Rice is a Vegetable, and It’s Veggie Day

Eavesdrop gave me this gem today:

Girl 1: Are cupcakes carbs?
Girl 2: I don’t know. They have flour, and flour’s a carb right?
Girl 1: I don’t know. It has butter. Is butter a carb?
Girl 3: I thought only bread was a carb.
Girl 2: No. So are things like pasta and rice.
Girl 3: Rice is a carb? I thought rice was a vegetable.
Girl 1: Are you serious?
Girl 3: I’ve never really thought about it, but if you asked, I would say a vegetable.
Girl 2: No it’s definitely a carb.

Yeah, it’s funny, it’s exactly what I’d expect to hear on a college campus and I’m POSITIVE Jas and I have had a conversation or ten exactly like this… but it got me thinking, too. Why do girls in our generation obsess over eating to the point where it takes over our entire lives? Why does our emotional happiness rely on every little piece of food that goes in? We’re constantly weighing what we’ve eaten with what we haven’t, justifying every morsel we put in our mouths and beating ourselves up brutally when it’s the wrong thing. I remember first starting to do this in elementary school. When lunchboxes featured fruit roll-ups and Doritos. I watched female classmates eat nothing but a Rice Krispie treat and viciously judge each other about what they’ve consumed before they could even justify wearing bras. Why can’t we fuckin’ lighten up?

Now, I don’t diet. I don’t believe in it, even though sometimes I REALLY REALLY have to fight those urges to jump on that bandwagon and lose a few pounds. Maybe I’ll even indulge in a few minutes thinking about all the things I’ll stop eating so I can tighten up a little (I’ll start tomorrow, I swear). Cut out some carbs, eat a little less at every meal, starve my way through the workday ’til I’m about to fall over… ’cause, hey, dumbass (this is my body talking) your blood sugar can’t really handle starvation, now can it? But I never follow through and I know it’ll never work; I will still eat that croissant for breakfast, grab an Oreo after dinner and order those mini-burgers at the restaurant ’cause, dammit, I’m hungry.

But I don’t love my body. Yesterday was Love Your Body Day and I definitely didn’t celebrate. The only reason to even think about dieting is for my boyfriend. Hah! Not for me, not even for other girls, even though being a 5’7″ elephant on stilts when I’m tromping through DC doesn’t help my self-esteem much. The only appeal of dieting is in somehow becoming more appealing to the people around me, since my size is a source of utter embarrassment and shame (and apparently your size can change depending on what’s going on in your relationship — thanks, honey!) When Mr. Belle came home for the first time in two months, I was petrified that he’d see “healthy sized” me and run right back in the other direction.  I realized once again that I can’t go shopping with him unless it’s in HIS section, since I’m totally ashamed of that size tag on those jeans and that dress, and I’ll do anything to drag him away from my section of the store. (Truth is he doesn’t care, and neither should I.)

He hits the gym two hours a day and is very active all day long, while I watch my ass slowly spreading at my 9-hour-a-day desk job. He recently lost a shit-ton of weight and can show it off any time he likes — I’m proud of him, so why shouldn’t he? But I still hate every picture from the beach and hide under loosely-fitted skirts and layers. And, I might add, he has a long history of obsessing over his diet WAY MORE than any girl I’ve ever met, so controlled eating is not a problem for him. I consider it an accomplishment to order a salad in a restaurant, and then remember that I HATE SALAD.

Lots of people point out that losing weight is easier for men and that maybe they care less about it, but I find that the men in my life care MORE about dieting and exercising than the girls do. But they also are more active about it; instead of complaining about dieting (like I do) they actually diet, they show up at the gym, they lift the damn weights together and touch each others’ muscles (yeah, it’s as awkward as it sounds). Sure, they obsess (if Mr. Belle misses his workout, you can find me hiding somewhere FAR AWAY) but in my limited test group it seems like men get the damn thing done.

So are men just better at this whole weight loss business, or is their obsessing as bad or worse than what the women I know do on a daily basis? Do you obsess about this stuff as much as the rest of your friends, or even our generation? If I remember to show up at the gym, will you have already been there for two hours or are you as far away from it as possible?


2 responses to “Rice is a Vegetable, and It’s Veggie Day

  1. First of all, obviously those girls were not THAT obsessed because if they were they would know that cupcakes have carbs, sugar, and are all kinds of processed which is no good for you. Also they would be pretty familiar with rice as a carb..one of the worst carbs, and also my favorite carb unfortunately. And while we may have had similar conversations, I feel like ours might have been a TAD more knowledgable.

    Now I don’t recall the judgment of the elementary school days. Maybe where I lived the kids were too busy playing and enjoying their youth but nobody was watching what I was eating. I however, was watching closely what all the other girls were eating, wondering how it was possible that the girl who brought soda, twinkies, brownies and a fruit roll up was thinner than me when my mom packed me a peanut butter sandwhich, apple, granola bar and juice. I never understood it and I wish I had known now that I wasn’t fat then. I wasn’t anorexic like the little white blond girls, but I sure as hell was nowhere near fat.

    Middle school was when things started to get catty. At lunch, the girls I sat with would make fun of the girls sitting at the table directly in front of us deemed the ‘roll table’ because from the back all you could see were their rolls. I had some friends at the ‘roll table’ but sadly I didn’t defend them for fear of being associated with the rolls I so convincingly thought I had, and when I look back now I realize, I was actually pretty thin then. I definitely weighed more than most of the girls around me, but at that age I had also been taller than pretty much everyone.

    Now I don’t think that there is a damn thing wrong with being on a diet. I wish everyone would go on a diet because as obsessed as we may be, we still manage to be a country KNOWN for being fat. Obviously its not all in our heads.

    I am at this point, actually seriously trying to be on a diet. Now, i DO suck at it, i will admit because my love of good food overpowers my love for pretty much everything else, but I’m really trying this time. I feel like I’ve hit a point where I’m not just big-boned anymore, I’m beyond normal into the range of overweight and I need to do something about it. Now I know, with my given history of thinking I’m fat when I’m not may leave you feeling skeptical, but then again I never stuck to my diets then. So maybe I subconciously knew I was okay. I don’t really think I’m okay this time, so I’m really going to try and work at it.

    As for men being better at losing weight? Maybe, but it IS true that it’s far easier for them. And a lot of times women can diet and exercise and not see the results that men do, and that can be discouraging. Guys see that the work they’re doing is getting them somewhere and they continue. I can tell you that if I’m watching what I’m eating and exercising, and the needle on the scale isn’t moving, I tend to lose my fire about the whole diet thing. Motivation is a key aspect in this whole dieting business.

    ok im done now…maybe that should have been a whole post but oh well…..i’ll have more to say about diets later….

  2. we always have something to say about diets, don’t we? i guess it’s not the diets that are so bad, it’s peoples’ attitudes about them. being active and physical should be a higher priority, even though that’s ALSO something i don’t do regularly. i really, really, really freaking should!

    in order for the country to change its eating habits we’ll have to change our entire culture and lifestyle, and that takes a helluva long time. hopefully the granola hippie dems can encourage everybody to eat more soy and club fewer baby seals.

    yes, post more! and good luck with your diet. i’ll be supportive, really, just get ready to accept my mockery. it’s all because i’m jealous of your gumption. maybe you can chronicle things here on the blog?

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