Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Food and the holidays

It's an unavoidable topic when this time of year rolls around, food. Christmas, especially for those of us who are secular, has one hell of a lot to do with the food. It's not just the christmas dinner, that feast of over-indulgence, it's the entire season. As soon as christmas starts rolling around, the shops start filling up with delights of every kind. There are tins of special biscuits, there are jars and boxes of sweets, there are the delicacies you don't get any other time of the year, christmas cakes and mince pies and things like that. You can't go to a christmas fair without noticing the food. where I lived as an undergrad there was an international christmas fair every year with Kangaroo burgers and crepes and mulled wine and hot dogs and chocolates. In this new town there are new crepes and there's fudge and chocolates still. So many good things to put in your mouth.

Then there's the judging. How do you pick which bits to eat. Surely you can't try it all, that's just indulgent, isn't it?

Then there are the christmas parties. I don't know what it is about christmas parties that means you have to feed other people, but you do. Cheese and biscuits, a gingerbread house, mince pies and nibbles. All that food.

And you feel judged.

Nobody needs to say anything, other people probably don't notice, but part of being fat is feeling constantly judged for what you eat. Did you take the last mince pie? Was your piece of gingerbread house too big? Did you put too many roasties on your plate on christmas day? Should you have not bought those chocolates as well as the fudge at the christmas market? It's the feeling of eyes on you. It's the feeling that, whatever you do, it's too much. You're embarasing yourself and not just yourself but all the other fat people in the world. You're letting them down, living up to the stereotype.

Nobody needs to say anything, to even hint, the shame is innate. It's taught to us with every implication that things that taste good are bad for you, that you are fat because you're weak, because you're stupid. If you would just take one less roast potato, you'd be thin! If you'd just forgo desert, nobody would judge you. If you'd just eat one elss mince pie you could be loved.

But it's a lie, and I'm not buying it this year.

I'm not going to condem myself for food this year, I'm goin to enjoy it. After all, what is life if you can't enjoy a second trip to the buffet table? What's the point of christmas dinner if, afterwards, you're still nervous and hungry?

Not this year. This year I'm going to eat what I want when I want and I'm not going to say sorry to anyone.

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