The singer, Lady Gaga, turned heads again this week with her controversial raw "meat dress" at the MTV Video Music Awards award ceremony (click here to see a photo). Was the dress really that weird? It depends on who you ask. Some critics roll their eyes with a resounding, "Oh pleeeease." Is this just another media stunt for attention? Some people were just plain offended. The other camp gives a nod to Lady Gaga's fashion forward risk taking. The dress is being dubbed a brilliant political statement.
Regardless of what you think about Lady's Gaga's unusual choice of dress or her motivation for wearing it, there is a common agreement regarding the initial sensory reaction. A meat dress? Yuck! Perhaps you are still stuck on the logistics of wearing a meat dress? How does it stay on? Is it comfortable? What would a meat dress smell like?
For me, the meat dress sparked thoughts about "wearing" your food. In particular, it reminded me of an old Nutri-Grain commercial that many of my clients told me about in counseling. The ad showed images of people walking around with cinnamon rolls stuck to their behind or a donut around the waist, implying quite literally, "You are what you eat."
The vivid visual image of wearing what you eat gave many people a moment of pause to reconsider their food choices. Psychologists know the power of visual imagery and often use it to help clients change their thoughts and behavior.
Think for a moment. What if all the food you ate today was glued to the outside of your body? What would it tell us about you? Would this meal protect your body, one of the main functions of food and clothing? This is not an exercise to "judge" yourself, but to think from a different viewpoint.
In some ways, we all wear what we eat, every single day. Granted, it's not quite Lady Gaga style. Your body become a blurred reflection of what you eat. The outside of your body isn't always a perfection picture of how healthy you are. But, food is more than just for pleasure or to fill you up. The food you eat becomes part of your outer skin literally and figuratively.
So, today as you eat throughout the day, think for a moment about how the meal you consume will become part of your outfit. Will vitamin packed snacks create a strong armor to keep you healthy? Is a protein rich meal like a track suit to give you power? Or, will fat-free artificial, diet food become a thin veil without much substance to keep you covered?
Just a moment ago, I was eating a bowl of Cherrios with strawberries trying to picture how this breakfast would look as an outfit. Don't get excited. I'm no Lady Gaga. My only hope is that this breakfast suits me up with the energy I need to get me through a busy day.
Eat, Drink & Be Mindful!
Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns, and mindfulness. She is author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful, and Mindful Eating 101 and a Huffington Post blogger. Her books have been quoted in NPR, Wall Street Journal, O, the Oprah Magazine, Natural Health and Self Magazine and on the Dr. Oz TV Show. Visit Albers online at www.eatingmindfully.com