I’m a large woman. I didn’t get this way by eating lots of salads and running marathons – I realize this. I got this way because, for years, I would eat large meals, snack often, and move very little.
If you know me in real life, you may have never seen me eat a lot. When I’m with other people, I tend to make my meals a bit smaller. I don’t snack nearly as much – if at all. I make healthier choices. I don’t know if this is just a quirky thing that I believe or if fat people every where believe this, but when I’m with other people or out in public, I believe wholeheartedly that everyone around me is watching what I eat and judging me for it. In the small part of my brain that functions on logic, I understand that this is untrue for the vast majority of people, but I know from personal experience that there are people out there who judge obese individuals harshly – especially when they are eating. Do you see a large person eating his second piece of pizza, and think to yourself that he should put it down? Do you see a fat woman having a salad during lunchtime at the mall, and secretly congratulate her for going on a diet? It happens, and it’s not always kept quiet. This post can quickly turn into a very long essay on how America’s new unhidden hate for fatties is just another civil rights issue, but I don’t want to digress.
Because I believe I am being watched by harsh critics, I have always tended to do my worst eating alone. The TV is the danger zone for me. Another danger zone is the car. If we’re driving a good distance (which happens frequently now that we live in a rural area and I work 50+ miles from home), I like to have a snack in the car. Something about the snacking keeps me focused and awake and not bored. (I understand this is a problem. There is no need to e-mail me or comment about how much of a problem this is.) I have noticed in the past that, if I was snacking in the car and we pulled up next to another vehicle, I would try to hide the fact that I was eating. It’s just another opportunity when I believed I would be judged. Sad, but true.
I don’t know why it never occurred to me until recently, but a few weeks ago I had an epiphany about this. I can hide my eating habits from others, but I can’t hide them from myself (or from Dr. Wilk, thankyouverymuch). My jeans KNOW that I eat too much. One look at the high numbers on the tags in my closet will tell you that I eat too much. I may feel like a skinny girl on the inside (which I do), but I am indeed fat on the outside. There’s no hiding it. I can wear black and vertical stripes and Spanx all day, but you’re not stupid – neither am I. I have bad habits. I’m sure you do too. Perhaps your bad habits wreak havoc on your lungs, on your liver, on your bank account, etc. My bad habits show up as pounds for all the world to see and judge. There is nowhere for my bad decisions to hide.
These past few months I have made some successful strides in eating less, eating better, and moving more, but I would be lying if I told you that my poor eating habits are totally erased. Matt can tell you that I have a serious weakness for Culver’s french fries. He can also tell you about how easy it is for me to eat way too much of anything whenever we’re lounging around watching TV. It’s going to take some time for me to get exactly where I need to be – if it ever happens at all! Things are slowly changing, and I think that’s okay.