Okay so this is also a repeat. I can’t help it. I’ve just rediscovered a handful of posts I penned this summer and each one reveals a lifetime about me and what I believe. And most importantly, they help to answer questions I receive through email. But this one? She’s worth another read.
One thing that was hard about losing weight? Eating healthy. No, not actually eating in a healthful manner, but eating healthfully in public. I know, how odd.
But it’s true. The salads, the substitutions, the dressing on the side, the “Could I just have that without cheese?” The modifications that made me feel like I showed up to gym class in a prom dress. Totally out of place.
In truth, it felt a whole lot easier yelling through the speaker of the drive thru an order for a “Double Quarter Pounder, large fry, and a large Sprite. Oh! And an apple pie.” Somehow dining with friends at Chili’s was more natural when my entree of choice was a plate of nachos. Even better when I was the one who finished the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie.
You’d have thought there were medals for that kind of eating. Why I wasn’t hip to the competitive eating circuit, I’ll never know. I’ve heard other overweight people express the discomfort they experience when ordering and eating those luscious foods. As if others are constantly glaring in that “You shouldn’t be eating that” sort of way. I never really felt that. Never quite felt it necessary to pretend that eating half of my entree was all I could manage, or that I didn’t want dessert. Because…who was kidding who? I wasn’t verging on 300 lbs for nothing.
I fit in. Accepted and in sync, the only one wearing my Extra Value Meal like a Snuggie. And to be perfectly honest, the people around me might have preferred the ease of Andrea 135lbs ago. Not wanted me to be unhappy or unhealthy, but in some way just wanted me to blend. The carelessness made me comforting. Fat confused as fun. Even as I was killing myself slowly, donning my pain like an inner tube around my midsection, I was more relatable and normal.
I didn’t have to think twice about take out. Not bat an eye at nutrition. But when I changed, when I came to terms with eating and depression and sadness and my wish for cake to put me into a coma, I felt less like myself. Almost like waking. Being present. Sometimes to the point of painful awareness. “I miss passively living.”
I ate differently. And not sadly so. When you eat Little Debbie everyday for 20 years, she doesn’t taste as sweet as when you treat her with respect and savor her. Now I dine well. I can honestly say that I love everything that crosses my lips and don’t lament a single crumb. That could also be because I find a balance. Not a food I wouldn’t eat or would be too timid to indulge in. I almost don’t even believe in the notion of “indulging.” Because who the hell carved into stone that there was a time, place, and special title necessary for triple layer carrot cake?
But I do feel self conscious. Because I know that there exists a slight distaste for those who eschew french fries for fresh fruit. No one likes that person who can just have a taste of dessert, half of something, or none at all. It comes across, so I’m told, as holier than thou. Self righteous. Honestly? It’s not that at all. If the people who I assume are making these judgments about me could only hear the running track going through my head, they’d know that for a long time I felt anything but confident when I opted for something seemingly lighter. Felt embarrassed that I didn’t want to get double cheeseburgers just because they were on the Dollar Menu.
It’s not that I dislike what I’m ordering, it’s that I dislike feeling like the odd man out. Or for anyone to think that my menu choices say anything more about me than what I’m craving. Or that their choices mean anything more to me than “Hey, what’s your policy on sharing?” I don’t want anyone else at the table to think that I find the Bloomin’ Onion gross, frightening, or too unhealthy for my sensibilities. Because I think none of those things. Believe me when I say that I don’t judge another for the foods they do or do not eat. I know it sounds too perfect, but I really don’t believe in condemning or praising a person too much for their choices in consumption one way or the other. I am the fat girl. I am the thin girl. Always toeing the line in sensitivity. But for some reason, I find myself more anxious, more like a stick in the mud, for not going with the flow each and every time.
Something must be said for going with the flow, though. I bend. Not every meal must (nor should) fit my standards, and sometimes, even if I just don’t have room for that slice of pie- I should eat it because my grandmother baked it, or because it’s Wednesday at 3:30pm (that one usually works for me). And lots of times there’s as much necessity to eat half a large pizza with Daniel as there is necessity to go for walks. Just eat and shut up about it, I suppose. I’m not glowing or boastful because I’m proud of my healthy lunch, nor am I pouting because I went without it.
I’ve developed a “Who gives a rat’s &%$ about it” mentality, which I think has helped. Because truly, no one else really does. Another reason why I’m sort of lucky to have been both fat and thin: I’ve seen each one from the other’s eyes.
This was true both then and now: I don’t want to analyze why someone would want carrots when there is cake on the table. It’s for them to decide. Unless said cake happens to be sour cream fudge layer cake with dark chocolate ganache, because in that case, refusing it would be a sign the person is mentally unwell. Very, very, hey did I say very?, unwell.