The (Beneficial) Downside of Eating Healthily

And no, I’m not just referring to the bill it may accrue over time from purchasing quinoa and fresh produce at the grocery store, rather than pasta and frozen vegetables.

While the last week of classes generally means an academic reprieve before RRR/dead week, this semester’s final week of classes featured two papers and a midterm on my last day of class. #reasonswhyI’manEnglishmajor We have midterm schedules that actually fall in the middle of the term.

To put it lightly, I’ve been starting to stress eat before dead and finals week — which has both its up and down sides.

I like food. I love food. I love eating food. I arrange my days around the meals I’m going to have, in the off chance that the rest of my day ends up living short of expectation. Yes, food is my Star-Spangled Man with a Plan.

And it’s generally got a very good plan…until my body starts rebelling.

Who says no to free cookies?
Who can say “no” to free cookies? | Photo by Courtney Cheng

I’m not a health nut. I don’t follow any of the low-carb diets, or low-fat diets, or anything of that sort. I generally just eat what my body tells me to eat, and I’ve built up the practice of eating enough whole foods or home-cooked meals with scant amounts of oil, seasonings, and salt that my body occasionally will tell me that it is, indeed, time to eat a salad. (Remind me to tell you what meal I turned down in Vienna because of this.)

This week, because I’ve been stressed, I’ve let myself wander into the deep end of a cookies, cupcakes, popcorn, extra bites of ice cream, and the like. It felt good. My tummy felt comforted. I felt comforted.

And then a few hours passed, and I didn’t feel so comforted anymore.

Perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps this is a good thing while simultaneously being a sad thing. I’m not sure I can swing this to be a “bad” thing from any point of view — unless I say my body’s now less capable of dealing with more processed and less nutrient-dense foods, and therefore more susceptible to being thrown off balance? (Forgive my lack of nutritional science knowledge, we didn’t cover this in our course.)

Death by cupcake. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

Regardless, I will most definitely be keeping myself from indulging in my stress eating habits this week. My body will not be able to handle that, on top of the laundry list of academic things I need to accomplish, and I have had enough headaches and hours of a protesting tummy to warrant an experiential review.

However, let it be known that I do not live a sad life. I live a physically enforced healthy life…which may or may not include as many treats as I would like.

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