Every college-age male has heard this at one point or another from our female counterparts. It usually follows the act of wolfing down a McGangBang—the McDonald’s cult classic consisting of a double cheeseburger and a chicken sandwich— or preparing a dinner consisting solely of EasyMac and chopped-up hotdog. As men, we typically shrug off this question. We scratch our heads, change the subject and, in some cases, describe the last “healthy” thing we ate (a salad two weeks ago, an apple during the last picking season). The conversation ends, but the self-doubt stays. Insecurity settles in like a Hostess apple pie at 1 a.m. We ask the bathroom mirror questions like, “What’s wrong with me?” and, “Do I have a problem?”
Relax. We don’t have a problem; we have an ability. And that ability is denial.
Men are born with an innate knack for positive self-deceit. Anybody can see the potential good in a situation, but as men we can make ourselves actually adopt that potential good as truth. It is by this dissociation with reality that men can make dietary decisions that make little or no sense to women.
In our minds food intake is based on a scientific balance that relies heavily on one crucial principle: “If I plan to do something active within the next month, I can eat whatever I want.” This theory can be expanded to several different scenarios, such as the infamous “30 minutes of semi-aerobic activity equals one pint of Ben & Jerry’s” or “I played a high school sport so I can eat fast food whenever I want” equations.
But, you wonder, what about the effects of such poor dietary choices?
Positive self-deceit provides a reasonably sound diagnosis for every ache and pain associated with a poor diet. For example, a woman might lie awake at night considering her persistent chest pain. She might wonder if it’s tied to something she ate or if she is having severe heartburn. But as men, we know that it’s just a trapped burp and nothing to worry about. Admitting poor dietary judgment as a cause is admitting defeat.
Denying what some would call the truth only makes us stronger. Among men, it’s a well-known fact that the human metabolism can only improve by training. Daily doses of ramen and pizza teach your body how to find nutrients in the unlikeliest of places. Coddling our bodies with nutrient-rich salad and hearty balanced meals will only throw off the process.
Sure, stairs might be a little difficult and, yes, maybe you feel greasy more often than not, but these are merely tests of your resolve.
Our choice is a simple one: Eat vegetation like the Neanderthals of eons past, or reap the benefits of a 21st century harvest and crack open a box of Hostess treats. We will be ridiculed, sure. Mocked, definitely. But back down we will not.