I am woman: FEED ME

Yesterday I watched a special feature on Good Morning America that focused on a new trend called “The Baby Diet.”

Give. Me. A. Break.

rolling-eyes

It isn’t even the idea of eating bite-sized bits of chicken off a Spongebob plate that bothers me so much. It’s this perpetual idea in our culture that women need to have/be less and less. Be skinnier. Say less. Be quiet. Stay humble. Be “good.” Act meek. Eat less.

Granted, part of this feature did make sense. The woman they were interviewing said that she was up baking sweet potatoes for her infant son when she realized that she needs to give that same care and attention to her own diet. I get that part. I know that many moms put their health to the wayside when they have kids and if that’s what new moms take from the piece, then great. This mom in particular seemed extremely successful and I wish her nothing but the best, considering she clearly used this way to get a handle on how to eat healthier. But what I took from it is “my plate should look just like my baby’s, just with slightly bigger portions.”

I’m not blaming this particular woman for her baby food habit. Live your life. Maybe those portions do it for her and that half a sweet potato and plain grilled chicken taste great. But I hate that there were probably thousands of impressionable, young or desperate women watching TV now who are going to latch onto this trend and when it doesn’t work or doesn’t last (because that habit isn’t sustainable forever) they’ll be crushed and back to square one of frustration.

I am tired of a culture where women are constantly looking for the next “trick” to lose “that last five pounds.” What on earth is the point? I hate that this tricky, difficult subject was spotlighted with a two minute clip that couldn’t possibly do it enough justice. Weight loss and body acceptance are issues that have plagued us women since we realized in seventh grade that our bodies were made to be scrutinized. So why do we even bother sharing these fads on the news? What good could they possibly do besides confuse people even more?

We tell women they need to exercise more. This, in turn, revs up our appetites. But then, we’re supposed to just slightly jack up the portion sizes that we feed our babies? And then we’re left hungry at midnight and don’t know what’s going on? Which is it — small portions or big workouts?

WHY WOULD A GROWN WOMAN HAVE THE SAME DIET AS AN INFANT? OR EVEN REMOTELY SIMILAR? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds. A baby’s weight hovers between, what, 5-20 pounds in the first year? I guarantee women aren’t jacking up the portions proportionately for that difference in weight and activity. There are only so many steamed peas you can add to that Spongebob plate.

A baby can eat plain food — grilled chicken, mashed carrots, Cheerios and maybe some corn if we’re really going to go crazy. Grown women deserve sriracha on their egg sandwiches, pesto on their turkey paninis, peanut butter in their smoothies and pine nuts on their arugula salads. We are women and we have palates and appetites that deserve to be fed.

I’m so tired of this. Eat real food. As much as you need to feel satisfied. Then exercise. That’s it.

Thanks--so-fun-game-youve-eaten-more-baby-food-than-your-own-tot

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50 comments

  1. You’re amazing!! I love how passionate you are about the subjects you write about!! I definitely love my food flavorful, too and totally believe that women should eat foods that make them feel good/happy!! It’s definitely about portioning, but baby portions? Hmmm… 😦 You said it perfectly!!! You’re amazing!!! XOXO

  2. I saw that feature on GMA and thought ‘hmmm….that’s interesting’. I wish everyone would realize that trendy diets typically don’t work. I get what that woman was saying, but now I feel like woman are going to start eating like birds/mice/infants because of it.

    1. It wasn’t THAT bad but the more I thought about it the more it left a bad taste in my mouth. The baseline idea isn’t bad but it was too quick a feature to really explain that that kind of diet isn’t sustainable forever and/or with a tough workout routine. It’s the overall idea that in order to be happy, we should somehow be/eat/do “less” of something.

  3. I loved this. I see so many trends and diets that seem completely designed to make women feel inferior for actually taking up space in the world. It’s so so so frustrating. That and baby food sounds gross.

  4. That’s so ridicuous! One of my pet peeves is that we are always telling women to eat on smaller plates. Where is all my food supposed to go? Lol.

  5. I usually watch Good Morning America but definitely missed that topic. That is so ridiculous that your baby and yourself are suppose to eat the same way. I agree, eat until you are satisfied and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. We on the other hand burn it off, unlike babbies.

    1. Yup – I get the idea but like I said I doubt women are proportionately changing the serving sizes to actually feed themselves well. At least it didn’t look like it from the plates they were showing on that feature. It just looked like double the amount the baby ate which is still not enough food!!

  6. Yeah the whole dieting thing always kind of peeves me. It’s can be pretty damaging and it’s not even an effective plan. Im going to assume you mean baby food diet in terms of eating delicious baby foods as snacks because then I am all over it. Those things are delicious.

  7. I think this is really interesting. Does America have problem with being overweight? Abso-freakin-lutely. The average height of an American woman is 5’4″. If the average weight of an American woman is 166 pounds, that means the average American woman has a BMI of 28.5, which puts her on the upper end of the “overweight” category. If she wants to have a normal, healthy weight, she DOES need to lose like 20 pounds, and she could lose up to 58 pounds and still be considered healthy by the National Institute of Health’s standards (which, for a 5’4″ woman, has you at a healthy BMI if you weigh between 108 and 145 pounds). So, the root message of this segment–here’s a way to lose weight in order to live a healthier life–is likely relevant to a wide audience. The problem, however, aside from the approach, perhaps–diets and the diet mentality are rarely, if ever, sustainable over the long term–comes when we hijack that message and change it from “You need to lose weight in order to be healthy,” and make it, “You need to lose weight in order to be beautiful or desirable.” That’s a much more destructive mindset to operate from than one aiming for health and wellness.

    (I also do think it’s worth noting that the eat real food and exercise plan, while sustainable and probably the most ideal way to improve one’s health, can be much, much more challenging for those without means–those who don’t have access to anything but a corner store, those who don’t live in areas where it’s safe to go for a run, those who don’t have the disposable income to spend on a gym membership, or even on transportation to a place where they could exercise outside safely or could buy real food. Granted, those without means are also probably not the ones watching GMA and adopting the baby diet as a result.)

    1. Very interesting points! It seems like whenever we talk about women + eating we ALWAYS leave out the exercise component. Women+food=dieting, in most media portrayals of the issue. I just know that if I weren’t knee-deep in the fitness world like I am I would be so, so confused at what it takes to be healthy because of this disproportionate amount of information all about dieting and the “secrets” to losing weight.

      In terms of financial disparity and how that affects people’s diets — I completely agree. I was reading up on food deserts awhile back and was left open-mouthed and in awe of how places like that exist. That is a WHOLE other issue worth getting in to — but I can guarantee that none of those struggling people are the ones getting up at 5am to steam sweet potatoes for their babies either haha. The safety issue that you brought up also is also really thought-provoking. Sometimes I think about how easily I am able to work out but that people less than 20 miles south of me have to worry about gunfire. It’s unbelievable.

  8. I think that women care too much about how they look. I feel some just want the easy way out instead of eating healthier and exercising. I am a mother and I seriously would never eat what my kids would eat as babies, it has no flavor and the food is just bland. Of course now I feed them real food ha ha. I myself want to loose those extra pounds that I have but I am not going to do no diet, I don’t like diets and never kept up with one. I just have to get my lazy butt up and exercise, but in the meantime I will just keep on eating real, savory food. I love food and I seriously have an issue giving it up :).

  9. These whole “do this and then be a super model” diet trends make me very rage-facey. I think it’s popular because people want to use it to bandaid the issue that 1) they’re lacking the knowlege and 2) don’t want to put in the work because it really IS work. But, to be honest, it’s also work to be unhealthy, too.

    1. No matter what the issue is, people always want to band-aid it! No one wants to take the time to really get to the bottom of anything. It’s a delicate subject, I know, but I think we can all agree that there is no magic trick for a healthy lifestyle.

  10. That is so crazy! I don’t understand it either, but you are so right about this habit not being sustainable! And it leads to just smashing your face with everything in the fridge and then you end up gaining more weight! Such a vicious cycle it is!

  11. Preach girl!! I haven’t heard of this story but I know exactly what you mean… I feel so sad when I hear/see women that are so consumed by what they should and shouldn’t eat and all of the fads out there. I think it’s all about moderation and finding a balance – I think the 80/20 rule. I know first hand, life is so much better when you just focus on eating real food and feeling healthy and strong – not just obsessing with the idea of being thin.

    1. I just don’t understand why, when we talk about women, it’s always about “how much are you eating?” it’s never about fitness or exercise or what we’re eating, but it’s “how can I figure out how to eat less and less?” 80/20 rule is complicated, sure, but it’s better than sticking to a goal of eating like your baby!

    1. I get that it’s not that simple for some people but I think that if we’re going to show people snippets like EAT BABY FOOD, LOSE WEIGHT, we can just as easily make a blanket statement like EAT FOOD, EXERCISE, ENJOY YOUR LIFE. It might be tricky but at least it’s not a harmful mantra to have!

  12. You make some really good points here. I have seen tons of friends and patients go on crash diets that aren’t good for them and ultimately cause more harm than good (AKA the gatorade diet when I was in highschool). I can’t say it enough….a healthy lifestyle is better than a diet and ultimately if you need to lose weight a healthy lifestyle with achieve and maintain that.
    The Doctor Diva

  13. I can’t even say out loud the thoughts that came to my head while reading this. This is literally the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I don’t understand why there are still these crazy diets out there when all people have to do is eat healthyish and in moderation and exercise. It’s not rocket science!!

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