As a fat woman, I’m often admonished by my television, my newspaper, the local clothing stores that don’t carry my size, and even random people on the street that I should be ashamed of myself for wanting to eat. Bad Twistie! Don’t I know that eating food made me fat and therefore less than a person?
Yeah, because it couldn’t have anything to do with genetics, such as the fact that both of my parents were fat, too. And it probably is all about the fact that people haven’t told me I’m fat, therefore since I don’t have any mirrors and I never look down to my own belly, it’s clear that I simply don’t know I’m fat. Thank you to everyone who has bravely pointed out this incredibly useful information to me. I’ll get right on hating myself for eating.
Or maybe I won’t.
Maybe I’ll take some time today and love me some food.
As it happens, I love to eat. Shocking, I know, but it’s true and I see no need to be ashamed of it. I love green vegetables and whole grains and yes, even (gasp!) pies and cakes. The fact is the human body needs fuel and the fuel we use is food.
I love to cook. Slicing, sauteing, baking, mixing…seeing how different raw materials change with different techniques, making something scrumptious from the humblest of ingredients. I am endlessly fascinated with how heat and resizing and combining one thing with another alters flavor . I love to watch my dough rise as the yeast does its magic. I love to hear the crispy crackle as I bite into a perfectly roasted potato. I love the feel of a perfectly blanched broccoli floret on my tongue as much as the soft slide of a good egg custard down my throat.
Food is not the enemy. It is the way we build the energy to live.
I believe in eating a pretty balanced diet. I love my veggies. I love my whole grains. I find them tasty and feel good when I eat them. I enjoy a good, lean piece of fish or chicken, too. I also happen to like ice cream as well as yoghurt, hamburgers as well as sole, and fruit pie in a proper, butter-laden short crust as well as berries sliced in a bowl with a tiny sprinkle of sugar. I will not give these treats up without a damn good reason. I will not eat the heavy, fatty, sweet things every day, but I will not fear to eat them when I want them. I will not even fear to eat them in public in front of those who object on the principal that my fat is caused entirely by eating nothing else and that this somehow makes me unworthy to ever touch a sweet treat again.
Even if I did eat nothing all day but cookies, candy, and cakes that would not excuse the stares or the rude comments inflicted on fat people every day. Random strangers have no way of knowing whether I’ve already downed six cartons of Chunky Monkey today or whether this is the first time in seven years that I’ve eaten refined sugar. They don’t know whether I’ve been fat all my life or whether I recently started a medication that has made me suddenly gain fifty pounds.
Most of all, my life choices are not their business.
So I will continue to love my food, love my body and sing the praises of both. This body is capable of walking for several miles at a stretch, of carrying a fairly heavy load without complaint, of cradling a child in its arms, of making lace and typing words, of having good sex, and of making delicious food. That food is the reason my body can do all these things and so many more.
Thank you, food. You are truly my friend.