Whew, things have been CRAZY for Jeff and me lately. I’ll be back soon with a full update on the big changes going on in our lives, but in the meantime I had an interesting experience today I wanted to share.
My eating has been passable but not stellar recently. I’ve been making decent choices most of the time, but the stress and insanely busy schedule have been getting to me a bit. When I’m exhausted, I tend to eat pretty badly. I think it boils down to needing energy of some kind, and if I don’t have the energy in the form of sleep, I need it in calories.
For example, I came into the office this morning craving PopTarts. I came very close to grabbing a two-pack of Brown Sugar Cinnamon from my company’s Snack Shack (an evil, evil place), but I ultimately knew oatmeal would make me feel better. I had some oatmeal with sunflower butter and it was delicious.
For lunch, the cafeteria in my building had my favorite: Buffalo Chicken Salad. I need to create a healthier version at home sometime. But today, I was starving and decided to get it. I got a half a wheat wrap with the chicken salad (loaded with veggies) and a large handful of chips on the side. I walked back up to my office and passed by the receptionist’s desk. She’s a nosy but friendly woman, and she often stops me to compliment me on my outfit or engage me in office gossip. She’s also very overweight (pertinent to the story).
Today, as I walked past with my half wrap and chips, she exclaimed: “Oooh, what do they have down in the cafeteria? That looks so good!” I explained it was the buffalo chicken salad. She replied, “Oh, is it tasty? I might have to go down there and get me some! I brought some lunch today, but I just want something really bad!” I laughed politely and continued walking.
As I walked away, it occurred to me that she most likely perceived some sort of unspoken “fat woman” bond between us. She had just admitted to me that she was planning to ditch her healthy lunch and binge on something fatty, and she probably only revealed that information to me because she felt I was doing the very same thing. I’m almost positive she wouldn’t have had the same conversation with a thinner woman for fear of judgment.
As a sidenote, I actually hate when people comment on my food choices at work. I know it’s pretty natural to make conversation in the kitchen, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been preparing lunch and had a nosy coworker say something like: “Oh, is that spinach? What all is on there? Are you on a new diet?” or “That lasagna looks really yummy but SO filling. I can’t eat that heavy a lunch.” Food is pretty personal for some people, and not everyone is that interested in talking about it.
I think, as an overweight person, I’m also probably more sensitive about this topic than an average-sized person. Maybe people aren’t really scrutinizing my food choices, but it certainly feels that way sometimes. I remember a funny story that took place in my office a few years. Two of my coworkers were in the kitchen cutting up grapefruit for a snack. One of the girls is quite thin; the other is tall and curvier, but by no means overweight. A top exec at my company (known to be particularly dense at times) walked into the kitchen and said, “Hey girls, eating some grapefruit, huh?” Then she turned to the thin girl and said, “Wait, Jenny, you don’t need to be eating grapefruit! You look perfect just the way you are!” She said nothing to the curvier girl, implying she had a good reason to be restricting her calories.
See what I mean? Comments about food choices can cause unintended hurt feelings. Sometimes I eat mayo-laden lunches; sometimes I eat spinach salads with chicken breast. Sometimes I have Baked Cheetos for a snack; sometimes I cut up a whole grapefruit and eat it the wedges slowly for ten minutes, letting the juice get all over my hands and face. But either way, my food choices are just that: MY choices. And if I don’t ask for your opinion or advice, I probably don’t want it.
Am I being too sensitive? Anyone else had a similar experience?