Women and Weight........

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2002
Women and Weight........
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 8:08am


This topic is something I've thought a lot about in the past few years.  I'm not sure how many of you are single and live alone, but I personally feel in that situation if you can have on hand and eat three meals a day, you're pretty ahead of the game. 

I don't watch my weight (and I know I should......I suspect it may be a big lead in to my dating issues).......but nevertheless, I am a busy individual.  I do buy food from the grocery store, however, much of it you heat up/prepare quickly.  I am not a millionaire and I also have rent, bills, student loans, etc. to take care of.  I know that healthy eating is probably cheaper so that's not an excuse, but I live alone and I eat what I can (e.g. not pizza everyday by any means, but a pre-prepared dinner/quick preprepared salad, etc.).

I've noticed sooo much stuff on television nowadays about women watching their weight/eating healthy - drinking green smoothies filled with kale, parsley, etc. etc.  There's frankly so much information out there about what to eat, that it becomes confusing (other than avoiding the obvious thing).  I don't even own a blender so I won't go there!! lol.

I guess it seems like every woman has an "obligation" to not eat fattening foods.......(and I apologize to the men out here for this comment - I know many men are becoming more health conscious) - but this seems to extend to women only.  Practically every magazine and television talk show nowadays is touting the "benefits of eating x diet". 

I have worked with a couple of women who were obsessive about it........I do feel that they look down on other people who do not.........I guess I personally feel like I am a single person and if I have milk in the fridge and some juice and some alternatives for dinner.......well then.......that's where I'm at (a lot of the obsessive people I've met live at home, etc. - not a bad thing - but they have the resources to buy special gluten-free foods and have someone to cook for them and ensure the fridge is stocked). They may think it's bad for grabbing a $5 sub at lunch time, but if you're not so sure there's a great dinner on the horizon......it's sometimes the easiest thing to do.

I know my view here may be skewed........my lifestyle is likely not the same as many others on the board here.  I guess my question is - as a woman, do you feel obligated to try and watch your weight? Do you ever feel that there may be a double standard when it comes to women and size??

Food for thought!! lol


Avatar for formhals126
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2013
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 9:11pm

Sounds like you have the right program for you. I love stories like yours. A person that is concerned about how they eat and look. And diets are not the answer. What is a balanced diet. And with what you see in grocery stores today, it is hard for people to eat right. We have an adult society that is obeist. That is in over 60% variety. And growing each year. And this is going to be a global problem. And there are health concerns about what has been being used(chemicals) on our crops and this GMO is going to be huge. So, a book I have found which is just outstanding, and you  may have already read it. I found it to be very helpful -- because we truly are all very unique. This diet thing, where ONE size fits all, doesn't work. And there is a reason. Check this out and see if you or friends would love it. I know I do. Good luck. Go here: www.health7.tomobrien.org

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 6:27pm

I also wanted to add that if you plan ahead it doesn't really take that long to make something for dinner--it only takes about 10 mins. to cook a boneless chicken breast and you could add that to a salad, same with a turkey burger.  Frozen veggies can be microwaved in 5 mins.  Buying a sub isn't that bad if you got a low fat one like turkey and didn't put a lot of mayo on it and instead put lettuce, tomato, etc.  I have started bringing a lunch more often just because buying my lunch got to be too expensive.  I noticed that at a lot of lunch places, they pile up the stuff so high that it was really just too much.  I don't need to have the turkey an inch high.  If I make it, I'd only put a few slices on there and that would be fine.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 6:23pm

Well we do know there is a double standard about women & size as far as the fact that you see all the time on OLD that a guy with a huge stomach himself will still say that he wants a woman who is thin, but then again, those are the guys who want a woman 20 yrs younger than themselves too.  I really haven't read women's ads but I doubt there are so many requiring a man to be thin--I think women would probably use the word healthy or active.  I do think it's obvious that if a woman's interests included sports, running or something like that, she wouldn't want some fat guy who can't get off the couch.

I do admit that I could lose weight and it's bothersome to me.  I think it's much harder to cook if you live alone & don't like cooking.  I really don't enjoy cooking--I enjoy baking more but I don't bake much since I don't need to have a bunch of sweets around.  Since I do have a teenage son living with me, on the nights that he's home I do cook regular dinners--of course teenage boys have a big appetite but he also likes to eat healthy.  My DD does too--when she was living at home, both of them would say make sure you buy veggies, fruit, whole wheat bread & pasta.  I'd say at this point I eat moderately healthy.  I think I'll have to make more of an effort when he goes to college.  Now on the nights that he's not home I tend not to cook just for myself but I can't be doing that all the time.  I try not to buy much junk food--I don't get chips, a lot of candy & we aren't eating at McDonald's.  Also with my dancing, I'm getting exercise doing that a few times a week.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, I hope to be able to start taking walks outside too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2005
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 4:53pm

It's important to me to eat well - as a first priority, for my health.  As a second priority, because I want to look my best.  I lost almost 90 lbs. about 10 years ago, although it is something I rarely talk about.  I have gained about 10 or so back, and it hasn't been a smooth journey, but it's mine.  One of the keys for me was becoming more active - even when I stuggled with body image, I could at least tell msyelf that I could run 10 miles, or do a 90 minute yoga class.  But to answer your question - I don't watch my weight because I feel obligated, I truly want to be healthy.  However, I do still feel the media pressure to be skinny, and that inspires more negative feelings.

Now, I happen to be a foodie and enjoy cooking, so it's important to me to take the time to prepare my meals.  Many people say to me "you cooked that whole meal for yourself".  And my response is "Of course, just because I live alone, doesn't mean I don't deserve a good meal."  I do like many of the others have suggested, and make large batches of things I can freeze.  I may eat the same dinner 3 nights in a row, but that's OK.  Preparing your own healthy meals is like everything else - if you prioritize it, you'll do it.  Trust me, there's a lot of dust bunnies running around since I'd rather spend time in the kitchen!  And it doesn't have to cost a lot at all.  I have adopted a more plant-based diet (not a vegetarian, just less meat) and this helps me save money too.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 3:16pm

I do it because it's about my health and not being dependent upon Big Pharma when I'm much older.  I don't think it's a double standard when it comes to avoiding diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, etc.

I don't worry as much about calories and fat as I do sugar.  Sugar is far more poisonous to the body than fat or calories.  The body needs some fat and it needs some salt.  I don't eat processed foods because they are loaded with chemicals and preservtives that knock your endocrine system out of whack (includes thyroid, adrenals, liver and ovaries). 

I make sure to up my potassium in order to support my pancreas and up my green intake to support my liver and adrenals.  Once I got my health in order, the weight began to come off of me.  I've been on this for about 16 weeks now and I've lost and kept off 10 lbs just through diet so far (I started walking 30+ minutes a daya few weeks ago, too).  I've got 31 lbs more to before I'm no longer considered "overweight".  I"m tall, so I can carry it better than if I was shorter, but nonetheless, it's there and is causing my blood pressure to be higher than it should be (it was 157 over 90 the other day--that's high). 

I buy fresh food and I cook everything I"m going to eat for the week on Saturday.  That way, it's done and I don't have to think about it; I know what's in it and it saves me a ton of money. I just grab and go.

I suppose, too, I don't look upon cooking as a chore--I'm a bit like Nigella Larson in the fact that I love to putter about in the kitchen. Now, my skills are being put to good instead of evil, LOL.  And I own a food processor as well as a blender... and if I had counterspace and storage space, I'd have a shrine for a Kitchen Aid Mixer, repleat with the voices of angels harking when I opened it up.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 12:56pm
Someone posted a picture of some "normal" sized mannequins that's circulating around Facebook this morning. They were a size 6 and 10. I read the comments, and there were some pretty cruel ones from men, saying the mannequins were "fat". At a size six! There were comments from women saying the same thing. I think the pressure comes from our fear of being judged. We know that most men and women look at us and make judgements instantly based on our size. We also know that being overweight is unhealthy. The problem is that most people don't want to do the real work it takes to lose and keep off weight. Everyone can do it. It's just really hard for most of us. At my highest weight, I was 208 and a size 16/18. I'm only 5'3", but I also have a large frame so I carried it differently than others might. That was ten years ago. I've lost, then gained some back, then lost a little more, and so on. This time, I'm getting rid of everything that's too big so I have nothing to fall back on. Right now, I'm down to an 8 and have lost 11 pounds since January. I'm working my butt off, too. I'm at about 158 now and 24% body fat. My goal is 150 or less and 20-21% body fat. And to stay there this time. It's not really about judgement from others for me, but about feeling good about how I look in the mirror naked. I'd really like to be comfortable enough to wear a two piece bathing suit this summer, but I don't know if that's going to happen. As far as eating, I pretty much eat the same things over and over. It's easiest for me. I am trying to cut out wheat because I'm finding it does affect me, but it's really tough. My goal now is just one serving a day.
Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 12:43pm

You're a mind reader.  I started to post something similar last week.  

How often do you see a less attractive man with a more attractive woman?  How often do you see a less attractive woman with a more attractive man?  

I definitely think that there's a double standard.  The sad part is, when I encounter a really pretty woman with an eh?  sort of a guy, I rarely even blink.  However, when I encounter the opposite, I am usually a little curious.  

I have never been "that girl" when it comes to my weight.  I am finally to a point though, where my blood sugars are running a tad high and diabetes runs on both sides of my family.  Plus, my metabolism is slowing.  I try to keep carbs and sweets at a minimum, and exercise at least five times a week.  I rarely watch the scale.  I can usually tell from how my clothes are fitting, what I need to be doing more or less of . . . Weight has always been a me thing, though.  It's never been about other people.  

I wish there were cheaper, quicker, more healthy alternatives. Cooking for one does not make a lot of sense.  It's no surprise to me that America is so overweight.  The fast, cheap food is terrible.  At least most fast food establishments offer salads now.  I just wish there were more variety.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 12:00pm

Yes I love Florida's tips and they are doable..

I do find that women are under pressure to be thin but being healthy yes is way more important.. It depends on many variables.. My body cant take alot of weight although I love to eat.. I have lost weight but it takes alot of work and discipline especially when I am surrounded by food for some reason..

Basically I buy and cook my own meals as no one really eats like me.. I stopped eating boxed food last year because the first thing like florida said out of your freezer except for emergencies should be boxed food.... Oh; and read ingredients in things like crazy.. You will be shocked at what is in boxes or food or packages..I was pretty disturbed when I couldnt even read ingredients let alone eat it... All chemicals which make us gain weight and are bad..

I am mostly a vegeterian so its even more challenging for me but I do the best I can ........... Frozen veggies arent so bad if they are just that and they cook fast.........or a big salad with veggies and all are quick and easy....

I also make home made beans or black bean soup and that can be done in crock pot that doesnt take too long... Boil up some water and throw some brown rice in and you have a fast meal .. You can even make two days of that...

My one vice is eggplant in a box but I found a variety that has low sodium and not alot of chemicals.. I usually make my own and it is fairly easy and it lasts for two days..Maybe you could try that on weekends when nothing is going on.. (lol)............

I guess its about exploring and being creative and finding things to make that are easy and that can be done.... I find couscous cooks in like a minute and baking a piece of fish doesnt take that long.... or even boiling pasta with veggies doesnt take that long.....

Oh; and dont forget your spices and all as they add some good flavor and are healthy such as cayenne pepper and curcumin and cinnamon...

Good Luck

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Sun, 03-17-2013 - 11:25am

I have very strong opinions on this topic.

To answer your question: I don't know if I feel "obligated" to watch my weight, but I do want to be able to "compete" in the looks category, so yes, I feel pressure to do it. And I do think that women are judged very harshly on their appearance, including weight. But then, out of shape men aren't attractive either, but I don't feel like men have the same pressure to look good.

Even though I may feel pressure to keep my weight down, at my age, I also eat healthy for health reasons. I believe almost every chronic ailment, such as heart disease, could be nearly wiped out if people ate properly. The other thing is that I love to cook, so keeping meals on hand has never been a chore for me, but I can see how if women don't enjoy cooking that this would be a problem for them.

I don't think there is some magic diet for weight loss. I was talking to a friend recently who has been overweight her whole life, and has chased various diets that have never worked (except Weight Watchers). She's now on the kick of not eating any wheat or corn because it's genetically modified. I feel like she is just missing the point, and grasping for straws with this, when she really should just stop eating so much. The best advice is from Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not so much. Mostly plants." And by "food" he means eat non-processed food that doesn't come in a box. But we don't have to be fanatics about it. You don't have to shop at Whole Foods and buy only organic. I would also add to this: get some exercise.

OK, now I can help you out with the dilemma of not having food in the house, and it won't cost that much. Go get yourself a crockpot from Target for $20. Next, visit the Cooking Light website and peruse their recipes. Make a batch of a healthy stew (serves 8). You can cook it overnight, or you can cook it while you're at work. Get yourself some of those Ziplock rigid plastic containers. Freeze 7 of the servings. Have some whole wheat noodles on hand. When you get home from work, start boiling water for your pasta while you defrost one of the servings. Make a healthy salad with your own homemade low fat dressing. You can even buy a little hand-held "colander" that is shaped like a paddle so you don't even have to get a regular sized colander out. Done and done. And, you can start to stock your freezer with low-fat meals like this: spaghetti sauce, healthy casseroles, etc. Once you have the food in the fridge, it's not harder to do this than it is to "make" a frozen dinner you buy in a box. And it tastes way better.

This is how I eat.

I also always eat breakfast because I am starving in the morning. Special K with almond milk and OJ. I work from home, so I usually have lunch at home, and for that I have soup or a sandwich. Today I'm going wild and making an eggplant filling to go into pita bread, and I'll have enough leftover for 3 more sandwhiches this week.