Weighty Matters

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Food Shame

on July 27, 2014

Sometimes I wonder if there will ever come a time when I will eat certain foods and not feel like I should be hiding their consumption; when I will not feel shame.

My logical brain says that foods eaten in balance are okay. That I do not need to be ashamed if I occasionally eat chocolate cake or M&Ms. Unfortunately, years of sneak eating and secret binges have left their mark on my psyche. Last night I went to the movies. I ordered a small popcorn and a small pack of peanut M&Ms. The popcorn I ate openly. Later, mid-way through the movie, I felt like I had to go into stealth mode, slipping each M&M into my mouth, so that the friend sitting next to me wouldn’t see me eating them.

Okay, so popcorn and M&Ms aren’t a healthy meal, but the quantities were quite small so it’s not like I was ingesting poison or illegal drugs. After the movie, I tried to connect with what I was feeling. I decided that I didn’t feel judged for eating the popcorn but I projected that people would judge me for eating candy.

Why? Because in some part of my brain, I still see myself as a horrifically obese woman whose food and eating habits were always looked at to some extent. Probably I imagined some of the judging and assessing by other people but I have definite evidence and memories of actual judging experiences.

Honestly, if my friend even noticed, I’m sure she didn’t care or think twice about it. Ultimately, I self-shamed.

Yep, I felt like I was doing something wrong. After two and a half years, my relationship with food is still pretty messed up.

I’ve also noticed that when I retreat into the old behavior of sneaking food I eat it faster, savor it less, enjoy it much less and end up eating more of the food item. Clearly this is something that I need to work on. I want to make it okay for me to eat what I choose and honor those choices. If I really really want a few M&Ms, then it needs to be okay — and I need to be able to enjoy them. Sneak eating is another symptom of my disease. Not only isn’t it good for me, it’s totally unnecessary.

Yes, definitely need to work on this food shame.

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