Friday, July 10, 2015

Fat Girl at Dunkin Donuts: An Intuitive Eating Perspective

"Tomorrow, I'm going to enjoy play food for what it is."
Fruity Donuts Art Print
A couple weeks ago, I saw an event posting for the opening of a new Dunkin Donuts franchise. I'm always on the lookout for fun, local, social activities, so I RSVP'd yes!

And then I had to deal with these thoughts:

People are going to make fun of me for being fat.

People are going to think I'm fat because I ate too many donuts.

People are going to think I don't care about healthy eating.

People are gonna take pictures of me and make fun of them.

I better dress up so at least they don't think I'm lazy.

I'm grateful that at least now my negative thoughts about my size are mostly about how I'm perceived by others. It sucks, but at least it's better than actually believing those things about myself, that I'm unhealthy or lazy or unworthy of belonging because of my size.

Well, no one in line made judgmental glances. No one made negative comments. Actually, I chatted the whole time with two women in line about normal-people things (any-size-people things) like weather, traffic, careers, places we've lived, pets, and of course, which flavor of donut we wanted to try. And I realized something, no one goes to a donut shop opening unless they appreciate play food.

What is play food? According to Intuitive Eating, it's food that has little nutritional value, but is enjoyable to eat. It is morally neutral, meaning it's not good or evil. It's not even "healthy" or "unhealthy." The idea is that once you're tuned in with your body's cues to hunger, fullness, and energy, you'll naturally eat the types and amounts of food that are best for you.

I was content with my one donut and small hot chocolate, genuinely content, because I knew I could choose to eat a second or a dozen without internal shame. It did feel playful, fun, indulgent in a good way. I wasn't thinking about how to burn off those calories later. It was pure gratitude:

These flavors, textures, and smells are pleasant.
Active businesses are great for our city.
I could be friends with these women I met in line.
It's fun how many people came out for this. I'm glad I'm a part of it.
I am good enough to be a part of whatever I want to be a part of.

Donuts in Balloons Art PrintPart of me knows it was luck that there weren't any bullies out that day. Or well-meaning "fitness" advocates. I also know that happiness comes from within. I hope I can build up enough self-love and gratitude to stop fearing the disapproving glance once and for all.


I'm not affiliated with Dunkin Donuts. It just happened to be the perfect setting for this message so I didn't bother changing the name.

To read more about Intuitive Eating, check out the book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (Amazon Affiliate link).

Today's curated art prints are "Fruity Donuts" and "Donuts in Balloons" by Ivy Niu. There are 41 pages of donut-related prints on society6, if you can believe it. Ivy Niu's stood out to me as charming, imaginative, and meaningful. They make me smile.

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