Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eat like a kid

Have you ever seen the movie Little Miss Sunshine?  It's one of my favorites!  No matter how many times I've seen it, I can't help but simultaneously laugh and cry hysterically at the final scene  (I won't give any further details in case you haven't seen it yet...but definitely go see it!).  It gets me every time!  I also cringe every time I see the ice cream scene.  If you need to be reminded (or have never seen it), here's the clip:

I cringe when I see this because I feel like I'm watching the moment when this little girl's innocence about dieting and body image is taken away from her forever.  Sure, she's bound to learn about this stuff eventually, whether through images and messages in the media, friends at school, or a myriad of other sources, but don't you sometimes wish you could stay innocent and ignorant about all that stuff forever?

I had a similar moment when I was in high school, so considerably older than Olive in this clip.  I remember hearing someone refer to fettuccine alfredo, which was my go-to carbo-loading pre-race meal when I was out of town for competitions, as a "heart attack on a plate."  I was mortified!  I felt guilty for having ever eaten something so horrendously unhealthy, and I vowed to never eat it again.

While I suppose in some ways it was good that someone clued me in to the fact that this probably wasn't the smartest pre-race meal choice, sometimes I wish I had never learned that fact.  It's not like I was eating fettuccine alfredo all the time-- I ordered it at restaurants before big races, so probably only a few times a year.  But the fact that I now knew that this dish was so maligned made me question everything I ate, to the point of eventual obsession.  If I had never known it was "bad" for me, I'm sure I would have continued eating it on a very occasional basis and it probably wouldn't have changed my health status one bit.  Instead, I almost knew too much for my own good, and it led to destructive eating and thought patterns down the road.

Does this mean that ignorance is bliss when it comes to nutrition?

Sometimes I think so.  But I guess in the end it comes down to balance.  I believe it's a good thing to know a little something about what kinds of foods should make up the bulk of your diet, but this knowledge shouldn't necessarily dictate every decision you make when it comes to eating.  Sometimes you just need to eat like a kid and pretend you know nothing about the fat in ice cream and go ahead and order your waffles a la mode and enjoy the hell out of them!

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