This will likely sound like a weird topic, but the idolization of eating a lot of food has been on my mind a lot lately. Partly, I think it’s because since being pregnant, people seem to justify when I eat what they consider ‘a lot’ (I eat a normal amount of food that healthy living bodies need to function… most people under eat/try to restrict far, far too much and don’t understand how much food bodies actually need…), because they say I’m growing a human so I need a lot of food. I’ve heard from many, many people how they used pregnancy as an ‘excuse’ to eat tons of food (you never need an excuse to eat/adequately feed your body, and going balls to the walls with food when you feel you have a good reason is a direct result of a deprivation mind set, but I digress)
Yes, I do need more food than I needed not pregnant, but in all honesty, most days, I don’t eat that much more than I used to. I have more frequent snacks because my blood sugar drops easily if I don’t (which is common in pregnancy), but I also often have smaller meals because eating larger meals can sometimes give me heartburn now… whereas it didn’t before. I also have been consuming a lot more produce than before, which isn’t calorically dense therefore I have to eat more of it more often to get the calories my body asks for. There are plenty of days where I don’t get in enough calories because the bulk of whole foods does fill me up for longer, so there are also days where I feel like I’m eating NONSTOP because my body knows it needs it and it makes up for the days where I don’t eat enough. Days I eat a lot of food.. I eat a lot of food. It just isn’t a thing.
What I’ve noticed (and what I remember from years ago when I had disordered eating), is that people really idolize eating a lot of food. They’re jealous of people who ‘can eat a lot and never gain weight’ (aka people at their set points and eating adequately), or pregnant people who ‘get to eat more.’ I want to make something clear. Nobody ‘gets to’ eat more than you because of their body size. Yes, there are financial privileges that come with eating adequately, I recognize that and I’m not speaking to that because that’s not the audience I’m addressing. But living with the beliefs that pregnant people or people who are more active or have higher caloric requirements have it better because they get to eat more is the reason you idolize eating a lot. It’s like some magic unicorn that you could only dream of seeing.
If you aren’t someone who has lived with an eating disorder/disordered eating, then you likely won’t understand this, but I have a very deep knowledge of the disordered mind, and for anyone reading who also does, you’ll understand and are likely experiencing it now.
For some, it can seem like eating over an x number of calories would just be so freeing and feel so amazing to be able to do without feeling stress/guilt or having to make up for it and it does. It absolutely does. For the first while, when you’re learning how to adequately feed yourself, it does feel magical. Why? Partly you get a high from breaking the rules. Everyone loves to break rules. Everyone loves to be set free. But is also feels magical because for probably the first time since before you started dieting/entered disordered eating territory, you aren’t hungry 24/7 and your body finally starts to feel like it can relax. You’re finally adequately fed and focused and you feel so much better. But then you get used to it, and it stops feeling magical, and a day where you eat x calories feels absolutely no different than days you eat y. The days I maybe eat 1800 because I’m too nauseous to eat more feels no different than a day where I eat maybe 2500 because I have a higher capacity for food that day. It isn’t a magical unicorn. It’s just food. An adequate amount of food varies day to day, body to body, and once you give yourself full, complete permission to honor your body’s needs and wants, you don’t look at someone else and wish you could eat as much as them, because you’re quite content with how you eat and what your body needs… and if you wanna eat more, you just do. Most of the time you probably won’t, because eating more than your body wants when you’re adequately fed everyday just isn’t exciting 95% of the time. It’s actually boring.
No magic. No unicorns. No revolutionary, life changing things happen. You just feed your body when it’s hungry and wants food.
It’s not a big deal.
Stop making it one. Stop giving food more thought and praise than it deserves.