Here in the West, we are inundated by so-called First World Problems. Essentially, that refers to the idea that we have so much, and so many options available to us that our lives are rather decadent and we make problems out of things that shouldn’t really be problems at all. We have issues that people in the developing world- where choices are severely limited and comforts aren’t always at one’s fingertips- simply don’t have, because they don’t have time for that mess.
The wealth and relative ease of life for the First World has created entire generations that have had so many choices readily available for so long that the way we think about things has become incredibly disordered. For an increasing number of Westerners, many (if not most) of our problems are self-created via our disordered and ill prioritized thought and behavior patterns.
Today I’d like to discuss a First World Problem that I have dubbed, “The problem with ‘yummy’.”
Aside from the sheer childishness of the term, the problem with “yummy” as a concept is simple: It’s the idea that absolutely every time you put food into your mouth it needs to be some kind of amazing, orgasmic experience. It’s a problem that is unique to richer populations and isn’t well-understood in the less developed world. Let’s be brutally honest here: When you aren’t even sure if you’re going to have a next meal, much less where it’s coming from, the idea that everything must taste like sunshine and rainbows exploded in your mouth is a pretty absurd one.
The problem with “yummy” is one that we see pretty much all day, every day in our Facebook support groups. I think the most prominent example of this can be found in the never ending questions about the coffee shop. They go like so:
“Help! I used to drink this absurd ‘yummy’ milkshake every day at my local coffee joint. How can I order this to make it keto?”
This is closely followed by inquiries as to how one can go about “making it keto” at home.
Now there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with inquiring as to how we can change our orders or cooking habits in order to keep to our Ketogenic lifestyle. The problem is the “yummy.” We’ve gotten so used to just running down to the shop to get a coffee-flavored shake whipped up for us that we’ve eventually come to mentally depend on not just having this kind of thing every once in a while as a treat, but having it every day as a part of our routine. And we can’t imagine life without the “yummy.”
That’s how we get posts from people wherein they proudly show off pics of their home “coffee bars” that contain fifty-plus bottles of sugar free flavored syrups, flavored latte foams, etc and so on. Those pictures are a whole pile of disordered attachment to “yummy.”
What everyone needs to understand and absorb is no one needs that. No one needs a coffee bar at home. No one needs to have a specialty milk shake every day of their lives. And no one needs everything they put into their mouths to cause a D. H. Lawrence-style crisis.
Food is not entertainment.
Food is fuel.
Yes, it can be enjoyable. Yes, the keto lifestyle allows us to eat some of the most enjoyable foods on the planet. Yes, sometimes food can be a part of our entertainment or celebrations, etc.
The problem is not when we begin thinking that it can be those things sometimes, it is when we think that they MUST be those things all the time.
If you simply cannot live without your favorite coffee shake- or whatever “yummy” it is that you’ve mentally fixated on- you have a disordered relationship with that food.
A big part of the Ketogenic lifestyle is breaking the physical addiction to sugar and other unhealthy foods. After a couple of weeks, that physical need is no longer a factor, but any mental addictions you have do not magically go away when the physical withdrawal subsides. The rest of your battle is mental and if you insist on holding onto the “yummy” your Ketogenic Success is going to be more difficult to obtain.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to get that “yummy” monkey off your back. Learning how to see food as fuel is one of the most important things that you can do for your physical and mental health. In addition to aiding in your Keto lifestyle, learning to put things in their proper place, to distinguish between actual needs and treats that you don’t need all the time (regardless of how readily available they are) is going to go a long way to restoring a healthy mental relationship between you and food.
Your health depends on removing these kind of self-created First World Problems. If you need help, please consider hiring a keto coach that can help you work through and break your attachment to the “yummy” and other disordered habits and thoughts relating to food.