Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Actually, I don’t. I always vastly over-estimate what I eat.
The other night, New Year’s Eve as a matter of fact, I braced a still decidedly tipsy husband for a serious conversation: “I need to talk to you about something.”
“It isn’t me, is it? Did I do something?”
“No, it isn’t you. It’s all me, and I’m neither pregnant nor leaving you.”
“Oh, ok. Good.”
What was so terrible that it merited freaking out my poor tipsy husband: “I need your help eating healthier.”
“Well, ok. I mean we already eat pretty healthy, but yeah. We could eat better.”
“Yes, and no. Yes, I want to eat healthier, we really do need to eat more veggies. But what I’m really saying here is, in the past ‘eating healthy’ was my code for starving myself, and I don’t want to do that again. I need you to not let me do that.”
And there it is. Like a lot of American women, I spent a large chunk of my life restricting, denying, and flat out not eating. And like a lot of American women, I called it “eating healthy/healthier.”
And I have news for you, there is nothing healthy about 800 calories a day or less. There is nothing healthy about three hours of exercise a day when you’re eating that little. There is nothing healthy about living on chicken bouillion cubes dissolved in a cup of warm water. There is nothing healthy about eating a container of Yoplait lowfat yogurt for breakfast and part of a half-size styrofoam take-out container of rice with about two tablespoons of teriyaki sauce on it for dinner, and drinking caffeinated tea (unsweetened)* by the gallon to try to suppress the hunger pains you’re constantly suffering, and eating chicken once a week for your “big splurge.”
I talk about being eating disordered here a lot, and I’m mostly better. I haven’t fully returned to the starve and binge cycle since leaving grad school. Sadly, the New Year is a stressor and trigger for me. Every year I’d swear I’d fit into smaller jeans. You remember the days when you’d buy clothes that were too small for you, sometimes WAY too small for you, and hang them on your closet door to “inspire” you to lose weight. Yeah, I did that. I did a lot of stupid shit in the name of beauty.
But where does the “I do know how much I eat” thing come in. I was perusing a website dedicated to strength training for women because I really would like to seriously start strength training again. I actually like picking up heavy shit and putting it back down again, over and over. I’m sick like that. On the website, there’s a food section, and taking my sanity in my hands, I clicked. One of their rants was about granola. And how granola might be healthy if you ate a recommended serving of it, which happens to be about 2/3 cup, but who does that?
So, yet again, risking a backslide into the realms of taking lunch to work only to flush it and lie to my husband about eating, I grabbed a little measuring cup and took it in to work with me, where I keep my granola. I take yogurt in a container every day, but I generally leave my granola at work because I like it crunchy in my yogurt, not mushy. And I measured out how much granola I typically used, by the handful, pouring it into the measuring cup.
I typically use less than half a cup of granola for my breakfast.
It’s not conscious, I assure you. But every time someone starts in with the whole, “You just don’t know how much you eat! That’s why you’re fat!” thing, I start to worry if they’re right. I am fat, and Gods know we keep having people bleat “calories in/calories out” at us. Constantly. Like a Greek fucking chorus. Everywhere. But it just isn’t so, people. I don’t food journal because it’s triggering. But the last time I let a health professional bully me into it, I was at first accused of lying in it, because how does someone be this fat eating that little food. Then she started telling me to add more food, if that really was how I ate.
I’ve had people in all seriousness tell me that if I just quit drinking soda, I’ll lose the weight.
I drink maybe five sodas a year.
I’ve had people tell me if I quit eating all that fast food, I’ll lose the weight.
I can’t even tell you the last time I set foot in a fast food place… Oh, wait, yes I can. We hit an Arby’s before gaming three months ago, and I wound up giving away most of that meal to the rest of my gaming group because it was too damned greasy.
There’s a whole litany of “If you’d only…” that I could list. My favorite is that the Robitussin I was taking during a cold was making me fat. Or my cough drops. Which completely ignores that I’m fat year round, and not just during cold and flu season.
I read those stupid, “You’ll never guess what’s making you fat!” articles when they pop up on my Yahoo homepage, and I invariably wind up thinking, “Um, no. I don’t eat any of this shit. This cannot possibly be what is making me fat.” The latest talked about fast food burgers (don’t eat ’em), pre-packaged guacamole (Boy makes his own, and only when avocados are on sale), fruit on the bottom yogurt (I only eat Greek yogurt sweetened with honey). We’ve eradicated high fructose corn syrup, buy organic when we can, the Boy bakes the majority of our bread from scratch and is experimenting with rye and wheat breads.
Granted, we are working on eating less meat and more veggies. I’ve switched to unflavored lattes, because I will give up my coffee when you pry it from my cold, dead hands, or tea, or water. Sometimes lime-aid, because I freaking love lime-aid, but it’s an organic brand with three ingredients on the label: limes, sugar, water.
The thing is, most women, especially most fat women know in agonizing and excruciating detail how much they eat. I could sit here and tell you in great detail what has passed my lips today, yesterday and the day before. I could probably go further back than that. I know how much I eat. I don’t actively count calories in my head anymore, but sometimes they leak into the forebrain from my subconscious to either cause a pang of guilt or an almost equally irritating moment of smugness before I stomp it down ruthlessly.
We’re not eating candy bars by the dozen, and then when some “good samaritan” brings the news of holy diet enlightenment to us, gasping, “Oh my God! I had no idea candy bars were fattening! Ptui! Ptui, peh**! You’ve SAVED ME, Diet Crusader!!!” Trust me. We know what we eat, like we know that we’re fat. Especially women. Because society won’t let us forget, and we’re conditioned from birth to obsess about what we put in our mouths (insert dirty joke of questionable humor value here).
Granted there are/were a few exceptions, when espresso first became ubiquitous, no one knew the caloric count of the frou-frou-ier drinks. When a new food/beverage becomes popular, it always takes a while for the calorie count to become well known. But it will. Trust me. And women will be the first ones to figure it out.
*I always drink unsweetened tea, with very few exceptions, because that’s how my mom and grandpa drank it. I kind of loathe sweet tea. I had a room-mate from the south make “iced tea” once and nearly choked on the tea-flavored syrup he poured me. Bleah.
**That would be the spitting them out noise.