Do You Feel Pressure To Be Thin At Your Job?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on January 27, 2010

Today’s lunch was bright and cheery- a tropical getaway if you will! :mrgreen:


I had a yellow pepper with freshly ground pepper and black bean dip on the side. (Sorry, I just realized how unappetizing that bean dip looks- LOL).

I continued my tater addiction with mashed potatoes! I made these a couple nights ago and they include almond milk, garlic, sea salt, and vegan margarine. I heated them up with a pat of vegan margarine and parsley flakes.

Two words: COMFORT FOOD.


With an Amy’s Texas veggie burger, a high protein pita, Fontaine Santa hummus, salsa, and tomato paste. I like Amy’s burgers, but I really need to make more of the In A Jiffy Spelt Veggie Burgers. They are much, much tastier (and cheaper).


Dessert was a WRINKLY peach! It was now or never so I took one for the team…and ate it wrinkles and all. ;) It did look more ‘distinguished’ I must admit. :mrgreen:


Two exciting things:

1) Michael Pollan + Alicia Silverstone + Food Inc + Whole Foods on Oprah today. Loved it. Anyone else catch it? I thought it was funny how careful Oprah was about everything she said. I must have heard the line, ‘This is only my opinion, you must make the choice for yourself.’ a million times. I guess she is avoiding another lawsuit…

2) 5:30pm and still light out. Can I hear a woot woot for Spring on its’ way??

Do You Feel Pressured To Be Thin At Your Job?

This week I was chatting with a reader who is in school to become a Registered Dietitian. She told me that there is a lot of competition among the RD students at her school. Of course there is competition over grades, but she told me there is also competition over weight and appearance.

Because the focus of the program is so health oriented and it is so competitive to get internships, there is a lot of pressure to appear as that perfect picture of health. You know the saying: practice what you preach.

I instantly thought about my previous jobs and whether I have felt any pressure to maintain a low weight. Most of them were office jobs, so there wasn’t much pressure there. However, I worked in retail for many years and had to wear the store’s clothing. At times, I remember wanting to look thin in the clothing so I could represent it well to potential buyers. However, I never felt pressure from my boss. It was internal pressure I placed on myself.

With my current job, owning a bakery, I don’t really feel much pressure about my weight because baker’s tend to have the stereotype of being heavy. However, owning a healthy bakery, I do think it is important to show that a healthy weight can be maintained with balance and moderation. It is not about being thin as it is just overall healthy though.

Then there is my OSG gig. Given my past eating disorder, I had to think very long and carefully about how I wanted to approach my blog. I knew immediately that it might not be healthy for me to be a 3x a day food blogger just due to the sensitivity I have around it all. It works great for many people, but I had to chose the right path for myself. I decided to blog about a variety of topics that I am passionate about, throw some hot topics and recipes in there, and try to have a nice balance for myself. This approach has worked for me because I have not felt overly scrutinized or pressured to live up to some ideal. I just try to be healthy for myself and not think too much about what other people think or expect of me.

Whether I had OSG or not, I would still want to maintain my weight and be a healthy person, so the blog really doesn’t change anything. At times I have fallen into the comparison trap, like many of us do, but I just try my best to work with what I have and never expect perfection from myself because it does not exist. [For a great discussion see Part 1 and Part 2 on Social Comparison Trap.]

So that was my long-winded way of leading into today’s question…

Do you or have you ever had a job (or school career) where you felt the pressure to be thin? What is it/was it and why do you feel that way? Are there things that you do to reduce the pressure?

You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is. ~Ellen

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) January 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I definitely feel pressure to be thin at my school. Not only thin, but perfect. We have a term here called ‘effortless perfection,’ where everyone feels like not only do they need to be perfect, they need to make it look effortless.

Whenever I leave school I realize how skewed my thinking is when I am here and how I cannot wait to return to the real world.

I don’t have cable here so I couldn’t see Oprah! I’m hoping she posts it online.

Can’t wait to photograph dinner in the LIIIIGHT!


skinnyrunner January 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

as always, love your healthy, balanced approach and attitude!


Casey Leigh January 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Hi Angela!

Love your blog, btw.

I’ve never had a job that made me feel pressured to be thin. But I do work for a small privately owned fitness company called T-Tapp. My boss created her own workout and we sell DVDs, skin care and nutritional products.

Being in the fitness industry for business makes me want to look good so I can show our customers that the program DOES work if you actually do it. Although we don’t focus on being tiny – it’s more about feeling and looking good at your size, losing inches and being healthy – I prefer to stay fit and keep up with my workouts. I wouldn’t feel right working here and NOT using the products or doing the exercise program. It only makes sense to believe in the products that you sell, which I do very much believe in. I guess you could say that I practice what I preach!

Have a beautiful day!


[email protected] January 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Luckily I have never felt pressured to be thin at work! I think I definitely did in college, but one of the great things about aging is more confidence!


Leah @ L4L January 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I feel some pressure in my retail job but like you, it’s self-imposed. I feel no pressure at all in my office jobs or past office jobs. Or any of my jobs for that matter! I do feel a little pressure from my blog but frankly, that’s kind of why I started it – to hold myself accountable, to have a checks and balances system, to not let myself go.


Cynthia (It All Changes) January 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I never felt pressure to be thin at any of my jobs but now I kind of feel pressure to be thin because all my friends see me as this thin healthy person. But I eat the way I want and enjoy it.

I hear you on the 3x a day food blog. Besides being boring with my food choices I also would feel pressure to always eat healthy and start hiding the things I eat that aren’t in line.


Lizzie January 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

Cynthia thank you for articulating what I feel like!!!


Hangry Pants January 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I agree! I don’t feel pressure to be thin as a teacher, but I do feel a little pressure because my friends and family view me as healthy. I guess this also makes me feel pressured to make healthy food choices. Well actually, I think I’ve gotten over the food selection part. :)

Also, I would say I feel pressure as a healthy food blogger to be thin and I was kind of scared when I put on some weight this fall. But then I realized we are all human. I am certainly not perfect. Great post Ang!


Hallie January 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

What an interesting question! I think I do feel a little pressure to look a certain way, because I do public relations and so sometimes I have to be on TV. I just did a live TV show yesterday and the reporter called me the “spokeswoman” for my work, which I guess I am, but I feel like I should look attractive and polished in order to represent this classy place. The pressure to be thin though, is pressure I put on myself…I don’t want to watch myself on TV and think, ugh I look fat (or pale but that’s another story)


Megan January 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I’ve only recently discovered your blog and I love it!

I am a teacher and work with a lot of females. I don’t feel pressured to be thin, but I do feel that weight is scrutinized. Being an avid runner and also a vegan, I would consider myself pretty healthy! However, I’m on the naturally thin side anyways and I get a lot of ‘what DO you eat?’ if I politely refuse a donut in the lounge or ‘you run too much’ or ‘you must not be eating enough’. It is frustrating, and in my opinion, definitely uncalled for! It can be uncomfortable to deal with. When did eating healthy and exercising turn into ‘something must be wrong with you’!?


Katherine January 27, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Megan–I totally hear you on that! I am a vegetarian and try to always eat healthfully. If I turn down a free bagel at work because I’ve already eaten breakfast at home, people are so weirded out. If I turn down a slice of birthday cake or a cookie, people think I’m nuts. I absolutely hate when people ask “well then what DO you eat?” as though hamburgers and steaks are the only foods on earth. I welcome my co-worker’s interest in my eating habits, and there are a few people who are genuinely interested in my advice so they can eat more healthfully, but there is always someone who takes a judgmental tone and it drives me crazy. You’re right-it’s definitely frustrating and uncalled for.

Angela- I admire your ability to handle people’s questions regarding the way you eat. Often, questions come off sounding rude and accusatory, and you always manage to handle them all with such grace:) After 12 years of vegetarianism, I still get defensive sometimes!!


Stacy January 27, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I’m totally with you guys on this also – its INFURIATING. I work with three other people who eat crap and drink coffee all day and think I’m nuts for having a green smoothie for breakfast and salad for lunch – yet they are constantly battling weight issues, health issues, illnesses, moodiness…Finally after two years they now leave me alone – but this is after many times where I ate bad food just to get them to leave me alone…and I paid for it (eating the crap)…


bec January 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I am still at student but as a varsity coxwain in my undergrad there was definitely pressure to be a certain weight and at my summer job as a bar cart girl at a golf club there is pressure to look good so you get better shifts


Amy Reinink January 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Wow. As a former newspaper reporter/current freelance writer, it never occurred to me that the workplace could be a source of pressure to be thin. Interesting and thought-provoking topic — made me glad I’ve never had to worry about it!


Coley January 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I can COMPLETELY relate to this topic. I just graduated in December with a dietetics degree (not registered yet) and often felt the pressure to look perfect. By the end of my second year, I almost left and choose another degree, because the pressure was so great. Eventually, I realized that I put this pressure on myself, it wasn’t something anyone else was doing.

Being a nutrition student and future dietetian adds a lot of pressure to look a certain way, but we are just like anyone else. I found that I purposely started eating badly when with friends and family, because they always looked at me like this perfect person. I wanted people to know that I was just like them and could eat cookies, ice cream and pizza. So, even if I didn’t want to, I would eat it so I felt more “normal”.

I soon realized that this was rediculous and that I should eat how I want and not how I feel others want me too. There is a lot of jealously with women, but I can’t let that affect me. I enjoy eating a healthy diet and working out most days of the week.

I think the pressure we feel from outsiders is usually just something we make up in our heads. In my situation, I soon realized that all of us students shared a passion for healthy living and being active, and they were so supportive and encouraging. In a way, I was just being judgmental of them, thinking that they must all eat perfectly and work out every day… but they don’t! We all struggle with the same things no matter what our major or occupation.


Jolene January 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Luckily I have never had this pressure at work or school – just pressure I put on myself for my own reasons.


Estela @ Weekly Bite January 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I’m an RD. There was a point where I felt pressure, but it was pressure I put on myself… not pressure from others or a job. I’m over it now. But its a catch-22. There are clients that feel they relate more to an overweight RD because they feel the RD can relate to them more, and there’s some who won’t go to an overweight RD because they don’t feel they practice what they preach. It’s the same theory about personal trainers. Would get an exercise plan from an overweight trainer? Our thoughts are so twisted. We need to not judge and focus on inner health… not the outer appearance.


Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) January 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm

My comment is so similar to Estela’s – I never really felt pressured from others but definitely put pressure on myself. (I don’t think it would have mattered what my major was) But I will never forget a professor telling us that either way (overweight/skinny) – some clients will have issues with both – if you have never been overweight you don’t know what they are going through and if you are overweight you must not know what you are talking about!


Mandy January 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Oh yeah :) I work in the music industry in Nashville… everyone is so trendy and in shape! Whether you work for a label, are an artist/musician/song writer… or a receptionist!

There is definitely pressure to look good… be thin, etc here!


sarah (the SHU box) January 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

while i’m in the same institution as allie above, i’m in the hospital/medical side of things and it’s very different! actually, i am surprised that many of my coworkers in the medical field do NOT seem to feel pressure to be healthy, work out, or look a certain way. maybe we’re just too tired?

sometimes i feel like i stick out because i DO care about these things, and i do feel like i want to practice good health practices, since i have to talk about these things to my patients. i think it’s kind of hypocritical otherwise to preach about good nutrition and exercise, and then not follow those guidelines ourselves. that said, i wish i could follow my own patient advice on getting enough sleep – but that’s not my fault, that’s the job itself!


liane January 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Hmmm… I’ve actually never felt any pressure to be thin at any job I’ve had. I’m definetely not the thinnest person out there, but over the past year as I’ve overhauled my eating and taken up running, I’m actually now seen as the office “freak”. (Seriously, they call me that)

I’m the one toting in green monsters, adhering to training plans, brown bagging my lunch with healthy options. I’ve actually found that I get MORE flack for trying to be healthier and a lot more comments when I do snag a cookie or food item they deem “unhealthy”. Also some people seem to like to watch and see when/if I’ll fail, which puts a whole other level of stress on it.

I don’t ever talk about the food choices I make, or the reason I want to train for half marathons as I find that I hate it when people try and impose their beliefs on me, so I refrain from sharing my (unsolicited) opinions. If they actually ask why and mean it, then I’ll chat with them about training or recipes or what not.

I’m super duper annoyed with myself for forgetting to set my dvr to catch oprah. SO MAD!


Beth January 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Before I started my own business, when I worked as an RD at a local hospital, I *definitely* felt pressure. I saw more disordered eating in our office of 9 dietitians than I was comfortable with. I worked with one RD for 2 years who ate a container of sugar-free, fat-free yogurt and a baggie of red pepper strips for lunch. Every. Single. Day. There was definitely competition to be the thinnest, eat the least, etc. Of course I was the office fatty because I ate bread and meat and wore a size 6 (the rest of them were size 2 or smaller).

Now I work for myself from home and don’t feel a bit of pressure to be thin. Some days I don’t even feel pressured to get out of my pajamas! Great question, BTW!


Ameena January 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I work in entertainment in Los Angeles so there is a ton of pressure. But as I get older I just try to get past it. It isn’t easy but I am working on it!


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) January 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm

When I was studying to be an RD there was definitely a lot of pressure to be the fittest/eat the healthiest foods/etc. Looking back, I can see now how stupid it all was.

There is 0 pressure to be thin at my current job. Go figure that I’ve been getting into the best shape of my life since I began working here. Taking the pressure off does wonders for me, it would seem. :P


Heather (Heather's Dish) January 27, 2010 at 7:39 pm

in my specific line of work, there’s really no reason to look or be a certain way; however, our department is RIGHT NEXT to the design department, and every single woman in there is effortlessly thin. there are fit models running around all of the time, and unfortunately i attack myself for not being exactly like that. i’m trying more and more to learn to love myself, though, and i’m working towards a healthier weight, which makes me happy!


kristen January 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

Are you sure they are “effortlessly thin”? They may make it look effortless, but they might be working really hard at it…


Lindsay C January 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I am in school and there is of course a ton of pressure for girls to be thin and pretty and that led to my eating disorder. I am now in recovery and greatful for it, but I am writing a paper for my English 102 class and I was wondering if you had anymore information about Eating Disorders and the Insurances lack of providing care for people needing treatment??


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Unfortunately my ED research articles are on an inaccessible PC right now or I would zip em and send them to you…I suggest checking out for info. It should be a good starting spot!


Astrid January 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I love the something fishy site!! I used to go on it very regularly when I needed a lot of support. It has awesome articles, resources, and the message board is amazing. Awesome job Angela for suggesting this site!! I am definately a strong believer in it.


K January 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Haha, yes, do I ever! But I think it comes with the job. I’m a ballet dancer and we have a weekly weigh-in and there have been many conversations involving us girls needing to lose weight. But, to show that things aren’t all bad, there is one girl who is constantly getting hassled to gain weight (so yes, there is a too skinny, even for ballet!)
Its tough when everybody you know who is non-dance thinks you look fine/wishes they looked like you etc. but you know that ‘ideally’ you should be 10-15lbs lighter.
Anyways, I find it really interesting (albeit dissapointing) that there are other jobs out there that have this pressure as well.


Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope January 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Hmmm, I do not feel pressured to be thin at my work, but rather, motivation to stay healthy and fit! I’m an ICU nurse, so I see the worst of the worst and although a lot of it is old age, there are younger people, too, who do not take care of themselves. Also, big motivation to never drink or do drugs, haha.


Jayce January 28, 2010 at 1:38 am

I am an ICU nurse as well, and I totally agree! I love my job and love my patients, but one thought that goes through my mind so often is that I never want to be that sick due to anything I could have prevented. I do feel some pressure (probably self-imposed) to “look” healthy because I am a nurse and should be setting a good example for others, and I have to admit that it frustrates me how many nurses are so overweight and how many smoke even though they see what those choices can lead to…


Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope January 29, 2010 at 9:18 am

Just saw this comment. totally true, there are a lot of unhealthy nurses and I try not to be judgmental, but to me, it seems hypocritical to tell a patient to do one thing, but then go off and do that same thing yourself


s January 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I don’t feel pressure to be thin at work, although other people, mostly older women, comment on my size at work. “Oh you’re so small….” etc.,

I feel pressure to be thin at the gym. At the gym I go to, if you are a regular, and you miss a class for some reason, the trainers or other people will ask where you were, like you’re a slacker. There is definite competition among the “regulars” to see who goes to the most classes, etc.

One trainer told me I needed to up my training, as I only go to the gym 3-4x a week. However, those sessions are brutal. Circuit training with weights 2x, and interval spinning at least once.

I try not to let it get to me!


Jil January 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I have to say that although I don’t think I’ve ever felt the pressure to be thin from my job — as a female, I’ve felt the pressure of trying to …”unpretty” myself in order to be taken seriously.


Angie's Appetite January 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

What a great topic and great comments so far.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am somewhat disheartened by the pressure that the RD student feels. On one hand, I strongly believe that, working as a dietitian, it is important to practice what you preach. On the other hand, I believe that in this field, it is also important to be a role model of “wellness”.

Obsessing over being a certain weight or size (particularly if it is not a realistic ideal), in my humble opinion, is not a lifestyle of wellness.

I work in wellness and weight management. I eat well- balanced, healthy meals. I teach group exercise classes and I work out regularly too. But, I also eat ice cream and pizza, and take days off from working out and I think that all of those things can fit into a lifestyle that models health and wellness. My goal is to let my clients and patients know that you can be fit and healthy without being perfect.

I wonder too, how age plays into this discussion. At 35 years old, I know I am more comfortable in my own skin than I was maybe 10 or 15 years ago.

Great discussion, Angela! I look forward to reading more comments.


Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) January 27, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I studied broadcast journalism in college. There was definitely pressure to look a certain way — I still rarely wear ponytails because a professor once said that “no one” looks attractive with a ponytail. There were students of all sizes, shapes, etc. so I never felt singled out, but it is something that has stuck with me.


Bronwyn January 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I’m of two minds:

Among my friends I feel slightly “freaky” (as others have said) because I do genuinely enjoy healthy food, and exercising. It isn’t a chore for me to cook, and it isn’t a choir to go for a run. I love eating whole grains, healthy fats and proteins. I order salads at restaurants because they appeal to me the most, not because I’m “on a diet”. That said I do indulge, and I enjoy it when I do. I’m pretty sure I have something sugary every day since I have such a sweet tooth. But some people can make me feel guilty that I like eating healthy.

Then there’s the dietetics program here at school. I won’t lie, it’s sort of competitive, and it does make me want to be thinner. Don’t get me wrong there’s a couple girls who aren’t tiny, but for the most part they are that size two. And some of them you know put big effort into being that size, while others are just that small. I think most of the pressure is internal, but some of it is a little bit true. A little catch-22 as someone said earlier.


Danielle (Coffee Run) January 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Ah I wish I’d seen Oprah today! Too bad she never has re-runs :(

I’m a dietetics student too. I haven’t started applying for internships yet but I haven’t heard of this competition! It’s ironic…a good amount of nutrition majors don’t look very healthy. Practice what you preach…


Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

First of all, your lunch looks incredible!!!! So many different things but they just look so darn good!
And I hate that I missed Oprah :( darn.

As for your blog, I think it’s pretty awesome. I like the fact that it’s a mix of things and not just one.. you have posts that really make me think (like this) and then you have recipes and then posts about your meals… I like the mix :) it’s fun! And I think you are a perfect representative of a healthy baker. You have moderation in your life, you have a healthy attitude towards it all, and you look amazing!! I hope that I can have your attitude one day.

I really don’t feel pressure at my job from others but from myself.. yeah. I work with 7 other girls (there are only 9=10 employees) and 2 of those girls are those naturally thin people… like they TRY to gain weight. That is hard to watch and hear when they say “oh i’m so thin.. i need to eat this and gain some weight” or “i woke up this morning and I weighed the most I ever have… over 110 lbs…” You can imagine my facial expression after hearing this… are you kidding me. I know that some people really are in this situation and it sucks from their perspective but it also sucks watching someone stuff their face with everything in sight and never gain a pound… ok sorry, rant over lol


Stacy January 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Hmmm, I find it odd that these naturally thin girls feel compelled to “make light” of how they ‘need to gain weight’ etc…makes me wonder what really is going on there…


Kloé January 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm

As a performer (classical music), I can feel pressure to look my best (thin, toned, healthy, etc.) because all the audience is looking at YOU. But I came to the conclusion that all these things, I just want them for myself. Not for the audience…
Great blog!

– Kloé


Kristin January 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I’m one of your younger readers and I definitely feel pressured by my peers to be thin. It’s not really an outward thing that anyone says, it’s just when everyone around you is thin, you feel that pressure too.

Oh and the quote you have at the bottom of this post is a quote from Ellen Degeneres. There, not unknown anymore! :)


Autumn Tao January 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I saw Oprah and loved it. I got The Kind Diet for Christmas and it had a huge impact on me. I changed my diet back to veganism (I was for years in college and just after) and I haven’t looked back. It’s about health and what we CHOOSE to put into our bodies. I feel empowered and fantastic. I have 2 girlfriends who also purchased the book after checking out mine or checking out It’s a must read, casual language with a serious message, lots of good facts.


Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place January 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I only caught the end of Oprah today. I didn’t realize they were on until the show was almost over! Too bad.. I’ll have to tape the re-run they have overnight here in Chicago.

I personally don’t feel pressure to be thin at my job, but many of my colleagues do. On-air television reporters face HUGE scrutiny about weight and appearance every day. I think that is part of the reason I decided to be behind the scenes rather than on air. I had a brief stint as a reporter, and while nobody told me I looked bad, but I felt a lot of pressure to look good every day. That isn’t healthy for me.


J January 27, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I am a professional dancer and dance teacher so, yes, I feel the pressure to be thin. Staying relatively thin is easy because I lead a very active lifestyle, however, I’m not NATURALLY thin so I do have to work harder than my coworkers. It’s just a fact of life in my profession so I don’t really pay it any mind.


One Healthy Apple January 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Wonderful post and delicous lunch! I don’t work in a very glamorous job, but I do some meeting planning and there is a big emphasis on looking good when we are interacting with clients. Other than that, the office is a pretty casual crowd!

I have to try to see that Oprah show. I have such a literary crush on Michael Pollan!


Katie January 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I live in a very outdoorsy town, so there is more a pressure to look “fit”. Luckily, I enjoy the kinds of activities that help with that look, but I can imagine if that weren’t the case, there would be serious pressure. I also work from home, so I don’t notice it all that much.

The bean dip looks like chocolate, which isn’t unappetizing at all! :D


Melissa S. January 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I most certainly feel pressure with my job. It’s always been evident that when you work in the outdoor science field you need to be lean and fit to be able to do the job, so i always feel like i need to be skinny, fit and strong. it’s hard, but i just keep telling myself to do the best job i can with what i do.


Amy January 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I work in the information technology field with a bunch of men. There is no pressure in my department to be thin. I do work in an office full of overweight women, however. Since I pack my lunch everyday, I get many comments, stares and icky-faced looks about what I eat. “What is THAT!?” or “Geez, that looks like a huge, healthy salad, Amy. Are you going to eat all that?!” We now have a small fridge right in our department, so I’ve decided store all my foodie things in the department fridge and eat at my desk. The guys don’t care and I don’t have to explain my food to anyone. lol Sometimes they tease me…offer to go outside and pick me some dandelions or eat their fast food and moan about how good it is. Overall though, there is no pressure about my body size. But, I like to challenge my own self to be healthy and I like that I’ve come so far. My kids have an awesome example to learn from, and I’m not too shy to pat myself on the back for that. They eat quinoa, kale, and green monsters….I am so very proud. :) So overall, no pressure from work, but there is pressure as a mom…to be the perfect model of health for my babies. Lord knows the media and school system isn’t going to teach them these things.


Ann January 28, 2010 at 12:28 am

I’m in (kinda) the same position: I work as a software dev at a small company, and in my department (and most of the company), everyone’s male. The whole company eats lunch together, and there’s definitely some commentary. During my first week here alone, there was cake brought in no less than 3 separate times (I refused all 3). People are more used to it now, but most everyone here is on the pudgy side and I definitely feel like the odd woman out. It’s actually really hard sometimes to resist eating foods I simply DON’T WANT just to “fit in” with everybody else and seem “more normal.”


Amy January 28, 2010 at 1:18 am

Yep, Ann, DBA/developer here, too! :) I don’t think I would like eating lunch with the whole company…haha! I work in healthcare and most of them don’t like our department. I try like it’s my job to break the stereotype applied to us “computer people.” I’m not a geek (shhh! don’t tell my husband that), I’m fit, I don’t just bang on a keyboard all day – this girl RUNS!, I don’t drink pots and pots of coffee, and I’m personable. :) We are a rare breed I tell ya! Even still, so much of me likes being very different from the rest.


Mrs. Money January 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I want to come live with you to eat your yummy food. :)

JK- but I will come for a vacation! ;)

There’s a girl at work that’s so thin it makes me sick. :( I’m like ughhhh why can’t I be that thin? :(


Jenny January 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Mmm that lunch looks great!

And this is a great topic to bring up. I definitely feel the pressure be thin, or at least “attractive” in college. Girls all around me are going to extremes just so they can binge drink in mini skirts on the weekends, and I’m just trying to find a healthy balance. I feel like right now we live in a world of mixed messages most of all.


Meredith (Pursuing Balance) January 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I’m studying dietetics and used to work as a diet tech at a hospital. I don’t necessarily feel pressure to be thin, but I do think there is judgment regarding what RDs and RDs to be eat, both from those inside and outside the profession.


Elizabeth January 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I definitely feel pressure to be thin in my career. I am a hairstylist and our industry is ALL about external beauty. Not only do we have to look appealing to clients, but working with so many stylish people there is a pressure to “keep up”. Being overweight makes it harder to wear the latest trends and feel as stylish as my co-workers. There are a lot of overweight hairstylists, but most are on the thinner side of the spectrum. The pressure is self-induced for sure, but it’s always there!


kaytee kedzz @ January 27, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I am in nursing school and I definitely feel the pressure to be thin, a.k.a “healthy.” Nurses are expected to promote health, and how can we promote health when we are not healthy ourselves? I can’t say I am not guilty of believing this, too. I see “healthy” nurses walk in to class with an extra-large bagel, slather on their cream cheese and wash it all down with a 2.5 serving bottle of chocolate milk. Being vegan, this simply grosses me out. However, that sure is not a healthy meal– vegan or not. Nurses know how diseases develop and what to do to prevent them, and here they are not doing it themselves! Still, all of the nurses that I see not practicing healthy lifestyle choices are some of the most compassionate people I have ever met, and I would love them to be my nurse someday!


Edan January 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Wow, Kaytee – It’s odd to me that you feel it’s okay to be “grossed out” by someone’s food in the midst of everyone here talking about what a drag it is to be derided for having a green monster for breakfast. Veganism is your choice! That’s awesome, let everyone make theirs too, and stop judging, man. That’s a real drag.


Jackie January 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I saw the Oprah episode today! I noticed that about Oprah too about having to watch what she said. I felt sad for her that she couldn’t have an on-air honest opinion (on her OWN show might I add) about food without the worry of a lawsuit.


Rachelf January 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm

OMG, your lunch looks AMAZING. Seriously, it just made me sooo hungry.

I worked at a weight loss company, and there was a definite pressure to be thin there. One of my coworkers didn’t eat ANYTHING while at work or on her lunch break. I, on the other hand, ended up gaining like 5 pounds, haha. I don’t respond well to that kind of pressure!


Meredith January 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm

In college I was Panhellenic president, which meant I was the representative for all the sorority women at my university. I attended a big university in the South, so you can only imagine the pressure on me to be thin and pretty and perfect 24/7…. how exhausting!

I am only a month out of college and now working for a major oil and gas company. Although you wouldn’t expect it, I still feel pressure to maintain a thin figure. The industry is male dominated and by maintaining a smaller size, in conjunction with busting my butt, I’ll go much further with my career.

While it all seems overwhelming, and it is at times for sure, I’m finally to the place in my life where I am focusing on eating healthy, enjoying sweets in moderation, and half marathon training to keep my size. I’m done with the days of obsessive calorie counting and fad diets!!


EaterNotARunner January 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Did you hear about the whole foods weight goals they just announced? I would feel a lot of pressure if I worked there! How ridiculous.


zestycook January 27, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Ok here we go…. first off I am still laughing at the Woot Woot for Spring! Love your writing!

Secondly – your lunch looks pretty darn wicked!

Thirdly – I don’t feel any pressure to look thin outside of myself getting on the scales every morning and saying damn… do you really think you should have snuck up on that bag doritos last night and ate no even announced you were coming and cleaned out the whole bag.


Bella January 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

I absolutely relate to this. I work in PR and there is a perception of what “PR girls” look like. That said, I’ve always worked for companies who hire based on skill and not waist size, so I don’t feel pressure where I work.


pen January 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm

you know, oddly enough, I get chastised for being skinny at my job. mostly because I’m the only one that exercises in my office, they think the concept of me running marathons and doing ironmen is beyond crazy. and because I’m in the south with all kinds of fried meat (which I dont eat), they all think I’m abnormal.

I came from being a lightweight rower where I had to be under a certain weight, and since then I CANNOT be in a situation like that again, my current job situation is better than the opposite.


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Hmmm…as a college instructor who is also a young woman, I actually feel like physical attraction can work against me. I purposefully wear very conservative clothing (no short skirts, tight blouses, etc.), because I feel like the 18-19 year old boys that I teach would see that as indication that they don’t have to respect me or take me seriously as a teacher. I don’t know if that makes sense?


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Fabulous post!! As a personal trainer, OF COURSE I have felt pressured to be in shape. Luckily I WANT to stay in shape, but I am not thin by any means . . . I tend to be a little thick. So it takes alot of work on my part.

I have worked with a 50 year old woman who is overweight and is a trainer. She is fairly good at what she does, but unfortunately, people don’t want to go to her since she is heavy. I can;t argue with them. If I was hiring a trainer, I would want them to be in shape too – not overly ripped or anything, but not 50lbs overweight like she is. It’s sad, but true.


MarathonVal January 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Oh hell yes I have had that experience….

To make a very long story short, one summer during college I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch and found out about sooooo many horrendous things that went on.

Basically, managers sat in meetings with pictures of the employees on a projector and rated them an A, B, or C based on LOOKS… and this determined how many hours they got and whether or not they worked in the front or back of the store.

I actually contributed to a class action law suit against them because some Latina women in California faced a great deal of discrimination at their local store, and so I told my story in order to help them out.

Disgusting that people actually do that, right? Sadly I’m sure they aren’t the only retail company to do this…


Katherine January 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I am a former “part-time” sports model, but I never really felt pressured to be thinner than I was. There were definitely taller and thinner models out there, but I didn’t feel like being thinner was going to get me more jobs. At the time, I was pretty serious about sports as well, so being healthy and strong was more important to me. I also always kept in mind that being a model is like being a piece of meat. You might not be the cut they want. And for me, that was okay.


Gabriela January 28, 2010 at 12:16 am

Bummed I missed the Oprah episode- sounds so interesting!

I’m still in school, so the pressure to be thin isn’t job related, but being with a bunch of college girls (espescially in NYC) definitely makes you conscious of some things! There seem to be an endless supply of ten foot tall, 90 pound models on this island. That being said, I know that my way of life is way healthier than that of someone who subsists on cigarettes and coffee, and I’d rather be happy than starving!


Pure2raw twins January 28, 2010 at 12:57 am

We noticed the same thing on Oprah. Yes she needs to be careful I guess, but at least she had the important topic on her show. More people need to be aware of this topic.


Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 28, 2010 at 1:00 am

MarathonVal – that is CRAZY! . . . honestly being a retail manager myself I cannot think of something so horrible. Appearance is important in any kind of sales but that is EXTREME. I wonder if they do that at the stores in Canada too . . .


Baroque Diva January 28, 2010 at 2:13 am

I definitely feel the pressure to be thin and stylish and young in my profession. You wouldnt think so, but opera today is extremely superficial and famous opera singers are just as thin and gorgeous as Hollywood movie stars! I try to keep it in perspective, that as long as I sing well and stay healthy it shouldn’t matter… but the pressure is definitely always there.


kathleen January 28, 2010 at 2:57 am

um, acting. enough said.


Natasha January 28, 2010 at 4:54 am

Like a few of the others who have commented, I worked in retail and felt the pressure to fit into the smallest size. In many ways it was self-imposed, but on the flip-side the company wants you to “model” the clothing.

Now as a fashion designer, I feel the pressure again. The press, clients and people that I meet expect me to look good and be thin. Knowing the standard measurements, and knowing my own can be a stress, and has triggered a few problems. This is one of the reasons I love your blog so much. Now I’m trying to eat in a way that is “good” for my body (and beat those voices in my head telling me not to eat). Your positive, healthy outlook helps.


Orla January 28, 2010 at 5:39 am

I work in the buying ofice of a Bergdorf type store. So not only is there pressure to be thin, there’s pressure to look as good as the cosmetics buyers, carry as hip a bag as the accessories buyers, and dress as well as the womenswear buyers. Yeesh.


Ariana January 28, 2010 at 5:55 am

I have a typical office job – so there is no pressure to be thin. Unfortunately some of my co-workers are living really healthy and they are sometimes calling me naughty if I eat an icecream or a chocolate cake or some cookies etc. – I am not living completely unhealthy but sometimes I simply need chocolate. Now I am already hiding the cookies in my drawer and eat them if now one is watching – but it doesn’t feels good. I am not overweight but the others are more skinny than me – so I am always feeling bad if they catch me eating sweets. Strange situation…


Emmanuelle January 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

Well, I work in the fashion industry, and all my coworkers are women, so I would be in a good position to feel pressured to be thin ;-) but strangely enough I don’t.
All of us at work come in different shapes, sizes and ages and I have to say that none of us are judgmental towards the others, which is good.
The only thing is sometimes I feel that I’ve officially been labelled as the health nut and think I eat some weird stuff (“what is that? tem-paay? oh, well, what the hell is this?” “ooooh you eat a lot of nuts, but these are full of fat, this is not very good” (helloooo healthy fats anyone?). So I guess the pressure I have is to keep remaining the health nut and go on eating weird things they don’t know, but none of them would judge me for putting on a few pounds :-)


justveggin' January 28, 2010 at 7:18 am

woot woot for Spring! I was excited also when I realized it was still light out past 4:30…SO AWESOME!


Michelle @ Eatingjourney January 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

It’s amazing living abroad, but working with Americans for the past 3 1/2 years. I think the university culture BREEDS such unhealthy and f-ed up images of body for so SO many women and men.

Here are some interesting snipets from Australians

‘Americans girls are obsessed about how they look. They’re always going to the gym, are obessesed with the way they look. They’re so skinny and eat healthy all the time’

‘It was interesting visiting America and seeing the students. What shocked me most was how skinny all of the girls were on the campuses. While I was there, a report came out that said 1/2 of American college girls have had or do have an eating disorder. The more elite the uni is, the more likely they are to have one’.

That is the land of the free, home of the brave, and the in ability to be perfect.

I am glad I live in Oz.


Amy January 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Wow, as an American all we ever hear is how fat and unhealthy the people of this country are. I guess it’s interesting to hear Americans and skinny in the same sentence! Sad, but true. Wish it was healthy and American.


Shannon January 28, 2010 at 7:58 am

I DVRed Oprah and I can’t wait to watch it this weekend!

Interesting topic you brought up. I am just going back to school to be an RD….so I’ll keep my eyes open for that competitiveness. I haven’t experienced that pressure at work before.


Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind January 28, 2010 at 8:34 am

Angela, sometimes I feel like I should pay you…you know, for the personal counseling session you provide me with some of your posts. ;)

I didn’t even realize it until reading this, but I’ve certainly fallen into the comparison trip since starting my blog. I find myself considering what other bloggers would or would not eat when making food decisions at times. Ironically, the bloggers I admire most are those that seem to make food decisions based solely on what works for THEM (you being one of said bloggers!).

Thanks for this! You’ve been on FIRE with relevant/hard-hitting posts lately!

OK Cassie, no more comparing! :)


Melinda January 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

Since I am a RD yes there is occasional pressure, but I think more than anything it is self inflicted. It is mostly a female profession and so this female competitiveness kicks in. Also, many RD’s have had or still have an easting disorder or some sort of disordeded eating so sometimes the competitiveness will re-draw those habits out since the person can control them. I worked with great people and we always supposted each other so there was no pressure to be thin there, but you always wonder what people think of you when you are an RD. I just gained around 40 pounds since meeting my hubby and I know people wonder what happened to the 90# RD. But it is life and I am happy now and I wasn’t before…and I did have my gall bladder out which did a lot for keeping weight off for a long time…until I met my hubby. I am happy and healthy and so that is fine by me, although I am trying to lose some now that I realized how much I gained.


Paige @ Running Around Normal January 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

What a lovely lunch!
I love your post topics, Angela. Recently, I’ve had to stop reading one of my favorite blogs because he/she made me feel like she didn’t think she was good enough, and it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Hadn’t had that feeling in a long time, so I had to quit reading – and it was one of the first blogs I started reading :(
I love that your blog is different from the rest!


Jenn @ Livewellfit January 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

I find it so ironic that you ask this question today. I’m currently studying to be a wellness coach and one of the points made this week by a fellow coach was that we need to be role models for our clients. As a coach, we need to demonstrate the ways we strive to incorporate more balance and wellness in our lives. But what I loved about this coach was that she wasn’t saying this in an effort to say we are to be “perfect” role models. Everyone struggles with balance and treating their bodies well. I think we all experience days where our choices are nothin but gold in terms of taking care of ourselves. Other days…can you pass me the second bag of M&Ms? :) I think my point is this: I have been putting a great deal of pressure on myself these last months. What should I look like as wellness coach and fitness instructor? At the end of the day, I should look like ME! A healthy me, regardless of how that is translated on the outside. If my mind is healthy and happy, then my body can only follow the same path!

It has taken me a very very long time to come to this point and I will still struggle some days. But I will be honest about that struggle and I will continue to learn as much as I can!


Liz January 28, 2010 at 10:00 am

Hey Angela –

Ever the inspiration :).

I have had two jobs that I can think of. One was at Hooters. I’d say that’s pretty self explanatory and the other is a current second job I have at a tanning salon. The tanning industry is that of great vanity. You can’t be overweight and unkempt when you are dealing with the “I think I’m so beautifuls”. LOL Plus, it is a sales job and nobody is going to purchase from someone who is not representing the product well. There is a saying … “tan fat looks better than white fat” but … still. Yes, the pressure is there.

Good topic.


kristen January 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

I’ve never felt “job pressure” to be thin, although I’ve never worked in an image conscious work-place. I really hope I’m never in a work-place or job that does involve weight pressure. I can’t imagine having to deal with it and I don’t think I’d react to it well.


Jess - The Domestic Vegan January 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

I caught Oprah yesterday! I haven’t watched it for ages, but I was really happy that I happened to turn it on yesterday. I thought it was a great episode. I haven’t previously been the biggest fan of Michael Pollan because a lot of articles/books I’ve read of his seem to ignore the animal rights aspect part of animal agriculture. I definitely agree with him that buying grass-fed meat from small, local farms is worlds BETTER than buying from factory farms – and it’s certainly a step in the right direction for the general public. I also like that he gets people thinking about these things, and I think he’s accessible to the general public. I just feel frustrated sometimes that when he talks about how “growing” meat on small farms is better for our health, the environment, and it tastes better – and he seems to ignore the fact that animals still die for that meat. Meat doesn’t “grow”! But again, I think baby steps are terrific & at least he’s getting people thinking about making small changes that can add up over time. Anyway, Pollan was super likable on Oprah & I liked what he had to say. I also thought Alicia was great! I noticed how careful Oprah was, too. Haha. At one point, she asked the creator of Chipotle if he was SURE he wanted to say something negative about the cattle industry, and she said she was keeping her mouth shut. Haha.

Regarding my weight, I don’t feel pressure at work because it’s an office job, and to be brutally honest, it’s mostly unhealthy, overweight people who work there. I do sometimes feel pressure as a vegan to be the “picture of health” because I want to be a good example of the plant-based lifestyle – but that’s just manifested itself in being physically active & eating healthy! I don’t obsess about it, which is a good mindset to be in, I think.


[email protected] January 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

I definitely feel the pressure to be not necessarily be thin but to be the ultimate picture of health. It’s a ton of pressure being in the Health Promotions Department to make sure when you join in on the talks about health and all that good stuff that you make sure you are as you said earlier “practicing what you preach”. If I didn’t feel like I lived the lifestyle I preached I wouldn’t preach it. I honestly don’t think one can truly understand a certain lifestyle till they live it…just my opinion though.

Thankfully for me, I LOVE working out (they have to peel me out of the gym…guess it just comes from having been a college athlete the past 4 years…I need a 4 hour workout to supplement my old practices) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE making out meal plans. Don’t get me wrong, I have my cheat meals and they are amazing but I do understand that I am at risk for several genetic health problems (high cholesterol which I have already acquired) so I just choose to eat well and exercise to the best of my ability not necessarily for my major but more for me and my future health.


Mae @ OhhMay January 28, 2010 at 10:49 am

My boss mentioned when she hired me “good you’re fit, you’ll be a great spokesperson for peanut butter”
I feel a little weird wearing 8 sweaters when I’m selling at a freezing cold winter market, becasue I don’t want people to remember me from summer and think I gained a lot of weight. I get over it pretty quickly, (I like to be warm!) but it’s interesting- in the summer when I would wear a tank top to work, I had a lot more people say things like “will I look like you if I eat this peanut butter?”, joking of course.


Diana January 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

I think I feel pressure – not from my job but from life in general. However, I enjoy working out and eating well – I do that for my emotional health more than my physical appearance.


Melissa (Project Bare) January 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

I can definitely relate to this post. I worked at a small PR company for two years that only had one male employee. We often, jokingly, referred to it as “the Hen House,” but, after a while, it wasn’t so funny. I went in with some major eating problems to be sure, but the environment only fostered and encouraged my habits. Everyone counted calories/carbs and the fridge was full of low-fat everything. We often didn’t eat lunch until 2:00 or later and it was an unspoken rule that everyone ate at pretty much the same time. I became really unhappy there once I realized how much the workplace environment was justifying my eating disorder and, the day I quit, was one of the best days of my life!! Onward and upward, as they say!


Miriam January 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

It is all about pressure that you put on yourself… I’ve never felt pressure from anyone around me to get thinner, not at work, not in my group of friends, not at school, not anywhere. But then I’ve been preoccupied of the way I look for a long time in my life (went into eating disorders myself). With time -and work on myself- I can say that my present “goal” is not to look perfect, but to look and FEEL healthy and STRONG (both emotionally and physically). I do not compare myself anymore, I do not put pressure on myself. I am at a very good ratio height/weight, I am eating well, going to the gym, I have energy and health. I do not feel bad if I go shopping with a friend wearing a size 1, I wouldn’t want to be otherwise! :)


RhodeyGirl January 28, 2010 at 11:03 am

I have never felt any pressure of that type in any job or in life. I wonder if sometimes a little pressure to look good WOULD be good for me, because I feel like I let a lot slide a lot of the time (like eating waffle fries last weekend, or not covering up the gray hair on my head between appointments).


Lauren January 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

My sister is a kindergarten teacher, and the competition between the three teachers she works with has always been astounding to me. I was with her at school one day, and as we are walking across the playground she says, “Isn’t it crazy that I’m the biggest kindergarten teacher here.” At that time she was a tiny size four with bones poking out everywhere, and I firmly believe that her motivation to get that small came from her coworkers. Why do we do this to ourselves?


Michelle @ Eatingjourney January 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

The sad thing is..that so many women think this way and it rubs off on little girls.

That is why I am so keen on getting over my issues. I would never want to give them to anyone else. Especially to my own children.


A January 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

I also watched Oprah yesterday. Both Michael Pollan and Alicia Silverstone were so interesting. However, while watching Alica’s segment I did wonder what Micheal thinks of the health foods she was spotlighting at Whole Foods. With the exception of the produce they wouldn’t be food that “our grandma’s would recognize”. Are the processed vegan foods any better than other processed foods?


sham January 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

I never had a job where I felt pressure to be thin but I felt pressured to eat a lot of foods I didn’t want to. I love food and to eat but I feel better eating less processed foods and try to avoid refined ingredients. In a workplace where there was always donuts, cake, etc I was given a hard time when I would politely refuse the goodies (I just didn’t crave these products or derive any satisfaction from them). It’s interesting as I did not preach to anyone that they should avoid these foods but was questioned as to why I wouldn’t eat them, was I on a diet, etc…

I keow what made me feel good and I just stuck to that :)


Sophie @ yumventures January 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

I work at a medical school, and everyone here is much more focused on health than being thin. But I come from the media industry, and there, looks means everything! I had a previous boss say to me and my counterpart coworker (who is very tall like me, but blond instead of brunette) that we were his two models, and would send us out into the field. I knew that he would never have hired me if I wasn’t good looking and tall. My coworker and I never felt competition (she is still a great friend) but I felt that it was unfair of my boss to comment about how we look if we did a great job! I have a blog too, and chose not to photograph everything I eat. I eat the same boring things during the day anyway! My passion for food and health comes from the kitchen, so that’s what I want to document at night. I love the OSG format…keep it up!


Krista January 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

I am a teacher and have never felt pressure to be thin from my boss or coworker. I have found, however, that being an example to my students encourages me to eat healthy and eat enough. I want my female students to see me as someone who is confident in my own skin and as someone who approaches food and a body image in a healthy way. Through college I struggled with disordered eating, but during my first year of teaching I really became convicted about what I was presenting to my students- I would HATE for any of them to struggle with disordered eating, so it became more important to be a healthy role model. They see me eating apples and peanut butter for snacks, but I also indulge in a cupcake if one of them brings it in for a birthday. I want to portray a healthy, balanced example.


Michelle @ Eatingjourney January 28, 2010 at 11:58 am

Good on you Krista. If you teach anything to your kids…teaching them to love themselves and make healthy choices will forever be with them.

From one teacher to another–awesome!


Teri January 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

I actually feel more pressure at my job to be UNHEALTHY. I moved from Utah to North Carolina, and wow, is the Southern lifestyle prevalent at my company. I get teased about my lunch-time workouts, my healthy meals and snacks, my “weird” food, everything. It’s weird. But I think the teasing is starting to get old and a few people have started coming to me for health advice. Being a good example is the best route!


Michelle @ Eatingjourney January 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

That’s the backlash that I remember getting sometimes. ‘Oh come on Michelle, it’s drinks’ or ‘It’s only a piece of cake!’ or ‘you’re not dieting are you?’

It’s true. Sometimes it’s hard to be healthy when you’re surrounded by people who are not as health focused as you. It made me cower in my corner–so to speak—many times.


Laura January 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I can relate! I live in Dallas, and I get criticized constantly for my “weird food” and for lunch time yoga and for bringing my lunch every day! But you’re right, some people now look to me for healthy advice and even are inspired to work out after seeing my results!

It’s so hard sometimes, but we have to worry about ourselves only. I struggle with comparing myself to others all the time, but you’re right.. I’d rather be the example instead of be like everyone else!


Aoife January 29, 2010 at 7:43 am

I totally relate to you gals! Everytime I bring lunch in from home I hear ‘oooh that looks really healthy, oh I couldn’t eat that, oh look at me with my sandwich’ etc, it’s like, ‘gimme a break!’.
Or I go to the nearby burger bar and order my lentil veggie burger, and get asked ‘what’s the best (beef) burger I should get that’s low fat and healthy?’ which is quite an impossible question to answer….! I just say ‘Order whatever you’d like and enjoy it!’


Anna January 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Interesting. I acutally think I was hired at one of my jobs (lululemon) BECAUSE I wasn’t rail-thin.

When I worked there, almost all of my co-workers were quite skinny. I mean, it makes sense- most people that apply to work at lulu are usually very active and athletic types to begin with. But while I’m an active person, I’m still naturally curvy. I honestly think that one of the reasons they hired me was because I wasn’t the stereotypical yoga bodies. Somehow this made me less intimidating to the average shopper who wasn’t super thin and “perfect.” It’s true, I noticed that certain shoppers who seemed less confident about their bodies or had just started to work out and felt somewhat imtimidated by all the stretchy pants tended to gravitate towards me.

That being said, I heard murmurs from store-level management during my time there that if you want to climb the lulu ranks, you better be attractive. And looking around at the reigional and coroporate managers, they were indeed all stunningly beautiful. Hmmm.


AGS January 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Pressure to be think/attractive: definitely. In fact, some of my stress in the last few months has come from this. I work in a very “old boys” culture. Last week, I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what to wear to a meeting where I was the only female reviewer for a large proposal. Oh, and did I mention I was also about 20-30 years younger than everyone? And comments — you bet. It’s tough. It’s business.


AGS January 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Pressure to be thin/attractive: definitely. In fact, some of my stress in the last few months has come from this. I work in a very “old boys” culture. Last week, I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what to wear to a meeting where I was the only female reviewer for a large proposal. Oh, and did I mention I was also about 20-30 years younger than everyone? And comments — you bet. It’s tough. It’s business.


Cristin January 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

As an actor I do feel pressure to be thin. But I think more often than not I put it on myself. I live in Chicago though and LA might be another story. Probably one of the reasons I have yet to move to LA :)

I like taking care of myself so I know I would strive to be healthy and fit regardless of my profession. But maybe the pressure would be less. At my day job (acting doesn’t pay the bills yet-lol) I am the one known for eating “weird” foods and being “good” but really I am just eating a well balanced diet and have a healthy lifestyle. After reading these comments I realize that all offices seem the same!


Mary January 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Angela, I’m wondering if your other readers feel about the ‘teasing’ I get at work for being “too-skinny” and “too picky” about what I eat. Jokes are made about my weight (if it were reversed I would be osctrasized) and bets are made on if I will eat whatever goodie is brought in to share. Since when has leading a healthy lifestyle become a joke? I appreciate your openness about your eating issues. I’m with you! I did watch Oprah’s show yesterday and if you can still eat meat after that, all I can say is wow.


AGS January 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I think it’s bizarre behavior. I spend a lot of time with folks who drink a lot (and who would prefer I drink just as much). . . but I’ve never been teased when I say I can’t drink b/c I have a date with my running shoes later that evening.


kristen January 28, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I think your co-workers are jerks.
I’ve definitely been the recipient of comments about some of the things I eat but no one has flat out made fun of me or taken bets. I’d call them on it with something like a “Seriously…you’re really doing this?”


Aoife January 29, 2010 at 7:49 am

Nothing worse than pressure to drink…it can be pretty bad here (Ireland), because our drinking culture is a bit mad. I’m not a big drinker and never have been, if I’m out at a gig during the week I likely won’t drink. But people always act like I’m being a fuddy duddy…

Mary – that is so horrible that your co-workers would make jokes about your weight! So rude and mean. You poor thing!


Kayla January 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Last night I left my house at 6:10 pm and there was still a touch of light in the sky. It made my day! There really is a promise of longer days and warmer temperatures in the future.


Ruth January 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

There is a huge range of health and weight where I work. We have one person in my small department who is obese and another who looks like a model (in a good way, not an anorexic way). I’m about average, but I don’t feel any pressure to be thinner, thank goodness! Of course this is also an academic, desk-job sort of situation in which our appearance is generally not involved in any part of our work.


Laura January 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Having just read the title of this blog at first, my gut reaction was “yes!”. I just decided to give up my corporate business job to go back to school and become a RD. Even though I have just returned to school, I already feel the pressure to get to my happy weight. I’ve been trying to lose weight for 1.5+ years and although I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, I still have weight to lose. It is definitely a motivator for me.

I also realize that when I get out into the field, people are going to look to me for an example of how to live a healthy life. One thing I have already dedicated myself to teaching my clients is to practice BALANCE and I hope that they can see that in my lifestyle. I also hope to teach my clients that “HEALTHY” does not always mean “THIN”. While I am still classified as overweight right now, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life both physically and mentally.

After reading your blog, however, I was a little shocked that the reader said there is pressure among her program and to get into the intership. I haven’t had that many experiences with my school’s dietetics department yet, but I can’t imagine that feeling and I hope my school is not like that! Obviously the school cannot judge your admission to the internship program based on your physical appearance, so I wonder if it is more internal pressure or pressure from classmates in the form of rude comments or judgments about the students who are not “thin”? I wish that everyone seeking a career as a RD would also believe in balance, but I guess not.

People do not realize that being a RD is just like any other job really. There are RDs out there who do not take care of their health, just like there are doctors that smoke. Not everyone practices what they preach, so to speak. That makes me sad, but that’s life! I think the best thing we can do is live life for ourselves and not worry so much about how we stack up to everyone else. I, too, need to take this advice because it’s something I struggle with all the time!

Thanks for the perspective :)


Kris | January 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Great post! I work for myself so my own pressure comes from me! I am not a tough critic though ;) haha. Wayyyyy back when I used to work at Aldo and we had to be in shape more I feel to make ourselves more “presentable” very frustrating! So I would “forget” lunch some days ;)

Have a great day!



Kate January 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Currently, I work in a very small office, so what I find interesting is the only form of pressure I get is from the women in the office complaining about their weight and what they ate and how they haven’t exercised in weeks. They all eat prepackaged oatmeal for breakfast and Lean Cuisine’s for lunch! I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m healthy and I will never succumb to this kind of torture on my mind and body! :) Funny thing is, these women are fit and beautiful!


Laura January 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

This is the same as my office! I run out to a local produce store a few times a week to make my own salads or bring my own homeade soups and am constantly getting flack about how much easier it would be to bring 5 lean cuisines and microwave oatmeal in each day. I try to remind myself that I am making the best choices for my body. For the ones who are thin and eat this way… I really believe that it will catch up with them one day in some form or another.


Anne [email protected] Weigh of Life January 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Thank God I have no pressure to be thin at my job.


Christine January 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Working in fashion there is definitely pressure to be thin. I used to be affected by it, but not so much anymore. In fact…I have become so into health and wellness, I have one foot out the door at my fashion gig (Shhhhh….). I have learned one of the most important aspects of health is self-acceptance. Once you can achieve that, you can achieve anything in life, health, and like they always say – in love! And I always tell myself…Perfection is BORING, dare to be different — in all walks of life!


Gracie @ Girl Meets Health January 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I don’t feel pressure at my job, but I *do* feel pressure now that I’ve started a healthy living blog. My blog is just starting out, so a good amount of my readers are still my family, friends, and “acquaintances” that have found my blog through Facebook. Since they see that I have a healthy living blog, I feel pressure to a) look good and b) eat good at all times. The thing is, I eat not-so-healthy foods pretty often, and I’ve already gotten comments from people like “oh, are you gonna post that on your blog?” And I say, “sure am!” So I’ve been doing a pretty good job of not letting these sort of comments bother me, but they’re still in the back of my head.

I’m also currently struggling with some health issues. I have high cholesterol, a thyroid disorder, a low IgA (immunity) a possible case of mono!! I feel so…hypocritical for having a healthy living blog yet being quite UNhealthy. It was hard to admit these sort of things on my blog, but I felt it necessary. This is my reality, and now I need to try more than ever to live as healthily as possible.

Shew, I’ve gone off on a tangent :P Getting back to your ORIGINAL question, regarding pressure to be thin, my blog has definitely affected that as well. With bikini season around the corner, I do feel like I have to drop a few pounds and tone up to look my best and “show” people that I’m healthy through what my body looks like. I hate to even admit that because I always tell other people that being thin doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy. Maybe I should start practicing what I preach in THAT sense, huh?

Thanks for this post. It really opened my eyes to some things that I’ve been thinking and feeling without even fully realizing it! Your posts always have a way of doing that :P


Kelly January 28, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I’m a teacher so I don’t feel particular pressure at work, but when I was in college I definitely did. My school was a very fit place and everyone was very healthy (well, healthy but drinking constantly of course). I did not do well in that environment and I am much healthier now without all the pressure.


Ana January 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm

And that’s why I really like your blog! You have a balanced view of things which makes it so fun to read about.
It is easy in the society we live in to feel pressure to be thin, but a lot of people forget to be healthy in order to do that and there’s where trouble leaves. Eating fat-free foods and 100 calories (full of cr*p) snacks will not get you thin… or it even might, but there will be some suffering I am sure.
I don’t feel pressure from my surroundings, and everything I do to keep my body healthy through a varied diet and exercising I do for myself, so I can feel good internally, external appearance is basically the consequence.
It is funny how people view this though. I love food, love cooking, I eat very healthy, I exercise, I do everything in moderation and try to keep my life as peaceful as life lets you to. But people don’t see it that way, seems like it is so easy to criticize but so hard to understand.
I am happy with myself now as I have never been before, and sometimes I wish people would understand that and just feel happy for me.
But it seems like the happier you are the more envy you attract and people do criticize when jealousy strikes.
Pressure to be thin is something really interesting to talk about as it can be applied in so many ways.
Man, I think I deviated from the topic, am going to stop talking now!
Really enjoy your blog!


Amari January 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm

As an RD student I am worried about the sterotyping that goes along with weight and working as an RD. Whenever I meet an overweight RD or see one on tv, I can only imagine what people are thinking “how can this person help me if they can’t help themselves?” It’s a terrible thing to think, but in today’s world, its definetely a common thought process and even I myself am guilty of thinking that way. On that note, I try my best to practice what I preach only because I believe so firmly in my field. Thankfully I have never had to endure the struggle of being overweight in my life, but I still would never want someone to base my credibility on my looks.


Abbey January 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I work at a day care center, and I am definitely not pressured by my coworkers to be thin there, though it is nice to stay in shape so I can keep up with the little ones!

I am, however, also a full-time college student, and I DEFINITELY feel pressure to be thin at my college. Eating disorders are rampant here (and so easy to get away with, without the concerned and watchful eyes of one’s parents!)I’m learning to stop comparing myself to others, and just be the healthiest “me” that I can be.

By the way, I LOVE that Ellen reference. She is my all-time favorite comedian :)


Nicole, MS, RD, LD January 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Absolutely! I’m a dietitian and it can be stressful to always be pictured as the epitome of health and nutrition!


Sarah January 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Hey Angela,

I love your blog! Read it every day! I was just wondering if the gluten free glo bar will be available for order soon?



Heidi (Fighting with Food) January 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I absolutely love you for this post! I work at a gym so I am constantly surrounded by a varied mix of trainers, hardcore fitness buffs, “social” exercisers and individuals trying desperately to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I have also struggled, and am still struggling, with an ED. It’s ALWAYS a challenge and I always feel pressure to be thin/in shape/fit, especially since I am a gym employee. I try not to let it affect me, but it frequently does. I analyze most of what I eat and all of my workouts, but I am lucky! I have an incredibly supportive husband and family who constantly reassure me that they are happy with who I am and the progress I have made in improving my health.

Thank you again for this fabulous post! It’s always nice to know that there are individuals who deal with the same thoughts and pressures.


Jess (Fit Chick in the City) January 28, 2010 at 10:55 pm

As a personal trainer the answer to your question is obvious. =)


Kristine January 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I just started working in Vermont and I find it sad that no one there cares about their appearance. I feel like the odd girl out…and I barely even wear make up!


Lisa January 29, 2010 at 11:12 am

I work w/ six women and several of them try the latest “get thin quick diet” whether it’s a cleansing thing, doctors program, whatever. Seems like everyone is always on some sort of diet.


Susan January 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Going into personal training, I definitely say I’m feeling the pressure to not only be thin, but FIT. I’ve been working hard lately at building my upper-body muscle to have that sort of “feminine trainer look.” I want my clients to take me seriously, and even be a source of inspiration for some of them. It’s self-imposed for sure, but it just makes sense in my head, there’s no other way to explain it. Besides, it’s good incentive for me ;)


caronae January 30, 2010 at 1:09 am

Wow, super interesting discussion :)
I don’t have any job-related pressure, but I do feel like there is an inherent pressure to be thin and beautiful if you’re a woman living in New York.
PS — I love how colorful bell peppers are. Aren’t they just so fun?


ellie January 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

Great topic and conversation going on here!

I have definitely experienced this at work- I spent a summer in New York, working as a temp while interviewing for permanent positions. Most of my temp work was as a receptionist, in media/publishing. There was an unspoken rule that you had to have the “model-esque” appearance because you were the face of the company, being at the main reception. I worked at Vogue a few times and although my work was only ever a day or two at a time there, it was ridiculously intense how much effort was needed to work there permanently. Interestingly, several of the positions I interviewed for required a photo with the application. I had never experienced that before in the UK for *any* jobs and all the companies I interviewed with (mainly advertising or media), the woman looked like they just stepped off he cover of a fashion magazine. I haven’t experienced that anywhere other than New York but have lived/worked in the UK.


Z February 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I’m an actor and a model. When you work in show biz, you and your image are your product. There is a pressure, both external and internal to maintain your body and be thin and muscular. So many people in this industry fall in unhealthy patterns. I try to avoid that by reading about nutrition and focusing on fueling my tank and keeping healthy and active rather than a number on a scale. So thank you for the positive message of this blog…it is about health and happiness. Your body will glow and radiate when you give it what it needs to keep going.


Martha September 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Thanks for the great post. Good advice! I completely understand how you feel and it makes me hate my job each day. It’s tough. Thanks for you insight though.

I stumbled upon this blog like I did yours. Though their insight on work was very meaningful:

Thanks for the post! I’d love to see more like it.


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