People read calorie counts to me, comment on the number of carbs in the menu item, and rationalize their decision to eat one option over another because “maybe it has more protein.” I use to feed into this mentality – the one so many of us have been conditioned to accept and perpetuate – that tells us it is not only necessary, but entirely healthy, to obsess over what we put into our bodies and share that information, as if saying it out loud and expressing your understanding of a 1,000 calorie meal being “unhealthy,” before anyone else can, makes the act of eating it entirely justified and acceptable (as if the act of eating it needs to be justified for being unacceptable).
Here’s something to consider: I don’t give a fuck what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, or where you eat.
If you’re hungry, eat it. If you’re craving it, eat it. If you feel like having an extra handful of something, do it, and don’t worry about me judging you and, please, without judging yourself. What you are is inherently beautiful and extraordinary and what you eat and how much of it you eat does not define you or degrade your self-worth. We are not defined by what we consume.
I grew up under constant scrutiny because of what I put in my body. As a fat kid, I would eat what everyone else was eating, but because of my size, the simple act of eating it was met with disgust, judgment, and ridicule. I was teased for the way I looked and for what I ate. I was the person at a table of extended family members who stood out for my size, and because of it, was questioned about my decision when I deigned to eat a second chocolate, while my much skinnier counterparts were left to their own devices and were never once made to feel less-than because of what they ate.
I’ve visited family and friends and been served less than others around me because, evidently, being heavier means you require less food. I’ve been made to feel, especially as a child in school, that my presence was offensive to people around me. I was told by one “friend” that if I ever travelled, they knew I’d love to visit Turkey, Hungary, and Chile – the obvious food connotations obvious to my 10-year-old self.
I’ve had to fight through years of conflict, made to feel like my existence in this physical form was something to cry over and to hate. I became an adult, desperate to lose weight, not because I wanted to, but because I’d always thought that maybe people would like me better or accept me quicker if I looked more like them. When I’d be in a changing room at the mall, trying to squeeze into the unrealistic sizes of clothing I felt I needed to squeeze into in order for the world, and for myself, to see me as beautiful, I would cry over the fact I felt like I was failing. I’d bargain with myself that the next time I stepped into a clothing store, I’d be thin enough to wear whatever I wanted and then everything would be perfect.
Guess what? It never happened. I’ve never been skinny, I will never be skinny, and I’ve worked a fucking long time to appreciate myself for who I am and to separate my understanding of my self-worth from the way I look and what size clothing I wear. This ascension to a place where I no longer give a fuck what people think about what the way I look and don’t define myself by other people’s opinions, means that I no longer feel the need to talk about food or justify what I’m eating by casually explaining that “I didn’t eat breakfast this morning, so eating this burger for dinner is okay.” I don’t look at the calorie counts on foods, either in-store or at restaurants, because I understand what I like and liking something and wanting to eat it is my business and mine alone.
Because of this, I no longer give a fuck what you eat. I fell victim to the devilish way of thinking that other people used against me for so many years, where I’d look at someone eating something “not meant for their body type” (and you know exactly what I’m talking about) and judge them for it because I was stuck in a systematic state of oppression, put there by a society and a way of thinking that was constantly out to undermine me in order to make its unrealistic standards more acceptable.
The next time you feel like you need to explain why you’re eating something, feel the need to equate eating a piece of chocolate with “being bad,” or insist on telling me about how you work out so you can eat whatever you want and yet still insist on feeling bad every time to you eat, don’t. I don’t care and you shouldn’t care. Think, instead, about your future children and the way you want to shape their formidable years. Is it going to be riddled with them questioning their value because of what they choose to eat or can this disgusting cycle of supremacy based on size end with us?