I have a confession to make: I like to eat.
And I don't mean the typically girly, "oh I eat soooo much, look at my fat tummy" *pinches 2mm of skin on stomach* but I really eat. Like a horse. Or worse: like a guy.
I thought of this today when I went to this amazing place next to my office, one where you can make your own salad (my version of heaven...they have houmous and Greek dolma rolls!) and made myself a HUGE takeaway box. That I then ate in the office kitchen. I put almost all of it on a plate, ate it...and then, after some consideration, proceeded to eat what was left in the takeaway box. I care about beans and tomatoes too much to throw them out just because everyone else around me nibbles on a lettuce leaf going, "it's too hot to eat".
Too hot to eat? What? Are you an alien? Because you and I are not from the same planet, girlfriend. I get hungry all the time - literally, at any time of any day (or night) if you offer me good vegan food, chances are I'll wolf it down - even if I just ate a while ago.
Yesterday I had no dinner (long story, some ugly things happened and I didn't feel like going to the supermarket) for the first time in years and I woke up at 3 a.m with the feeling of knives stabbing me in the stomach from hunger. It was unbearable. I almost went down to the kitchen and made myself some pasta. Almost.
I don't know why it's expected of women to never be hungry. I often eat just as much as David does. I remember a remark from an ex-coworker in Italy when we all went out for lunch. He said, "even if you can't tell it by looking at Sascha, she eats a lot!" I asked him how he knew and he referred to a lunch the past week when I had actually finished a plate of risotto instead of leaving half like all the other girls at the table. To me, that's not "eating a lot" (it's not like I got a salad or chips after the risotto) - men always clean their plates with no one sticking the "big eater" label on them, while women are expected to pick at their food. But it's all right: I'm okay with being "the girl who eats a lot".
Hence, some phrases you'll never hear me say:
I never get hungry in the summer.
Okay, um, it's hot. There's an effing heatwave. Doesn't mean we have to starve. It just means that you should step away from the microwave and come with me to the make your own salad place.
I forgot to eat.
I will never understand this. How can you "forget to eat"? How? No matter how busy you are, you never forget to put your shoes on in the morning, do you? This is so mind-baffling to me. One of life's greatest pleasures, and you "forget" it. Good job. I don't want to know what else you forget. If I were you, I'd rather forget to work.
I ate half a sandwich and I'm full.
Nice try. Have a cookie.
Let's have watermelon for lunch.
Words that were actually uttered by a former coworker. Cue laughter. "Let's have ice cream for lunch" was better, but I'd still like to correct it to, "let's have lunch THEN ice cream...THEN watermelon".
How many calories is that?
How many what? I'm sorry, I don't know what that word means.
Unbelievably, in the years following my eating disorder, it was quite hard for me to say "I'm hungry". I didn't eat if no one else was eating (something I can still have a problem with now) and I never asked my friends if they wanted to go out and eat. Coffee, yes. Actual lunches/dinners? They had to suggest them. I'd go, but only if it was someone else's idea and everyone else was eating. I remembered that this Sunday, when I was walking around with David and we were talking about grabbing some dinner. "I'm not that hungry yet," he said. "Are you?" "Yes, I actually am", I said. "But if you want we can eat later". It felt weird to say "I'm hungry" even if he wasn't. It made me think of how far I'd come in my journey of accepting myself. It may seem like a such a minor detail, but it wasn't for me.
I've come to this conclusion: the only socially accepted occasion when you can actually say you're hungry, as a woman, is when you're pregnant. "Eating for two" isn't only allowed, it's encouraged. So if I ever have kids, expect to see me with a veggie burger in one hand and a tub of chocolate cupcake icing in the other, for nine months. Until then, I promise you that I will always remember to eat.
The above picture is of David's trademark vegan spaghetti and "meat"balls - my favourite Saturday lunch!