[tw: food-related anxiety]
That I have no choice but to listen to my surrounding coworkers discuss diets and “oh I can’t have this or that” every single day is probably one of the most infuriating and triggering things in the entire fucking world.
What others choose to eat or not eat is none of my concern. I literally could not give a shit less about your fruitless, sugarless diet or your sudden drop in weight loss as a reward for abstaining from indulgence. But you make it my concern when you proclaim these aspects of your eating habits out loud with pride while I sit gobbling down some processed food I was forced to grab in haste on my way into the office.
I wonder if people are capable of trying to comprehend a reality wherein personal control and choice regarding food consumption is a privilege - that for some, this privilege is especially hard to come by.
My reality involves mostly-empty cupboards and no one to lean on but myself. It involves sitting for hours on end, trying to will myself to get in the car and drive to the grocery store to buy nutritious foods for the week. In the event that I actually make it out the door, half the time my anxiety and fear of the kind of judgement that comes with fat visibility while food shopping won’t allow me to leave the driveway and I’ll returning to my kitchen to comb through my cupboards, making do with what I have at hand - pasta, ramen, soup, frozen food - the things that keep. Or nothing.
In the event that I do leave the driveway, my fear will guide me into a drive-thru in order to avoid human interaction. My anxiety takes advantage of impulse. I think “here is an easy way to sustain myself that doesn’t involve being subjected to the gaze of others” and cease it automatically. It isn’t until after I’m home, hating the food I’m eating with ever fiber of my being, that the guilt sets in.
During the times I finally make it to the grocery store, I make a beeline to the essentials. A lifetime of food-shopping experience as a fat person tells me that making eye contact with anyone could warrant unwanted and judgmental comments from other shoppers, so I keep my head down and my eyes on the prices. I struggle to keep from looking at labels and numbers, calories and sugar content, in an attempt to restrain the damaging diet mentality I’ve tried so hard to overcome.
I aim to shop for the week but end up shopping for only a handful of days, rushing myself through self-checkout before I can consider anything too carefully. Any more than a small basket full of food means going through the check out line with an actual person scanning my food choices who may feel entitled enough to make comments on my purchases as they fly past. “Oh these are so good, I wish I could eat them but I’ve been watching my figure.” “Look at all this food! Having a party?” “Ice cream and wine? Gee, you must be having a hard week.”
My shopping experiences are never fulfilling. I rarely leave with what I wanted to get.
I record my eating habits, but not like a used to - not as a method of punishment to be sure I’m keeping to arbitrary restrictions, but as a reminder to myself that on the whole, the food I eat is varied. That while I sometimes default to quick food fixes to appease my anxieties, the times I don’t are enough to create a nutritional balance that pleases me. Because I am doing the best I can with what I have.
By all means, enjoy the pride you feel in your personal food choices and physical changes. I wish you happiness in your diet - a happiness that I never had the privilege of experiencing, that instead mixed with my mental illness in a way that would have surely destroyed me had I not found the strength to fight against it. But my experience is not yours and I respect your right to restrict your eating habits and keep track of your weight. Honestly, I do.
Just please, please - Shut the FUCK up about it.