“You need to stop losing weight, you’re going to shrink down into nothing.” I pause and look up, one hand picking out stringy broccoli from a big box, like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. “You’re making me feel bad!” (Translation: Who do you think you are?) I am at the farmers market, I have pms, haven’t had coffee yet, it’s 7:15 on a Saturday morning. I scowl and return to my broccoli. The vendor’s co-worker says to her “it’s not her responsibility to make you feel good about yourself”. “Yeah, I know, but she’s making me feel bad!” She then turns back to me. “Let me guess, you obviously eat lots of fruits and veggies, exercise all the time, never eat carbs”. I’ve been buying her broccoli, cucumbers, kale, carrots, random other stuff for about 15 years. She doesn’t really sound like she’s joking, but I don’t let myself get snappy and reactionary when I have pms-temper. “Of course I eat carbs.”
I pay for my broccoli, while she keeps talking. I say something lame about how I used to eat just too much for me, especially junky stuff (like the croissants another vendor sells there, that I no longer eat, but I know she does). This woman has diverticulitis, high blood pressure. She wants to know how much I exercise (translation: I’m searching for a reason why none of this would work for me). Yes, it’s true, I’m headed to the gym after I finish shopping.
I don’t think it’s necessary to exercise as much as I do to lose weight, though it likely helps, and certainly gives me more wiggle room. I exercised when I was much heavier, though not as intensely, as often, or as consistently. I’ve always done errands and moved around by bike or walking, occasional bus. I rarely drive anywhere within 6 miles. The gym (~5 or 6 hours week across 3-4 days) is less consistent. I come from hyperactive stock, my parents/sister exercise more than an hour every day, always have. The ones that aren’t joggers, swimmers, or ?? either live in NYC and walk miles daily (and are still not thin), or are fat and diabetic. It’s my genes, we don’t stay healthy while inactive, we’re restless and prone to depression.
What should I have said to this woman? Should I say something to her next week? Ignore the whole thing? Buy someone else’s broccoli? I’m still a bit irritated, but don’t think she’ll bring up the issue again. Now that a few days have passed, it seems that she must have been joking with me, and I was just too humorless at that hour to appreciate it. I think it’s still kind of rude. It’s not like I got this as a birthday present, I’ve worked at it a long time, and it’s been effort. Everybody wants something that requires no discipline, sacrifice, or hard work, and will allow them to still eat as much or anything as they want, with no exercise. Sorry, I couldn’t figure that one out, when you do, I’d like to hear it. I’ll still be exercising, regardless.