As much as I love eating at friends’ houses, there always comes that awkward moment.
You know the one. Right after you’ve finished the last bite of your meal and right before your stomach grumbles for more. You eye another piece of turkey or salmon, your mouth waters at the very sight of the still half-full pot of sweet potato casserole.
But no, you can’t possibly ask for seconds. What would they think of you?
That you were a glutton. That you were greedy. Maybe they want to keep the rest of the food for leftovers.
I know I’ve been there, lusting for more food when everyone else’s plates look like they’ve barely taken a bite off of them. I know I want more, but I’m afraid to speak up. Afraid of what others might think. Recently, I asked for a second piece of chicken in the dining hall when the lady handed me a piece. I hadn’t eaten since lunch, and I knew the small chicken breast on my plate wasn’t going to satisfy the beast raging in my gut.
Saying I wanted more took everything in me. In the past, I’d accept the little piece and hurry back to my table. I wouldn’t admit my body might need additional nutrients that day. I wouldn’t admit the serving size that might be enough for some people wouldn’t be enough for me.
I was worried someone would judge me for wanting more food.
How insane is that?
Still, when I asked for that second piece of chicken, she almost didn’t give it to me. “You sure, sweetie? A little girl like you…”
For a second, I was tempted to lower my head, continue on down the line. I didn’t really need two pieces. I didn’t need seconds.
When did food become a source of shame?
There seem to be all these hidden rules about food.
It’s okay to Instragram your bowl of ice cream. As long as #treatday. It’s okay to upload a picture of the handful of almonds you snacked on for “What I Ate Wednesday”. But only if you show just that first tiny handful… not the second, or third, or fourth. It’s okay to post your overflowing plate of delicious goodies. But only if you subtly hint how “fat” you are in the comments.
We’ve turned our food choices into a moral indicatator. For some, this might mean choosing only “healthy” meals to the point of obsession. For others, it might mean trying to justify eating desserts. And still for others, it might mean picking foods labeled with diet, skinny, guiltless.
For me, for a long time, it meant denying hunger. It meant saying “no” to seconds or a bigger helping. If the crackers had the calorie content listed for 5 crackers, 5 crackers it was. If a serving of turkey was 3 oz., the food scale was going to read 3 oz. If the peanut butter jar said 1 Tbsp, by golly, I was going to only eat 1 Tbsp.
As one study said, food is the epidemic of our times. Food can be used to control our bodies, manipulate our appearance. More than that, it becomes a way to create a social identity. We can be known as the clean eater, the protein snack guru, the #healthybutbalanced blogger.
When we go against what or how we think we should be eating, we can feel at a loss.
We’re all so guilty, so confused about food that we sometimes don’t listen to our bodies. Even with mindful eating, we can get in the trap of being too mindful. What if we take a bigger slice and go over the 80% fullness we’re supposed to be at? What if we don’t eat enough and have to grab a second afternoon snack?
What if we reach for seconds, but are the only ones eating?
Eating isn’t about perfection.
So what if you want a bigger serving? You’re hungry. So what if you’re the only one grabbing a second hunk of salmon? The first was so good.
Don’t fear judgment over something so trivial as food.
Don’t get me wrong. I love food. Cooking dinner isn’t a chore to me. I’ll try anything and everything, as long as it’s edible. But in the grand scheme of things, food isn’t everything.
Oh, and those two pieces of chicken were delicious.
–> How do you feel about asking for seconds?
–> Have you ever felt guilty for your food choices, either by yourself or by a comment someone said?
Thanks to Amanda as always for letting me Think Out Loud and for the link-up!