Chips. It’s something so many of us have issues with. We all have very different, varied entanglements, negative feelings and stories with food, but chips is one that seems to be a common thread when I speak to lovely souls regarding eating and finding neutrality with food.
When I was 16 I remember my boyfriend at the time looked at me as I ate a plate of chips and said “You can’t have chips without hips!”. I immediately stopped chewing, having half bitten into a chip, slowly swallowed and placed the remainder of the chip back on the plate. I brushed my hands off on my lap, (not even bothering to lick the salty goodness from my fingers) and pushed the plate away. “I’m full, I don’t ever eat that many.” I replied ashamed.
That tiny, throwaway comment which was made thoughtlessly stuck with me for years. He wasn’t aware of how much that comment could get to a person, he was just parroting what society had been shouting about. Chips became the enemy. Chips - take away the ‘C’ and what do you have?
If I had chips I’d eat a few guiltilty or I’d scoff the whole lot super quickly so that they were gone. Then I could embark on feeling guilty, whilst simultaneously planning how I’d work off the huge amount of weight I had obviously just gained from eating a portion of chips, and how from now on I would be a better human and only eat lettuce. Now, when it’s written down it seems silly doesn’t it? It sounds like something a teen would say, except I carried this into my twenties too. I shared those thoughts with others, bonding over our mutual desperation to change our bodies, nothing was ever good enough, no weight loss was ever enough.
As you probably know, a set of circumstances caused me to completely reevaluate food, eating and pretty much my whole outlook on life - you can read my story here. I now look at chips as something delightfully wondrous. First off, let’s have a moment for potatoes - is there a more versatile vegetable? My mum has always said “If you’ve got potatoes, eggs and flour, you’ll never go hungry.” Jacket potatoes, mashed potato, chips, boiled potato, roasted potatoes, hasselback potatoes, potato soup, potato salad, potato omelette - the list goes on.
Chips come from potatoes, when they are in the forms above they don’t tend to produce that same level of guilt, yet if we call them chips, holy guacamole, watch out as the diet police raid our minds and scream “Put your hands in the air, DO NOT MOVE”.
Here’s a little thought: if you find you feel guilty about eating chips, why not chop up a potato into chips, along with carrots, parsnips and maybe some red pepper. Drizzle it all with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, pop on a baking tray and cook for about half an hour on medium to high. You’re not eating chips, you’re enjoying roasted veggies. Call them roasted veggies.
Sometimes in order to overcome certain issues, we have to take a step back, look at why we have the block and re-name or re-word something. Eventually you’ll find one day you call them chips and that wave of guilt you’re so used to washing over you won’t come at all, until then, how about we call them roasted veggies instead and thoroughly enjoy them?
A few chip journaling prompts that may be useful:
Why do I feel guilty about chips?
When did I first start feeling guilty about chips? Why?
Why do I like the taste of chips?
How can I enjoy chips more?