Hello and welcome to another edition of #TransparentTuesday! During #TransparentTuesday, we remove the rosy filters of social media and share real life.
If you're new here, you may not know that I started out as a self-identified weight loss blogger 10 years ago. I have a long history of crazy diets (starting as a kid in single digits), diet pills, fat camp, two-a-day workouts, and binge eating disorder. I'm not going to go into all of that today because it's all over this site – if you want me to point you to some of it, let me know and I'll dig up some links. Let's just say the relationship with myself and my size is complicated. I spent decades trying to fight it through extreme measures and trying to hate myself into thinness. After decades of insanity, I just wanted to exist at whatever size I am.
Lately, I've found myself confronting some internal resistance against a seemingly innocuous thing: Taking photos with food.
The thought of sharing food photos is something that really wrecks my mind. It feels radical for some reason, and as someone working on body positivity and acceptance, it shouldn't feel this way. Yet, with the amount of crazy food rules and restriction that I lived by for decades, it's a hard habit to break.
All the talk growing up of good versus bad foods. Avoiding food groups, counting calories, fat, carbs, sugar grams, protein grams… all the macros. A huge part of my binge eating disorder revolved around eating in secret. Even as a pre-teen and teen, I remember sneaking food and feeling very accomplished when I could hide the evidence. When in reality, if I could have just eaten “normal” food and not spent a week on the cabbage soup diet, or months on prescription diet pills, or eating carbs those 3+ years I avoided them, I wouldn't have felt like sneaking food was necessary. My mom also snuck food and I would learn where she was hiding it, so I could then go in and sneak that as well. It was a brutal lesson that there is shame in being visibly fat and eating foods that society may not deem as healthy.
I actually brought this up as a bullet point in one of my favorite blog posts from July 2017:
- “A great photo example of why you'll rarely see me say anything about food”
My friend JC blogs at JCP Eats and when I first saw his photos, I would have this internal reaction like something wasn't matching up. He was this big guy with a big personality building a brand about eating food. And not just food photos on their own – he's in the act of eating the food. As he says on his blog: “This platform started as an outlet for me to overcome an eating disorder on Instagram; I took photos of my food to change the relationship that I have with food.”
I couldn't figure out why this felt so brave to me. I thought to myself on multiple occasions, “oh wow, I don't think I could do that!” Part of me thought that maybe it was acceptable because men can eat and not be shamed by it (looking at you, Man vs. Food.) But I have been around internet trolls long enough to know that it can't be that simple. He planted the seed that I needed to work on this mental block some more.
Recently, when discussing a potential collaboration with a company, they mentioned how they didn't see food on my site or Instagram – did I ever cover food or restaurants?
I fumbled for an answer, saying it was complicated. But I do eat, and I do love to try new places. Still, that question mark remained. Why was I having such internal resistance against this?
About a week after that interaction, my friend invited me to the opening of Spotz Gelato in Georgetown, KY. They also have a location in Versailles, KY and you've probably seen them around the state with their gelato truck.
I wanted to support a local business by going, and also, who doesn't love gelato? (Even here, I'm fighting myself as I started to explain how I don't eat much sugar. Why do I need to justify eating some gelato?!)
When I got there, I saw friends, learned about the company, and ate the most delicious banana pudding gelato. Sarah of Space, Place & Southern Grace was there taking photos, and when I learned she would share them, it struck me that maybe this would finally be the reason for me to break the food – photo paradox in my head.
Last week, a friend invited me to go to the Chow Wagon at the Kentucky Derby Festival Kroger's Fest-a-Ville℠, but she also commented on how she knows I don't really cover food. It was another timely reminder that I wanted to address this topic with myself.
While I don't have any plans to be a full-time food blogger, I want to confront this fear every time it comes up. I, like everyone else on this planet, eats and enjoys food. It's time to remove my personal shame about sharing that.
Thank you to JC for the literal food for thought, to Debra of Debra Locker Group for the invite, Spotz Gelato for having damn tasty Kentucky Proud gelato that I wanted to talk about, and Sarah Caton for letting me use these photos.