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Stress eating or binge eating is not funny. It is something that affects a number of women. So next time before you ask a woman to stop, try asking her why.
This article is about stress eating that affects so many women across the globe and several in our own country too. Not only does it affect one’s physical health but it affects the mental and hormonal health creating all sorts of mental and physical imbalance.
Stress eating is a stress beating formula where the person copes with food in order to process. That usually always borders on binge eating all day long.
I know so many women personally (including, yours truly) who have gained so much weight due to erratic eating habits. This majorly affects women rather than men since they are usually more stressed. The stress stems from managing work and family and also trying to keep everyone happy.
Moreover, women are encouraged to simply grin and tolerate every insult- sexist or other wise, every taunt from the family and in-laws. They are told to keep everything under the covers and not to shout from rooftops. No, not even a whisper is allowed.
All this creates an additional pressure on women to conform even when they don’t want to. I remember a friend who dreaded taking long leaves from work. If she was at home, she was expected to keep the house clean all day!
The sheer pressure of trying to conform to other’s standards started killing her slowly and internally. She wanted a leave but couldn’t do so while staying at her in-laws’ place. This made her irritable and exhausted, and she desperately needed a break.
And all this while, food was her only companion, giving her company more often than humans didn’t. She kept stress eating at work due to the work pressure, the lack of peace at home and the physical and mental tiredness.
Even when she wasn’t hungry, she’d indulge in a snack since that was the only way she knew how to deal with stress. She started developing acne on her face and was perennially tired. Last I heard, she was still trying to break from all of it.
While I was working, I was a coffee addict. I needed coffee almost every hour to be able to function. It came to a point, where once at work, when the coffee machine was out of order, I absolutely broke into a sweat and was irritated the entire day.
I’d begun consuming coffee to stay up late at night and complete work since I could only do that after everyone had slept and I’d finished my chores. Only then, did I believe that I was a good daughter-in-law. I had started developing dark circles due to lack of sleep and was majorly moody when I was deprived of coffee.
Several women develop unhealthy eating habits due to the pressure they are under to be perfect at home and at work. They are burdened with the unattainable standards of perfection. Every woman is expected to be the perfect daughter, wife, employee, mother, and daughter-in-law. And in that process, she starts losing herself, she starts losing her individuality and herself as a human.
We can always tell women to pull up their socks and start exercising- which is a great option. But maybe we can also go to the root of the problem and teach our boys to handle the work at home and help the women.
Other than that, we also need to teach our women to speak up and put their foot down, firmly, when it comes to gender roles. It isn’t in a woman’s DNA to wake up, cook for the whole family, wash and arrange clothes, help kids, take care of them and go to work too.
It is high time men are taught that regardless of a woman being a homemaker, a working woman or a woman without labels, she needs to be respected. Men need to be taught to share the housework. They need to be taught that women also need their space.
Stop overburdening them and suppressing women!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Dil Dhadkane Do
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Born and brought up in Mumbai.
A feminist and a voracious reader.
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