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Rubystars 01-08-2012 06:09 AM

Eating in front of people
 
Do any of you have any issues with regards to eating in front of other people? I'm very self conscious about this and don't want anyone to see me actually taking a bite of food or raising food to my mouth or even holding food if I can avoid it (Especially if it might be perceived by others as an unhealthy food).

I've seen videos on youtube that make fun of fat people, and it will show them eating things like pies or ice cream or whatever. It's supposed to be a comedy thing "Oh look the fat chick is stuffing her face". These are of course quite viscious and cruel videos that I don't personally find to be funny in any way, but they are out there and some people do laugh at them. After I saw videos like this, first on tv and then online later, I've been uncomfortable with anyone seeing me eat.

I'm afraid that when they see me put any food in my mouth, their mind automatically makes the connection "Oh look the fat chick is stuffing her fat face". Even if they don't intend to be judgmental, I'm afraid they're looking at me and that thought runs through their head, even momentarily. Especially if what I'm eating might not be perceived as health food (even if it's low calorie).

If you see a fat person eating ice cream or say, a restaurant meal, does that thought ever run through your head?

I can eat in social situations or in public if I have to, but I prefer not to for this reason. I almost feel like it's a bodily function that should be kept private like other bodily functions (necessary for health, but not something to be done in public).

Maybe I'll feel better about it when I'm at my goal weight, because people will just see "Oh there's a woman having lunch" rather than "There's a fat cow stuffing her fat face".

frenchhen3 01-08-2012 06:14 PM

What a topic! I did and still do have issues with this. Even when I go to a restaurant with a friend, and because I am trying to eat as healthy as possible and end up only ordering a poached egg with dry rye toast and a side of fruit at most restaurants, the looks still come and the comments are still made. Now it is, "You are only eating THAT?"

I've come to learn that regardless of my size and what I order, or what I eat, people will comment. I think it is pretty common nature. I just watch my manners, make sure I don't do something to attract attention to what it is that I am eating. I think the rules hold no matter what our size. And is it more of an instinct that we are curious about what other people eat?

Hmmm this is a good pondering topic. My dogs, both eat the same thing, but always sniff the others bowl and lick the bottom of each others dish. hmmmm...

Rubystars 01-08-2012 06:30 PM

I wouldn't mind if people thought I wasn't eating enough really. In this society it seems like anorexia is more socially acceptable than being even one pound overweight.

This is really sad, because nobody should feel like they have to abuse their bodies with starvation in order to be accepted.

I make sure I eat at least 1200 every day to stay healthy and usually more, but I don't want anyone to see me eating.

For example sometimes I like to have a Blue Bunny fudgesicle (35 calories). This doesn't break the calorie bank and is a much healthier alternative to say, a nutty, chocolate drenched drumstick or bowl of high calorie ice cream.

However someone looking at me and not knowing this would only see a fat woman eating ice cream and would judge me harshly for it, even thinking things like "She can't control herself, look how fat she is and she's stuffing her face with ice cream".

Maybe it is animal instinct to be nosy about what other people are eating, but these kinds of things can really be hurtful when you know someone is judging you, especially if they give you a disapproving look or just plain look at you like you disgust them. This hasn't happened very much but I have to wonder if someone is THINKING those things if they were to see me eat one of those. That in itself is demoralizing.

cjohnson728 01-08-2012 06:38 PM

I have felt that way in the past; I think it does come from comments, or expectations of comments, etc. I was a picky eater as a child and people would remark about some of the ways I ordered food/ate food, etc. Then during periods of dieting, people would comment about me not eating enough; even when they didn't, I would feel like they were thinking it. I was very, very self-conscious about eating in front of others, to the extent I would avoid it as much as I could among non-family members. For some reason I don't feel that way now. I think maybe it has to do with my emotional relationship with food and maybe being in a better place, or knowing that I'm doing what's right for my body.

However, I admit that I do tend to be a food voyeur. I look at what people eat (I don't think I watch them eat, but I look at what's on the plate), what's in the shopping cart, etc. I like to talk about food, cook food, try new recipes, and so on. I can't say I have the thought of "look at what that fat chick is eating;" when I see a plate piled high with fried frying oil fried with fried sugar, I usually think about the diet of Americans in general, about food scientists and manufacturers and restaurants that all buy into the culture to promote people to be "addicted" to unhealthy food, about how it is about stripping down nutrients and making it cheaper but less healthy, and about the things I used to eat all the time that were equally unhealthy. I guess what I do is focus on the food more than the person. I am fascinated with the psychology of eating and I've read a number of books on it, so I think that's the direction my mind takes. Sometimes I find myself thinking how easy it is to slip back into that, sort of a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of thought.

This reminds me of a question that came up a while back about what people do when they see a very overweight person exercising. Do you think, "Wow, look at that fat person trying to jog?" I think the general consensus was (IIRC and I'm basing on my own experience here too) is that you think, "More power to ya, dude."

Edit: I had one more thought in response to Rubystars' last post. It comes down to the basic fact that we cannot control what other people say, do, and think, or how they look at you (much the same as we can't control the fact that delicious tempting foods are out there, that people will bring goodies to work, or that society glamorizes thinness over health). You can only control what you do, how you feel about things, and what response you choose to have. In many cases, the person may not even be thinking about you at all; they might be thinking, oh, that fudgsicle looks good; I wonder what kind it is? If someone gives you a dirty look, you can give them one right back, choose to let it go, choose to walk away, or choose to think that they're a person with a miserable attitude. At that point, it's their problem, for being an ugly person. When you let it dictate what you do or feel, it becomes your problem, and who needs more problems?

sksan 01-08-2012 10:49 PM

Before you go out have 4 cups of warm water and just keep ordering tall glasses of water all the time. This will fill you up so much that you wont want to eat as much as you usually do

Rubystars 01-09-2012 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjohnson728 (Post 67590)
I have felt that way in the past; I think it does come from comments, or expectations of comments, etc. I was a picky eater as a child and people would remark about some of the ways I ordered food/ate food, etc. Then during periods of dieting, people would comment about me not eating enough; even when they didn't, I would feel like they were thinking it. I was very, very self-conscious about eating in front of others, to the extent I would avoid it as much as I could among non-family members. For some reason I don't feel that way now. I think maybe it has to do with my emotional relationship with food and maybe being in a better place, or knowing that I'm doing what's right for my body.

That's good that you don't worry about it so much.

Quote:

However, I admit that I do tend to be a food voyeur. I look at what people eat (I don't think I watch them eat, but I look at what's on the plate), what's in the shopping cart, etc. I like to talk about food, cook food, try new recipes, and so on. I can't say I have the thought of "look at what that fat chick is eating;" when I see a plate piled high with fried frying oil fried with fried sugar, I usually think about the diet of Americans in general, about food scientists and manufacturers and restaurants that all buy into the culture to promote people to be "addicted" to unhealthy food, about how it is about stripping down nutrients and making it cheaper but less healthy, and about the things I used to eat all the time that were equally unhealthy. I guess what I do is focus on the food more than the person.
A lot of people aren't like that though. They are wanting a way to feel better about themselves I suppose, and they find something in someone else they can make fun of. Someone in my family who had a big pot belly pointed to someone else one day and said to me "Look how fat they are, wow!" And I told them "You realize you're big too" and he looked at me and denied it, and got defensive.

Quote:

I am fascinated with the psychology of eating and I've read a number of books on it, so I think that's the direction my mind takes. Sometimes I find myself thinking how easy it is to slip back into that, sort of a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of thought.
Right but in a way wouldn't this be terribly embarassing for the person if they knew you were thinking that about THEM? Sort of like when someone says "It takes all kinds", you don't want to be the person being targeted by that phrase.

Quote:

This reminds me of a question that came up a while back about what people do when they see a very overweight person exercising. Do you think, "Wow, look at that fat person trying to jog?" I think the general consensus was (IIRC and I'm basing on my own experience here too) is that you think, "More power to ya, dude."
People on a diet board would think that. I think a lot of thin people would be thinking "Wow look at that fat jiggling, that person is disgusting" or "They'd better exercise, teehee". Look at the comments on any of the "Star Wars Kid" videos.

Quote:

Edit: I had one more thought in response to Rubystars' last post. It comes down to the basic fact that we cannot control what other people say, do, and think, or how they look at you (much the same as we can't control the fact that delicious tempting foods are out there, that people will bring goodies to work, or that society glamorizes thinness over health). You can only control what you do, how you feel about things, and what response you choose to have.
That's easy to say but not so easy to change the feelings that come with it.

Quote:

In many cases, the person may not even be thinking about you at all; they might be thinking, oh, that fudgsicle looks good; I wonder what kind it is? If someone gives you a dirty look, you can give them one right back, choose to let it go, choose to walk away, or choose to think that they're a person with a miserable attitude. At that point, it's their problem, for being an ugly person. When you let it dictate what you do or feel, it becomes your problem, and who needs more problems?
I think the thing is you want to avoid the apperance of doing things that imply a lack of control. Some stranger doesn't know that you budgeted in the calories for your meal or that you're eating a low calorie version of whatever, they just see a fat person "pigging out".

Just like if you walked down the street at night in a skimpy outfit, even if you were completely pure, don't be surprised if someone mistakes you for a certain profession.

It's not that I care so much what other people think but that I have enough care for myself not to want to make myself look like an object of ridicule.

Another thing to consider is that there's a possibility if you eat in public that it could be put up on youtube by someone watching you, with the proliferation of phone cameras and the large number of immature people out there who would enjoy that kind of thing.

Rubystars 01-09-2012 11:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sksan (Post 67621)
Before you go out have 4 cups of warm water and just keep ordering tall glasses of water all the time. This will fill you up so much that you wont want to eat as much as you usually do

It's not even necessarily how much someone eats in public, but if they eat in public at all someone could take a video of it and put it up on youtube. Sometimes I don't like the idea of going downtown because every once in a while, the local news channels do these stories on "Obesity in America" and they take pictures of random people's butts and tummies when they walk. Granted they don't show the people's faces, but still who wants to see their butt on the evening news as a public example of "Obesity in America"? Wouldn't that just be completely mortifying?

fit4luv 01-14-2012 02:13 AM

I totally understand the uncomfortable feeling of eating out in public. In fact, I feel uncomfortable eating with extended family. This is an aspect that I'm working on. That is, to be comfortable as to who I am as a person.

And no .. I do not want to end up on the news as a statistic of obesity. Truly a motivator for me to become fit!

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels unease in eating out in public.

Rubystars 01-15-2012 02:39 PM

Thanks fit4luv. I hope we can all work toward our goals here.

One of the things that's really hurtful and what I was trying to get at through this thread was that most people who have never been fat really don't understand it.

When I was of normal size I used to think that to get fat people had to gorge themselves on food and never exercise. I didn't realize eating three normal sized meals a day and a couple of snacks could supersize you, but it can, if the right foods aren't chosen. The problem is it's the unhealthy foods that are often convenient, inexpensive, and perceived as being more tasty.

Thin people think that fat people just sit around and gorge on cookies and ice cream all day. The truth is that you don't even have to overeat to get overfat.

It's all about choosing the right foods, which isn't always inexpensive or convenient, and you may have to acquire tastes for some healthy foods. In the long run though you save so much more from both doctor bills you won't have plus just having a better quality of life if you eat more healthily.

Thin people see fat people and say we're disgusting, lazy, ugly, etc. My sister used to hit me on the arm and say "That doesn't hurt, you're too fat for it to hurt". Now she's a little chubby herself and having to watch what she eats, so she has a much better attitude.

Nevertheless it hurts to know so many people will look at us and judge us simply based on our weight. We're human beings at any size.


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