Last week I was standing in the driveway while Steve tinkered on his car. I’d been home from work only about an hour and was still in leggings with peanut butter hand prints on them and a cheap Old Navy t-shirt that I’d spilled my coffee on at least once before.
In one hand I held a bag of sliced pepperoni, and had a string cheese hanging out of my mouth, that I occasionally tugged on with my free hand. I chatted briefly with my neighbor who was getting in her car, and she said “Whatcha eatin’?” “Pepperoni, want some?” (She’s a vegetarian so she declined, and we said our goodbyes) I went right on chomping away in broad daylight for anyone to see.
You’re probably thinking “Uh, okay, no big deal, you’re eating outside” but in a teeny way, it IS a big deal.
I never ate in front of people, well not comfortably anyway. Family, close friends, sure. Out in public? Not so comfortably. I always felt like people might be looking at me, judging me, wondering why I was eating since I was fat. Like hadn’t I had my share of food in life already, why did I need more?
You’re probably laughing because it sounds crazy, but have you ever looked at someone fat out at a restaurant and judged them or commented, even briefly? I hated being squished in a booth, or God forbid the extra chair at the end of the booth. I hated sitting on bar stools with no backs, nothing to hide my size or slumping. I hated most things about eating in public, except the eating part.
I had this idea (read: delusion) that, if people didn’t see me eating, or see me with food, they might not notice I was fat. Maybe I would just blend in and nobody would see my size, or question my food choice (even when it wasn’t questionable). I would pick daintily, in case anyone was watching – and on the trek from the table to the door afterward, I’d let someone else carry the leftovers.
Get me in line at a buffet, or to load up our plates at a barbecue and my portions are smaller than I’d like and I’m only making one trip. If I look like I don’t eat much, maybe I’ll look smaller.
I can’t be the only person who has felt this way, I mean I guess anything is possible, but there’s not a million dollar industry of diet products and meal replacements because it’s just me.
Now that I weigh less, that I feel better, and look better, I realize that nobody gives a shit what I’m eating. (Except the Instagram food police : insert eyeroll here: )
Honestly they probably never did, and if you think not eating in front of people makes them think you’re thinner than you are, that’s in your head, not theirs.