I have always lived to eat. Food has seen me through triumph, through heartbreak, and through all of the major events of my life. It is my comfort, my first true love, and dare I say it, my salvation.
Unfortunately, when you live to eat, fat seems to live to find you. Pounds start packing on and jeans begin refusing to button. I watched my body go from athletic to cushioned, from tomboyish to marshmallow, in just a few short years after high school. I tried the diets, gave up eating in general for awhile, and even sucked down laxatives like they were candy … and I lost the weight. I should have been happy, right? I was starting to look like a boy again! Life should have been all fucking rainbows!! Right??
Nope. I was trapped in a place where food was the enemy, and yet, was my best friend. I craved a mouthwatering steak, but only ate salad. I wanted five cheesecakes, yet only got a saltine cracker with a smudge of peanut butter. Life sucked. It was miserable and blasé. The world told me not to enjoy food anymore because food was bad and fat was bad and any weight on a woman was bad and eating led to being fat, which led to not being a woman anymore. I felt like I had to be a twig to survive … but that was just it, I was surviving, not living.
I had grown up watching the women around me skip meals, go on diets, and feel more powerful when the weight was gone. I had grown up reading all of the magazines with Photoshopped models and flawless actresses. I had grown up watching the skinny girls get the boys. It never occurred to me that I could just be myself, eat, and find someone that loved me for it.
Even at my thinnest, people would make jokes. One person rubbed on my stomach and said, “Summer is coming, better start working on that.” Another pointed out, “Do you really want to eat that? I mean really?” I couldn’t win. I was unhappy and underfed, and people still kept judging me.
Then I met my husband. Prior to moving in with him, I had been on a six-month diet of eating “dinner only,” and drinking only water. He would take me out to restaurants and my stomach would punch my body as the food went in. He would always make fun of my inability to eat … but he had no idea that I had made it that way.
Little by little though, and compliment after compliment, I began to step back into the loving arms of food. I would cook all of my favorite meals, and would savor pints of his ice cream. I felt my jeans growing tighter, but my husband kept telling me that I was beautiful … and things started changing. I still saw the dimples on my ass, the muffin top over my pants, the “shoulder handles” as I like to call them (you know, back fat …). Yes, I still saw (and see) all of those things … but I started to care a little bit less about them.
The thing is, I still live to eat. Food is interesting, creative, artistic, and … well, we also sort of need it to survive. Food brings people together and gives us explosive … you get the picture. Food isn’t the enemy, it’s a friend. And maybe it gives us a little (or a lot) of cushion on our thighs … but so what? Why is that such a big fucking deal? Why do we judge so harshly the shape of a woman’s body? And why, WHY do we put ourselves through so much torture just to fit into standards that are ever-changing?
So you know what? I say eat up, dear friends, and enjoy. We only get this one life, and I plan on eating through all of it.