As mentioned earlier, last Saturday I went to the Marketplace for the Harvest on the Harbor festival held on the Portland waterfront. This was an event that gathered food, beer, and wine vendors, representatives from restaurants, chefs and local foodies. The Marketplace had booths from all sorts of different vendors, as well as some cooking demonstrations and talks. I had a great time at it, despite the crowds of people (somewhere over 2,500), and of course it got me thinking about food and weight, for obvious reasons as well as some not so obvious.
The obvious, of course, was the sheer amount of food. I had decided in advance to give myself permission to sample whatever appealed to me there, without worrying quite so much about if I should be eating it or not. As a result, my friend Sarah and I tried quite a lot. We unwittingly started with the desserts, although we didn’t mind too much. We had everything from specialty chocolates and brownies and whoopie pies, to wonderfully rich and creamy gelato, to caramel flan shooters. We still had room for some snacks and savory dishes: a variety of spreads, soups, chowders, sandwiches, jams, jellies, and more. We mostly skipped the beverages, although I enjoyed my apple cider, and Sarah was quite fond of the honey wine.
What’s interesting for me to consider about this is that, if I were still overweight, I would never even think about going to this sort of event. When I was heavy, I hated eating in front of people. And for something like this, where so many of the foods were rich or caloric, I would have been feeling guilty and wondering about what others thought of me, sure they would be disgusted by someone as large as me eating so much. Or eating at all, for that matter.
The crowds would also have been difficult for me. One of the things that still sometimes surprises me is how small of an opening I can fit through. When I was heavier, though, I obviously took up a great deal more space, and the idea of trying to squeeze through those crowds would have been intimidating and generally unappealing.
It made me very glad that I felt able to attend this particular event, because the food was delicious. I even managed not to gain any weight from it by virtue of exercising in the morning, skipping supper (something I only do in extreme circumstances), and walking a little over 3 miles to and from my car. But more than just enjoying the taste of the food, I am grateful that I no longer have to feel guilty for that enjoyment. I still need to be careful, certainly, but that change in my relationship to food and how I think others perceive me is a tremendous gift.