Here's a thing you may not know about me: I eat A Lot. I can put away a bunch of food. And of course, in this stupid culture of diets and thin worship, that's a "problem."
SCENE: the kitchen of my adolescence. I am about 19, and making a snack, when my mom comes in.
MOM, with look of disappointment: Do you really NEED that?
ME: I'm hungry.
MOM: Are you really?
And thus began the lifetime battle of asking myself if I really needed nourishment. Which seems so crazy, you know? We all need to eat. Choosing to eat is agreeing to live. But for so long, food has been real fraught for me because of that question: do I need it? (The unspoken implication being: no. It's too much. I am too much. My body is too big.)
All that became irrelevant when I became pregnant. My baby needed me to eat, so a lot of that bullshit went away. And after baby came, I was nursing, and I have never felt so hungry in such a primal way as in those early weeks. Now that my baby is 9+ months old, that's ramping down, and I'm coming to grips with the truth that, well, I eat a lot.
I have a high energy output. I am getting back into lifting (more on that later!) and exercising, and I have a very busy, very active life. I eat not only to fuel that life, but because I enjoy it. I love different tastes, textures, and sensations. I love to cook.
I'm also a body positive lady, and accepting my body means accepting the volume of how much it wants to eat. I hate feeling like I'm never satiated. I don't like feeling not-full after a meal. I don't really like feeling over-full either -- it's certainly a balance. But I'm pretty much done with apologizing for myself and how much I want to eat.
I also want to acknowledge and own my privilege here. I am fortunate in that I can eat however much I happen to want, and that's a real privilege. That's not true for a lot of folks. Hunger and access to quality food is very much a big deal.
In my particular circumstances, people have wanted to police how much and what I eat my whole life. Recently at work I ran into this with a supervisor, the ever-present commentary about carbs and portions and what's good to eat and what's not. If it wasn't mostly vegetables, I got a crappy comment. And I finally fucking told him to shut up about it, because I'm done. I'm done feeling guilty for loving food, for loving the agreement to stay alive.
So everyone who wants to tell me about portion control? Fuck the hell off. My body can tell me what it wants and what it needs. I trust in its innate wisdom.
Do you really need that?
Yes. Again, and again, yes.
And keep your shitty body policing to yourself.