This past semester I have had the pleasure of taking a philosophy course titled the Ethics of Food & Agriculture where we cover everything from industrial animal agriculture, to everyone’s favorite topic of discussion: overeating and obesity. Yesterday, right before one of the greatest food days of the year, I had to present on weight and obesity stigmas and how they have, no pun intended(well maybe a little intended), consumed our society.
One of the articles I had to read prior to this presentation was by a professor of bioethics that insisted that one of the only ways to to overcome the obesity epidemic, is to place intense social pressure on those who are overweight. I guess this man never heard of things such as self-esteem, or dignity, or basically human emotion because what kind of human would shame another for being bigger than they are? Obviously someone who didn’t get dessert as a child.
Anyways this article put a very unpleasant taste in my mouth before Thanksgiving because all I could think about was reaching for my second helping of mashed potatoes with gravy and potentially receiving disapproving looks from every one of my family members. If Thanksgiving looked like that, I’d rather be the cooked turkey on the table because that way I’d be a) stuffed full of food and b)put out of my misery.
A few years ago at Thanksgiving my Grandma tried to play the shame game when she insisted on using a dessert plate for her Thanksgiving meal rather than the larger dinner plates, like a normal person, because she “wasn’t hungry.” As someone who has eyes 3x the circumference of her stomach, my eyes rolled all the way back to the previous Thanksgiving when I saw how she judgmentally stared at my normal sized dinner plate. Of course as soon as we sat down to eat I could see Mt. Helena erupting off of my Grandma’s plate (again cue the eye roll), but she continued to insist she was only trying to “watch her figure.” Gotta love family hypocrisy.
My point of this story is not to offend or embarrass my dearest Granny Joan, but instead offer two bits of advice: 1) If you’re trying to maintain figure this Thanksgiving or resist overeating, don’t judge or bring down those around you who are trying to enjoy themselves (especially if that enjoyment comes from mashed potatoes) and 2) For those of you who are just trying to have fun and indulge this Thanksgiving, let the health gurus be health gurus, and DON’T YOU DARE let anyone make you feel insecure about yourself for reaching for seconds, thirds, fourths and, what the heck, even fifths!! But if you do find yourself feeling down this Turkey Day, take some advice from my dear pals the Golden Girls “there’s nothing you can’t solve over a slice of cheesecake!”
Stay hungry my friends.