Although I have tried so hard over the years to be comfortable with my body, I think it was my ‘shame’ that has ultimately helped me to control many of my over-eating impulses. I would often imagine what other people were thinking when I was chowing down on some giant meal that was filled with poly-saturated fats and all other sorts of yummy disgustingness. I’m sure they really didn’t think these things, but I imagined that they were. “Should that girl be eating that? She should have opted for the salad!” I really did care about what people thought, and particularly what they thought of me. While in public, I would always eat less than I would actually want to – and with daintier bites. Even at home, I knew my mother would passively observe my eating habits and comment every so often. I know that some people that were to read this would say “Don’t give a fuck what other people think – Be strong!” But I really believe that it was this obsession that I developed that prevented me from giving in to my insatiable appetite all the time – and I am hungry... all the time.
I have often seen the weeping obese women on talk shows confessing that would go to a drive thru burger joint and buy 6 hamburgers, or 3 combo meals – eat them all and still be hungry. Although I related to these stories and their need for copious amounts of food, I would NEVER have had the guts to buy that (I still don’t)! I would have been too embarrassed. I have never had more than 1 combo meal in any given restaurant, and even that, I ordered ‘medium’ and always declined the option to “super size” my meal because in the back of mind, I would imagine the cashier looking me up and down and thinking “Ya right, like SHE needs the super size.”
Even today, I don’t like going though the drive thru or even going inside to order take-out by myself – if I am ordering for more than just me. (I don’t have an issue if it’s just for me) I usually change my language when I am ordering – so they know that it’s not all just for me. For example, I will say ‘He’ll have....’ and then ‘I’ll have...’; or I will think out loud and pretend I’ve forgotten what the other person wanted (this performance is mostly effective when I’m there in person) mumbling just loud enough for the cashier to hear me say “What did he want again? Hummm, oh yes...” I do all this song and dance because the idea that this person would think that I am ordering all this food just for myself makes me anxious and extremely self-conscious. I’m much more comfortable when the other person come along with me – they are my physical proof that I’m not being a gluttonous pig.
Even in the privacy of my own home, I never had as much as I really wanted. My mother would rarely offer me seconds anyway, but even if she did, I would turn it down. I’d like to think I have those little angel and devil versions of myself on each shoulder when I eat. I only had as much as I know I should have been having, even though that little devil fucker was always screaming, “MORE! MORE! MORE!” Every once and a while I would give in to my urges and sneak a giant bowl of cereal later on that night, or something like that. I tried so hard not to do this very often, but I had my private binges – and I enjoyed every glorious mouthful.
I think if I didn’t develop this paranoia of mine, I would likely be twice the size that I am today. Although it isn’t an ideal technique and I am fully aware that it’s probably a bit ‘psychiatrist-worthy’, I’ve come to the conclusion that these imaginary comments from people that I conjure up are all actually my conscious talking – and she just happens to be a nagging, judgemental, annoying bitch – but she means well.