It seems we have entered an era that eating a cupcake is either as provocative as Christian Grey or as rebellious to culture norms as Lady Gaga. When did food become so powerful that it now is assigned a moral value: Bad vs good, healthy vs unhealthy, clean vs unclean?
Some have described this constraint as willpower however willpower defined is the control exerted to do something or restrain impulses. Looking a step further at why the impulse would be there, to begin with as impulses are a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act. Willpower can be disrupted by emotions and depleted over time. Does this sound like the energy that should be devoted to making a decision such as eating a cupcake?
I Got Mind on my Cupcake and Cupcake on My Mind
I bet you are thinking “I can’t get the damn cupcake out of my head now”. This is due to the brain taken over and the brain always wins! So let’s go back to the whole Christian Grey fascination. This has been labeled the “Ironic process therapy” or I call it in my practice “the bad boy effect” which is the psychological process whereby deliberate attempts to suppress certain thoughts make them more likely to surface. So whether you are trying to avoid thinking about a cupcake because you think it is “unhealthy” or staying away from Mr. Grey since your girlfriends tell you he is nothing but trouble you now have ignited your brain to hyper focus on both.
This process is worsened by stress and over time can lead one to have more immoral out of character thoughts. Insert clip of Miranda on a Sex & the City. She tries to avoid eating cake she has in her apartment by pitching it into the trash. Only later to be at her wits end diving back into the trash inhaling cake in a binged manner.
Avoiding relationships with characters such as Mr. Grey are likely in your best interests, why can’t there be a healthy relationship with delights such as cupcakes? This has led to me to ditch diet mentality which strives off imbalance and join the Intuitive Eating movement. Intuitive Eating believes in the power of neutralizing all foods meaning not assigning moral value to one food over another. Yes, this means cupcakes & quinoa should be considered equal. This does not mean they necessarily have the same nutritional value but like many struggling with perfectionism, now culture has decided our diet is a new thing to perfect.
For those of you not familiar with Intuitive Eating these are the key principles:
- Reject the Diet Mentality.
- Honor your Hunger.
- Make Peace with Food.
- Challenge the Food Police.
- Respect your Fullness.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor.
- Honor Your Feelings without Using Food.
- Respect your Body.
Most believe this means eating cupcakes daily. if you notice these principles incorporate choosing foods not only by taste but also prioritizing how it nourishes your body. I love a great cupcake (personal favorite Gigi cookie dough). Yet if I had it daily it would not provide the same satisfaction and likely not appease my hunger.
So next time you really want a cupcake put the children to bed, take a deep breath, put Fifty Shades on the screen and ENJOY!