On Food & Body Issues

This will offend you most likely.

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I think I have an eating disorder, but not the good kind. Not the kind that makes you skinny– the opposite of that. Why can’t I just succeed at anorexia? Clearly I need to adopt a drug habit to distract me from my food issues. What a white girl problem–I have too much to eat. Though, I do have something in common with those kids from those “starving children” commercials: we both have distended bellies. For different reasons, but let’s not split hairs. But honestly, I don’t know what those kids in those Sarah McLachlan ads are so sad about. I’d die to be that thin. Is it wrong that I want to be a little person so I wouldn’t weigh very much?

Tina Fey says that every woman should be allowed to have a fat phase and a skinny phase. I’m trying to honor my fat phase. Does it count as a phase if it’s a permanent state? I mean, the other day I bought three pints of ice cream to eat while watching THE BIGGEST LOSER. That was in addition to the quart I already had at home. I only watch the beginning episodes of that show, when the contestants are still fat, because once they start to lose weight, it makes me feel bad about myself. I’m a person who needs some quality time with my scone. My boss offered me courtside tickets to a Lakers game, and I only went because I heard they give away free tacos. When I got there and realized that to trigger the taco giveaway, the Lakers had to score a minimum amount of points, I left immediately. And when I go to get frozen yogurt, I pretend I’m on the phone and ordering for someone else so I can get two yogurts. I fake talk to the person on the other end: “They have vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream. What’s that? You want an extra-large? Okay…” Then I cover the phone with my hand and whisper to the guy behind the counter: “he’s just such a manly man. He loooves to eat. My lover. It’s my lover on the other end.” Once, I was at a sandwich shop where you order a sandwich and pay for it simultaneously at a counter. When it was my turn, I started to tell the guy behind the counter my sandwich order but instead of ringing me up, he stepped away from the register, mid-order, to the adjacent deli case that housed all of the side orders, and said, “So, what can I get for you to sample?” I hesitated—like, why does he assume I want a sample? And then I asked to sample everything because–let’s face it–he took one look at me and thought, “That girl samples things. Many things.” He anticipated my needs. Exemplary employee.

I don’t understand people who “forget to eat.” Or who leave food on their plate. And don’t get me started on people who need to gain weight. Once, I overheard a frail old lady say, “My doctor says I need to gain weight—I’m trying so hard but can’t seem to. He said I need to eat a lot of ice cream.” I hated her so hard for that. I still do. If I ever find myself alone with her, I will have no problem tipping over her wheelchair. I also hate healthy people. So, to the person who anonymously ordered me a year’s subscription to Women’s Health magazine, guess what, the joke is on you, because I didn’t read a single word (clearly). One time, I was walking into a grocery store when another girl rudely barged out of it, pushing a cart with JUST spinach in it. Thinking, “well, she may be perfectly thin and beautiful, but at least the food I eat affords me the strength to carry a bag of spinach in my arms without needing to push it in a cart,” I imagined us both stranded on an island: her, withering away within a matter of hours, and me, proudly lasting for months, my body invincible, feeding on its own seemingly endless supply of fat. As we passed each other, I rolled my eyes and let out a weird snort-laugh. Her boyfriend, who was far prettier than me, and with better hair too, glared me down with the wrath of someone who only eats spinach. I mean, I get that eating healthy is “good” and would help me be skinny. But you can’t stress-eat quinoa. It’s just not fulfilling. So when people say things like, “If you find yourself wanting to eat, or eating out of stress, just reach for a baby carrot,” I want to take a baby carrot, whittle it down, and use it as a shiv to stab their eyes out.

Don’t love exercise either. I mean, it’s a cruel cosmic joke: the things we don’t want to eat or do make us skinny and live longer while the things we want to eat and do make us fat and kill us. God, or whoever is responsible for interning us in this existence, completely fucked us. You know that feeling you get after you exercise one time? You feel all skinny and like you’re done for life—that’s it, no more exercise necessary, ever. You just accomplished so much.  And then you look in the mirror… Or have you ever looked in the mirror while you’re on the treadmill? You have unwarranted confidence and think you’re going so fast, with great, smooth, sexy form, until you see your reflection, and it’s just an indistinguishable, massive blob. And for how slow it’s moving, it’s jiggling quite a bit. On the rare occasion that I do exercise and build muscle, I don’t burn fat. Instead, the muscle I build just ends up pushing my existing fat further and further out, so I just expand. I feel my body is acceptable for a 5 month pregnant woman. I think I should preface all sexual encounters by saying to the guy, “Is my body offensive to you?” Just to open a dialogue—you know, take preemptive measures, like they do in the military. And every time I run into someone I haven’t seen in a long time, I expect them to say, “I see you’ve thickened.” Also, literally EVERY time I walk by someone on a sidewalk, they stop, step OFF the sidewalk to the side, and let me pass. They give me the whole sidewalk–apparently I require a wide berth. You start to develop a complex after that happens enough times. In an effort to manipulate the truth so that it isn’t so bleak, I try to tell myself that everything is relative. So while I may be fat relative to some people, I’m skinny relative to others. Except that argument only holds so much weight (no pun intended). Like, when a morbidly obese person tells you you’re skinny, screw relativity–that’s when you know you’re in trouble. When that happens to me, I want to say, “I’m sorry, could you just clarify—do you mean skinny skinny, or skinny relative to you? Just for purposes of my own self-awareness.” But I already know the answer. I do try to keep things in perspective, though. Like, at least I’m not a fat Asian. If you’re Asian and you’re fat, you know you’ve really messed up in life somewhere along the way. At least if you’re a white American, people expect you to be somewhere on the scale of chubby to beached whale. And if there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s being a good American.

Photo is of a greeting card by The Frantic Meerkat

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4 thoughts on “On Food & Body Issues

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