So I’m knitting cupcakes.  Which is fun and frivolous and festive and should be a carefree sort of thing, right?  And for the most part it totally is!  But one thing keeps happening, and I’m in a place where I want to talk about it for just a quick second.

People keep saying over and over and over ‘oh look, cupcakes without calories’ or ‘guilt free cupcakes’ or ‘finally some cupcakes I can feel good about’ or something else that seems to strongly suggest that the other kind of cupcakes…the kind that you eat, the kind that contain food, the kind that taste good…are somehow bad or dirty or shameful or that you need to apologize for them.

And I absolutely know that no one means anything mean or terrible by that (so please don’t feel bad if you’ve said it).  It’s just the sort of thing we’re socialized to say, because messages like that are absolutely everywhere and eventually we internalize it. But that message that we’re all getting and then spitting back out all the time?  It’s kind of crap.  And I’m having a major ‘call out the crap when you see it’ sort of year.  So I’m going to say a few things very directly.

First, Your body needs calories to survive. They are not evil.  They keep you alive.  You being alive is a good thing!  Next, You do not have to assign food a score inside of some health-based moral framework (is this good or bad? am I cheating? is this sinful? can I eat this cupcake now if I skip dinner later?) or come up with hugely complicated schemes to justify or excuse your choices.  That’s exhausting and a waste of time and energy.  You have better things to do with your life.  And finally, and I mean this with all of my heart, you do not have any obligation to eat in a way that makes there be less of you.  You are in charge of your own body and your own choices, so you can do that if you want to.  But you don’t have to.  You’re cool just as you are.

If you want to read some more stuff about this, I adore pretty much everything nutritionist Michelle Allison has to say about food and bodies.  Go check out the things listed under her Greatest Hits section here.  And then go read this amazing piece about how communal body shaming is a lousy social activity and totally not something you need to participate in or put up with.

And, if you want to eat a cupcake, eat a cupcake.  I hope it’s delicious.