Losing weight isn’t as awesome as television and media make it out to be. For one, family doesn’t make it all that easy. Immediate family tends to associate weight with looking “healthy.” If you’re a little on the chunky side they tell you “Te
ves bien. Si pierdes peso, pierdes tu figura!” If you’ve lost some weight you get “Don’t lose too much or you’ll look sick,” making you feel like you’re one pound away from being as sturdy as a dandelion on a windy day. Extended family members are always great for a self-esteem check. They also have absolutely no regard for things like feelings when they say “Oh wow, you’ve gained a lot of weight. Life must be treating you good! Estas enamorada eh?” I’m convinced that mentality stems from not wasting food.
Everything we do revolves around food and its consumption. Growing up in a big family with minimal income, eating was sometimes not on “the menu.” Therefore, Latinos are steadfast against leaving food on the plate. If you don’t want to eat, it’s an automatic “¿Estas enfermo?” Quick! Lie and say yes because if you say you just don’t feel like eating too much, it’s like slapping the cook in the face. Nine out of ten times it’s your Mom/Grandma, who insists on getting angry about the whole anti-eating affair; going into a tirade of them having white meat “only on special occasions.”
On holidays we make, at least, four different kinds of carbs, two types of meat, a salad, with pan (because it’s a separate food group all together.) The best part? We are expected to have a little bit of everything. Not that we necessarily argue about it. Oh! But Heaven forbid you don’t eat in your other Grandmother’s house. ¡Pa’ que te quieres! I won’t even get into the dessert menu. Flan should just about cover it. You’ve had enough to eat when your legs refuse to get up and it sort of hurts to burp. You find yourself “rocking” to get off the couch all the while having an angry face because “I feel fea.”
So we are torn between getting healthy and out-doing last Thanksgiving’s feast. If we choose to get fit, we try to devise a plan that will allow us to convincingly fool our family into believing we’ve eaten already and they were too busy to notice. Or, do what I do and hold out until I’m ready to chomp on that piece of pudin de pan nestled in my brother’s hands, despite his kung fu grip.
Love who you are and embrace what feels right to you. Be healthy, be merry and enjoy your life. Lord knows good people like you are so worth having around for a long time. I will most definitely drink (and eat) to that!