It was pretty inevitable that I was going to write a post at some point on this subject matter.
I’m aware many college bloggers tend to speak on the subject of women in regard to dieting and body image, but the issue isn’t disappearing as I witnessed today. While I was sitting in the dining hall—I admit I spend way too much of my time in the Bay State dining hall because well unlimited coffee, cereal and plenty of charging outlets–I couldn’t help but overhear just one of far too many conversations that women my age, younger and even older are having.
I’m not eating carbs right now.“
“Yeah I stopped eating meat to cut calories”
“Wait cereal is bad for you? I eat Special K all the time.”
“Yeah it’s not healthy..”
This was followed by terror from the Special K enthusiast concerned that she can no longer eat her favorite cereal.
Then we have the boys who sit down and pile on the plates, not worrying if it’s too many calories, carbs, sugars or fats. They’re hungry, they like food, so they eat it. Simple as that. Also, I do realize I am generalizing males’ food preferences here, but it’s just from my own observations.
This concern over food is out of hand for females. When a girl goes on a diet, she risks feeling judged by the non-dieters who ask why she even cares what’s in her food. She doesn’t go on a diet? She feels judged by the people who do watch everything they eat while she eats what she pleases. The reality is that we shouldn’t be preoccupied with what other people and women are doing or eating as long as we feel healthy, happy and confident with our own lifestyle.
At this moment, I can hear multiple tables of girls around me not taking this free time to talk about exciting news of their days or even laughing. They are, however, talking about their weight and how they regret what they just ate, or asking if they are allowed to go get the next thing they want to eat.
This can’t be okay. We as females can’t let this be the norm. Women are working so hard right now for respect in the professional world and being treated fairly by men, but what about treating ourselves fairly outside of the workplace? Isn’t it just as important to treat ourselves with respect–to our bodies and to our lifestyles–as it is to have other people respect us?
As I’ve mentioned far too many times before, I love food. I also am guilty of stressing over the foods I eat. I do eat healthy. At least I try to in the college environment. Do I put too much thought into what I eat? Absolutely. I realize now though while sitting in this dining hall that I’m not the only one who spends too much time thinking about what I can and cannot eat. And that’s even sadder to me.
I’m all for eating healthy. I love my fruit and Greek yogurt, my shredded wheat cereal and my turkey wraps. But I eat these because I like them. My body craves these types of foods.
Why though are girls trying so hard to force themselves to eat a certain way because a magazine told them so? Or worse–because they felt pressured by their peers to think so?
I do believe people should strive to be healthy. Eat as healthy as you can, workout by doing an activity you actually enjoy, switch up the cookie for an apple if you really want to improve your nutrition with baby steps.
Except now every time you sit down to eat, maybe think about what your body wants, not just what the magazine says is your diet plan. Meal times might be a little less stressful if you enjoy your food as much as you enjoy your company. These college years are stressful enough without worrying about eating a couple extra carbs each day.
There are plenty of ways to maintain your health in appropriate ways, without over-prioritizing your diet or sacrificing your indulgences.
P.S. A pro-tip from a girl who considers herself a foodie: you can’t go through life eating lettuce and water and criticizing yourself every time you want to indulge in a potato (WHICH BY THE WAY IS A VEGETABLE) yet by the time you finish cutting out all your options, that’s what you’ll be left with.
And we all know chocolate and carbs are in fact the keys to success and happiness.