It's 4 pm; and you've made it to Thursday being stringent and rigid when it comes to your diet over the past few days. No complex carbohydrate or sweet nibble has passed your lips. However, like I said its 4 pm, and its Thursday. That's over half the working week, and that sweet fix is beginning to call you. The shiny vending machines are beginning to get that glowing gold light surrounding them.... maybe if you just had half a galaxy.... that's okay right?
You've done it. You went for the chocolate bar, but now you've got a taste for it, you've deprived yourself nearly all week... so why shouldn't you? You go for the second bar, why they hell not hey? On the way home after work, maybe pop in Marks and Spencer for those innocent looking pink pigs, with their round and delectably smiling faces just beaming up at you oinking 'Eat me! I'm pink and chewy and delicious!' It's fine though because you'll have a salad when you get home, and you'll only have a couple of Percy Pigs anyway just to tidy you over... I mean you don't need to eat the whole bag. However you're eating and you're eating and nearly half the bag is gone already, so you may as well see this through to the sweet, sweet end and MY GOD WHY CAN'T YOU JUST STOP?! So you go home, cry on your housemates shoulder about how much you've eaten until their ears begin to bleed and you begin to wonder how such a cute little pink pig named Percy could be the cause of such sorrow.
In some loose form this scenerio may have taken place in your life. The notion of food and eating is a complicated business, particularly for us females. It is probably one of the topics we discuss the most. A friend recently sent me an article that was depicting common girl thoughts and habits when it came to food. It made statements such as 'becoming emotional once you've finished your food', 'favourite holidays revolving around food', 'unrealistic diets constantly leaving us starving', 'thinking about your next meal whilst eating your current one' and 'no matter how full you are, there is always room for froyo' (there is always room for froyo, it's a great palette cleanser). Now I don't want to generalize that this is how all girls think; however for me.... well it's as if they have actually looked inside my mind.
I've begun to notice it amongst girls as a whole though, why is the topic of cuisine such a prominent one when it comes to women? It's in my top 5 things to talk about, it falls somewhere between my infuriating colleague who believes rotas are the very fabric of human existence, and the funniest things Danny Dyer has said on EastEnders that week. Those women who answer the question 'cake or sex?' with the answer 'sex'.... WHY ARE YOU LYING?! Choosing sex over a slice of chocolate fudge cake? Get out. There is even scientific evidence stating that eating chocolate releases dopamine in the female brain, that's the same substance which peaks during an orgasm. It is also suggested that when women eat chocolate it affects activity in the amygdala - a part of the brain which regulates sexual desire. So it's scientifically proven that for female's chocolate and sex are basically the same thing - and you don't need to shave your legs for a bar of Cadbury.
When it comes to us ladies, food is another level. We write books about it, we avoid it, we indulge in it, we tweet it, we instagram it, we talk about it, we love it, we hate it. It's a discussion that sometimes should be entered into like a Trojan war - whilst being hidden in a massive wooden horse. We've all been on the receiving end of a hungry or dieting friend, you make one food or weight related comment and get a response that would be similar to what you'd get if you had just told them you'd urinated all over their bed covers. I don't know if anyone is familiar with the emotion of being 'hangry' (hungry/angry) but this emotion takes over when performing a task, for instance, like shopping. It renders you incapable of conversing in a calm tone, sometimes leaving you unable to visualise anything clearly, and quickly progressing into seeing everyone around you as produce such as giant roast chickens or a rashers of bacon.
Yvonne Bishop-Western may have the answer as to why we crave the conversation so much. The Harley Street nutritionist stated "women have a more emotional attachment to food. Due to media pressure they attach guilt to carbohydrates and saturated fats, and often feel a responsibility to eat healthily in a way men don't". It's this mindset and influence that lead us to view eating chocolate as a forbidden pleasure, often linking it to diets and guilty comforts. We also have the habit of then telling the world when we do give in, by mouth or social media, hoping that someone is going to condone (or even retweet) our behaviour whilst we frolic in our slum of calorie guilt. So is this why we are caught discussing the topic of food more so than men? I mean, how often is it that you hear a man exclaim 'SHIT... I just ate half a Bounty'. As I came to work this morning it hadn't even made it to 10 am and I had already spent a proportion of my morning talking through my favourite options on a Chinese menu, and then what I'd follow it up with for dessert.
For me it's the repression I create for myself when it comes to food that causes me to over indulge in conversation about it instead. The cakes I like to eat, my favourite chocolate bars, the menu of the restaurant I'm dining at over the weekend, and I suspect I'm not alone in this. This is a time when we are inundated with new diets cropping up every week, from only consuming a Satsuma, black coffee and small piece of fish for 2 days of the week, to only ingesting juice made of ingredients from our compost bin. Even Beyonce has now streamlined herself by following a strict vegan diet. When we are surrounded by all this health hype it's no wonder that as a gender we have become obsessed with what we do and do not eat.
How do we relinquish from this? Is it even a bad thing? Well no, of course it's not. We over talk everything we are obsessed with. I talk about Danny Dyer more than I do my own family, but it's not unhealthy for me (some might argue otherwise, you're wrong. He's one of the finest actors of our generation). It's when these obsessions lead to something more that we need to re evaluate. Talk about food, talking is good. You've gathered from this I talk about it all the time, because I wish I could eat it all the time... I just generally love food. However sad fact of life is I can't, If I ate as much as I spoke about it I'd be the same size as the Isle of Dogs, but I would never deny myself of what I need, and occasionally what I want. If you catch yourself always discussing and relaying everything you've consumed that week, or what you are dreaming about (a study showed that a third of women admitted to day dreaming about chocolate) then maybe begin to ask why. Is it because of love, or desire? Don't deprive yourself of what you crave on a consistent basis just because we are surrounded by the media, books and celebrities telling us we need to cut this and not consume that. It's that age old fact of everything in moderation, if you want to eat cake, eat cake. However, just see how long you can go before you mention to someone about your devilish indulgence.