The Brash BBQ

Let me introduce myself: my name is Brooke, I'm a mom (still very awesome to say), wife, sister, daughter and graphic designer extraordinaire.  I battled bulimia and anorexia for many years and I'd like to say that I've kicked ED out of my life, but I know that he still lurks around when I'm vulnerable.

I work for an amazing company that was more than supportive during my in-patient treatment, and upon my return, MOST of my co-workers were very respectful and seemed to understand what I went through, although there was a few that made snide remarks. My work throws monthly BBQs, and yesterday was the "Great Canadian BBQ", where at 12pm sharp the whole office lines up like in grade school and we walk down a hall that is literally filled with food. Before treatment, I ALWAYS avoided these BBQs and lunch parties like the plague. Now maybe I'm just sensitive, and a little paranoid, but I feel that people are watching what I put on my plate. It makes me feel like that rare animal at the zoo that people stare at with wide eyes.

I grabbed a plate and slowly walked down the line, heading straight for a burger. Not two seconds later does someone say to me, "Brooke, you know that's a burger right?"

“REALLY?” I shouted in my head, but what actually came out of my mouth was laughter, hoping to brush the person off as I continued on my way. Now I really do love the buffet style of our BBQs, because you can grab and try a little bit of everything, which I take full advantage of.  My plate was full and I sat down with my friends before hearing another comment that really set me off: "Are you really gonna eat ALL of that?"  I really wanted to just run out of our cafeteria, but also laugh it off and eat my amazing lunch.

My table of co-workers realized my discomfort and we started to talk about how it seemed okay to openly criticize someone or make comments, about their eating habits.  We all seemed to have stories of how we had experienced someone commenting on how much we were eating, how little we were eating, or just what we were eating. How much longer should we “laugh” it off before we stand up for ourselves? Whether you’re in school, work full time or whatever else, the last thing you want to worry about is what someone is thinking of you.  We are hard enough on ourselves, and don't need to be under a magnifying glass.

It seems to me that with the development of apps that count calories, and that tell you what distance you will have to run in order to burn off that bag of chips, weight loss and size is rapidly becoming glamourized in today’s society.  Why do we need to accept it?

Brooke Shaw is a mother of twin daughters, and a media designer.  She is also “in recovery”.