Sometimes, the halal guy calls you fat. More specifically, as he leans through his food truck window to hand you a styrofoam tray of lamb over rice, he brazenly asks, "Have you gained weight?" You're suddenly acutely aware that you're ordering food at 10:00 PM on a Thursday night. The other people in line uncomfortably shift from foot to foot and stare straight ahead. You wonder what they're thinking. You wish you had worn longer sleeves.
He's surprised that you're surprised. "You look different" he responds to your reddening face. Immediately your mind jumps to yesterday's number on the scale; he's right - you're the heaviest you've ever been in your entire life. The fact that the halal guy has been in Egypt for the past 2.5 months seems to make him all the more right; you know that he can see your weight gain more clearly because he's been away. You take his word for it. The styrofoam tray of lamb over rice feels excruciatingly heavy.
You say something like, "That's not nice," but the rest is a blur. You get home and sob in your bathroom. You throw away the lamb over rice. You tell yourself you weren't hungry.
The next time you go grocery shopping, you spend $121.24. You shop exclusively at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. As you skip over the bread aisle, you proudly think about how you're doing this for your own health and well-being. As you thoroughly examine spears of asparagus, you think of the cold, uneaten lamb over rice. Your stomach churns.
For the first time in a long time, you update the notes section of your phone:
- 11:15 AM (breakfast) - kombucha, a handful of nuts
- 12:30 PM (lunch) - 2 Trader Joe's spring rolls (~400 calories)
The shorter the list, the better you feel. You get home and spend 4 hours planning meals for this week and the next. For a long time, you look at your drawer of gym clothes, but then decide to focus on one thing at a time. You take a picture of your fridge; it's full and mostly green. You get naked and take a photo of your body. It's soft. You realize that you also think it looks strong.
You journal about your body. You try to write about all of the things you love about it. You also write about how much you love lamb over rice and how you think that's okay. You go to the store and buy yourself flowers. You think about being the bigger person and waving to the halal guy the next time you see him (you don't). You decide that while, yes, you want to lose weight, and yes, you want to finally lay out in a bikini without feeling uncomfortable, and yes, you want to stop being McDonald's number one customer, and yes, it'd be nice if your thighs didn't rub together so much, that you shouldn't feel any less beautiful right here, right now, at the weight that you are.
You close your journal and eat a salad for lunch. You're not entirely convinced, but it's a start.