Eating – an un-ladylike habit?



Hi, my name is Leelu and I enjoy food.


It sounds so stupid now, but it took me a long time before I could say that. Actually there was a point in time that I couldn’t even admit to being hungry. Others around me would say they were starving, my stomach would be growling and I would be nearly faint from hunger and when asked if I was hungry I would reply “No”. The truth was I was ashamed to admit I was hungry, I was embarrassed of the fact that I enjoyed food. I thought it was weakness, an addiction. Admitting I was hungry was like confessing my worst sin – at least that’s how it felt to me at the time. Obviously this attitude stemmed from my eating disorder and I was only able to overcome it recently


I am now at a point that I can genuinely enjoy food – and not feel guilty about it. But what does bother me is this sort of taboo that comes with girls eating a lot, or hearty portions. Why do girls feel it’s their duty to have the smallest slice of dessert, or eat less then their male companions (no matter how little those aforementioned men actually eat)?


It’s almost like a socially accepted norm that girls should eat only a little food. Guys can dig in, pig out, whatever you want to call it and no one bats and eyelash. But give a girl a BIG piece of chocolate cake, or a good sized burger and all of a sudden all eyes are on her.

This of course is based on the scientific fact that guys overall need more fuel then women. It’s just how we’re made. But with this rules come exceptions. Should a guy that sits at a desk all day really eat more then a female athlete who trains 3-4 hours a day. The answer is – no! Of course this is a black and white example, but there are all sorts of shades of gray in between.


Everyone’s body is different and has different needs. I’m not propagating “pigging” out here, or stuffing yourself with whatever happens to be around. There’s a balance in everything, and I think eating mindfully and making good health choices is incredibly important. But I don’t think that we should succumb to the pressure to minimize our portions of “real” food and up our portions of salad because it’s the “right thing to do”.


I don’t have anything against big salads or anything, just trying to tackle the stereotypes here.


So go ahead and eat your “man sized” ½ cup of oats if that’s what it takes to fill you up (it does me on some mornings). Have an extra slice of bread, an extra serving of protein, and even occasional seconds on dessert. It does not make you a lesser person. In fact some people will admire you for it.


I had a friend who LOVED food. She wasn’t fat, actually she worked out and was very fit – but she had never fallen into the dieting trap that so many of us are drawn too. She shamelessly ate chocolate like it was her job, had seconds on pizza (and occasionally third) and ALWAYS suggested dessert. And guys LOVED her for it. They thought it was so cool to see a girl who actually ate “a decent amount of food” according to them.


I used to be a little bit like that as well, of course this has changes A LOT with time, but I want to get back to this ideal. I am no longer ashamed to enjoy food. I don’t want to stop myself from eating seconds just because I “should”. I’m learning to be proud of the fact that I can listen to my body and do as it says, and I think you should be too 🙂



(I think I should mention that although I may show little portions of food in the pictures I post , I usually eat seconds, or have random snacks throughout the day etc. I still haven’t really figured out my hunger cues yet and so I’d rather serve myself a little and go back for seconds then end up wasting food. Just putting that out there)


What are your thoughts on the issue?


Any male readers – what do you think of girls that eat real portions of food ?



  1. I think you make a great point with this post! Girls should never be ashamed of their hunger, of eating, of enjoying food! The society make us feel like we are something lesser and like we should feel guilty if we enjoy our dessert or a full plate of our fave dinner. But why should we feel like that? If it is ok for girls to enjoy sports, good movie or good company as much as boys do, it is ok to enjoy a proper meal or even a bigger portion every now and then.

  2. I used to be ashamed of being hungry too. I have a huge appetite and I always felt guilty for it. It seemed like I was getting hungry before everyone else, and I actually got embarrassed about it, or waited for other people to eat before I would.
    Girls have a lot of pressure to eat, but not eat too much, and I think that’s one of the main issues.
    Loved this post.

  3. Again, our society at its finest, huh? I really dislike social stigmas and saying that women need to eat less because that’s generally what is accepted is a bunch of crap. I’d much rather see everyone eating what their body needs than holding back (or even eating more) just because of a gender stereotype. It also makes others feel “guilty” when they eat; am I supposed to feel good about myself when I’m eating a huge meal and dessert and a friend of mine (female or not) is nibbling at something and “isn’t hungry?”

    Why can’t we all just accept food as something more than a symbol of status and how much willpower we have and enjoy it once in a while? Good thought provoking ideas, I really found this something important that should be addressed more often!

  4. I completely get what you mean about this double standard!!! I have a friend who is naturally very thin. Skinny, actually. She eats soooo much food, and most of it is junk. Think 6 cookies at a time, or 2 donuts for breakfast….something like that. My other friend (who’s a male) trys to poke fun at her whenever he sees her eating anything. He likes to jokingly call her a fatty because she eats so much all the time. The thing is, if she were actually overweight, this would be a different story. But her waist naturally looks as small as mine did when I was 15 pounds lighter than I am now. It’s so weird that her body works like that. Anyway, my point was that the guy friend (who is slightly overweight and eats the same kind of crap that she does) thinks it’s ok (even if he’s joking) to call her a fatty or fat-a**, just because she’s the girl and he’s a guy.

  5. Grr, another double standard! This is a great post, by the way. It’s interesting that women nowadays are “expected” to eat less because in the past the thinner girls were often passed over because they weren’t fit to have children. It’s just something that society has put out there for us to follow even though it doesn’t make sense.

  6. I think it’s so sexy when I see girls eating burgers bigger than their faces and they are rather slim. I like to think that I am now one of these girls 😉

  7. i loved this post! this is a social phenomenon that is not very much talked about- but it’s certainly true and i certainly feel the pressure to be ladylike and consume bird-like quantities of food. i also have friends who are amazed by the amount of food i can stomach, but hey i love food and i’m going to enjoy it. i have a couple of friends also who can seriously eat SO much and they are proud of it, and i think that’s AWESOME.

  8. I think there is so much truth in this post. There is definitely a bit of a stigma attached to having a “big” appetite for girls. I find in groups of girls, there is less pretense to live up to a “I should eat a small meal” image. However, the minute boys are introduced, this goes out the window. It feels like a competition…who can eat the most “ladylike” portion. It’s silly really. I mean, we need food too and women shouldn’t feel ashamed to be hungry and replenish their stores properly!

    Like Natalie, I have a few friends that see it as a challenge to eat more than everyone else. It’s great to be around. It makes everyone eat like they should without feeling ashamed.

  9. I completely understand this…I was exactly the same. Hunger meant failure and eating was shameful and embarrassing…’re doing so great and I love your willingness to talk about your struggles. Love xoxo

  10. I really love this post! It is totally true that there is a double standard- girls are expected by guys to have amazing bodies and to pig out like they do- while girls expect other girls to eat less and stay skinny. Between my friends and I, we try to keep portions and eating a noncompetitive thing and we just enjoy it! In front of guys, I’m proud of my love for food and my healthy hunger.

  11. Thank you so so much for this post. This subject is so relevant to me; I feel like it was almost my trigger into anorexia, feeling way too aware of eating normally or feeling like I ate too much or had too much of an interest in food to be acceptable – it was deemed ‘greedy’ and shameful in my eyes and how I perceived people around me to think also. Thank you so much for saying it how it really is: it’s so relieving to see someone write this and then to have it reinforced by so many others. I adore your blog Leelu and think you are just gorgeous person inside and out!

  12. This is the first time I visited your blog and really enjoyed your post here. I’d read more of your blog now but the library is closing very soon. I’ll give my two cents on this topic and read more of your blog when I come back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s