A Glutton?

glutton |ˈglətn|
noun

An excessively greedy eater.
• a person who is excessively fond of or always eager for something: a glutton for adventure.

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Me and baby JoJo, on an adventure in Gualala, CA.

The thing that struck me most about yesterday’s post and response is not, as one might imagine, the numerous angry emails I received privately about writing the post at all.  Emails that ranged from, “You’re so worried about food issues, and you’re making it worse!” and “Apples are healthy!” and my personal favorite, “I’m bored with you and your food talk.”

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No.  The thing that struck me most is that not a single person commented on the first scene:  the woman who has not eaten a carb in 18 YEARS.

Let’s think about that for a second.

18.  Years.

Do you realize how long that is?  I haven’t even been married 18 years.  In 18 years, a woman may have birthed and raised a child until he/she goes to college.  18 years could be someone’s lifetime.  What have I ever done, religiously, for 18 years?

I know this woman.  She’s not “not eating” carbs because she is gluten-intolerant, nor is she allergic to yeast, nor does she have a serious health issue, nor is she obsessed with being healthier.  She is a beautiful (and I mean shockingly beautiful) and successful executive (and I mean at the high-point-nowhere-else-is-higher point of her game) who is allergic to society’s view of who she is when Size 4 and pencil skirts and high heels are not in play.

When I was doing my research for the essay, I discovered this stat:  45 to 61 percent of top male CEOs are overweight, compared to only 5 to 22 percent of top female CEOs.  When I shared this stat with an executive friend, her first comment was, “Wow, that’s surprising.  I thought the female number would be closer to zero.”

No margin for error.

No margin for living.

18 years, people.

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25 thoughts on “A Glutton?

  1. Pamela

    My female spouse works in the corporate world. She is slender, and she has to be. She also wears nicely tailored clothes. Many of the men at her level are overweight, out of shape, and wear old Dockers to work. She could never get away with that, never.

    For me, there’s no job worth giving up carbs. What is life without chips?

    1. Teri Post author

      As a friend pointed out to me, she must be eating some carbs. There are carbs in many things. But of course she means baked goods and chips, etc… I can see cutting down (even a lot!) on these things for so many reasons, but to NEVER eat a chip or a piece of birthday cake or a slice of sourdough for 18 years? And not for health reasons? It seems, well, obsessive. And what is it about our need for deprivation?

      Of course your corporate spouse is slender and wears tailored suits. It’s like a job requirement. I once worked for a well-known corporation and was told by my boss, “Never wear a pantsuit to a meeting again.” (it was the early 90’s) We women were also told we could either color or perm our hair, but not both, because doing both made us look “trashy.”

  2. donnaeve

    Why is everyone so angry? What’s wrong with writing about how women perceive food? At least most women? It reminds me of that piece that was just on the news the other day about the clothing company offering a new Triple 0 size. (which was the circumference of someone’s head as discussed on the segment) The company is catering to a particular customer – in Japan I believe – but oh! The outrage. The “thanks for making me feel fatter,” comments (or at least thoughts) from all sides of the discussion. And here, in the U.S, our average size is 14. 14!!!! And when they said 14, I thought, what happened to 12???? It WAS 12 at one point, wasn’t it? When will it become 16? or 18? It’s headed that way, I assure you.

    So, to your angry folks – well, I guess they can be pissed off. But they ought to ask themselves why they are so mad about it. No ones asking them to change anything, or do anything different. It’s just observations, and curiosity about why this is the way most women think. And as I type this, what do I hear in the background? Sigh. Marie Osmond for the umpteenth time – about her 50 lb weight gain and how Nutrisystem got her life back on track.

    1. Teri Post author

      I was so overwhelmed by the emails that I took the post down for awhile. I was trying to work and was so distracted, and surprised, I couldn’t get anything done. Then I got tired of feeling bullied and put it back up. I guess it’s like anything where you hit a hot button.

      And of course I’m not against being healthy. I try to eat well, for the most part, and I workout in some form every day. My concern is more that our requirements — both internal and external — are so much more restrictive than men’s.

      1. donnaeve

        I hear you, and can understand feeling like that. The fact you did hit a hot button shows real truth to what you say. If they weren’t a part of the thinking, I’d be so bold as to suggest they would be a bit apathetic. Like, “meh,” this isn’t me, but she sure did write an interesting post.”

  3. Averil Dean

    The fact that people get pissed off about this topic is exactly what makes it interesting. To me one of the most fascinating parts of the conversation is the way we all are so strenuously careful to make the point that what we’re doing, diet-wise, is for health and not for beauty. In theory, we should eat well because good food is nourishing, and proper nourishment helps us look our healthiest and most beautiful. It seems like it should all be one thing. But it isn’t that at all.

    I blame the food industry for much of our fucked-upedness. They have given us decades of food-like substances and packaged them behind pretty pictures of farm animals and rolling hills. But we’re slowly starving for almost every nutrient but the almighty calorie. It’s a mess. I’m glad you’re writing about it.

    (I can’t even touch the 18-year thing. My head might explode.)

    1. donnaeve

      This is so true – about the packaging and the push for this/that by the food industry. Eat this, but not this, and next year we’ll figure out it’s the reverse. And shit! There’s Marie – again! I’d love to see how chemically warped “Nutri”system is.

      My husband gets mad at me when I read labels – but I’ve finally got him thinking like me – the less ingredients the better – and even better? Make it ourselves – i.e. like salad dressings. We rarely eat anything boxed anymore.

    2. Teri Post author

      My grandmother was all about the packaged food. With 9 kids and 20+ grandkids I think she just got tired of preparing so much from scratch. She loved canned spinach and canned green beans and canned EVERYTHING. Which is comical since my Grandpa had a garden every summer. I remember when she stopped canning because she was just worn out.

      And that’s about the time I came along. Would you believe I was in my 30’s and married before I figured out you could make spinach … not from a can! Ha!!

      1. Shanna

        Canned spinach bears absolutely no similarity to: a. fresh spinach; and b. food. I HATED spinach when I was a kid because I thought that canned spinach was all there was. Even frozen spinach was a revelation.

      2. Teri Post author

        I wouldn’t use canned spinach now if it were free. It’s funny how we learn to eat, and who we learn from, and how we take on their issues. My grandmother used to hide food for god’s sake.

      3. Averil Dean

        My mom used to boil the shit out of every vegetable she could lay her hands on. Boiled summer squash? Nastiest vegetable ever, right up there with canned spinach. She still says, all these years later, that she’s fascinated by the variety of fruits and veg she finds in my kitchen. Even a Fuji apple is beyond comprehension. She only ever buys Red Delicious—and russet potatoes, and iceberg lettuce. No idea why, when she seems to like the other stuff, too. I think it’s part of her ‘eat to live, don’t live to eat’ strategy.

    3. amyg

      @Averil re: “I blame the food industry for much of our fucked-upedness.”

      I blame men…who probably are the ones mostly in charge of the food industry, so again, men.

  4. Shanna

    Open comment to the person who took the time to tell you they were bored with you and your food issues:

    Here’s a thought. If you’re soooo bored, then go away and entertain yourself in whatever manner you see fit. This isn’t A Clockwork Orange; no one is forcing you to watch/engage. What could you have possibly been trying to accomplish by reaching out to share such a hurtful, negative sentiment? If your hope was to be perceived as a hateful, censoring bully, then congratulations, asshole, you’ve succeeded. Carry on. Hopefully elsewhere.

    1. Teri Post author

      I just wonder: If you’re so bored with me, why are you here? Last I checked, this is not required reading.

      Here’s to Elsewhere!!

  5. amyg

    maybe more pissed-off-ness around food. and women. and weight is a good thing (just not directed at you!!)

    gloria steinem said the truth will set you free, but it’s going to piss you off first. so let’s all get really good and pissed…and then free our fucking heads from this what-i-eat = how-i-should-feel-about-myself.

    and stop getting so defensive when you read something & see yourself in it. that’s about you – not the writer.

    1. Teri Post author

      Hours have gone by today, and all I can think about is the lovely, familiar, tinny-taste of canned spinach.

      Of course you’ve hit on a primary issue: women are generally not allowed to show anger — it’s so unladylike! — which means it comes out in the most unexpected places. I mean, how many times did you hear the words “play nice” when you were little?

  6. Joe Ponepinto

    I hope it’s okay for a guy to comment on this post. But I only want to say that my sister’s family visited last weekend, including my niece, Sasha, who just started college. She’s a big young woman, but has no problem with self-esteem. Like me, she doesn’t like to endure the corporate world’s bullshit. During breakfast yesterday she opened the refrigerator to get more creamer for her coffee. We had my half and half next to my wife’s fat-free half and half. She looked at the latter and said, “Who cares?” I was quite proud of her.

    1. Teri Post author

      Are you kidding, I’m thrilled you’re here. And I’m even more thrilled with this story about your niece. Love that “who cares?” comment — how right on.

      When we were at Purdue in February, what struck me most were the high numbers of young women in the Engineering Department — all shapes and colors and sizes, and seemingly confident as hell in their brains and their bodies. It gave me scads of hope.

  7. Downith

    I spent some time thinking about the other blog post and when I went back it was gone so I’m glad you reposted it. My fervent wish is that my daughter never has all my food hang ups. Now why do I never worry that my son will ?

    1. Teri Post author

      I hear you, D. Someone (accurately) pointed out that the woman who hasn’t eaten carbs in 18 years is mistaken, because there are a lot of foods with carbs. But we all know what the woman is saying when she says it. She’s saying: If I so much as look at a piece of bread I’ll get fat. It’s the obsession with deprivation that fascinates me. And the fear.

      I mean, this is common conversation — and ACCEPTABLE conversation — among women. But men? When have you ever in your life heard a man, no matter his size, tell his friends he can’t touch a piece of bread?

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