Why I like food shows

There is this show on the travel channel called M@n vs Food.  Have you seen it?  It’s a show where a guy goes around to eating establishments around the country to check out their speacialties.  Sometimes, it’s things I would like to eat, and sometimes not (like when it’s seafood, I hate seafood). 

Anyway, they show all this food at all these different places, and then at the end of every episode, he does a challenge of some sort.  The places he’s visiting have these in-house challenges and usually there is a wall of fame, where there are pictures of the few people who have completed the challenge…and a wall of shame, with lots of pictures of people who couldn’t do it.  One day he had to eat several gallons of ice cream.  Once it was 4 hamburgers that were 1 pound each.  Sandwiches a foot tall with a pound of fries on the side…crazy stuff.

This show, and others like it, really help me to objectify food.  When I watch this, it helps me see food as something that I can control.  It’s just a thing.  It doesn’t have magic healing powers to calm my frustrations or ease my stress.  I won’t have a cleaner house by going down to the diner and eating a huge plate of pulled pork.  I don’t know how it works…but it helps me see food as just a “thing” that interests me less and less.  I hope I am explaining that right.

That particular show has an added bonus for me.  You’ve all heard the stories of parents who catch their kids smoking a cigarette, so they make them smoke until they get sick…or catch them drinking and make them drink til they puke, right?  This show is a little bit like that for me.  Watching this man overeat in such an exaggerated fashion makes me want to overeat less and less, I swear.  It makes me see that, although I might like a certain food, eating more of it just to eat it doesn’t make sense.  If this guy eating a platter the size of a table of oysters isn’t advisable, how is that any different from me eating 4 pieces of pizza when 1 would have been fine? 

This all might sound backwards…but I feel like watching food shows helps me feel more confident about MY power over food instead of its power over me, especially when the food looks really good.  I can tell myself “That looks like something I would like, but I don’t need to eat it.”

Weird, I know.

Do you watch food shows?  What effect do they have on you?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. RonfromNJ
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 17:45:53

    I understand your description of how this type of show could help with the eating and weight stuff. Unfortunately for me, they do NOT work that way. I love shows like this….Man v. Food specifically. The problem becomes, all I want to do is succeed at the challenges and try all the restaurants he goes to. Watching the show is practically torture but I think it is something I have to do. My hope is that by constantly exposing myself to stuff like it, I will eventually get numb…kind of like the way some people try to deal with phobias. Since there is no way for me to get to most of the places he visits, I don’t have to worry about an urge becoming overpowering and making me screw up my own attempts to lose weight.

    Reply

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