Knowledge is a Curse

Hey guys! Happy Sunday!!!! This post took me a lot of time to write/think over and I would really appreciate feedback. I don’t mean to offend anyone by this, but it needs to be said…

Revert back to the days when your lunch was packed for you, you ate when your teachers told you to, and there were no complaints (except maybe to cut the crust off your Skippy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Jelly sandwich on white bread) The good ol’ days when you didn’t THINK about it. It was easy back then.
>>Fast forward to NOW. You are reading food blogs, you don’t go near things like “HFCS” , and you know what’s IN pretty much everything you eat. It’s great that we all know how to be healthy, but there is a fine line between eating healthily and obsession. We know too much. We KNOW so much about food and have the ability manipulate our diets accordingly. I’m not saying we all do, but it’s possible. It’s possible to revert back to whatever your worst state of food obsession was any second because that knowledge is branded in your brain.
Dana and I had a great Heart to Heart last night about exactly this. About when food knowledge and desire to be healthy can lead to a point where it is no longer healthy. Both of us have gotten better from the days when we saw High Fructose Corn Syrup (God forbid) in the dining hall’s marinara sauce and swore it off for a month (true story! haha)
But we all have not so great days because we are only human. Yesterday was one of my not-so-good days (I don’t have an ED, & never did). I’m just a knowledgeable, normal girl who had a bad day…I think it was triggered by the Nutrition Analysis I had to do for nutrition class. I had a track meet yesterday, which included the typical: Oatmeal with almond butter in the morning, 2 nature valley bars, a Clif Bar, a Luna bar, a crapload of trail mix, pizza, ETC. Everything that had a lot of fat in it… totally normal for meet days because I don’t actually eat lunch because I was in the in field jumping from 12-5. (A girl needs her energy!!) After the meet, my teammates and I went out for ice cream at Friendly’s, another typical thanggg we do. HOWEVER, because I had known how much fat I had already eaten that day, I was so hesitant. I had ordered 1 scoop of Vienna Mocha chip and 1 scoop of Cookie Dough. I was presented with this:

Seeing that monstrosity of ice cream in front of me, I was like oh man, I did NOT order that much. BUT I was hungry. Really hungry. I had spent 5 hours of high intensity competing, consisting of 6 long jumps and 6 triple jumps, (Both of which I PRed in!), and had been running and doing drills all day long. I NEEDED FOOD. So I ate it all… clearly. And felt great afterward (I actually went back to my room and ate a little more ;)) But why was I so concerned before? It was because I KNEW How much I fat I had eaten throughout the day and seeing a bowl of ice cream 3x the size of what I had ordered (which I was already thinking about) made me think too much. Everyone else around me wasn’t thinking about it nearly as intricately as I was!

Sometimes I envy my friends that don’t know about food like I do. They don’t know what’s in everything, and their knowledge of eating healthily is knowing that chips are “bad” and fruit is “good”. But what I have come to realize is No Food is GOOD or BAD, or HEALTHY/NOT HEALTHY. If you love ice cream, it’s healthy for you to eat it! If you eat the same exact things day in and day out, no matter how ‘healthy’ they are, are they really all that HEALTHY after all?
Sometimes I wish I could revert back to the days where I didn’t know as much, because now that I have it in my head, I’m afraid that knowledge will never go away. This is why I think that sometimes, too much knowledge can be a curse.
Being apart of blog world, I get attached and truly worried about some girls exercising too much or eating too little, or both. I worry about the people that comment on foods like “UNHEALTHY” cakes and sweets and say how AMAZING THEY LOOK, but wouldn’t actually eat them. Your body is your temple, give it what it wants. You all know SO MUCH about food and it SCARES ME that people could revert back to an ED or have their healthy eating cross that fine line and turn into and ED. But I LOVE seeing girls recover correctly and love seeing them get healthier and HAPPIER. Reading This Girl’s Post yesterday made me sooo happy to know that some of you are truly on your way to an amazing recovery. It just scares me that too much knowledge can hinder that recovery. I love you all and pray that nobody is struggling with their own self-image/recovery on a daily basis.

I’m lucky because points when I feel like this do not come often at all… I am SO HAPPY with my body. I am athletic and very fit, allowing me to do what I love- track. I thank God for it each day. I know I’ve been blessed. It’s just dumb things like Diet Analysis, etc. that can sometimes get in the way and cause me to over-think. I hope I got down everything I needed/wanted to in this post, and I hope you can all relate and know where I am coming from. So girlies (&guys!)- what is your FAVORITE thing about your body and why? and How do you feel about knowledge being a curse- do you agree or disagree? (in regards to what I have written)

Thanks so much for reading this extra long post πŸ™‚
Love,
Michelle

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Knowledge is a Curse

  1. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth)

    michelle, i honestly had a little tear in my eye when i read that you mentioned me. it means so much ❀ you are right, too much knowledge can truly be hurtful. i hope you never let it get to you and turn into something terrible like it did for me. we are all worth so much more. thank you for this post, i agree with it more than you may know!

    xoxo
    shelley
    http://findinghappinessandhealth.wordpress.com

  2. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce

    great post michelle! i agree, things were so much simpler before we knew so much about the food we’re eating. i think there are two problems here: 1. a lot of food now contains things that it shouldn’t (trans fats and HFCS, just to name a couple) and while it’s ok to have those things sometimes it’s genuinely not good for our health and is simply the product of cheap ingredients being shoved into our food supply for the sake of $ and 2. the fact that so many of us have insecurities about our bodies and will naturally gravitate towards “scary” info about “unhealthy” or “junk” foods (pardon my excessive use of quotation marks!!!) and as a result develop an unhealthy obsession with health. such a paradox,no? i believe that orthorexia is a real problem and a real disorder, and there are obviously varying degrees along the spectrum of eating disorders but whether someone fits the clinical diagnosis for an ED we ALL deserve to eat the foods we love but also to be able to trust that there are not horrible ingredients pumped into our food! basically, our food system should change, and i wish we could heal everyone’s minds so that they can focus on other things besides nutritional info on the side of a box! sorry for the rambling comment, i just feel very strongly about this!

  3. This post was so good. bravo for addressing this. And I completely agree that knowledge is a curse and oblivion is bliss. At the same time, I can’t help but think we’re in a time when cursed knowledge is needed. I so envy the time of our greatgrandparents. They worked hard and out in the field. They knew what was in their food because it was simple and they grew it. Occasionally they had a treat like full fat ice cream, but it was home churned and something they could only obtain once and a while and so naturally would dive right in when they got it. Today, there’s too much out there and it’s too available. It’s like i we didn’t know things in this time period we’d be trampled on by those who do know things

  4. girl i love how honest you are! you ARE HUMAN. we all have days where we feel guilty or bad..but the important thing is that you brush urself off and get past it..and tommorow is a new day! you are an awesome girl and its true that knowing TOO much cant be a good thing-but you are well educated and thats great!

  5. I totally get what you mean!! Knowledge definitely can be a curse. For example, I haven’t had a real sugary dessert since Christmas and even though I like to boast that I can eat anything, I have kind of built up this little wall around myself and only eat approved things like nut butters, veggies, smoothies, egg beaters, etc…….. so tonight at the super bowl party when there were potato chips, cookies, full fat cheese dips, etc. I was kind of freaking out! But then I served myself a normal portion and just talked myself out of being worried b/c this is OK. It is OK to enjoy “naughty” food at a super bowl party b/c I only get to live once. Anyway, my point is even though I do have lots of knowledge about nutrition, etc. I think it’s important that I keep in mind that it is ok to indulge every now and then. It is perfectly normal and in fact very healthy.

    Thanks for this great post!! I really enjoyed it!! πŸ™‚

  6. Such an incredible post and so incredibly true!!!! I agree that that knowledge is a curse, in all honesty I wish I never learned in school/health magazines/through my food obsessions with my prior ED everything I know about food etc…plus there is so much information out there that contradicts each other that it can get completely exhausting trying to ‘eat healthy,’ whatever that means. I’ve come to believe that eating healthy means NOT obsessing about my food and what’s in it, but trusting that my body and my cravings will yearn for the nutrients it’s in need of…and hey it’s totally healthy to eat for pleasure too or to splurge every so often- I mean, it’s life, and it sucks how much the obsession with food consumes so many of us in this day of age- time that could be spent doing MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE things!
    My favourite thing about my body- it’s resilience, the fact that I put it through so much shit when I had anorexia and yet it has been able to rebound stronger than ever and I’ve been able to make up for the majority of the damage that undereating had done to it. Additionally- I’m quite happy with my body, it’s stronger and well…sounds shallow, but I definitely like having an ass πŸ˜‰ makes jeans look nine million times better!

  7. wow what a great and powerful post and so true!! we do know so much about food and since I am a personal trainer I get SO MANY Q’s about healthy eating and food and what has ‘bad’ things in it and what is better than what. I do have to know many things as a knowledge base for my work, but it is overwhelming and scary and sometimes for me personally, it is better off that I dont know what ingredients are in certain foods. It can be a great feeling to just ENJOY once in a while and not wrack yoru brain with all the nutrients in certain foods!

  8. strawberrysuitcase

    thanks so much for this post, michelle. i feel like lately, i have been such a freak about all of the health knowledge. it’s great to be mindful, but you’re right–a little HCFS or full-fat ice cream isn’t going to kill us.

    lately, i wish that i could wipe all of the nutrition knowledge out of my head. i see some of the girls i work with just eating ice cream right out of the carton and the first thing that comes to my mind is: “that is bad food. that should be put into a portion-controlled cup!” AWFUL to think like that.

    i never had a full-blown eating disorder but thoughts that overpower you like that is clearly evidence that something is wrong in my head. haha. thanks for your comments on my blog. i know that you’ve seen me call certain foods bad and good, which is not healthy. you’re a great healthy role model + great post.

  9. i have the same thing, i have to plan out my day and know that everything is just right, or i feel as if my day was unbalanced and im just not stisfied. i love all your thoughts though, very inspiring and so true! sometimes i wonder if i was better off before i knew every little thing about every piece of food i eat!

  10. Girl, I wrote a post a lot like this a few weeks ago!! I totally agree – sometimes, knowledge is a curse. Esp when we don’t get the full picture of it, and don’t know how to utilize this knowledge that we gain. The fact is that we’ll NEVER be able to understand and analyze the full workings of our miraculous body. The best is to just relax, and enjoy…because in the grander picture of life, a few nights of ice cream indulgence won’t hurt us the least bit….but stressing over it will!

  11. hey chica! great post!! I think knowledge about food can go both ways…it’s really helpful when you want to fuel your work out or meets if you know what’s in food, so you can bring enough to keep your optimum energy levels. But too much knowledge can be harmful if it causes you to stress over your foods. Fat is not a bad thing in our diet, and fat doesn’t make you fat. It sounds like your body needs a little bit more fat during meets to sustain it at a high level while going through all the rigorous stress of a meet. Keep up the great jumping and hard work!! Don’t stress about food because your body will crave what it needs and wont let you down if you listen to it πŸ™‚ I hope you’re having a great week girlie!! xoxo!

  12. I couldn’t agree more. Seriously. We NEED more posts like this on healthy living blogs!!

    I certainly feel the pressure to eat healthier than I did before I had a blog. And I’m certainly more mindful of the food that goes in my mouth because my knowledge about “health.” And sure, I wish I didn’t feel that way all the time. But the thing is, the majority of the time I simply prefer healthier choices. Most of the time, they taste *better* to me!

    My thing is – I LOVE food. In all shapes, forms, amounts of calories, etc. I follow health/food blogs mainly for that reason – not just for the health aspect of it. And I love to share that passion with other people. I think that *in general,* most of the food blogs that I follow portray what healthy moderation looks like. And I think that’s a great thing.

    And girl, after all that training you deserved TWO servings of ice cream! And don’t worry about the fat…fat is GOOD (I’m a huge believer in that, haha).

    Once again, loved the post =) xoxo G

  13. This post is amazing. I’ve written about this a lot before in the past….and think about it alot. If you are obsessing over what you eat, what’s in it, how much , etc….all the time …or honestly even 70% of the time – then YOUR NOT LIVING! No joke. Think about it. What about socializing, friends and family? Are you going to skip going out or eating on a plane, or being stuck somewhere without your own “snacks” or being a ridiculous food “snob” because something isn’t organic, all-natural, low-fat, low-carb, perfect, ideal, only what the “bloggers” eat , etc….??? How is that LIFE!! It’s now. It’s obsession. There’s a book out called “Live a Little” – and talks about how we get so worked up over things – it’s beyond ridiculous.
    Things change all the time!!! Diets, foods, etc.
    My friends who have enviable physiques and health, who run the fastest and farthest – they DON’T worry about this stuff – they eat healthy – but man they also eat their fries or granola bars and ICE CREAM…..

    Even the Yoga instructors I have around me – who in the history usually follow vegan, clean, plants, etc….they DRINK COFFEE, THEY EAT LAMB, THEY EAT CHOCOLATE !!! THEY ARE NOT PERFECT AND THEY GO OUT TO restaurants and order fettucine or indian curry dishes and OVEREAT!!! Yes – it’s true they’re human.

    Don’t get suckered into this blogsosphere world of oatmeal and all perfect this or that or raw this or that – honestly – it’s only a small portion of the population – and every athlete, has a different diet. Even if you check out different blogs like HEAB’s and JEnna’s (ELR) – they eat entirely different!!! Lord knows I eat my blueberry muffins full-fat and chocolate milk and ice cream (not goats or dairy-free or whatever!), and PIZZA…chick – don’t worry about it – I feel so bad about it when I read blogs then…
    But it’s ridiculous…even when I ran Varsity – we’d eat pizza and chocolate almonds – the night before a race, and celebrate with DQ after….
    IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT DON’T OBSESS AND STUFF THAT ARE AT THEIR NORMAL, HEATLHY WEIGHTS….

    wow that was long -sorry.

    Must add you to my Blog Roll!!

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