This Week In Food

French-fries-deliciouseWhen I was working on the dog essay, it seemed everyone had a dog story.  Now that I’ve finished the food essay, it’s all about the food.  These are the things that make me believe absolutely in the power of thought, that we both manifest and attract, what weighs on us.

This week …

I met a woman who hasn’t eaten a carb in 18 years.  As she scraped the topping off her pizza crust, she described her latest favorite “skinny cocktail.”  A shot of tequila is about 60 calories, so you mix it with a packet of Crystal Light and some diet 7-Up and I swear it tastes just like a margarita.

A woman, and another woman, and another woman said she never ever touches bread.  Bread, it seems, is a common enemy.

I had lunch with a friend at a Mexican restaurant.  While we were looking at the menu she said, I’m starving.  All I’ve had since yesterday afternoon is a cheese stick.  

I could have eaten an entire tray of chicken wings, but I felt self-conscious and stopped at 4.

I heard a woman tell another woman that she’s saving 100 calories a day by drinking her coffee black.  She hates it, it’s so bitter!, but …

I played tennis with 3 women I haven’t seen in awhile.  Before we started and on the changeovers, we mostly talked about what we are eating and what we are not.  One brought a plastic container of cut-up apples.

I heard the words “gluten” and “my Fit Bit”  more than once, every day.

I talked to a lot of men too.  One night I spent a good hour with an ATF agent —- we talked about guns and how he is required to spend 2 hours a week at the shooting range, about the legalization of pot, about his brother the drug addict and how hard that is for him, about how his job is to “make friends” and how none of us civilians can imagine how many idiots are out there.  He never once mentioned food.

Come to think of it, none of the men mentioned food.  I wish this surprised me.

16 thoughts on “This Week In Food

  1. joplingirl

    The things we do to stay alive. At almost 62 I do watch what I eat. Doctor’s orders. But I don’t talk about my diet much. Or my age. In fact typing the number in a public forum makes me nervous. Twenty years past 42 and wary of our culture’s worship of youth. Here’s to long distance writers. In it for the long haul. That’s why I don’t eat wheat.

  2. bonnie middlebrook

    Hello Teri,

    Since you mentioned my “apples” in your blog, I felt the need to comment back. Yes, it is true, women are seemingly obsessed with what they put in their mouths and women do chit chat about everything that is important to them. I rarely food or my diet, unless someone asks me a question (which, for some reason, many do). But, what you neglected to say when talking about my “apples”, was that I have a diagnosed auto-immune disease, presumably precipitated by my (blood-determined) allergy to wheat. Unchecked, one auto-immune disease can lead to another and another and finally, later in life, affect the brain. And so….I take these warnings seriously and do what I can to educate myself about my own body and its wants and needs. I eat a LOT of calories per day. I do not ever starve and I am pretty much constantly eating (hence the “apples”).

    I once went on a first dinner date with a man and he commented after our meal, “thank GOD you eat!, so many women don’t!

    I appreciate you and your thoughts and perceptions of our world. They are thought-provoking, for sure!! Just wondering if maybe guns and firearms are the equivalent to “food-obsession” for men?

    1. Teri Post author

      I hear you, Bonnie, and I have to tell you I didn’t mention your specifics because I never want to specifically identify anyone in this blog! Of course I understand what you’re saying ABSOLUTELY, and you are probably one of the most healthy and health-conscious people I know … even before this autoimmune diagnosis.

      What I’m more focused on here is how food and body image seem to be more and more in the constant consciousness of women in general, ME INCLUDED!, and how we worry over it and how it’s all connected to how we see ourselves.

  3. Averil Dean

    The book I’m working on features a female protagonist who sees herself as ugly, who is seen as ugly by society at large. She’s one of those people who has reached the age of 30 without having ever been kissed, a fact which marginalizes her more than almost anything I can think of in our culture. We’ll forgive racism, greed, violence, all manner of eccentricity except when it comes to our looks. Being ugly (virginally ugly, in particular) is the one unforgivable sin in America these days.

    This is not really a comment about what you’re writing—which I’m dying to read, by the way—except to say that I’m thinking about this stuff, too.

    1. Teri Post author

      Well, that is absolutely related … I used to play sports with a friend who was over 50 and was very religious, and therefore abstinent. She was a kind, successful, professional person, and yet people worried about her virginal status.

  4. donnaeve

    From the earliest time I can remember, I’ve heard my mother tell her friends, “I was fine until I had her. She’s the one that made me fat.” She’d flip her hand at me and all her friends would stare as if I was something they too, should avoid – like I could pack the pounds on them by my sheer proximity. On other occasions, she’d tell me, “Just you wait, when you get to be my age, you’re going to look just like me.” Or, “Wait till you have kids, you’ll look just like me.”

    The truth of the matter is, my body is shaped like my mother’s yet, it’s different. Like my skin tone is different. I’m olive complexion, while she’s fair. My feet are size 7 to 7.5 while she’s a 9. I’ve never been bigger than a size 8, while she’s struggled to stay a size 12 – and at one time she was a 16. I don’t know if hearing those words most of my life – until I left at 18 – meant that I was determined, at any cost, to show her she was wrong, or simply b/c every one of us has our own metabolic rate, way of processing the foods we eat, or the way our bodies respond to exercise. All I know is, she finally quit saying those things after I had my two kids and went back to my 6’s or 8’s.

    Now…it’s my mother in law who is obsessed with her weight. She joined WW and lost 30 lbs, but can’t seem to lose any more. She’s up by 2 lbs and then she loses that, only to gain 1.5 the next week. She finally quit and is in some other program calls TOPS. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). IDK. She called the other day complaining she’d gained back that 2 lbs, wondering if it might have been the two drinks she had (whiskey/lemonades) three days before. Uh, maybe. IDK.

    I eat what I want, but still worry about it to the point of making stupid comments like, “Well, now I gotta run four miles.”

    1. Teri Post author

      It’s funny how different the conversation is, generation to generation. In my mother’s age, they didn’t discuss food, they all talked about smoking. (I can’t quit smoking, I’ll get fat!)

      Same obsessions, different words.

  5. independentclause

    I think I mentioned this before, but I went to have coffee with two of my (beloved) colleagues, and I wrote in the email, “The first time someone starts body shaming in my favorite bakery in the world, I’m leaving.” I hate all the talk about food. (Unless we’re talking about food like, “I had peach salad with mustard the other day and oh my god it was so good.”)

    If I don’t eat enough, it means I’m stressed out and depressed, and if I’m hungry, it also makes me depressed. If I had eaten nothing but a cheese stick since yesterday I would be on trial for spouse-icide. I’d be a total fucking mess.

    Sometimes I wish people would use the word breathe instead of eat. I never should have breathed. Not that I think people shouldn’t breathe, but we are so fucked up by this thing, eating, that we need to live. It makes me crazy. It makes all of us crazy. I’m glad you’re writing about it. xo

    1. Teri Post author

      This morning I’ve received several private emails explaining personal health issues and making healthy choices. I applaud healthy living! I understand that there are healthy people in the world making healthy choices. But I also believe that, for many including me, it’s a struggle, even an obsession, which is unhealthy or at least borders on unhealthy, and that’s what I’m trying to dig into.

  6. Bonnie Middlebrooks

    Just yesterday my sister & I had a long talk about food. Not what we eat or don’t eat, but how tired we are of planning meals, shopping for food, putting it in a market basket, putting it in our cars, carrying it into the house, putting it all away, taking it out and preparing and cooking it. No wonder we don’t want to eat it!
    Do you know many men who do all of this? Some cook, I know, but do they do all the rest? No wonder they don’t talk about food. Since it’s not on their list of responsibilities, it is in the back of their minds until they get hungry. Then they eat.

    1. Teri Post author

      Thanks for making me laugh, Bonnie. You’re right about that!

      Some time back I remember saying to my mother-in-law, who is an excellent cook, “Your son was just telling me how much you love to cook,” to which she replied, “I don’t like cooking at all. I cook because I have to.”

      Amen that.

  7. Pamela

    I had so many thoughts about this blog that I felt flooded and couldn’t respond at first. Here’s one thought:

    When I was in college, I walked past two guys on campus and heard one say to the other, “Boy is she ugly.” I went back to my dorm room, got out some markers, and made a sign to put on my wall — something I would see every day from my bed as I went to sleep and as I woke up. I was 18. The sign said, “You may only eat cereal, fruit, and water.” I kept thinking if I could be thin enough, my life would be better and people (boys? still can’t figure that out! I’m a lesbian) would like me.

    I see these obsessions, fears, wishes, etc., in myself and in clients, strangers, and friends… You’re onto something. I’m glad you posted this blog. We need to be having conversations like this.

    1. Teri Post author

      That would be the same year I lived on Raisin Bran… if that can be called living.

      I have received so many unkind messages about this post and, honest to god, I can’t figure it out. What’s so offensive about saying: This is what I saw and heard this week?

      1. Pamela

        Seemed to me you were saying, “We’re all in this together,” but it’s so easy for people to get defensive about food. We feel judged and want to explain it all away, pretend we’re perfectly healthy in regard to this topic. It’s so personal….we take food into ourselves, absorb it, and it becomes incorporated into who we are…

        I’ll stop, but I mean to say thank you. Keep talking and don’t let us/anyone scare you off.

        Not that you would for long.

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