While I was setting up a twitter account for Blooming Wisdom the other day, I ran across this piece. Kudos to Mary Elizabeth Williams for speaking truth about women and what defines us. Her piece entitled Women: Stop apologizing for eating stirred an inner pot with me.
This piece dares to imply that many women barely eat while in public, and when they do…there is quite a bit of apologizing for it.
When I read this article…the first thing that came to mind was a late afternoon event I was recently at. I noticed a few women saying that they hadn’t eaten yet that day, as they started snacking on the appetizers that were provided.
My first instinct was to gasp…because oh my goodness…they must have been hungry? I don’t judge them, and in fact I envied them for a moment. I note that they are both gorgeous ladies with very trim figures.
I envy the self-control that it must take to only eat once a day or nibble a bit throughout.
The interesting thing is that many women do tend to apologize or explain away their eating. Pointing out to others as they eat…what they have or haven’t had yet that day. Making an excuse for getting something delicious or explaining why it is ok this time.
The author starts with an example of being out to lunch with a female executive who apologized away her choice to go with an entrée instead of her usual salad because she hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning.
How many times have we all heard or even said these words. Do we ever think about the impact these statements make…what they mean? Do we worry if they are in front of our children that we are setting a bad or at least a confusing example.
Isn’t everyone always saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
Mary Elizabeth Williams goes on to state, “Women, please, just order the entrée. You don’t need to explain it. You don’t need to apologize for it.”
There was a time many moons ago that I barely ate breakfast. I would love to say it had to do with my waistline, but it was really more to do with my inability to get out of bed as a young twenty something who needed to be to work on time, more than I needed to take good care of my body.
I won’t bother to list the other twenty something type things I did that weren’t great for my body or soul but I have grown and learned from them. I often look back at those years as wasted one’s…though they were fun.
At 24 stumbling through life with a sense of invincibility often drove many of us to throw caution to the wind and eat whatever we wanted or have that diet coke for breakfast and on and on.
The truth is, I still know I have it in me to make poor choices and I don’t judge those who haven’t switched from diet coke to coffee (because coffee of course is more grown up) in their 30’s and 40’s. Everything will kill us right?
But the idea that there are many women still barely eating to keep their figures, psyche and those around them in check is no pun intended….hard to swallow.
I’m not talking about a friend who orders an entrée and eats half and takes the rest home. This is self-control and moderation…which is great and I wish I had more of.
But I remember times where I knit picked every meal. I remember being an athlete in high school and doing a cabbage soup diet. I can’t imagine why I would have needed that now looking back, or how I didn’t realize how much more I needed as an athlete to be balanced and healthy.
I know what it sounds like when I myself would worry so much over a meal and what to get that I couldn’t even make a choice.
Going out to dinner can become debilitating. This behavior drags down those around you and also is a drain on your positive energy. Life is supposed to be fun too, and going out to eat with someone and having them be weird about their food isn’t fun.
I have known ladies over the years that put on such a façade to those around them about food…trying to put forward a version of themselves that isn’t realistic…and why?
We as women need to own are persons and stop apologizing about what we eat, and how we eat it. As the author says, “We’re all working through our lifetimes of baggage, as well as the incessant barrage of messages that a female has failed if she “doesn’t look like this anymore” –i.e., a 20- year-old photograph.”
I often wonder to myself if I just don’t have the internal energy to be that strict with myself…my eating…a diet. But I want to note that every time in my life I have been that minimal in one area, it wreaked havoc in others. Being hyper restrictive can have negative side effects because it isn’t balance.
“And I want to say that when women are weird in public around food, they put other women in an awkward position. So I’m not playing. I’m not here to give you permission to order fries and I’m not going to co-sign on how fat we’re all going to get after eating this cheesecake. When you exclaim dramatically that you couldn’t possibly eat that whole entrée, I am not going to applaud your restraint. I. Don’t. Care. I am grown-up lady who can make decisions about what to cook and what to order and I’d like to assume you are, too. And being at a table together with other women shouldn’t ever be anything to say you’re sorry about.” Mary Elizabeth Williams
I don’t want my girls being raised worrying about their bodies. I don’t want them to hear me picking over my outfit because I feel I look fat or ugly. I try so hard to keep that from them, and to walk out in to the world with my head held high regardless of how I feel inside.
I hope to give them good habits that work for them throughout their lives, so that they won’t even need to think about it. Hopes and dreams….right?
There will be a day or many they look in the mirror and wonder if they could be better…but I hope restriction just as much as excess… aren’t the first places they turn to re-fill their hearts and souls.