Recently, I was out to dinner with a friend when the woman at the table next to us next to told the waiter (very loudly) that her daughter wouldn’t be interested in dessert simply because she had both bread and pasta and “prom season was coming up and she would thank me later.”
So often people are encouraged to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller and to occupy less space in anticipation of the next thing. Whether it be because we want to be “bikini season ready” or want to look good at a friend’s wedding, breaking one’s self down and feeling bad about wanting that extra slice of bread or that delicious chocolate cake is not necessarily the way to do it. We shouldn’t be doing this to ourselves, and we especially shouldn’t do it to those around us. How is making someone feel bad for wanting to eat…while she’s out to dinner…in any way productive? I felt very badly for the girl sitting at the table next to me, as she looked uncomfortable and embarrassed. I was too. I felt bad for the mom too, and for the line of thinking that made her think that she was helping her daughter, when in reality she was potentially tarnishing their line of communication. If you want to shed a couple extra pounds in a way that is healthy and productive because it’ll make yourself feel better, I’m all for it. It’s the expectation that a big event should be coupled with rapid weight loss and the encouragement of peers that is an issue.
When I was prepping for my own prom five years ago (also wow), I remember wanting to lose weight to fit into my dress better. My own mom was encouraging and supportive, but was always quick to remind me that skipping a meal or a crash diet was not going to be the way in which the weight loss was done. She never scoffed or rolled her eyes if I decided to have dessert, or pasta, or both. Instead, she went on walks with me and always had spinach ready when I asked for it. By the time prom came around, I remember feeling great, but that probably had more to do with the supportive people I had lined up around me.
No matter how pure you feel your intentions may be, we do not get a say in how the people in our lives live their own. There should be no “thank me laters” for dismissive, body-shaming comments. Replace this with the idea that you do not have to be lesser or smaller to enjoy your prom or a trip to the beach or anything else for that matter. Self-confidence comes from the inside and while it is a personal endeavor, we can play a part in our peer’s lives to ensure we aren’t affecting this negatively.