The Food Diaries: Why We Eat
Please Stop Watching Me Eat!
You dig into a bowl of Rocky Road as an antidote to a tough day at the office. Or you can't resist a second helping of mashed potatoes over dinner with your closest friends. Whatever your style, it's guaranteed you're not the only one who uses food as an outlet for what's going on inside. Guilt, pleasure, happiness, depression -- for each of us, eating sustains us on our emotional journeys in life.Please Stop Watching Me Eat!
By Rory Freedman
When it comes to emotional eating, I've been through the gamut. As a child, I was picky with what was put on my plate, so dinner was a constant battle of wills. According to my father, I had two choices: eat my vegetables or spend the night at the kitchen table. But I would not be bullied. I discovered an effective alternative: throwing up on my plate. I was excused.
As a teenager, I had long stopped letting a man -- my dad -- tell me how to eat. But apparently I still had some hurdles to clear. When my college boyfriend cheated, then confessed his infidelity, I lost about 10 pounds in two days. My roommates begged me to eat, even bringing me my favorite meals. But I felt empty inside; food had lost its allure. My body disappeared, along with my sanity and my faith in men. (Fortunately, my self-worth remained intact: I kicked that boyfriend's sorry ass to the curb.)
By my late 20s, I'd entered the take-charge phase of my life, and I hit my stride with food. (Thankfully, my faith in men had also been restored.) I cared deeply about what I put in my body and where my meals came from. I'd learned my lessons, and I wanted to share my insights with others. So, with my friend Kim Barnouin, I decided to write a diet and lifestyle book called Skinny Bitch.
Last May, Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, was photographed holding a copy of Skinny Bitch, and virtually overnight, sales skyrocketed. Although the global media frenzy was a gift from the publicity gods, I now find my diet and lifestyle under scrutiny: "How many rolls is she having?" "Did you see how fast she ate that?" "She ordered fries?!" Suddenly I feel weird eating in public. When I go to a restaurant, I can't shake the feeling that at any moment a photographer is going to pop out from under a table to try to catch me eating something "bad."
Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing to hide. I eat really well, almost all of the time. But I also indulge in occasional crap, which I don't feel the least bit bad about. (When it comes to cupcakes, the answer is always yes.) The goal was never to be some kind of robot eater, or to convince anyone else that they should be one. As Kim and I say in Skinny Bitch, "Just because we wrote this book doesn't mean we're perfect. If you see us eating junk food or doing beer bongs, don't hold it against us. We believe in enjoying life and maintaining a healthy balance. We're human." But the media never quotes that part of the book; they make it sound as if we tout a diet of lettuce and sprouts. Now I'm paranoid that they're out to get me: "Destroy the Skinny Bitch!"
My new challenge is not to let the recent attention spoil my greatest passion in life -- eating. So far, so good: I still refuse to be bullied. People can say what they want. I will eat what I want. And if that photographer ever does spring out from under the table, I'll invite him to join me. (Hopefully, he'll be cute.)
Freedman is the coauthor of the best-selling books Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.
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