Where You Live And The Pressure To Be Thin

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 1, 2010

***The comments weren’t working all morning for some reason- sorry about the inconvenience. I think they are fixed now! **

Happy February! One month closer to Warmth… :mrgreen:

Back due to popular demand: A limited number of Adore Glo Bars (S’more with homemade graham crackers) are for sale on the shopping cart! I have also added more X’s and G’los Valentine’s Day Variety Packs up!

I started my morning off with a delicious new breakfast cake. This one was ‘baked’ in just 3 minutes!

3 Minute Breakfast Carrot Cake


Carrots are high in beta-carotene, Vitamin K, Potassium, and Vitamin C. Carrots also are a great source of antioxidants. Eat carrots with nuts to supply fats for cartenoid and Vitamin K absorption.


  • 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 banana
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger)
  • 1/8 t fine sea salt
  • 1-2 T scoop Manitoba Harvest Hemp Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups almond, soy, rice, or hemp milk
  • 3 T raisins (optional)

Directions: Throw all ingredients into blender except raisins. Blend until desired consistency. Pour into three small microwave safe or oven safe dishes. Add raisins (or you can add them after cooking, up to you!) and pop into microwave for 3 minutes on high. Let sit until it cools down. Add desired toppings such as nut butter, yogurt, coconut oil, maple syrup, vegan margarine, walnuts, cacao nibs, etc. and enjoy!


I swirled on top of mine some soy yogurt, cashew butter, walnut crumbs, and maple syrup. To die for!!IMG_0226

Makes 3 servings. Per serving (without optional ingredients):



Note: The sodium should actually be in half. I put 1/4 t instead of 1/8th t by mistake.

Some of you mention that these breakfast cakes are high in fat. In this case, the fat is derived from the Omega 6 fats in almonds which are extremely healthy. We need good fats and it is ok to eat them. :mrgreen:

After fueling up with breakfast, I did yoga as the sun rose! As part of my Spring Training Plan that I will be revealing tomorrow, I have scheduled in some weekly yoga to balance out the strength training I will be doing.

I also did the last session of Whittle My Middle 2!! Can you believe today is the last day?! January flew by. I will be talking about my thoughts on WMM2 tomorrow, as well as talking about my Spring Training Plan.

Where You Live And The Pressure To Be Thin

Missed these?

When I was struggling the most with my body-image, my external environment had a huge impact on how much pressure I felt to be thin. I also noticed this theme to be very prominent in the comments of the previous two topics.

For example, while in university, I felt so much pressure to be thin. It seemed like being thin, or even underweight, was the norm around campus and this created a lot of pressure for me to ‘fit in’. The campus I went to was 70% female and it seemed like it was one huge competition of who could be the thinnest.

During my Master’s career, Eric and I moved to Toronto and the pressure I felt came not from the campus, but from the city itself. Like many huge metropolitan cities, Toronto is a very thin city. Research even shows that people tend to weigh less in big cities, in part because of how much more people walk, take public transportation, and have more access to health food and gyms. The women in our condo building (and area) were about half the size of me!

Last year, Eric and I moved out of Toronto into a rural area. I felt that pressure instantly disappear. There is no pressure to be stick-thin or to look like you just stepped off the cover of Vogue out here. While people are still thin and enjoy an active lifestyle, it’s not as ‘in your face’. 

Now mind you, I don’t think that one’s environment is 100% responsible for pressure that one feels…no way, no how. I truly believe that we are responsible for our own thoughts, no matter what environment we may be in. I had to accept this when I sought treatment for my eating disorder. I realized that I was the only person who was ever going to take control and change my thought processes and I couldn’t blame my environment for my problems. With this being said, I still fully believe that some environments (campuses, big health conscious cities) create pressure to be thin more so than others.

Do you feel like your environment has an impact on how much pressure you feel to be thin? Have you noticed the pressure is greater or less in different areas/cities?


1) Sketchie looking cute as pie.

2) Please note: The Booty Camp Fitness Workout DVD is currently not available for purchase online, but hopefully in the near future. It is available for Booty Camp (in-class) participants however. I will update when it is available for purchase online! You will be the first to know. :)

I hope you have a wonderful Monday! Make it great. :mrgreen:


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracie @hollafoodzone February 1, 2010 at 11:22 am

I agree 100% that the pressure to be think can come from certain environments. I think especially at universities that pressure very high – I remember it being a real and constant issue when I was in college. BTW your breakfast carrot cake looks wonderful! Thanks again for another great recipe!


skinnyrunner February 1, 2010 at 11:42 am

out in Orange County, CA, it’s definitely high! being able to be in a swimsuit year round also creates some pressure too. you just have to be able to recognize it and change your pattern of thinking: im not determined by my size, my weight, my looks, etc.


Rachel @ Working Out Wellness February 1, 2010 at 11:45 am

I agree with your post! I’ve been on college campuses for the last 5 years & there’s definitely more pressure to be thin at college than in my day to day life. I live in South Carolina, one of the “fattest” states in the US, and the people I see out in the real world are often overweight. Sometimes that makes me feel like the extra bit of weight I have isn’t a big deal, but then when I’m at college, surrounded by tiny 18 year old girls, I am pulled in the opposite direction.


Tracey February 1, 2010 at 11:56 am

Thanks for letting us know about the Valentines variety pack. I placed my first order and am excited to try them out!


Sarah February 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Angela, I think your surroundings make a big difference. The only time in my life that I felt absolutely no pressure to look any way other than I was, was when I lived in the Netherlands Antilles. The standard of beauty there is different, and even girls on posters and billboards are curvy and voluptuous as opposed to stick thin. Skinny girls were considered to be ill! I clearly remember coming home after a year of living there and suddenly looking in the mirror and going: omg I have to lose 10 lbs! Our culture glorifies slender women in all ways — on television, magazines, marketing campaigns; it’s hard not to look and compare.


Welsh Sarah February 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I agree with both you and Sarah. The pressure to be thin or to live up to the ideal images portrayed in your surroundings can permeate almost every element of our existence. It’s really difficult to be to strong enough to resist this. Tips gratefully recieved :)


Sarah February 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I’d love some tips too…. :) For the first time in my life I’m REALLY trying to simply focus on being healthy as opposed to being skinny. It’s hard, because I really want to just lose weight and be slender, period, but after 12 years of yo-yo dieting, my poor body is just sad and needs some TLC. I’ve been kind to it for 1 month now and it’s been grateful. Trying to focus on increasing my endurance and stamina, not “burning 1000 calories”, and getting the proper nutrition as opposed to eating the bare minimum of calories with no thought to nutrition at all.


Miriam February 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I live in Montreal, which is a big city. I don’t think that the city by itself is a source of pressure, I think your environement is. I used to work downtown in a fully corporate environment, and I was feeling some pressure (well… pressure I was putting on me) especially during summer time (I mean, winter time nobody sees anything with big winter jacket on and not so revealing clothes) During summer time, I use to go out every week after work for the famous 5 à 7 on a terasse, where everyone were looking at each other… asking “What you do in life” as an introduction to a conversation. But I am not working downtown anymore and I do not go to the 5 à 7 downtown anymore, so no more pressure there! I’ve never lived anywhere else so I cant say about other cities.


Nadia February 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

The breakfast cake looks delicious. Do you think that I can you make the breakfast cake with Steel Cut Oats?


Diana February 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

can’t wait to see what your trainig plan looks like and hear your thoughts on wmm2. as I focus on my core strength this month I am interested to see how you fit core work into your new training.
p.s. cake looks to die for!


Kate February 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I agree that where you live can have a big impact on the pressure you feel to be perceived a certain way. When I moved to Colorado from the midwest a few years ago, I was suddenly surrounded by lots & lots of very active, very fit people. While I think I turned that into some extra motivation to commit to a healthy exercise regime, I definitely can see how I could have negatively internalized that pressure.


Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama February 1, 2010 at 12:24 pm

WOW – your breakfast cake looks amazing!!!
While I have never given in to environmental pressure, I have witnessed it first hand but in the opposite way. My mom lives in a very rural area with no concept of living a healthy life. When you drive down main street you see unhealthy people smoking outside of bars, overweight and making no attempt to live a better life. While my mom is not one of these people standing outside of bars, she does smoke and is at an unhealthy weight. There is no gym, no support and she has every excuse in the book… but so does everyone else. I worry about her health and give her advice when I can but I know it is her lifestyle and mindset.


Katie @ Health for the Whole Self February 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I’ve found that some environments provide pressure not only in terms of weight, but also in terms of my OVERALL EXTERNAL APPEARANCE. By this I mean that certain environments (for example, my undergraduate college campus) had an impact on the pressure I felt not only to be thin, but also to dress a certain way, wear my hair a certain way, do my make-up just so, etc. Weight was just one piece of the broader equation that placed way too much emphasis on how I looked on the outside.


Anna February 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I definitely noticed a distinct lack of pressure to be thin when I was living in Nairobi. Girls on billboards were normal-sized, healthy looking people! What a concept! I’m a curvier girl with a pretty decent-sized butt, and I got a LOT of positive attention from Kenyans for it (both male and female!) Seriously, during those 4 months in Nairobi I probably had the best body image I’ve ever had.


Bronwyn February 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I think it’s definitely true that the environment can affect the pressure you put on yourself to be thin/not thin.

Though it’s sort of funny. Even though Vancouver is full of lots of tiny Asian people I feel less pressure here to be thin then I do in Kamloops. I think this is because the friends I have here are generally not shallow and don’t care what weight I am, whereas I have some very shallow friends back in Kamloops who are so conscious of THEIR bodies, they make me conscious of MINE (well and they’re conscious of mine and theirs…).

That said probably one of the best body accepting experiences I had was tree planting. That was when I got over “i’m too fat to do that” and realized how strong and amazing my body is. Plus there’s people of all shapes and sizes tree planting, so you just get over it. It’s all about what your body can do, not what it looks like.


Anne [email protected] Weigh of Life February 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

The carrot cake looks amazing!


Maura @ Maura Me to Love February 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I live in Los Angeles, so you can imagine the pressure to be thin. What I’ve struggled with is, now that I’ve lost 25 pounds, will that be enough? Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is, when everyone around you is already fitting into a size 2 jeans. It can sadly feel like a game of catch-up.


Laura @ Strong and Steady February 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I find it interesting that you felt pressure to be thin while in undergrad. At least where I went to school, it seemed like everyone gained minimum 15 good lbs over four years of drinking and eating without parental supervision. When I graduated, I didn’t feel like I was “more out of shape” than my peers, but I also had trouble looking at myself in a mirror because I was unhappy with how I’d treated my body. I guess I’m saying that, in college, there was an atmosphere of unhealthiness (not a word?), so pressure to look a certain way came more from myself than from my environment.


AGS February 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

To say that environment affects self-perception is to state the obvious. I really think that it comes down to who your reference group is – who you consider your peers. To the greatest extent possible, I consider my peers to be people that exercise, have fun, work insane hours, are constantly striving to improve and follow their dreams. This periodically gets out-of-focus for me. I think the one thing I’ve learned in the last several years is that I have to periodically remind myself that my goal in life is not to be able to wear a miniskirt with absolute confidence. My goal is to run strong, work hard, and love life. When I refocus of who I am and the people I truely wish to emulate, I find it much easier to deal with day-to-day pressures on appearance.


Lizzie February 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

How funny – the first thing you mention in your post this morning is the fact that it’s Feb . .. and that’s exactly the same thing I said to my husband as we left for the bus stop this morning. Focus on the positive!!

Yesterday I made your lunchtime oats – haven’t tried them yet, but their debut might be as “dinnertime oats” tonight! They look and smell good anyway. I’m a bit of a texture person when it comes to food and I just love how thick and hearty they look.


Jessica @ The Process of Healing February 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

So I definately posted this really long comment this morning but it didn’t go through… haha that’s ok though.

I think your environment for sure affects the pressure to be thin. In high school, it was AWFUL!! All the girls at my school were thin and beautful, or atleast it seemed like it. But in college, I really don’t feel the pressure because i’m in college. I still feel it but not JUST because of that. I also live in the South in a small town.. it’s not tiny but it’s not huge and the pressure isn’t that bad. I’d say compared to a big city, where I could see it being worse, it’s not bad at all.

Carrot Cake is one of my favorite desserts so I’m all over that.. yum!


Chelsa February 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm

If my enviroment includes other thin women I feel a lot of pressure to be thin.


Kelly February 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I definitely agree with you about the environment affecting the pressure. I felt a lot of pressure when i was in college too, and I dont’ feel as much now that I live in suburbs and have a full time job. However, ironically I am much healthier now without the pressure :)


Jil February 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Agree that the environment affects the amount of pressure we put on ourself. However, I do think it is just that…pressure we put on ourselves — yes, there are people who constantly are looking to rag on people; however, it seems to me that everyone has the same insecurities no matter how subjectively thin, pretty, handsome, etc. I think a lot of the time it comes from people THINKING that people are judging them, when in reality — everyone is wrapped up in their own hectic world.

However, yes at the same time — especially for women, society throws “thin-ness” and “perfection” in our faces so it’s hard to avoid or not think about.

It’s a very complex thing.


Gracie @ Girl Meets Health February 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Your breakfast cake looks like COOKIE DOUGH. Er, uh, carrot cake dough! Even better :P Yummm.


Natasha February 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I’d have to say environment has a big effect (for me at least), even if you try to not let it get to you. I went to an all girls high school, where we had to wear a uniform… in this case you can’t help but compare yourself to the other girls.

And now living in Paris! I feel like everyone is thin, classy, super well dressed and beautiful. It can feel like living inside an edition of Vogue. Maybe I compare to much, but it’s so easy to feel like you don’t belong.


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) February 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Love the looks of that breakfast carrot cake! Yay for healthy fats!



Kayzilla February 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

omnomnom. breakfast cake is lookin’ mighty taaasty.

I think the environment that you live in can only affect you if your self-esteem is low. I know at my low points, I can pick out tons and tons of girls that are “prettier then me”, most of them thin, thus making me feel the pressure to try and get to that size.

When I’m feeling good about myself, I notice a lot more regular girls mixed into the bunch, and if I happen to go into a particularly thinner part of town, it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t occur to me that I need to lose weight, if I got the self-esteem to give me some backbone I feel I’m hot.

My self-esteem is very flip-floppy as a teenager, so I can’t give a definite answer. ;) Environment means nothing to me, though. It’s like when you’re sad, you can find so many other things to be sad about too, even if it’s the prettiest summer day and you’re with your bestest friends eating the most glorious food and playing the funnest games ever. You’ll still find something bad to make you even more sad unless you snap out of it.


Katie February 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I think I mentioned in my comment on your original post that the town I live in is very fit, so there is an environmental component to feeling some pressure, yes. It is probably less intense than a work setting though.

I googled all over the place lookign for that DVD yesterday! I can’t wait until it comes out for the public! Your reviews make it sound so great. That photo of you “glistening” was inspiration enough to go out and buy it.


Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

This is so true! I come from a big family and all of my siblings are very tall and very thin. I’m much shorter and have a stockier build. I am in no way fat and I’ve always maintained a healthy and active lifestyle but whenever I’m around my family for an extended period of time (aka my childhood) a bunch of insecurities pop up.

Away from there I feel absolutely no pressure, no insecurities and I feel beautiful. Visiting family doesn’t bring this pressure but when I stay there for longer periods of time I find myself slipping back into that old insecure state.


erin February 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I have to say that I live out in the country, but I still feel so much pressure to be thin just from going to school. There is constantly so much talk of being “fat” and such it’s hard to live with. Everyone seems to want to be stick thin and I find that I often do too just from hearing what others think of it. This is definitely not healthy, but it is hard not to be sucked into the skinny trap state of mind.


Maija February 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I just moved back to Canada from two years in India. I immediately gained 20 pounds and felt a constant pressure to be thinner. I naturally slimmed in India (walking, veggies, fewer preservatives, and, unfortunately, unclean water sources). The big difference is the constant bombardment of “BE THIN” messages in the developed world. They are everywhere – magazine covers, ads, neighbours, etc. I think a lot of it has to do with our comparative wealth. I do not think that anyone struggling to get by with their day to day existence struggles if their love handles are too big. Also people are just more covered in India. You would never wear short shorts or a sleeveless shirt, so the worry about cellulite and chubby arms never came up. I miss that.
As always, thanks for asking Angela. Great questions.


Jill February 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Hello fellow Canadian! I just moved to California a year ago for my husband’s job. There is a lot more sun and chance to wear less clothing here. I think although there is the obesity epidemic, people are generally fit in my area. I am 8 mths pregnant, I do not work here, but you could say the bun in the oven is a job creation! :)


brittney February 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I went from living all my life in the South–Tennessee–before moving to San Francisco at age 30. Never before in my life have my surroundings been so skinny!

SF is a fit, healthy place full of fresh produce and exercise opportunities. As great as that is, I also feel immense pressure to be toned and taut and tiny. Add in the fact that many SF women are very young and you have a recipe for insecurity.


kathleen February 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm

in los angeles, obviously, as someone else mentioned.


Mandiee February 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm

that breakfast carrot cake looks like pure heaven. im not a big nut eater (other than almond butter), though, so i may try it out with oatmeal instead. i think that’s a really interesting point about how our environment affects us. i never really saw a correlation but now that i look at it, the people around me are pretty similar appearance wise and i think that contributes to what is viewed as the norm.
have a lovely day!


michelle @ foregoing perfection February 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I definitely think that environment is a huge factor in body image & self esteem. I go to a university where there is an ongoing joke that girls have to send in head shots with their applications to get accepted because so many of the women on this campus are gorgeous. Last semester when I was dealing with some disordered eating and low self esteem, it was really hard to walk outside of my dorm past an open volleyball court and see itsy bitsy girls in teeny tiny bikinis and not get down on myself. However, now my mind & body are much healthier and I don’t worry about my surroundings as much. I think that the degree to which your environment affects you is directly related to where your head is at.


Tay February 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Oh yes, I definitely think location and environment play a huge role. I grew up in a wealthy area, where plastic surgery and “haughty taughty show-off your wealth” looks were quite popular. Here at school, I feel a definite pressure. Many people are physically fit, and there are tons of the skinny, blond, “sorority” types. And with going out every weekend, I feel the pressure to look good to “attract” the right men. It’s awful. However, when I went to visit my sister in a more “hippie” school up in Washington, I noticed a huge difference. No longer did I feel “average” or even “ugly”. In fact, I felt way overdressed and preppy myself. No one was perfect and blonde, no one was dressed to the extreme, and no one looked crazy fit. In fact, as bad as it sounds, I actually felt really and truly pretty for the first time in a while.
It’s sad how location and environment really do influence and play a role in such things.


Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happiness February 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Environment is a big factor… I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and our state is perceived as having a high rate of obesity and non-fit people. I would say that this perception is correct, for the most part. We have a high amount of bars / taverns, a low amount of gyms / health clubs and it can be tough.


Jolene February 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm

In Regina everyone is larger, so I definitely don’t feel the pressure from my environment :-)

That breakfast cake looks RIDICULOUSLY good!! What is the consistency like? Is it cake-like?


Alicia February 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

Living in Cleveland, we embrace very rich, ethinic foods all year round – we just tend to eat a ridiculous amount of comfort food in the winter because of all that cold and snow! Between stuffed cabbage, pierogies, let alone all the baked goods, it makes healthy eating a challenge. That’s always why I’ve stuck to the “everything in moderation” concept.

In saying that, since losing over 100 pounds, what I have noticed that I get more comments about “how thin” I am (I am a size 4/6) – even from complete strangers. And unfortunately, I’ve noticed that I do get A LOT more accomplished in the business world since losing the weight. It’s unfortunate, but a fit 20-something seems to get more respect.


Claire February 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

What a great invention! I will have to try this…sounds so delicious and fast for the morning. Or a sweet craving at night!


Clare October 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Hello, I don’t have any milk at all at the moment (other than coconut), but i have all the other ingredients, can I replace the milk with coconut milk or water?


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