Wednesday’s post ended up focusing on whether behavior change should be sweeping or small but I started out discussing the gap that sometimes exists between how we want to be (in my case patient and go with the flow) and how we really are (maybe uptight and rigid is extreme but close enough). Today, I was talking to a client about her plans for the week. She mentioned a luncheon and I asked her certain questions “will there be wine served?” “will there be a set menu or will you choose?” “Do you plan to taste dessert?” and “will you be having bread?” There is no right or wrong answer to these questions but I assess what is it clients wish to eat and then how we achieve a level of satisfaction and weight loss (if that’s a goal). My client’s answer surprised me.
“With this group, I’ll be having bread.” My first thought was this was a bread-eating bunch and in those situations it can be difficult to be breadless. I’m not saying I feel we have to eat how those around us eat; I’m perfectly comfortable eating how I want to eat but then again, the nutritionist is sort of expected to eat well. However, her reasoning didn’t have to do with eating how the others eat. She said, “I don’t want people to think I’ve lost this weight never eating bread.” Aha.
She didn’t want to appear a carb eschewer. The truth is, bread hasn’t figured prominently in her year of wholesome eating. In other sessions, this same person has said that she feels better not eating “the whites”. My first thought was of celebrities who claim to eat everything. They are teeny tiny and are photographed eating plates of pasta or ice cream cones and claim their favorite foods are pizza and French fries. Sure, the “eat everything and don’t gain weight” people exist but it’s a load of baloney that these actresses all sport turbo metabolisms.
Then I thought about my example from Wednesday. I plan every part of a party or get together I host but would love things to appear effortless. There’s a certain appeal to doing things with ease and not coming across compulsive. There’s a degree of smoke and mirrors but there’s more to it. In my case and in my lovely client’s example there’s something else operating. I don’t need to appear like Superwoman and in fact I’m quick to point out my faults. I really don’t want guests or friends to feel I spent too much time or energy and then possibly feel guilty. The bread example is similar. If you are perceived as healthy and successful with weight loss, shunning bread or dessert could imply others should do the same. Then again, as my client concluded, “who are we kidding Lauren, people are much more concerned with themselves than whether I have bread.”
Do you think there’s still a stigma around watching your weight? Is it more acceptable to mention a rigorous exercise regime than a stringent food plan? Why do you think, in different arenas, many of us want results to appear effortless? If at a luncheon, someone skips the bread offered would you notice?