I have been called out for eating small portions all of my life. Since childhood, I could only stand to eat but so much before I felt sickeningly full. With that territory came the mockery from family,
"You never eat."
"You're so skinny. Come mas!"
"You never like to eat when you come over."
Being raised in a Latino household one never ceases to hear about food or their weight for that matter. Weight is a topic that seems to be no holds barred. You're either too thin or too large. If you have the "ideal body" meaning thinness and thickness in all the right places it's talked about too.
"Mira que cuerpo!"
Hearing every possible thing you can imagine about your body all the time can either make you numb to it or make you self-conscious. I think I always leaned into the latter.
I come from a family of larger women and always joked that they were Amazonian. Every woman is 5'10 or taller, voluptuous, and large. I on the other hand stand at a measly 5'6" and have a pretty slender frame.
As the odd woman out in the family, I was always told that I didn't eat enough. I always felt full and never had a problem with food. I always eat what I want when I want. That being said I've recently realized that maybe I do have a problem that I never admitted before. I'm scared of getting fat. When I look at the mirror I always see something that can be improved upon.
I sometimes count in my head how many different carbs I've eaten in one day. If I had bread for breakfast I'll try to avoid it for the rest of the day. Most days I'll skip lunch (not purposefully) and if I do have it I'll make a mini cheese board with some nuts, dried fruits, and hummus at home.
If I'm bloated or too full I try not to think of the guilt of enjoying my meal. When the guilt creeps up and I start to think about how my food is going to make me "fat" I try to think of other things. I’m so ashamed of even having those thoughts. I've never admitted this to anyone and here I am saying it for the first time in a public forum but I guess admission is the first step to a healthier mindset.
Unfortunately, thin thinking reigns supreme in most of the world. It’s ingrained in our subconscious very early on from advertisements to movies to now social media. Thin is always in. Fatness lives in such polarity that either a person is shamed for being fat or lauded for being brave enough to live in a fat body. It’s complete madness really.
For me, the possibility of gaining weight shouldn't drive my appetite for food but sometimes it does. As I become more conscious of my thoughts I slowly ease up on my expectations of myself and how I should think + feel. I’ve discovered that this is an act of defiance against the feeling of weight guilt. It’s an uphill battle of unlearning my own body shaming, but I’m in it for the long haul one day at a time.
In other news, I still need help with my Afro-Latinx cookbook! If you are or know a person who considers themselves Afro-Latinx I would love to hear from you/them. You/they could be from any part of Latin America/Caribbean. I've created a questionnaire for people to fill out with a ton of questions. This would be extremely helpful in getting this show really on the road!
Also, let’s be friends on social! Feel free to follow me: