I had just joined Ignite Social Media in January 2015. I was “the new girl.”
I remember coming back from lunch on a day I felt slightly “off” with Bojangles in hand & my large diet mountain dew (yes, I’m that girl). Before I could fully get situated at my desk, I hear:
OMG! You got Bojangles!
I look up to a teammate, who sits half way across the office from me, staring at me with big eyes and possibly drool hanging from her mouth.
Everyone in the office was staring at me at this point. I could feel myself getting red. My body temperature was rising and the sweat started pouring from my fingers.
Please don’t judge me…I had a weak moment!
[REALLY CARRIE? That’s all you could think to say?]
My manager – Meghan – looked at me (along with the rest of the office) and said:
Oh no! We don’t food shame here!
I sighed a breath of relief.
Wow. I had worked in a PR agency for 8 years and we never even thought about bringing a french fry into the workplace, let alone allow others to actually see us eat a french fry.
These girls were REAL. And they made me feel OKAY about enjoying my Bojangles. They accepted me – food choices and all – and that was a pretty cool thing.
What an amazing gift they gave me that day. And I can bet a million dollars they don’t even know it (they will now!).
Fast forward to today.
I was talking candidly with one of my best girlfriends in the office about the biggest problem with social media: it’s a highlight reel — a perfectly painted picture of the best moments in a person’s life.
And I admitted out loud to her that I had experienced this just the night before. A girlfriend of mine had texted me, saying:
Carrie — I want eat as healthy as you do. You’re so healthy all the time!
I stopped and thought to myself — she must be talking about the post-workout protein bars or carb-less lunches I purposefully “snap” (Snapchat for those who don’t know) on any given day.
I had become THAT girl. The girl who shares pictures of her food and creates this unrealistic picture of her diet.
Because let’s be real, if I ate as little of carbs as I snap & workout as much as it looks like, I’d have a Victoria’s Secret model body. And clearly, that’s not the case!
So, obviously, I’m eating food and engaging in activities in between those snaps that maybe aren’t so healthy. Namely: WINE, french fries, Sunday Brunch, mimosa’s, tailgating, you name it.
I live life in between [we all do].
But you don’t see those indulgences, do you? (Well, sometimes ;))
So, guess what I did?
I snapped her a picture of my current vegetative state (at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night):
Laying in my bed with two HUGE bags of chocolate — one of mini Kit Kat’s and the other of peanut butter M&M’s (the bomb diggity). The caption was: THIS IS REAL LIFE. This is actually what I’m eating.
On a side note — damn PMS. The chocolate got me again.
But, she appreciated my honesty. And then asked me if she could have some herself.
In that moment, I vowed never to:
Take another Instagram picture, snapchat story or video of ANY OF MY MEALS.
And if I do, I will be sure to put the good, bad & the ugly on display for all to see.
There’s enough judgement, comparison, jealousy, you name it in this world. Believe it or not, posting a highlighted, unrealistic #foodporn photo can be the deciding factor between whether or not a viewer of your photo eats dinner that night.
We all want to look fitter, skinnier and better than the girl beside us. These food pictures make us second guess ourselves & our bodies. They strip us of our self confidence & sometimes, our happiness.
The next time you see a girl post a picture of her food — skip right over it and repeat to yourself:
THAT’S NOT REAL LIFE.
Also tell yourself, she probably ate a donut for dessert anyway;)
Emily Rosen — aka my hero — is the director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and has struggled with her own food demons most of her life (I can relate to this). She says it best in this video:
Join the movement with me. Vow to stop posting food pictures (unless you are showing the full, real picture) and to keep this message alive.
It’s important that young (and old) women everywhere hear it.
THANK YOU. xoxo,