It’s that eternal, all consuming question. Will I eat that packet of twisties? We’re all human, and for the most part, except for some extremely fussy and rude customers who have a special place in hell reserved for them, we’re all wired the same way. When it comes to our brains, there are a few basic necessities that consume our thoughts: love, money, friendships, sex, work, and family. And then there’s food. I’ve never been to the doc and had a scan done or anything, but I’m pretty sure there is a significantly larger amount of space dedicated in my brain purely to thinking about food than the average person. Not sure about anyone else, but I spend more time thinking about what I’m going to eat, what I have eaten, what I’d like to eat, and what I shouldn’t have eaten than I actually spend eating! Last night I found myself in that torturous position that anyone who has to keep a keen eye on their figures knows all too well. Sitting in the restaurant, on the outside I was the picture of happiness, but on the inside I was struggling between whether to order something “healthy”, or whether just to not give a fuck and have the giant plate of cheesy and oh so naughty nachos. It’s a struggle that so many of us go through daily, between what we want, and what we know we should have.
Food and I have always had a rocky relationship. Actually, I could probably compare my relationship with food to that of an actual relationship. When I was a child, food and I were the very best of friends. Just like at the beginning of a new relationship, everything was exciting, and I didn’t have a care in the world. I was always a chubby little gal, but I never cared. I’ve always been competitive, and before I was old enough to understand much about anything, I loved that I was bigger than the other kids. It was like a game, and I was the winner. It wasn’t until about year 6, when the idea of having a boyfriend suddenly became a thing, that I started to become conscious of how my body looked, but more importantly, of how others saw me. I wondered why the boys I liked didn’t like me back. No, it couldn’t have been my completely over the top, verging on ADD personality, or the fact that I had a thick, curly red mullet for most of my early teens. No, it was definitely because I was fat. At that point, I realised that there was a direct correlation between how much I weighed, and how much people liked me.
Throughout my teens, food and I had more ups and downs than an episode Game of Thrones. The honeymoon period was well and truly over, and things started to get hard. With so many mixed messages floating around, it’s no wonder I found it difficult to get things straight. So, was I meant to be loving myself, accepting my natural shape and all that shit? I’m sure they said that I should embrace what ma mamma gave me…which in my case is short legs and a delicious ghetto bootay. Wait, or am I meant to be striving to become the best version of myself, and always trying to improve and make changes for the better?
Now that I’m in my twenties, food and I are like an old married couple. We fight, we get annoyed at each other, and sometimes I really hate food! But on the other hand, I really looove food, and I can see the bigger picture. My emotions play a huge role in determining whether it’s going to be a jump out of bed and feel really good about myself while drinking my chia seed smoothie kind of day, or more like a 5 pieces of toast for breakfast and no makeup kind of thang. Almost without fail, I wake up everyday with the best intentions to have a “good” day. At 11am, when I accidently cook an extra serve of salty, crispy, gooey haloumi cheese at the café, my inner fat gal (let’s just call her Fran) starts to growl and lick her lips. Heel Fran!, I say, and throw that delicious cheese into the bin. I know, I know, it’s sacrilege, but I don’t need it. But come 3pm, after 8 hours on her feet, Fran is fucking pissed. She’s tired, flustered, and wants hot chips and a toastie, and just too easy to let her off the leash. And once she’s been set free, all hope is lost. I’m talking packets of BBQ shapes, slice after slice of white bread, cheese and butter. And god forbid I have cash on me coz then I’m heading straight to Baker’s Delight for a cutla cheesymite scrolls.
It always feels so good to let go, but then what? The guilt starts to set in about three quarters of the way through the packet of fruit chocs, and by the time it’s just me sitting on my bed surrounded by Bakers Delight wrappers and bread crumbs, all that insecurity and shame comes flooding back. For me, it’s a constant battle. It’s not the watching what goes into my mouth part that sucks, but more the negative connotations associated with what goes into my mouth. In what universe is it a criminal offence to eat a Tim Tam, or have a full cream coffee? It’s absolutely ludicrous, but it’s a shame there are so many of us out there that unfortunately have this mindset. I find the biggest challenge is taking the time to figure out, for what reason am I willing to drive to the 24 hour servo at midnight to buy, and then demolish a packet of barbie shapes? Is it coz I’m bored? Maybe I’m tired and feeling particularly bitchy. It doesn’t have anything to do with that guy not messaging me back, or that I had a fight with one of the girls, does it?
In the end, one packet of chips isn’t going to be life changing. I’m not going morph into a 200kg slug…but what could be life changing is a shift in attitude. Maybe I’ll re read this to myself next time I’m sitting in bed and start deliberating over whether to indulge in 10 slices of toast. Maybe it’ll help me to remember that I actually only really need one.