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Is Exposing Your Food Like Exposing Your Privates? July 9, 2010

Filed under: emotions,food,Food Blogs: Yum Yum,Mindful Eating,photography — Susan @ 2:14 am

One of my friends said to me that my food blog was upsetting her. “I think what we eat is really private!” she said. “And political! I would never show people what I eat.” (or some such thing. I am paraphrasing) This intrigued me. “What do you mean by political?” I asked.

“I would be afraid that people would judge me, for going out to eat too much, for not cooking enough or whatever.” This was fascinating to me. Of course people could certainly judge ME for going out to eat too much because I do it like every five minutes, but that’s not the kind of judgement that I care about or that worries me.

I have been guilty and embarrassed and ashamed of various food I’ve eaten for years decades, but not for political reasons. For deeply personal reasons. I think now, how I would feel if someone had pulled a camera on me when I sat in my car eating a pint of macaroni and cheese or chocolate pudding or one of my other comfort/binge foods. I would have died a million deaths. So for me, it is incredibly empowering to be exposing/outing myself and my food. And to shed light on it is one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

Mary said to me that food blogging basically eliminated most of her mindless and compulsive eating, which pretty much made my eyes bug out of my head. And which made me want to try to do this. So far, I have to say, it’s been an incredible experience. I’m learning so much about myself.

For someone who spent so much of my psychic life eating in a closet, this is really HUGE.

I’m finding that photographing my food is almost like a prayer, a little premeal ritual, and almost like meditation. It is deeply contemplatative. I think about my food, consider it from angle, think about if I do want to eat it, how much I want, etc. I want it to look good. I want to feel committed to it. Believe me, this is something I did not used to do. Often I would almost eat with my eyes closed because I would not want to see what I was doing.

It’s only been four days. But I’ve gotta say, it’s changing me. And I’m not embarrassed.

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26 Responses to “Is Exposing Your Food Like Exposing Your Privates?”

  1. Art Says:

    To me, no, it isn’t that personal. I tend to tweet pics of the least healthy foods I eat, like a Dodgerdog tonight. But for me, I am open. I want people to see into this particular part of my life. I kind of love it, actually.

    Also, you’re doing a fantastic job on the food blog! You eat amazing foods.

  2. Melissa Says:

    This post rings so many bells for me!! I recently started a blog to chronicle my weight loss journey and I’ve been posting my nutrition logs there for the whole world to see….sort of like posting pictures of your food, just a different format….I wish I would have started doing this years ago! It took me being honest with the whole universe via my blog for me to finally start being honest with myself about what I was eating and what was making me fat. It’s actually quite liberating! :)
    Maybe I’ll evolve to photographing food too…it looks fun and creative.
    Kudos to your new photo-journaling adventure!
    (And my first comment on your blog…nice to meet you! :o))

    • Hi Melissa, nice to meet you too! I totally agree that being honest with the universe = being honest with myself re eating. Which is a loooong time in coming.

  3. dianabanana Says:

    the only rule is that there are no rules! so glad you have found something new & exciting that works for you. i love the sense of freedom you exude regarding this decision!

    i understand your friend’s reaction too… i have some serious negative associations with this level of scrutiny about food choices. when i was a little kid my dad made me write down everything i ate and it was NOT a good experience because it wasn’t something i would have chosen. that’s why its so interesting for me to see you having such a positive experience with this strategy, and it shows me that it’s not so much what you do as why you are doing it.

    both your courage and integrity continue to inspire me :)

    • I agree Diana, it’s not the what, it’s the why. I think if I had been forced to chronicle my food by someone else, I’d be having a totally different experience with this. But right now it IS incredibly liberating!

  4. Hanlie Says:

    Darn it, Susan! The more I think about this, the more I want to do it!

    I’ve been a sneaky eater all my life. The food I’ve bought and eaten that my husband doesn’t even know about could have financed a vacation or fed a needy family for a year…

    This could be a huge step for me…

  5. MizFit Says:

    SO INTERESTING to see this take on it.
    as a nonfoodblogger (well except today :)) Id always imagined it would push people TOWARD compulsive and not away.

    food (rimshot?) for thought as always.

    • Really? Toward compulsive? I guess for people who are compulsive in an OCD kind of way, that could be true. But I’m compulsive in a different way. Like out of control, which is the opposite of OCD. If that makes sense. Does it make sense?

  6. What resonates for me is the idea that it’s like a prayer or ritual, that it helps you appreciate and be more mindful of eating. I have come a long way in the past six months in terms of finding peace with food but the one area I feel is lacking is the ritual part…the part where I prepare, arrange, and sit quietly and eat. In fact, what’s rather ironic is that I used to love shopping for and cooking food a lot more than I do now. Now I feel like I don’t want to be bothered, which is weird. I guess it’s because I am more intently focused on writing. That’s where I find my energies directed.

    • Yes! It’s such a contemplative, mindful act. I’m finding it incredibly calming. It makes me slow down and really consider my food. And for someone who generally eats like a Hoover, this is VERY DIFFERENT.

  7. missyrayn Says:

    For me it is about doing what works for you. It’s the same with tracking for WW. Some people don’t count extra portions of veggies and the like. Doing what works for you to make you think about what you are putting in your mouth. Being conscious about it instead of doing it mind numbingly. I think it is great to see all different walks of life and what they eat to lose weight and maintain.

  8. c(h)ristine Says:

    It works for you, so do it. But as your audience, I’m going to just watch your flickrstream and not read your blog–because I feel like seeing your pictures on flickr & then reading your blog is a bit redundant. :) Also: reading the narrative may not give you anxiety, but it gives ME anxiety!

  9. c(h)ristine Says:

    I thought about it for a few seconds, to think about why it gives me anxiety–because I know you’ll ask, and then it hit me: your food blog reminds me of my days of having an eating disorder in junior high and high school, when I would record every single thing that went into my mouth. I have a food blog now but it’s not a food diary and more of a celebration of certain yummy delights. Our demons are different.

    • Just like Diana above, I think many people have bad associations with this kind of thing. It makes total sense. I have bad associations with the OPPOSITE (hiding food). It all makes sense! I want to celebrate EVERY single thing, and my goal is to make every single thing I eat a “certain yummy delight.”

  10. Sweeter Says:

    I can understand what your friend is thinking/feeling. And in such a case, it actually might be liberating for her to do this. I think sometimes when we try to keep things hidden, it makes them seem even worse. They become unspeakable horrors. To me, it’s the stuff we can’t talk about/share that are our worst demons. Being able to discuss something openly makes it less fearful, for me anyway. Which I guess is similar to your own thinking. And sure, people will judge. People always judge. But there are also people out there who will support. Hopefully, the judgers will keep quiet and the supporters will speak :)

    Anyway, as you know, you’ve inspired me to do this and I’ve been enjoying it. It is helping me to take a moment before I start wolfing down my food. Definitely makes me think twice about what I’m going to eat and that is something I need to do. I know that the novelty of this is a big part of it for me. I like to start things. I’m not so good about finishing heh heh.

    • I know what you mean about the starting/finishing, which is why I only gave myself a week goal to do this. If I like it I’ll continue but I don’t want to set myself up with a big goal like months or a year.

      And: YES YES YES! The stuff we can’t talk about/share ARE our worst demons. Which is what inspired me to do this.

  11. Jaime Says:

    I take pictures of all the decadent things I make/eat, so why not the regular? This could really help me out with eliminating all those little snacks I get my grubby little fingers on when I go into the kitchen between meals…

    The prospect of doing this myself is a little scary, but I think it’ll be good for me.

  12. comfortingeatingcoach Says:

    I guess it is a form of therapy akin to journalling and helps you to vent your stresses etc. If you don’t want to share everything with the world then keep a private journal might help!

  13. suzanne Says:

    I’ve been doing it for quite a while now and it definitely helps me to not mindlessly eat.

  14. [...] of Foodie’s friends remarked that what you eat is private, and Foodie wondered if exposing what you eat is like exposing your privates (hence the title of this [...]

  15. merri Says:

    When I was in highschool the dr thought I was trying to kill myself and made me write down everything I ate. As soon as I did that, I started eating even LESS (when I think, in her flawed head, she thought it would make me eat MORE, somehow). It really freaked me out, and made me even worse. So, while I definitely enjoy reading food blogs like yours and marys, I don’t think I would be comfortable with posting everything I eat, because id end up thinking about it too much (and also I don’t eat as interesting or varied things as you guys do, so it would end up totally boring). So I think I might feel nakedy and judgedy, even though no one was at all.

  16. Diane Says:

    Interesting that you are doing this. And I love your food blog. I’ve been considering photographing my food for a while, even just with my phone, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to go public with it. Maybe it’s time. You certainly can’t get more accountable than this!

  17. “I’m learning so much about myself.”

    And THAT is exactly why I love food blogging and keep doing it. It’s forced me to actually get to know myself and pay attention to what I eat and how it makes me feel. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m glad you have too!

    I think we are very similar in the ways that we are compulsive about eating/secret eating, so foodblogging is a good fix. It hasn’t made me obsessive about eating healthy or guilty about my choices if they aren’t great, it’s just made me more mindful of my actions and stopped me from binging/overeating in secret. And that is a good thing! I guess I never really thought about what other people might think about it because it’s a personal thing that I’ve found to work, so should I care what others think/judge/care?

  18. Rebecca Says:

    I’ve just found out that I’m pregnant so I’m keeping a journal for myself now as I need to keep a close eye on what I eat. As someone with a difficult food history myself I need to keep my blood sugar in check and I also don’t want to put on an enormous amount of weight. Keeping a food journal is really helping me to do this, stops me nibbling when I really don’t need it and let’s me see that I’m eating for optimum nutrition. It’s easy to let things slip when you’ve got a busy schedule and journalling really helps to bring you into the present and take care of yourself


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