One step beyond — The count

She could not believe the count in front of her eyes. This could not be from just one day. He’d be so angry with her when he’d find out that she did not meet her daily goal. Again. And it was only the one piece of cake that did it. That would be the crap she would get. The count did not show how she had tried to protest. Had asked her colleague not to give her a piece. It would not show how she had tried to argue, convince, without being rude. The argument that she’d already eaten, that she was not feeling too well, that maybe she shouldn’t. None of these mattered when it came to birthday cake in the office.

But no, it was not like she was being forced. She wanted that cake. It looked delicious. Her colleague had made it herself and her cakes were famous. Because they were really good. Made with real stuff and love. You could see it in her eyes. Well, in her whole body to be honest. She loved cooking. Baking. Eating. In her eyes, her colleague looked amazing. She loved the shape of her body. Her smile. Her face. Everything about her. He had a different opinion. He called her a ‘blob’. Reduced her to her waist size. Refused to talk to her whenever he could. And he constantly compared her to her colleague. Asked her if this was how she wanted to end up like. Ignored her answers. Ignored where she was. What she looked like. She would not look like this colleague. Her body was all different. Would not look as elegant, as sexy with a couple of pounds more. They were not the same. Different looks. Different bodies. But he did not see that.

He measured her against what she ate. Judged everyday where it would lead. Nudged her until she shared her data. Asked her to keep it — just as a favour to him. Just a bit of fun. And what did she have to hide anyway? She wanted to keep calories down as much as he did, right? She never got anywhere when she brought up the subject. She had mostly given up. But there had been a couple of days now where she had been over the limit. And it had not changed her at all. But he did not listen, just looked at the numbers and got angry. Or disappointed.

Today she did not feel like having that argument again. She did the only thing that made him listen to her. Or at least ignore the count: more exercise. She called the friend she had arranged to meet after work and cancelled. Lied. Told her she was not feeling too well. The second time today she said that. Maybe there was something true about it anyway. She went to the gym instead. To get today’s count down, her overall allowance up. She would sweat until she could not take it anymore. With one eye on her calorie count, one on her heart rate. The doctor had told her that she was maybe overdoing it lately. But she was too fed up with the discussion about her calorie count. Not today. She would work out until her numbers were down again. When he saw her coming home, tired and sweaty, he’d normally just shut up and acknowledge her effort. This was the plan for now. And in the long run she needed a plan to get out of social eating. A nice way to say: “Thanks, but no, thanks.” Convincing to others and herself. Because in the end no treat was worth working so hard.

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

I make zines & stuff. Design. Research.Dementia & Mental Health, Craft & Activism

I make zines & stuff. Design. Research.Dementia & Mental Health, Craft & Activism