***UPDATED: original post name changed from “inner fatty” to “glutton” due to new knowledge and understanding of the systemic fatphobia and underlying discriminatory prejudices pertaining to race and classism that come with fatphobia.
If you have ever struggled with a mammoth appetite, you have probably heard the term “inner glutton”. What exactly is an inner glutton? To tell the truth, I haven’t found a specific definition for it, but it’s pretty well-established in the health and fitness community as an internal and psychological entity that loves food, loves to eat, and loves to eat a lot of food.
I can attest and say that I have an inner glutton. For forever, I have dreamed of annihilating a dozen donuts, a 12-inch vegan pizza, three large orders of sweet potato fries, a whole vegan carrot cake from Lassens, and a pint of So Delicious no sugar added butter pecan ice cream (cause we’re trying to watch our figures, here). Obviously I wouldn’t eat all of these foods on the same day, but they always sound appetizing during times of ravenous hunger. Sometimes I just can’t help it. While I make sure to sleep satiated, every few days or so, I wake up half-asleep in the middle of the night wanting to eat an entire jar of peanut butter.
In the cases of a considerable amount of people, this “inner glutton” pushes them to make some decisions that aren’t the smartest. Social situations are an easy platform to give into peer pressure, or more so just social climate, and have one too many potato chips or cookies. Sadly, the decisions induced by this inner glutton often results in emotional or psychological guilt, which may incline the individual to make worse choices in his or her fitness routine and diet, whether it be through restriction and excessive physical activity, or overeating and being sedentary.
My inner glutton gets to me constantly–whenever I find myself in a situation where food will be wasted (for example, at a restaurant abroad, at a food fair, or a homemade meal of a relative/friend I rarely see), I pretty much always suck it up, push past my limits, and finish what’s on my plate. It may be a subconscious effort to ingest what I might never experience in the future ever again, but it feels awful, physically and mentally. This is most definitely not a binge because I am 100% in control with my rational brain, and my rationale costs me physiological sickness.
All in all, what do we do with this inner glutton? Should it be seen as an enemy, or should it be seen as a part of us that needs to be healed in some way? Well, to be frank, I don’t think the inner glutton part of one’s conscience will always be part of someone. If it is possible to conquer binge eating mostly or even completely, then it is absolutely possible to mitigate a lot of what this inner glutton may sway you to do.
The good news is that you don’t have to allow your inner glutton to dominate your decision making. Simply by being firm when temptations arise, you can reason with your inner glutton and take control of your actions. Say you’ve had enough to eat and feel satisfied, but you are suddenly tempted to reach for another treat. When your inner glutton kicks in and urges you to grab another bite (or two) of food, acknowledge its suggestion, understand that it just wants to feed you, but assert that you have already been satiated and do not need to eat more to feel content.
Another angle to review concerns any emotional voids that your inner glutton may stem from. Life struggles often serve to initiate or catalyze any unhealthy habits we develop. Do you have a past (or present) of restrictive eating and over-exercising? Did you experience any trauma in your personal life that may have under-nourished you, whether through food, social support, work, and/or school? Are you over-working yourself every day without taking time to recharge? Did a loss in your life possibly trigger the need to consume as much food as possible? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, have an honest conversation with yourself or with someone you trust. If binge-eating is a continuous issue for you, please seek professional guidance.
When this inner glutton gets the best of you, remember that one or even several instances of overeating does not automate failure. Release your toxic emotions, create a plan, and get back on track as soon as possible. You have more than plenty of days to practice healthy choices, so a slip-up here and there isn’t going to kill you or make you gain ten pounds of fat overnight. Finding friends to keep you accountable of what you eat may also help in some way. Just be sure that these people aren’t judgmental or degrading of any sort.
Lastly, having an inner glutton isn’t entirely negative. People who like to eat are so fun to be around! As a health and fitness fanatic, it is pretty easy for me to get caught up in the whole emphasis on staying on point with my diet and fitness regimen. On the other hand, food is a form of social and even emotional connection. Cultures have thrived off of traditions in cooking and harvesting, which have cultivated social relationships between family, friends, and partners. Nowadays, food is something to look forward to, as it should be. Why wouldn’t you want to be excited about indulging in something delicious? Friends bond over movie theater popcorn, giant birthday cakes, and boxes of pizza. It’s perfectly acceptable to want to eat all these foods! As long as you know how to manage the majority of your lifestyle and ensure that you’re nourishing yourself with fulfilling substances most of the time, then channel your inner glutton when appropriate. Make amends with it, don’t neglect it.
Do you have an inner glutton? When was the last time it influenced one of your decisions? I remember having a second bowl of Reese’s Puffs on a rainy Saturday evening and being brought right back to my childhood. It was a glorious moment and I don’t regret a thing.