Stop Telling Us What We Need to Eat

FreeImages.com/Ry Young
FreeImages.com/Ry Young

Women all around the world have insecure thoughts about their bodies. As I type this, there is probably a woman looking at herself in the mirror, wincing at the parts of herself that she doesn’t like, wishing they would change faster. There is also a woman avoiding her reflection in the mirror, keeping her eyes averted because she knows what would be there, knows that she wouldn’t like what she’d see.

We all struggle with the insecurity at one time or another.

Our loved ones can reassure us that we’re beautiful, that they wouldn’t change a thing about us. That we should have all the confidence in the world. It’s what’s inside that counts! But yet, we are still our worst critic. 

To top it off, someone comes in and says something stupid like, “Maybe you shouldn’t be eating so much of that,” or “You’re too skinny, you need to eat more.”

I am an average size woman. I’m 5′ 6″ and weigh around 137 lbs. I have friends of all shapes and sizes. I have friends almost identical to my size, friends who are bigger than me, friends who are tinier than me. Their size doesn’t affect my thoughts about them, I love them all no matter what. If they choose to go on a diet, I’m there. If they eat whatever the heck they want, I’m there. If they do something that I know is harmful to themselves, I’m there to listen and help them through a tough time, and speak up when I need to.

But one thing I don’t do is tell them how to eat.

There is an issue that I’ve come to be more aware of over the years as I’ve noticed it happen to my friends and experienced it myself. It’s that people think they know you better than you know yourself, and that this so-called knowledge entitles them to tell you what to do based on how *they* think you should look.

I am not overweight. As I said, I’m of average size. I recently have started working very hard to tone my body back up and get back in shape – hopefully the best shape of my life. Four to five years ago, I weighed around 128-130lbs, which is less than I weigh now. It was around that time when the jabs first started.

“You’re too skinny.”

“You need to eat more food.”

“Are you sure you’re eating enough, because you look too thin.”

I couldn’t tell them enough…I ate a TON of food! I was biking, walking, doing Zumba, CrossFit, and various other cardio/weight training classes at the gym. I was just super active and eating really healthy food. And my reward for all of that hard work was to be questioned on how I looked, and poked at the hip because I was “too skinny”?! It was appalling.

FreeImages.com/George Crux
FreeImages.com/George Crux

Fast forward a couple of years – I was really busy with work, didn’t have a good living space (I was moving back and forth between 2 states frequently) and I stopped working out all the time. I didn’t get heavy, but I wasn’t my 128 lbs anymore and the tone was long gone. I couldn’t fit in the same pants or shorts. Cellulite showed up all over my legs for the first time ever, and I also got really lenient about eating junk food.

I’d see the same people again now, only this time they’d say, “You look good! Looks like you’re eating well!”, and I’d shrivel. What they may have been intending as a compliment was not one to me. They weren’t saying I was fat, but they were definitely noticing the difference that I was already feeling and struggling with.

So I can’t stress this enough.

Stop making comments about how much we eat.

It is insulting, regardless of our size. I have friends who are training for modeling competitions, and I scroll through their Facebook posts only to find comments from judgmental people saying, “Girl, you need to eat more!”, but I know how HARD they are working for their goals, and that they’re doing it under professional supervision. I hear the stories from my girlfriends who want to lose weight, that are already struggling with their self-confidence, sharing how they’ve received rude comments about how they need to shed a few pounds. I see Instagram comments on before/after pictures of women who are working so hard to get fit saying, “She looked better before she lost the weight.”

It’s none of your business. 

Most of these comments seem to come from people who are opposite of those whom they are speaking to. Everyone who told me I was too skinny was always overweight. Heavier women tend to get the remarks from people who are smaller than them. You don’t understand that person’s struggle, and it is not your place to make those comments. If that person is doing something harmful to themselves, you need to listenAsk questionsCare. By commenting on what we eat/how we look without all of the details, you are only reinforcing what may already be existing insecurities.

So girls, let me leave you with this today:

You look amazing. <3