I Eat More Than My Fiance — So What?
The other day, I was in a local coffee shop having lunch — a slice of avocado toast with a fried egg. Yes, I’m a millennial and yes, I’m basic; it’s fine — I already know it. But when I finished the meal, I realized I was still hungry. No one likes being hangry, so I made my way back to the counter to order a second round — one more slice of avocado toast, extra avocado please.
The cashier looked amused, like I was making a joke, or asking to bathe in some cold brew.
The waitress, when she brought the second plate, squinted her eyes while handing it to me, as if to say she assumed my next move was to be forklifted right out of there and shipped straight to Overeaters’ Anonymous.
I shrugged and mumbled something about being hungry still.
I felt awkward and a little embarrassed for needing to eat more than what was deemed socially acceptable. This was immediately followed by annoyance, because come on, folks — it’s not like I was in there asking for an extra plate of crack.
Just toast. TOAST.
And really, whose business is it what — or how much — I eat for lunch? I wasn’t in there as a foodie or a blogger. I wasn’t Instagramming or writing a review for the dining section of some local publication, or there from any sort of position of authority to check their food prep. I say that because I can’t imagine any other scenario that might give someone in my vicinity room to judge what I was eating on my lunch break.
But that’s sort of the society we’re living in now, isn’t it? Diet culture has become so pervasive that — at least for most of us — there’s an unconscious understanding of what is allegedly right or wrong, acceptable or faux pas when it comes to eating. Regardless of the fact that I’m a petite woman in a thin body — getting seconds automatically raised a flag as being inappropriate behavior.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve eaten more than most people around me. I’m tiny, but almost always eat more than most men I know. That includes my fiancé, who’s twice my size. It’s a rare day when I don’t have double the amount of food on my plate, with the exception of whenever bacon is served (the guy really loves bacon).
And so I’m used to the stares from people I don’t know, the off-handed comments and the giggles. The “Where do you put it?” and “Are you sure you want more?” questions.
I used to feel weird about it, and mentally berated myself for always being hungry, as if it was something I had much control over. For it taking me so much longer to feel satiated during a meal than friends and family, when we were eating the same exact things. For not being cool with the fact that meals are sometimes the last thing on people’s minds when we’re out and about, because the hanger monster cannot be tamed when I go too long without eating.
My friends and I have always made a joke out of it. The fact that I routinely carry snacks in my purse is hilarious, because I’m 5 feet nothing and am known to pull a granola bar out of my bag in the middle of a bar.
I’m acutely aware, though, that if I was in a larger body, the reactions would likely be more severe, and that people wouldn’t find this behavior “cute.” It wouldn’t be considered funny or impressive than I need a snack every two hours. Instead, it would be considered wrong or gluttonous or self-destructive.
But here’s the thing — despite what society may lead you to believe, it’s really, truly, absolutely okay to eat. It’s okay to feed yourself, and not necessarily be only drinking green juice or counting calories or sticking to a particular diet. It’s okay to listen to your body and make decisions off its cues rather than according to what the diet guru of the week deemed acceptable.
Humans need to eat; it’s a very real, physiological function — and as such, there’s no need to throw shade at someone who doesn’t eat how or when you think is appropriate. There’s no one “correct” way of eating or diet.
And, no matter what you eat — a head of kale or one of everything in the candy aisle of the grocery store — it’s normal to get hungry again. That’s true if you’re in a small body, a large body, or an in-between body. There’s no Goldilocks answer here, and really — she tried how many bowls of porridge? Right.
I’m starting to feel like I could have titled this essay “Lay off me — I’m hungry,” but seriously — unless you’re someone’s doctor or another person they invited into a conversation about their body or health, how about we back-burner that judgement?
And if you’re the person being judged for your snack choices or for eating more than your significant other or coworker, know that doesn’t make you a bad or weak person; you’re doing just fine, girlfriend, and you have the right to ignore someone’s disapproval or unsolicited feedback.
There’s so many more interesting things about a person than what’s on their plate and if I want two pieces of disgustingly overpriced avocado toast (eye roll), so be it.
To each their own.