At a dinner party one summer night, after serving myself a second portion of my favorite dishes, a guy at my table narrowed his eyes at me and said with a slight smirk, “Wow, you must really be hungry.”
I wanted to smack him.
At one point in my life, his comment would have set off a major shame spiral.
I would have shrunk down in my seat, hung my head and clamped my mouth shut while my cheeks burned bright red.
Thoughts like these would have raced through my head:
- I’m a pig.
- I shouldn’t be eating so much.
- Going back for seconds is bad.
- I have no self-control.
- I don’t deserve to eat what I want.
- If I want more food, I need to hide while eating it.
- There is something wrong with me.
Painful, Powerful Words
As I shared before with my brownie incident, careless comments like this can be really painful and very powerful.
They can have a huge impact that negatively shapes your core beliefs regarding who you are and what you deserve. For me, they contributed to years of disordered eating.
Thankfully, with the help of some very wise teachers, I was able to shed my destructive beliefs and behaviors.
I learned how to give myself unconditional permission to eat and enjoy food, and how to cultivate a more nourishing, trusting and peaceful relationship with food and my body.
Each one of us has a right to eat whatever we want—whenever, wherever and however we want it.
You don’t have to earn the right to eat something.
You don’t have to justify your food choices, make excuses for them, hide them, or apologize for them.
And what’s on your plate is nobody’s business.
An Opportunity for Gratitude
After the initial flash of anger I felt when that guy made his comment, I caught myself starting to justify my actions to the entire table, something along the lines of “I’ve hardly eaten today” and "I had a light lunch."
Realizing what I was doing, I stopped talking, picked up my fork and went back to enjoying my meal.
Later, while reflecting on the situation, I came to appreciate the opportunity it gave me to see just how far I’ve come.