Most of the time, I’m committed to healthy eating. I’m not militant about it; you’ll never see me posting things here or on Facebook about why everyone should stop eating ____ or start eating ____. I won’t warn anyone about the foods and beverages that will kill you. I won’t shame you for eating things that come out of a can/box/bag/freezer. Partially because I just really don’t have the energy to get worked up about what other people eat, and partially because I don’t like rhetorics of guilt, shame, or fear. And it seems like a particular luxury of our culture, anyway, that we can become indignant over chicken nuggets when people all over this country and the world are wondering when their next meal might be.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t care about any of the debates surrounding food. I do. And like many of you, my relationship with food has changed in recent years. I mostly try to avoid highly processed foods and things made with a lot of ingredients that I don’t recognize. I try not to eat out very often, and I almost never eat fast food. I like to eat fresh produce and homemade meals. And I try to cut down on the amount of sugar and empty carbs and salt that I consume. You know, basically just trying to be aware of what I’m putting in my body, and as much as possible, of where it’s coming from. I’m really not obsessed with my health or longevity, but in the interest of making the most of my life, I’ve come to prefer eating and exercising habits that make me feel good, so that’s really what shapes my eating habits these days.
Except, during finals, things get a little wacky. First, there’s the problem of time. By which I mean, there is no time during finals, or it feels that way. Every little task that takes time away from working on or almost working on a paper feels like a black hole of productivity doom. Things like cooking (and cleaning, and sometimes showers) are just not possible. That means that I eat out a lot more, or buy packages of food in the freezer section.
But there’s also the stress eating, which fortunately is not an especially big problem for me. I’ve never been an eat-your-feelings kind of girl, but I do eat a lot more snacks and chocolate while I’m working on papers. And cookies, if they’re available. And more Dr Pepper. But since I don’t keep a lot of sweets or unhealthy snacks in the house and I can’t possibly go to the grocery store (see: black hole, above), I usually don’t tax my gastronomical boundaries too much.
This semester, though, I have a supply of snickerdoodle cupcakes left over from my birthday (which I celebrated with pizza and cupcakes. and champagne. because I’m sophisticated) and frozen for Later. And apparently, Later is happening now. I’ve got two and half weeks of brutal paper writing ahead of me, and the cupcakes won’t last that long, but I’m thinking that I might need to go get some and stuff to make salads for dinner. Because, like Shakira, my hips don’t lie–at least, not about the jeans size they’ll permit onto my body (they also don’t lie about dancing, but it’s a different truth than Shakira’s). And my digestive system doesn’t lie either or hide its feelings about the things I feed it. So I’m going to attempt to balance out the unhealthy with a little healthy.
You know what else doesn’t lie? The calendar. It’s a strict task-master when you’ve got deadlines looming. Which I do. So, back to work I go. I mean, after I eat another cupcake.