“I will not eat all my hurricane snacks at once. I will not eat all my hurricane snacks at once. I will not eat all my hurricane snacks at once. I will not eat all my hurricane snacks at once.”
I saw this as a meme and laughed to myself. Been there. Back to the store for more chips.
At second glance, I thought, “Wow, this really reinforces the message that we shouldn’t eat a bunch of snacks in one sitting. #problematicmeme” (I think in hashtags now).
So, why are your hurricane snacks already gone? What’s problematic?
Here are some hypotheses:
- You don’t keep snacks around and restrict from snacks or “junk food.” You do this because you worry about being tempted to overeat and/or you worry that you’re going to gain weight. These foods hold a higher reward value because they’re “naughty” or “bad.” (See my last post about labeling food good and bad.) Because they’re naughty, they become more seductive and desirable.
- Survival brain. Something big and stressful is coming. If you’ve watched the news, it sounds even bigger and more stressful. Your body is literally in survival mode, getting ready to store a bunch of extra fuel in case you need to fight or flee in an emergency. The nervous system is a mighty controller that no diet or eating disorder can outsmart.
- You’re feeling some feels. (Might go with survival brain). You might be nervous, bored, anxious, stressed, excited, expectant, angry, disappointed, restless….
- You need comfort, fun or distraction. When you feel the feels, you might need a little extra TLC. Normal eating includes eating for comfort.
- “My diet starts tomorrow” or “The Last Supper” Mentality (i.e. You think, “This is a special circumstance, so I can splurge and work it off later.”). What we know is this mentality can reinforce shame for indulgence, restriction as penance, and binging when the body/mind/spirit doesn’t get what it needs.
- Food insecurity. For folks that don’t have access to food on the regular, the brain/body may conspire to eat more as a means of survival when there is access to food. If you’ve lived most of your life food insecure, then it’s more likely that eating a lot at once gets engrained in your body behaviors (which also ties into comfort eating and begs us to look at deeper problems that contribute to diets and eating disorders as a symptom of much larger injustices).
- You’re hungry. *Gasp* Could it be?! (Yes, yes it could).
It’s not a bad thing to eat all your snacks. To eat snacks. To eat.
Here’s what’s actually problematic:
Jokes about eating a lot, indulging, binging, bodies, body changes, weight gain or loss, looks…they’re all subtle ways diet culture whispers, “Hey you! If you’re laughing at that, then you’d better be on guard. Pretty soon they’re going to laugh at YOU.”
That, my friends, is why these kinds of memes and our assumptions about the “shoulds” of snacking need a deeper look. It’s easy to repost and laugh. Quite another to realize how we’re reinforcing messages that keep us prisoners in our own bodies.
Now go eat your damn hurricane snacks, give some compassion to your body, and save a Twix for me!