Thanks to the growing number of celebrities who claim they eat gobs of rich, calorie-laden food, yet mysteriously remain paper-thin, a new eating disorder has evolved. It’s called liarexics — a term that the Daily Mail describes as women who order huge portions of food when out with others, but dramatically restrict their portions in private.
Fearful of appearing to be too hung up on eating, actresses who maintain size six figures are desperate to prove how “healthy” (or, in other words, large) their appetites are. Gwyneth Paltrow, 38, but with the lithe body of a 16-year-old, claims to “adore” fried foods and pizza; Drew Barrymore reportedly “loves” macaroni cheese; and just the other week Gordon Ramsay claimed Victoria Beckham “eats like a horse”.
The Daily Mail surmises that many A-listers even go so far as to ensure they are regularly photographed forking up giant helpings of pasta, junk food and desserts — activity described by some as ‘DIPE’ (Documented Instance of Public Eating).”
As if it’s not enough that we have to look ultra slim, toned and cellulite-free — even after just giving birth (thank you, Rachel Zoe), we now have to look like we do so without trying. We have to show others that we have healthy appetites, healthy bodies and healthy relationships with food because ordering a small salad at a girls’ night out simply won’t do. In fact, a move like that can often lead to more speculation and stress from your tablemates about why you’re not eating much than if you just ordered a plate piled high with fried chicken, biscuits and gravy (then at least they would judge you behind your back instead of to your face).
I can relate. I have always had a slim figure (thanks, in part, to good genes), but I also maintain a careful watch on what I eat. Not necessarily for the calories, but more so for health and nutrition reasons. I just know I feel better when I eat well.
Just last week in fact, I was eating dinner at my mom’s. Growing up, I guess I never realized it, but she serves a lot of rich foods. Before I knew it, she had my plated loaded with some kind of chicken slathered in a white alfredo sauce (even though I am a vegetarian, which she conveniently “forgets” whenever I am there because she thinks it’s odd), potatoes au gratin (made with whole milk and cheese, I’m guessing), white dinner rolls and a corn casserole held together with sour cream. Um, where are the baby spinach leaves and tofu, I wondered. Not really, because I know by now that my mother would never serve these things, let alone know where to find them in the grocery store. Regardless, when I proceeded to eat what I could (minus the chicken), I was pressured to eat more. “You’re too thin, Deb,” she lectured. “You need to eat more.”
Beyond these monthly family gatherings, friends have also made similar remarks when I don’t consume everything on my plate. “Aren’t you hungry?” “Don’t you like it?” “How can you leave those last two bites of cake on your plate?” Well, it’s because I have always stopped eating when I feel full. Not to control calories, but because this is when my body says enough. I have learned, like many of you, that the over-stuffed Thanksgiving Day gluttony is simply not worth the hours of bloating and misery that follow. So, I stop when I’m done and I never feel deprived. Although, according to some, it’s others who can wind up feeling deprived instead:
“Women can be critical of friends’ food choices,” psycho-therapist, Rachel Morris, told the Daily Mail. “If you’re overweight and trying to lose weight people will reassure you, but if you’re slim, other women often feel judged if you refuse food — as if you’re highlighting their own lack of control.”
I have become good at ignoring others and continue to eat what feels good to me and my body. Not to get all female-empowerment-rah-rah on you, but I believe the world would be a healthier — and slimmer — place if more women felt like they could do the same without judgment.