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Let Them Eat Cake!

It’s nice to have a treat on your birthday, right? Even if cake isn’t your jam, it could be pie, a sundae, a fancy drink. It’s your birthday and it comes once a year! I love being celebrated on my Big Day and this definitely means a having treat(s).

A friend of mine who is a personal trainer just posted: My ‘birthday cake’. And it was a picture of her in her workout clothes eating an apple. It made me mad. Especially since she’s a trainer and others look to her for guidance. She probably thought it seemed smart, inspirational even. Why is saying ‘I resisted my birthday cake and ate an apple instead’ a good message?

My neighbour has been on a weight loss journey for the past year, and she’s had a lot of success! Her dedication to her workouts (that I clearly hear from my lower apartment) is very commendable. She’s paused drinking, she’s eating so much chicken that she’s sick to death of it, and she’s really trimmed down. I’m proud of her for being so committed. She knows that I’m proud of her, so she told me with pride that she resisted her colleague’s birthday celebration and ate lunch outside alone instead. Ugh! SO fucking sad! Ate alone outside to resist the joy of eating cake? I couldn’t high five her for that. I think discipline went too far there. It’s not as if the team would have let her eat the whole cake bloody if she’d been tempted to. Her team is small, birthday’s only come around now and then.

I do understand that it’s a slippery slope for some. Maybe you have a piece of cake at work, then you decide to skip the workout at home, then you open a bag of Cheetos. I can also see how working out and eating healthy foods on your birthday can set the tone for the year. I do a version of that myself on New Years Eve instead of getting sloppy.

The ‘no cake thing’ bothers me on a deeper level than this. What I’d like to ask is: What’s the big deal about adding more calories on a special day? What if you do go up a pound? What if you do skip the workout and binge those Cheetos? Why are we robbing ourselves of the pleasure of the occasional treat to keep our body in check? Do you think it makes you a bad person if you gain weight? Read that last one again. Are you really less desirable? Frankly, I’d gravitate to a person enjoying a birthday celebration over someone who’s leaning against a wall, proudly toting their discipline. Are you going to get to the end of your life and think, thank goodness I stayed trim?

It’s not a bad thing if eating an apple or taking lunch elsewhere is aligned with your core values. I do challenge you though to consider your “why”. Why is your body image so important to you? And would you congratulate a friend for not eating their birthday cake? Life is short friends. I say “Let them eat cake!”

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