Few words give me as much pain as these *pointing up there*. Especially when said words are uttered by a male that I find attractive. And especially when said male is sneering at my miniscule portions while he tucks into the massive globs of succulence on his plate. Sigh. Of course, there’s another set of words that can cause even more pain, regardless of who says them. “You’ve grown so BIG!” You know, I hadn’t really noticed that! Thank you for reminding me. *russumfussumnotsosmalltalk*
Here’s the thing. I love food. I wouldn’t say I’m a foodie, but I do love food. And I love my food in large portions. Maybe that’s why few things flatter me more than a man commenting on my eating habits. I’ve had guys say they love to watch me eat, and that they like a woman with a healthy appetite. That gets me blushing more than any other set of adjectives combined. But here’s the problem. The same men that compliment how much I eat will turn around and talk about how big I’ve become. Make up your minds, will you?!?
I guess it’s not really fair to blame guys. They don’t know what it takes for girls to keep in shape. It’s like when the neighbour saw my baby’s hair. We were at the salon, and she was halfway through her cornrows. He saw her, whistled, then loudly told his friends – in fluent sheng no less – how gorgeous her hair was, and how he wished grown-up women had hair like that.
My baby, the hairdresser, and I all rolled our eyes and grinned. Because for the princess to have her hair like that, she had cried for hours over the plaiting. She was only smiling because she was currently on a break. Also, the hair had previously spent several hours in straightening chemicals to make it soft enough for cornrows. Of course this could lead to an entirely different debate about the natural hair thing and just when the short afro got sexy again, but that’s a blog post for another day. Today, we’re whinge-ing about weight.
I understand that some people are big-boned, and that others have ant-like metabolism. I understand that some people can keep their weight down effortlessly, while some of us only have to think about cookies and the pounds pile on. I’ve been off-and-on diets for as long as I can remember, and have tried a million different exercise regimes (for about five minutes at a time).
I often look back at my weight map, and the only times I’ve been slim were when I simply wasn’t eating. From Age Zero to Ten, I apparently didn’t like food, and had to be force-fed or end up on the IV drip – both of which happened repetitively. From age 19 to 20, I was at a university that had terrible menus (no meat, no caffeine) so I subsisted on Sprite and mandazis sandwiched with fried eggs. From age 22 to 24 I lived on hardly any income and sometimes stole onions and spinach from the neighbour’s garden and fried them kavu to feed my princess. At all other ages and stages, I weighed in at roughly 80kgs.
Fortunately, those 80kgs are mostly bone, so despite trying to break the scales, I get yelled at whenever I try a new exercise or diet, because the excess weight simply doesn’t show! Hence the sneers from attractive male specimens with big plates. The thing is … I generally eat like a guy, and am quite proud of my king-sized appetite. Unfortunately, eating until I’m full is SO bad for my BMI. At least that’s what my four different doctors say. Sigh.
In an ideal world, I’d have a healthy relationship with food. I’d eat whatever I want without beating myself up with guilt afterwards. I’d revel in my ice cream and chocolate and salads (?).Or – at the very least – I’d enjoy exercise enough to do it consistently and keep my weight controlled. I wouldn’t look for sneaky ways to fit the fifteen minute rule, tricking my tummy into thinking it’s full. Sneaky ways like stopping in mid-meal to make a long phone call, or heating my food beyond scorching so that it takes ten minutes for each spoonful to cool.
But in this world, I watch fitness videos and drool at the gorgeous man eating canelloni, a dish that sounded interesting enough to Google. I secretly watch him nibbling at his dish now that I’ve finished my fist-sized portion of brown rice and peas. And as I watch, I ask myself how weird it would be if I walked over, gave him a smile, pointed at his massive bowl of stuffed pasta, and asked, ‘Are you going to finish that?’ Because from where I’m sitting, it doesn’t really look like he will.
♫ Nataka niwe wako ♫ Maunda Zorro ♫