in long term, and not living in the moment. I absorb so much food stress – and right now it seems like the whole world is talking about food.

One day last year, I saw a woman walking down the street, eating an ice cream bar. She looked so calm and happy, just enjoying the sun and the ice cream and life. And I felt so sad – when is the last time I allowed myself to enjoy an ice cream bar? A good old-fashioned, Nestle Crunch ice cream bar? When I think about it, my mind is filled with words: Processed. Fake. Fatty. Too sweet. Not local. Not organic. Not cool.

I want to quiet that voice. I want to eat whatever the hell I want to eat, and not worry about what the food police would say (who are these food police, anyway?). I want to eat hot dogs with bright green relish without an ounce of guilt.

I often feel angry about it all. I am not overweight. I am not unhealthy. My diet is probably better than most Americans. But I beat myself up about every food decision, and I can never meet these crazy goals of mine because I don’t even know what they are. One day it’s organic, another day it’s local. Vegan, omnivore, 9 fruits and veggies a day, no processed foods, home-cooked, at local restaurants, natural, no preservatives, hormone-free.

I am tired, internets. I am tired of all the voices telling me what I should eat every day. I want to eat my food without apologies, without wishing it were more photogenic and bloggable, without cringing at the lack of greens and hemp and chia seeds. I just want to eat. Why is that so hard?

And so I’ve decided to turn down the anxiety dial on food. (Because I also worry about work and money and friends and family and world peace. If you need someone to worry for you, I can do it! I excel at worrying.) It has been AMAZING. Yesterday morning Justin made sausage and potato tacos, and I ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then I had bubbly and a Hershey bar. Today I’m enjoying a mocha from Starbucks. And you know what? I feel fine.

I saw this today on SwissMiss, and it feels just perfect for this moment. Just dance, just live, just have a great weekend.

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Crystal – You share the similar, annoyingly loud voices I hear. Nice to know there are others that deal with this. I’d love for them to be drowned out.

    • Crystal says:

      Joe, it’s lovely to hear from you! And I, too, am glad to know that I’m not alone in this. :)

  2. Michelle says:

    You know what you need??!!! A Nice…big…SNOCONE from Bahama Bucks!!! Or a HUGE ice cream from AMY’s!!! GO FOR IT LITTLE SIS!! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

    • Crystal says:

      You’re the BESTEST. (I wish we had Bahama Bucks here. Mmmmm, toasted coconut with cream.)

  3. Nicole says:

    Wow, PERFECTLY said. These thoughts are so hard to overcome. For years, I felt the need to justify all of my food choices. I felt like people were always trying to put me in positions where I’d have to break my self-imposed rules, grinning at my failures. Either that, or they’d make comments about how what I was eating was too healthy, or was I sure I didn’t want some cake. At some point, I just started realizing that so much of that was about them. Food is a super personal thing, and I think other people want to tell you how you should be doing it better, always. But you know what? Focus on doing what’s best for you! Some days, that’s gonna mean fresh juices and no meat and tons of fruits and vegetables. Other days, it’s gonna be cocktails and M&M’s. Trust your body, trust your heart.

    • Crystal says:

      It’s always so good to hear that other people go through the same things! Living day by day is always the hardest for me. :)

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