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The Big Question: You’re Eating THAT?! | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: You’re Eating THAT?!

“So, you’re trying to lose weight?!”

“Um, no, I’m just trying to eat this apple.”

That was the question I got today at lunch from the Overly Enthusiastic New Girl as I carried my little bamboo plate-o-food to my desk. The contents of the plate were as follows:

  • Two sliced-up Braeburn apples.
  • One red plum with only most of the sticker removed. Rest of sticker to be discovered between teeth at later date.
  • Odiously hateful organic peanut butter. Technically peanut butter the same way my best friend from college is technically a virgin.
  • One cup peach-flavored probiotic kefir (yogurt’s smug, Nader-voting cousin)  mixedwith some crunchy sprouted-grain cereal that tastes like angry sweater.

It’s a good lunch (with the exception of the so-called peanut butter. Lesson learned: do not let a white boy with dreads ever tell you what to put in your mouth) and not out of the usual. Yet this woman felt the need to comment on it.

Why?

Is it because I’m fat, and it’s unusual for fat people to eat healthful foods? Is  it because she was hauling some sad, Dickensian-looking microwaved meal and wanted to show solidarity?

Listen, I’m not going to say I’m the world’s most healthful eater.  Last night I was curled up on my couch with a bag of gingersnaps and a Cherry Coke reading the excellent Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and I plan on doing the same thing tonight and every night until I run out cookies or finish my book, whichever comes first.  But the idea that I could only be eating a sensible lunch because I’m trying to lose weight just shucks my corn in a big hairy way.

So today’s big question:

Has anyone ever commented on what you eat? Are you self-conscious when you order in restaurants? If you’ve found a snappy solution, tell us that, too!

 

48 Responses to “The Big Question: You’re Eating THAT?!”

  1. gemdiva August 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    I was once so self conscious about my weight that for my entire high school life I wouldn’t get up to stand in the school lunch line for fear people would be watching me and whispering “Look who’s eating again”. This persisted into adulthood until it got to the point where I didn’t want to eat at all in front of other people and was so hungry by the time I got home from work each day that I binged on anything I could get my hands on. Real healthy right?

    Now, of course I have realized that I am the baddest bitch in the forest and I do anything I damn well please, regardless of what others think. And it only took me 3 years of therapy and darn near 60 years of living to figure this out, which I think must be some kind of record.

    I guess the lesson, if there is one, is the only person you have to answer to is you. It’s hard to accept that, but you’ll be much happier if you do.

  2. Christine August 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    Constantly. At work, I made the mistake of telling my co-workers about eating more healthy — that is, eating foods without added hormones or added pesticides. Since then, according to my coworkers, I don’t like cookies, chips, french fries, cupcakes and hot chocolate. It’s nice how they just assume “healthy” means “only foods without sugar and grease.”

  3. Cat August 20, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    I have sort of the opposite problem: as a small girl, people are constantly commenting on my food choices with “How can you eat that and stay so skinny?” or “You eat like a horse! How come you don’t gain weight?” or something along those lines. For the record, I do not eat like a horse; in fact, I have a small appetite and can rarely finish what’s on my plate, but I certainly don’t diet or say no to dessert. In fact, I pretty much eat whatever I want, which is what seems to bother the people who comment on my food choices. I am naturally small, and I exercise to stay in shape, which is what I say to those who ask. Oddly, that never seems to be good enough — they will insist “No, that’s not it. What else are you doing?” Frankly, these comments make me self-conscious, too, and I get tired of being grilled about my size and my dietary habits by co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers. I wouldn’t dream of commenting on someone else’s food selection, other than to say, “Wow, that looks good!”

  4. RosieKate August 20, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m a vegetarian, 5’10” and a size 18. I was out to dinner with a few friends and my friend said she would have offered me a bite of her dinner but it had meat in it. One of our guy friends looked at me and asked with shock, “Are you a vegetarian?” And I said “Yup.” He looked at me with wide eyes and said “But you’re so substantial!” I had absolutely no idea what to say. “I’m big boned”? “I still can eat cheese”? “Are you jealous?” (He’s a very very short skinny little man)

    The whole fat vegetarian thing definitely throws people for a loop. Eh.

  5. Marvel August 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    Miss Manners column is a favorite of mine, and it is full of inappropriate comments made by all kinds of people to all kinds of other people about things that are none of the first kinds of people’s business. I don’t think the tendency to offer unwanted advice or commentary on other people’s personal choices is restricted to gender, age, size or topic.

    I have a similar issue to Cat’s. I used to do a lot of running though I never looked particularly athletic. (“You just ran 5 miles? Are you sure? Did you really go all the way to that big pond, or did you stop at the first little pond? Because you know there’s a difference, right?”) Some of the more memorable lines:

    “Don’t go out in high winds, baby.” (Comment on my lunch of yogurt and a granola bar. Took me a day to figure out it was also a comment on my personal appearance.)

    “That’s SIX points! You just drank SIX points in your coffee! How can they expect me to live on 27 points a day when a skinny thing like you just drank SIX points in your coffee!” (hungry co-worker who had just started a Weight Watchers diet, commenting on my habit of putting 3 of those little half&half creamers into my morning coffee).

    “You know I hate you for that.” (comment from a regular dieter on my choice to eat real cheese, as opposed to the plastic that passes for no-fat or low-fat cheese)

    Unfortunately I’ve never come up with snappy comebacks, falling back on serious responses to the questions. (Yes, I ran past one pond and AROUND the big one. I like yogurt. I like cream. I like real cheese.)

    Oh, and JIF is the only real peanut butter.

  6. AmazonAngelle August 20, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    Frankly I wish someone would comment on what I eat, then I could probably actually get away with stabbing someone in the eye with a fork. But I digress, I am short and fat, fluffy, chubby or whatever and I didn’t get that way by not enjoying at least some of what I eat. However I either am too engrossed in my eating or people are just mumbling because I can’t recall any comments, of course chocolate mousse is able to make me selective deaf.

  7. Siege August 20, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    My mother will on occasion “gently” say “Do you really NEED more bread/pasta/pate?”

    My answer is usually just “Yes.”

  8. rosarita August 20, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    I’ve been at my current job for seven years, and over that time period I have lost and gained back about 68 pounds. A lot of both losing and gaining can be attributed to having my brain marinated in different chemicals from depression meds. As I started to gain the weight back, you should have heard my coworkers. Everything from *are you SURE you want another cookie?* to *at least you look happy!* Look, I’d just as soon not have gained it all back, but my vitals are all perfectly normal and I’d so much rather be wearing plus sizes than having my every emotion grab me by the throat and throw me into the wall. You deal with the hand you’re dealt. I’m way happier when I allow myself to eat and enjoy my choices.

  9. Deborah-lee August 20, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    I have a lust for icecream, but my fear for public comments stops me from buying it except with a group of friends or on particularly hot days at the beach. I don’t buy it for home often as I have a smallish freezer and have no self control anyway. So I guess I’m lucky really as all this stops me from getting EVEN bigger.

    I am a teacher and kids always say “are you on a diet Miss?” if I’m eating a salad. Its just assumed salad=diet somehow. Also our “healthy” canteen offers hash browns as a lunch item and I have had one teacher make a comment saying I should make better choices. I just said “well it’s healthy cause I got it from the healthy canteen … but you’re right, next time I’ll get tomato sauce on it!” (ps, the canteen was shutting and most times I just ignore lunch if I’m heading home early, but this day I was starving, and it was seriously about the only thing left other than small packets of “healthy” chips)

  10. Sarah August 20, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    I was a figure skater, and although my parents seldom commented on what I ate, going out of town with my coach was always a nightmare. He would point blank tell me when to stop eating, while I watched my partner clean his plate. That was nothing, compared to the psychotic Russian coaches I had later on, who would tell me to flat out not eat ALL WEEKEND (I didn’t listen, thank god).

    Now that I don’t compete anymore, I don’t have to deal with that, but I had a memorable exchange with a judge at a competition I was helping out at, where my mother and I had cooked for hospitality, in which she complemented my mother’s cooking, and then followed it up with “No wonder you always had a problem with your weight!” I was speechless! Had I been able to think, I would have answered with “Oh, I never had a problem with my weight; other people did, but I was just fine.”

    I’d like to point out that I’m 5’3″, and at the time I was skating, weighed just under 115 lbs. Yeah…

  11. Ashe Mischief August 20, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    There is actually a classmate of mine from graduate school who I have lost all respect for due to this.

    She is very rigid about what she eats; as a result, I’m sure that my fatty belly offends her. On mornings I was running late, and would pick up a bagel or danish from the campus cart, she would go, “You’re going to eat that?” If I explained I was running late, she’d lecture me on the need to wake up earlier.

    One day, I had a bag of carrots that I was eating between classes. Carrots are tasty. But she felt the need to say, “OH MY GOD. You’re eating vegetables.”

    Well no fucking shit. I DO eat veggies. Just because I don’t at 9 a.m. doesn’t mean I don’t eat healthy, you health freak of nature.

  12. Toyouke August 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    When I started teaching the woman next to me served as a mentor/motherly figure to me. I think she was used to the mothering part (it was an all girls school). There were a couple of times where I had a salad for lunch, or all the vegetables in my Chinese food leftovers happened to be at the top of the dish. She would ask me about it, but she always seemed relieved when I promised her I wasn’t on a diet. I think she worried that I would develop anorexia and starve myself. It was weird; I certainly was (am) overweight, so it always threw me when she was glad.

    I’ve never had someone comment negatively on my diet, except my mom who at least has the sense to go the “I just want you to be healthy” pathway and not the “How are you ever going to get married?” pathway.

  13. Tiff August 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    I agree with Cat- the only appropriate remark about someone’s food is, “Wow, that looks delicious!” or “Ooh, that smells good- what is it?”

    And organic peanut butter is DELICIOUS; I think it tastes more peanut-y. My friend makes a lot of homemade jam (with fruit from our farm share), and for the purposes of home canning, it makes sense to use equal weights of sugar and fruit- it fights bacteria and acts as a preservative. The end result, though, is that the jam is extra-specially sweet, and I find that processed peanut butter with homemade jam is just too sweet. Organic peanut butter is perfect for this.

    (Yes, I am a Big Girl with a farm share- I love vegetables and go out to the farm every week to pick them. And yet I am fat. Imagine.)

  14. Katie August 20, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    My mom, all the time! I almost feel like she doesn’t even count because it comes with the mom-issues territory. Usually in some form of “Do you really need to eat that, Kate?” or “Maybe that extra piece of bread isn’t such a good idea”. I am so used to it that I subconsciously alter my eating habits around her. (As in, I pick like a bird).

  15. raincoaster August 20, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    I had a roommate who was a raw vegan chef. I’m telling you, if you want to lose weight, get a raw vegan chef as a roommate; not because of the food, which is often delicious, but because every meal is an occasion for a lecture on the evils of agribusiness and an intricate examination of the relationship between your colon and malevolent globalization. It’ll put you right off your feed.

  16. Rachelle August 20, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    Nice.

    Two years ago, I started a new job as a hotel accountant. The front office manager invited me to eat lunch with her and one of her staff members. The two of them are skinny, I am not.

    The other manager ordered a side of gravy with her meal, to see if it still tasted like diesel fuel (bad chef), and when it arrived, she tried some and pronounced it disgusting, then told her staff member to try it. The staff member laughed REALLY loud and said “No way, gravy is for fat people – get HER to try it,” pointing at me.

    Ah, new co-workers. Gotta love ’em.

  17. Twistie August 20, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    I’ve been lucky. Aside from a couple times when I’ve had to convince Mr. Twistie that I won’t actually shrivel up and die if I fail to eat enough to feed a small army in one sitting, most people haven’t commented to my face while I was eating. There was one time when a ‘concerned’ friend asked if I really needed to eat another cookie. I just took it and said yes.

    On the peanut butter question, if it’s got anything other than peanuts and salt in it, it ain’t my kind of peanut butter. I like fruit to be sweet. I like cookies, pies, puddings and cakes to be sweet (most of the time). I don’t want sweet peanut butter. Oh, and creamy will not do. I need my crunch.

  18. Leah August 20, 2008 at 10:56 pm #

    hehe… you know, it’s been so long since this happened that I had to read through most of the comments to remember…

    When I was in college I dated a man who was a “workouter.” In this relationship I learned about nutrition (no, really, about fruits and veggies and what a balanced diet really is, not what marketers want me to believe) and about exercise. I went to the gym – I was eating crap and sitting on my butt, I just wanted a healthy me. For a while, I was a healthy me. It wasn’t about my size, which eventually was average (although, like any 20-year-old I found fault, which my 30-year-old self wants to punch me for), it was about feeling good. For a while….

    I should have known. He recommended these herbal supplements. Really? Ok, well, they’re herbal… (this was the late ’90s, no one knew… and I was 20, remember?) Then we started gymming it 5-7 times per week. Fine if you’re in sports training, but if you’re a theatre geek? I dunno. THEN came the day which shall live on in infamy.

    We were eating lunch at the cafe with a friend of ours. I got a salad and a slice of cheese pizza. I knew it wasn’t the healthiest meal, but I was craving melted cheesiness with tomatoes, and pizza fills that hole pretty well. Besides, I had worked really hard that week, so it was ok. He said, in Lifetime movie fashion, “Pizza? Really?”
    Me: “Yeah. Mmmm… smells yummy. Want some?” (seeing his plate of high-protein foods) “Would taste good with your burger patties.”
    Him: “Do you really want that?”
    Me: (confused) “Yeah. Why, is there a hair in it? Did you see the cook picking his nose again?”
    Friend: (looking at us, wondering whether to flee or stay.(
    Him: “No, I mean, do you really want to eat… pizza? ‘Cause, you know… it’s really fattening.”
    Me: (guffah) “Uh, yeah.” (stuffs face)
    END SCENE

    Why it took another year and a half to figure out it wasn’t working I wish I could say. Ok, I know, but that’s several sessions of therapy and late-night soul searching.

  19. Ayah August 20, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    My cube mate has a teriible habit of talking about…everyone. She will refer to some one as black – gay – fat …What have you. I happen to be 5’6 285. I am a BIG girl. And she says to me…don’t fat people know if they are walking down the street with an ice cream cone in hand that people are going to say ” Oh yeah eat it up fat ass”. To this I turned to her and said “When fat people see you super thin people its usually after a flush”, then I offered her a tic tac.

  20. Lilly Munster August 20, 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    I can’t believe how damn rude some people are. They really need to be told to f–k off and mind their own business. (I know, that response could also be taken as rude- so I’m not Miss Manners).

  21. LeeLee August 21, 2008 at 12:28 am #

    I used to be REALLY skinny, but naturally so. An older lady actually had a dessert sent over to me in a restaurant because “I needed fattening up.” Am I a Christmas goose?

    After my 100 lb weight gain with my pregnancy – I went from a zero to an 18- I began fielding the “are you sure you need/want/should eat that?” I was nursing, so I couldn’t very well starve myself. I would simply reply, “I can’t answer that question until I’ve actually eaten it.” Yum. Yes. Now bite my ample backside.

    I’ve managed to avoid having issues with food, but zaftig or svelte, I often felt uncomfortable ordering salads. I seemed to attract jerks who would comment on that choice. Then I realized I liked salads more than I disliked the idiotic comments. I just took to saying “excuse me? I couldn’t hear you over my mastication of my diet rabbit food.” *bats eyes*

  22. Jennie August 21, 2008 at 4:45 am #

    My response… “OMG YES! I try to eat THAT at every opportunity! Don’t you???”

  23. Karen August 21, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    My fiancé lives out of town from his parents so only sees them a few times a year. When he does, his mother’s urge to dote on him wars with her urge to nag him about his weight, as her mother did to her. (Note: he looks a LOT like Christian Cantwell, with a moderately more ample belly. He has the exact same build otherwise, and even a similar face.)

    The last time we visited his parents, we had finished dinner and cleaning up and were all loitering around, with a general drift toward the living room. My fiancé wandered back into the kitchen and was nibbling a bit on the leftovers, when his mother popped her head in and said “Adam, do you really need that?” He scowled at her and put the food away. Less than five minutes later, she popped her head back in and asked “Are you sure you got enough to eat at dinner, dear?”

    I spend our return drives talking him back to sanity. Fortunately this otherwise very lovely woman’s manners prevent her starting on me.

  24. Bree August 21, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    A former co-worker asked me at lunch one day if I was doing Atkins (I had two grilled hamburger patties, plain). I simply told him “No, this is how I like to eat hamburgers.” (I do eat hamburgers, bun and all, at restaurants though). My ex-boss, at this same place, asked me if I was dieting another day because she saw me eating a salad. Again, I just said that I had a salad because that’s what I felt like eating.

    Cue six years later. I’m at my current job, office manager for a non-profit that helps homeless families. One of our former clients was in the office one day and she saw me go to the fridge and pull out a bag of grapes. She asked me “Are you trying to eat healthy Bree?” I replied with my stock answer “No. I just want some grapes.”

    Ya know, I may be fat, but I do eat other things besides donuts and pizza (and there’s nothing wrong with that either). Give me some credit.

  25. JR August 21, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    I feel way more self conscious when I eat “healthy” or “diet” food because I don’t want to deal with people who suddenly start bothering me about dieting. This never happens when I bring meaty, cheesy, leftover lasagna for lunch.

  26. Style Spy August 21, 2008 at 9:21 am #

    I’ve been getting the natural peanut butter at Central Market. It’s just ground up peanuts, period. Very yummy and very chunky. Give that a shot. I was a die-hard Peter Pan gal, but I’ve come to love the au naturel pb. Love Kefir, but prefer it sans sweater.

    Sorry about rude co-worker. Let’s take her out to lunch and make fun of her while she eats.

  27. Harridan P August 21, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    If anyone looks askance at what I’m eating, I tell them I’m trying to keep my weight up.

  28. Budget Queen?! August 21, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    *snicker* I am loving the “keep my weight up” comment.

    Silly part is this year I Was… to keep my dress from needing major alterations or from having to buy a new one.

    *GRRR* Only me I tell ya!

  29. heather August 21, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    Oh these things just infuriate me! I went down to our break room at work one afternoon because I was thirsty and wanted water. And some guy told me, “Healthy choices Heather!” And I was like, “Ummmmm, I’m just thirsty?” And then I sat there trying to decide if I should get water, because that’s what I wanted, or if I should get some sort of sugared up caffeinated gross drink just to irritate him. I was so annoyed I didn’t get anything but went back upstairs for a tea bag and a mug. I mean really people, it’s not up to you what I put in my body.

    Also, I have IBS and I really love salad but I can’t eat it often because lettuce seems to be a big trigger food for me. So people get all freaked out when I’m eating “healthy” because I’m having a salad, when in reality salads are bad for my digestive system. So you just never know what is good for a person, because it might actually be doing more harm than good.

  30. Chiken August 21, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    I am embarrassed to tell you all this, but I was at an outdoor afternoon concert full of hipsters last spring, and I ordered a hamburger from the cart because, you know, I was hungry, and my husband (who is skinny and tall) said he was going to get a beer from the beer guy, and I seriously said to him, “Wait until I finish this, because even though everyone will see me eating-while-fat, at least if you are here I won’t look totally pathetic.” He told me I was crazy and beautiful but waited anyway. I hope you all don’t throw me out of the FA club. I swear it was a momentary lapse in confidence.

  31. shiloh August 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    At 5’5″ and 160lbs I’m a very big girl in Asia, but I have a small appetite which for some reason confounds lots of people, who then ask really personal questions with no clue.

    At lunch I usually can’t finish a single serving of wonton soup, while my tiny co-workers eat double of what I do.

    Co-worker: Is that all you’re eating?
    Me: Yes.
    A bit later…
    Co-worker: Aren’t you going to finish that?
    Me: No, I’m full.
    Co-worker: Can I have that…why you so fat when you eat so little – you snack a lot?
    Me: No, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
    Co-worker: Oh, that’s why you fat! Can kill you ah? You should eat less and exercise more, not watch TV all the time.

    This from a person who just downed two plates of greasy noodles and was finishing the remaining wontons, and who drives everywhere – never walks.

    Me: Hey look its Sindee from finance and accidentally bump the soup bowl so it spills on her.

    Sometimes I do things that I feel bad about later – this was not one of those times.

    I bike, I run and I walk my dog daily, and love my fruits & veg – I just don’t look it.

  32. Arlene August 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    I’m a vegetarian, and most days I’ll pack my lunch and bring it to work, but when I don’t, I’m basically stuck with the Subway down the street as the only close-by fast-food option where I can buy a decent lunch. My usual is their veggie sub on wheat bread with oil and vinegar dressing, bag of chips and a drink. One day, I go in and place my order and the guy standing in front of me, a total stranger, feels the need to make the comment, “So basically a salad on bread.”

    That’s right, dickwhip. It would be great if they made something with eggwhites or hummus or tofu or SOME TYPE of vegetarian protein, but until Subway gets on board with that, I’m stuck with the veggie sub. Enjoy your dried out over-processed chicken that’s probably been sitting out for the past 4 or 5 hours.

  33. Leah August 21, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    dickwhip? Not sure if I’ve heard that before, but I’m LOVING it!! I’m gonna say it all day…

    dickwhipdickwhipdickwhip… weee!! Thanks Arlene! You totally made my day!

  34. VerseFameBeauty August 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    I get comments a lot at work “Wow, Sarah’s wins the healthy lunch context.” (I often don’t really ‘win’, but apparently it seems that way because I’m fat and, omigod, eating good food.) Seriously, what is UP with those “Dickensian” (ha!) frozen meals? I wouldn’t touch those things with a ten-foot pole… and the way most of them smell?! Ick. Not to mention all those preservatives. I’ll take my dinner leftovers or some nice fruit and whole grains, thank you.

  35. Sara August 21, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Confession time: I’ve been guilty of this. A few years ago I was having dinner with my parents. Now, my parents are good folks with round, amble backsides whose genes combined to produce four similarly inclined children. “Curvy,” is what we usually say in our family. Or “Big boned.” Most other folks say “overweight.” The doctor says “high blood pressure” and “candidate for heart attack.”

    We’d had a healthy dinner, but we did spead a lot of time discussing my dad’s high cholestral and my mom’s creeping weight gain. Still, all of us were enjoying cake and ice cream when the conversation somehow turned to the so-called childhood obesity epidemic. Amazingly, my folks had no compassion or insight about this. Instead, they talked trash about “these fat kids these days,” and “those lazy loafs lacking in willpower,” and “it’s the media’s fault” and “parents have to turn off the TV and try excersizing!” It was all so hypocritical I couldn’t stand it. My parents are deeply suspicious of excersize. They are very unathletic. And, as I say, they love ice cream and have paid a health price for it. Well, it suddenly filled me with uncontrollable rage that my parents could so easily justify their own behavior and habits while simulteneaously condemning everyone else. I snapped. I actually reached out across the table and slapped a spoon out of my dad’s hand. I said something like, “I can’t believe you’re going to eat THAT when you should be setting an example for everyone’s fat kids! DON’T eat that!”

    He didn’t. But I really should have controlled my temper. And minded my manners.

  36. VerseFameBeauty August 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    My mom will ask “Do you really need that?” at *every* meal I eat with her (that would be Thanksgiving and Christmas, thanks to all the comments!).
    I also get comments a lot at work “Wow, Sarah wins the healthy lunch contest.” (I often don’t really ‘win’, but apparently it seems that way because I’m fat and, omigod, eating good food.)
    Seriously, what is UP with those “Dickensian” (ha!) frozen meals? I wouldn’t touch those things with a ten-foot pole… and the way most of them smell?! Ick. Not to mention all those preservatives. I’ll take my dinner leftovers or some nice fruit and whole grains, thank you.

  37. Danielle August 21, 2008 at 11:32 pm #

    People don’t generally comment on what I eat. I eat quite healthfully – you’ll rarely see me with fried or overly processed foods. It’s just what I prefer. But I’m always mentally bracing myself for comments along the lines of “I can’t believe YOU eat THAT.” Childhood insecurities that I’ve never let go, I guess.

    In a related story, I was absolutely mortified my sophomore year of high school. It was in speech class, and our teacher was randomly giving us questions, and we were supposed to stand up & give an impromptu speech based on our response. The only question I was dreading was one about food – anything else I could have handled. OF COURSE I get “What is your favorite food, and why?”

    I stand up in front of the class, and start speaking about strawberries. Which would have been fine, had my boyfriend at the time not also been in that particular class AND the big “post-sex-strawberry-scene” from Jerry Maguire not been fresh in everyone’s 16-year-old minds.

    I. Wanted. To. Die.

  38. GrammaK August 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    People say stupid things no matter what. For most of my life, I was fat (not big-boned, not heavy- just plain fat). I was healthy (low blood pressure, normal cholesterol, normal blood glucose, hardly ever sick), but I ate very unhealthily and I was completely sedentary. I was totally happy that way, and would have bitten anyone who said anything about my size. But a year ago, my husband found out he was diabetic, and I am quite fond of my husband, so we both changed everything about what we eat, and how we eat it, and the amount of exercize we get.

    As a result, I have lost a visibly significant amount of weight. I’m glad I made the change- I do feel better and I look as good as I always did (thin is not more attractive than fat), and I am still quite healthy. I want all of the changes to be permanent, for my husband’s sake and for my own. (and being thinner is not automatically easier than being heavier- I’m cold much of the time, and it’s just as hard to find size 12 jeans that fit well as it is to find size 24, and I never have chocolate chip cookie dough for breakfast any more). But people… oy… if one more person feels the need to tell me how fat I used to be (while thinking that it’s a compliment), I really am going to bite.

    And as a side note- some people try to make me eat cookies now. I love cookies, but I’m happy with chocolate and apples, and carb regulation is part of the husband’s regimen, so I still avoid them. But they really really want me to eat cookies.

  39. Camille August 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm #

    A big amen to all of it! I’m in the “small girl” camp, and I’m a professional pastry chef. I gat asked ALL the time “How do you stay so thin?” My ususal response is along the lines of “My work is very physically demanding – I’m on my feet at least 8 hours a day, lifting 50-lb. sacks of flour and sugar” and so on. I like David Lebovitz’ stock response, which he has posted in the FAQ on his blog. I may do the same thing.

  40. Hailey August 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    When I was in high school, I avoided the cafeteria like the plague. I would go to the library to read or do homework while hiding my bag of grapes and popping one in my mouth whenever the librarian’s head was turned.
    I had to move to a different state at the start of my junior year of high school. I was very shy and didn’t know anyone and, again, avoided the cafeteria for fear of people’s comments about my fatness. I would go to the bathroom and lock myself in a bathroom stall for the entire lunchtime and stand there in the stall and eat my grapes or sandwich or crackers in the bathroom so no one could see me.
    I still hate to eat in front of people, but it is MUCH better than it used to be.

  41. Sara A. August 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    I don’t run into this problem that much now… I’m out in Montana this summer, and it’s generally assumed that if someone is eating a lot at a given meal they are hungry. Most people out here in St Mary work some sort of physically grueling job and then go out for more on the weekends. So when a large woman (like me) is really piling up the plate in the Employee Dining Room, it is assumed that the food is either really good or that I am really hungry.

    In the real world (DC), I have one “friend” that will comment on my adventurous food choices and she has ceased to be a friend I go out to dinner with. Also my go to response to “your food is so weird” or something along those lines is “would you like to try some?” I’m also eating the same or similar amounts as my friends, so if someone wants to comment on my intake also has to comment on the people I eat with.

  42. Jo August 22, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

    I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a Big-Muscular-Wide Girl and that occasionally geniuses comment on that. Geniuses tend to comment less after they’ve seen my biceps or felt my back muscles, so I have it easy. My pal Cindi, on the other hand, does *not*. She’s in her mid-twenties, a perfect size 5, and runs three miles a day.

    Yet, when she eats, people ALWAYS have to comment on it. What she’s eating. When she’s eating. How recently she ate before. Why she’s eating now. When she might eat again. The worst offender is an ontorexic wackjob we work with who bikes five miles every morning, eats a total of 150 calories (she’ll tell you, proudly!) during a 12-hour workday, then binges on red meat and Scotch at night.

    I told Cindi to take my advice and use my patented comeback, but she says she’s too shy. When people ask me how I stay so muscular, I look at them over my plate and answer, preferably with my mouth full of food, “I fuck.”

  43. me August 23, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    I’ve had one person tell me not to eat the second chili dog after my first hot dog because obesity increases the risk of diabetes. Granted, she was a podiatry student who was researching diabetes-related foot ailments, but still, it was a rather awkward moment. Now, I just think, “Screw ’em.”

    On a side note, I love probiotic Kefir. My favorite flavor is Lifeway’s Pomegranate.

  44. Maggiethecat August 24, 2008 at 7:36 am #

    I’ve been hearing irksome comments about my eating choices all my life, mostly about the need to eat more, with the occasional ‘GAAAWD, but do you know how many CALORIES are in THAT?!!’ hysterics thrown in (evil, evil calories everywhere! Lurking behind every corner to jump at your thighs! Aaayyy! This kind of thinking makes me giggle uncontrollably for some reason, which has come unexpectedly handy on a couple occasions).

    Seriously though, I find the assumption of being out to be slim at any cost deeply offensive. I eat as much as I want, from a variety of foods, but I’m also small and look young for my age (27), which seems to elicit feelings of protectiveness even in complete strangers; apparently I must be a birdbrain who *has* to conform to acceptable standards. It’s a bit more understandable, I suppose, when this comes from my very Latin family, which equals food with love, not that it makes it less annoying. The need for questions like these is pretty perplexing to me – I myself can’t be bothered with paying attention to whatever it’s on someone else’s plate… well, other than my parents, that is – we’re at that age when the roles start to reverse, and I worry about their continued health (plus, it’s payback time, hee).

    I wish I had something snappy to offer for occasions like these, but long experience hasn’t made me any better at thinking on my feet (bum!), so I usually just resort to earnest answers (as in: aren’t you even a bit embarrassed to be counting calories out loud? At your age?). Too bad I can’t think of a way to translate ‘ontorexic wackjob’ to Spanish without some of the impact being lost – must think of a suitable substitute for future use :)

  45. Cooking classes in Tokyo August 25, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    これらのプログラムは私たちの顧客のニーズに応じて個人化できる利用可能なすべての組み合わせの中のいくつかだけの例を表します。 それらは宿泊設備がせいぜい評定するトスカーナとフィレンツェを訪問して、博物館とシエナとキャンティRegionと経験のローカルの伝統とトスカナの割烹、包含に数日を費やしたがっている人々と補足的な料理活動のために設計されています。

  46. Katherine August 27, 2008 at 7:24 am #

    Actually, alot less so since I’ve moved to the South-Eastern US. When I was in highschool the Gym teacher had us track our calories, and while patting the slim little girl on the head who had the “starvation diet” telling her to eat a bit more, she flat out did not believe that I had less than 1200 calories a day! Impossible in her mind that I should be so fat and eat so little… let alone the fact that I got plenty of exercise.

    People are always going to think a fat person sits around eating nothing but cheetos. Unfortunate, sometimes true, but frequently not.

  47. sabrina August 28, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    How about the flip side — people who push food on you. I don’t want your stupid french fries; if I did, I would have bought some for myself.

    I do admit to eating-while-fat trepidation, though I can’t recall any especially mean remarks at the moment. But the incessant “oh, you’re trying to eat healthier, good for you” gets so very tiresome. I just don’t want your stupid frigging french fries!

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