Soften Saturdays is an occasional series about being kinder to ourselves and others, often through the lens of food.
While we all find our own path through the COVID-19 times, there have been lots of comments about food, about coping, about weight. I want to share a few thoughts on this and ask if you would join me in reframing some of the thoughts and comments we are making toward ourselves and others right now.
TL;DR: Be extra kind to yourselves and others right now. We are going to make mistakes, learn new things, forge a different path, feel stuck, eat crap, eat healthy, drink wine, drink a green juice, gain weight, lose weight, embrace cellulite, love each other. Less judgment, more LOVE.
We are eating SEVENTEEN meals a day…
Raising my hand here, I’ve said this even when not quite true. And then I was asked to contribute to a grocery gift card for a friend who is unemployed. It struck me that even if I don’t know someone right now who can’t afford food, it is likely I will know someone soon. I can’t imagine how it must make them feel to wonder where the next meal is coming from while I gloat about eating so often. Food insecurity is a reality always, but especially right now. (Find your local Feeding America food bank to help, if you have the means.)
The flipside: Rationing.
This one is SO hard for those who struggle with disordered thinking related to food. It’s hard for those who worry about the food supply chain faltering which has resulted in hoarding. It’s hard for those with a medically necessary diet who need specific foods that are in short supply at times. Maybe we can assure each other that there is going to be enough? Maybe we can find a way, if it is within our means, to assure those worried about having enough that we will share.
Chocolate. Wine. French Fries.
If a piece of chocolate is getting you through the day, it’s okay. We are all coping as best we can through an experience none of us have traversed before. If carbs bring you joy, make peace with it for now. A wise friend once told me if I took away all of my crutches, I would fall down. This is not the time I want to fall down.
Dieting to lose weight is hard under the best of circumstances, right? Trying a restrictive diet right now may not be right for you when you are already under extreme stress. If you sell a MLM dieting product that pushes extreme calorie restriction or removal of any food group, this is the time to rethink your business model and consider working with only those who reach out to you. It feels really gross reading posts pushing any diet right now, seeing commercials on TV for a weight loss shake. Ick.
Weight Gain and Body Image
If you don’t already, it’s likely you will know someone who has been sick with COVID-19. Even those with “minor infections” (that’s anyone who doesn’t have to be hospitalized), have worried about staying alive. The not-so-clever play on words of COVID-15, meaning the pounds you’ve gained, is not only rude but hurtful. It is making light of a very serious illness. The “emerging from quarantine looking like…” memes that show round and curvy people alienates your friends and family who are always round and curvy. Then there is the self-inflicted pain. Some of you are being so hard on yourself right now, calling yourself names and degrading your body. It won’t help you get through this time. I can’t see you through the computer screen, but I can assure you that you are beautiful. If you are wearing pants today (that’s a big IF for many of us), your ass looks great in them.
It is SO amazing to see support for our locally owned restaurants. They need us to eat there now and to buy gift cards to use later. But here’s the thing: I saw a really nasty exchange between friends because one is eating out more often, the other cannot eat out right now. It devolved into a conversation like this: “Must be nice.” “You should get an essential job, Walmart is hiring.” Could we just not right now? If you can support local restaurants, that is so awesome. If you are feeling extreme abundance right now, maybe buy a gift card for someone who cannot afford to dine out. I bet they would appreciate it. If you are someone who cannot afford to dine out right now, could you please consider those who can are helping a really fragile part of our community? Maybe instead of titling this “Eating Out,” it should just be about speaking to each other with kindness. Like a whole BIG bunch of it. It’s hard for all of us, just in different ways.
Please find a way to be kind right now, to yourself and others. We are going to make mistakes, learn new things, forge a different path, feel stuck, eat crap, eat healthy, drink wine, drink a green juice, gain weight, lose weight, embrace cellulite, love each other. Join me in finding a softer way to approach this. Lots of love to you all, sweet friends.