For a huge section of my life, I refused to eat even a crumb of food in the presence of strangers. Or even my friends, at times.
Why? I felt that as an overweight person, everyone around me must be playing Judge Judy and labeling me an incorrigible glutton with every bite. I went so far as to hide out in a corner of my high school’s library every lunch hour rather than face a jury of my peers in the cafeteria.
This did not secure my place in the Popular Kids High School Hall of Fame, believe you me.
As much as going to college changed my life, fear of public eating is one thing that remained unchanged during those 4.5 years of my life. Even now, I don’t understand it. As a plus-size person, I could join the cheerleading squad, put on a short skirt and jump in around in all my cellulitic glory in front of crowds of hundreds of people, but I couldn’t eat a french fry in front of them? It makes about as much sense as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, I know.
My fear of judgement would increase ten-fold if guys my own age were there – I could only imagine their thoughts. “Whoa, dude, did you see that fat chick? She was motorboating that basket of chicken strips like there was no tomorrow! No way I’d ever date a chubster like that.”
I’d even get paranoid in traffic. If I ordered an ice cream cone from McDonalds and proceeded to eat it in my car, I’d hold the cone below window-level, even if it dripped all over my legs and car upholstery.
Now, I’d say I’ve done a complete 180. I devour ice cream cones, cheeseburgers, and fruit cups alike in the company of complete and total strangers. Who cares what they think? I’m also fairly vocal about being hungry – “I can’t go that long without eating! We have to make a stop.” Living a healthier lifestyle has given me the confidence to just be me and stop worrying about what other people might be thinking.
Unless you see me and I’ve got ice cream all over my face/shirt/hair. Then feel free to comment.