I was having a conversation with a friend online the other day about her diet and exercise routine when she said this:
“I don’t understand how some girls can drink Dr Pepper all day, eat whatever they want, never work out, and maintain their 115 lb weight. I would literally have to starve myself to maintain that. I’m not blessed with a high metabolism, apparently.”
I know I’ve said something similar more than a few times. I know I’ve muttered the words, “must be nice” nearly a hundred times when referring to how or what someone is eating.
But…..I don’t really respond that way anymore because honestly, I know that I can eat whatever I want – when I want. We live in America; any food we can dream of is readily available. However, the difference is in the individual choices we make. I like the way Shira Nelson, from Mom Beyond Baby describes her diet, “I eat anything I want, but not everything.“ And that is exactly how I would describe the way I eat. More on that later.
So, here’s my question to you, “If you could eat whatever you wanted and knew you wouldn’t gain weight or body fat, would you?”
I decided to poll a couple of my friends and Rick to get their responses. Here’s what a few of them said:
Rick quickly replied with, “YES!” and then asked, “Wait…would the food still be bad for me?” to which I replied, “I didn’t mention health in the question. I said if it was only about aesthetics and you could get away with eating anything you wanted without looking any different (health aside) would you?”
His answer: “No.”
Friend 1: “Hmmm that’s a hard one because I don’t think I’d feel good. I know I wouldn’t eat fast food, but maybe more Cheetos and pizza.”
Friend 2: “Calorie is a calorie, right? But I have in the past, so I have to answer yes. But it catches up to me after about a week and then I have to go back to being good.”
Friend 3: “Hell yeah! #fatkidatheart”
Friend 4: “Oh, for sure!”
Now back to the conversation I had with my friend. Here is what I told her:
“If we were blessed with high metabolisms we would probably take our bodies/health for granted. You and I both know if we could and did eat whatever we wanted to we would feel like slugs!!” And it’s true. I can eat whatever I want. You can too. It’s part of our free will. But that doesn’t mean I do. I eat the way I do not only because I like the foods that I eat, but also because I like the way they make me feel. If I ate everything I wanted and more all of the time, I most likely would feel like a slug internally and externally. My workouts, recovery, sleep, and quality of life would suffer. I’d be taking my body and its health and abilities for granted.
I remember years ago when the diet of Michael Phelps was released and it was reported he ate something like 12,000 calories per day and the sky’s the limit on what that included. Perhaps a part of me was jealous then, maybe a part of you was too, but in all seriousness – eating that much sounds like a full-time job and kind of miserable to me. I mean, even if my body could tolerate that many calories I can tell you right now that doesn’t even sound desirable. I don’t like the act of eating that much.
Though, let me set the record straight. I don’t eat perfect, and certainly not all the time. As much as I hate to admit it there are days I don’t have a single vegetable. Some days I get so busy all I can manage to find time to eat is protein shakes and bars. But that’s not what I prefer. Call me crazy, but I honestly love vegetables. Plain steamed broccoli is one of my favorites. Mmmmmm. And you all know I love me a giant salad – I could eat one 3 times a day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. However, I also enjoy the finer things in life like chips and salsa at least 3 times a week, and a square or two of dark chocolate most nights (there’s more that I can add to the list, but you get my point). Knowing that if I really wanted, I could indeed eat whatever I want, takes the FOMO out of wanting to eat everything in sight when given the chance.
So…if a magical unicorn was sent down from heaven and said, “Mel, I have a message from The Almighty. You can now eat whatever you want without gaining an ounce of body fat. But the health consequences still remain.” I don’t think I would rush out and order cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, and cake. I mean, maybe I would eat one of those things occasionally but that’s no different than my life now.
Would you, could you eat whatever you wanted whenever you wanted if you knew it would have zero affect on your aesthetics but the health consequences remained? Think about it. And next time you envy the person who indeed does eat whatever they want and still seems to look exactly the same, maybe think about why you choose to eat the way you do. Perhaps the girl drinking Dr. Pepper every day doesn’t feel the way you do or workout the way you do. Or maybe she does. To each their own. But remember, you can eat whatever you want. We all can. However, there’s a reason most of us don’t.
Just something to think about. I’d love to hear your answer. No judgement.