Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I went to my local diner for breakfast and next to me was a solo chick. She ordered an omelet. The waiter asked if she wanted home or French fries. She chose home fries, then added, with a guilty look and tone, “But I won’t eat them all.” I perked up. The waiter gave her a weird look as she emphasized a need to make it perfectly clear that while she wanted the potatoes, she intended to leave some.

Did she really think the waiter gave a rat’s behind whether she ate them? Guilt about eating something fattening made her qualify out loud that she believed she was bad for eating them, thus she planned to leave some. Penance for a desire to eat tasty food? She wanted the potatoes too much to say no to them altogether, but wouldn’t let herself enjoy them! I ate mine as I listened in and felt compassion for this woman who wouldn’t enjoy the yummy potatoes that I savored. What was she really saying?

Interpretation: “I know I’m a bad girl for eating potatoes. Therefore, I’m going to reassure myself—and ruin my pleasure in eating them—by making it clear that I know I shouldn’t eat them and will leave some.”

Many of us were trained to feel guilt about eating something yummy with many calorie. I hate being around folks like that! I try to eat healthy but indulge when I feel like it—guilt free! Yet many women ruin their pleasure by believing they’re wrong to eat what they’d like if it isn’t low in calories. That can increase a desire for goodies since it’s harder to feel satisfied if you don’t enjoy your treats.

Growing up, I remember people watching how much I ate and discouraging me from having another cookie or seconds of anything that didn’t grow in a garden. That’s how sneak eaters get their bad habits! As a young adult I remember time and time again being asked if I really wanted that second piece of pie or helping of something. The DoorMat in me used to drop her fork or pull back quickly to avoid looking like a pig. The more I loved food, the more guilt I had.

Nowadays, being out of DoorMatville, if I’m asked, “Do you think you should have that?” I ask if they think I’m an idiot who doesn’t know what she’s doing.

It shocks them. I’m not stupid and can certainly decide for myself what I choose to eat. I get “I’m just trying to help” types of lame statements. To which I reply that I know what’s best for me. It often shuts them up. I hate being around women who punish themselves with guilt about having something that’s a little fattening. It’s one thing to gorge all day long. But I eat healthy most of the time and if I go to the diner for breakfast, I’m gonna enjoy my bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast!

Yet food guilt is strong in many women. And it can ruin the pleasure of those around them.

I love fudge and feel it’s my duty—yes, my duty!—to indulge if I see it when I travel. I don’t get it at home. But one of my favorite vacation treats is fudge—just one small piece time because I have sugar limits—and I enjoy the heck out of it! Years ago I went on vacation with a friend. When I bought fudge, my very slim friend bought a small piece too. I was in fudge heaven until she began ranting about what a fat pig she was. While I’m much larger than her size 4 frame, I’m not a fat pig. Yet she bemoaned every bite and ruined my joy.

I put the rest of my fudge away for later when she wasn’t eating hers. She was determined to ruin her own pleasure and in the process ruined mine. I told her to lighten up. She was so thin and one small piece of fudge wouldn’t hurt her body. But she was in agony. Agony! From a stinkin’ little piece of fudge! I had mine later when she wasn’t around. But I never traveled with her again. Treats are for enjoying!

It’s good to try to eat healthy. I do. But if you indulge, enjoy it! The woman in the diner kept picking at her potatoes like she was afraid the fat police would come and arrest her. Eventually she told the waiter to take her plate because “I shouldn’t eat more.” Again, did this waiter who didn’t know her care? Did she think he never saw a woman eating potatoes and was judging her?!?

I wanted to tell her to lighten up. There’s certainly no need to justify eating habits to a waiter. Being secure in who you are makes you secure in your eating habits too. Try your best to eat healthy most of the time and enjoy treats when you don’t! Then be a little more careful with what you eat next. Some people who know how I look would think I should be guilty about saying that since I can stand to lose some pounds. But now my self-image is hot and sexy, despite what anyone else thinks. This DoorMat has come far in loving and accepting herself, extra pounds and all!

So anyone who judges my indulgences can stick a potato you know where! ?

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