The one question you never ask a woman

You should totally check out her entire photo shoot.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about food, and it’s about time to get back to my favorite topic.

The Stop Fighting Food Master Class I’ve been in (which I highly recommend; do not hesitate to sign up next year when she offers it again) has taught me many things. First, that living in allowance is not about what I eat, it’s about how I feel about what I eat. It’s about not making myself wrong regardless of what I eat. (When I first heard I should live in allowance, I was all, “Yaaay! Bring on the enchiladas and ice cream!” Then I realized that my body really functions best on salad and red meat. Good thing I am trying not to hate my body, or I would’ve been royally pissed about that one.)

Second, I have learned that perhaps I do not have control over my weight. I have only ever been able to control my weight in short bursts. And then, you know, ice cream and enchiladas happened.

Let me say that once more. I do not have control over my weight. That popping sound you’re hearing is probably my mind being blown again.

I understand that fact can be hard to believe because, well CULTURE. (Notice I did not say “science.”) So I highly recommend stories like this and the work of Linda Bacon, including her book Health at Every Size. It is life-changing.

Any hoo, for the sake of the length of this post, let’s assume we all agree on that one. Also, let’s just agree that women are not afraid of fat because of fat itself, they’re afraid of what they make fat mean. I have learned that when I’m having a “fat feeling,” it’s usually caused by insecurity about something else like my job, whether or not people will like me, or about the horrible things that will happen to me if I wear my hair curly in public. (Seriously, that last one happened just a few days ago.) When I’m worried about fat, it’s almost always about something else in my life that I’m trying to control.

Like that one horrible thing

Before Christmas, one of our executives stopped by my office and conspiratorially asked the one single question that you do not ever ask a woman. Ever.

“Are you pregnant?” she said.

Yeah, THAT sound is probably my heart dropping into my larger-than-it-used-to-be stomach. (And not because I’m pregnant, damnit.)

“No,” I said matter-of-factly. “I’ve just gained some weight recently.” (Note that I resisted the urge to make excuses about how I gained some weight learning to be free of food and living in allowance. That’s big.)

“Oh,” she said, looking a bit shocked, “Well you were feeling bad last weekend at the Christmas party, so I thought, you know, maybe. . .”

I quickly flipped through my memories of the Christmas party, and did not remember feeling bad. Also, it’s flu season, so if I HAD felt poorly, there could have been about 5,476 other causes. I’m going to guess this was a poor excuse for a cover-up.

“No,” I said, “If I felt bad, it was probably the result of spending 17 hours out of my weekend up at the office waiting for the Christmas party to be set up,completed, and then taken apart.”

I honestly don’t remember what either of us said after that. She probably mumbled something and got out of my office ASAP. That’s what I would’ve done.

So mommas don’t let your babies grow up to ask women if they’re pregnant

I admit that the whole conversation really threw me for a loop. I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve gained since I don’t get on the scale any more, but I bet it’s no more than 5 pounds or so. I just happen to be graced with genes that instruct my body to store fat around my tummy. (Note to self: in next life, opt for body that stores weight in boobs.)

I felt pretty crappy about the whole thing for a while. Getting dressed was even more judgy and difficult than usual.

Until I remembered that this fat feeling was brought to me by yet another insecurity. Here’s what that insecurity sounds like in my head:
What if the people I work with don’t think I’m young and pretty any more? Then they won’t want to work with me, and I won’t ever get promoted again. They’ll all think I’m lazy and undisciplined, and my career will just end here. No one will share any gossip with me, and then I won’t be able to write good communication any more because I won’t know how people are feeling, and I will end up destitute and alone, in a van down by the river.

It’s amazing how deep that river of insecurity runs

But here’s the thing I really hate: as I realize I don’t have control over my weight, I’m also uncovering all sorts of other things over which I have no control. You know, like pretty much EVERYTHING. I can choose my actions, but I cannot predict their outcomes. And I cannot control what other people think about me. There will always be some people who dislike me no matter what I do and some who like me no matter what I do.

I think I’ll hang out with the ones who like me. Especially if they like ice cream and enchiladas.

So if I get asked if I’m pregnant again, I will chose between 2 options:
1. Send them the “I’m not pregnant” photo shoot above and pretend it’s me
2.Respond with, “No. Why? Are you?!”

Other ideas welcome in the comments. 🙂

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