Bad Advice Women Get: Try Not to Be Too Happy
It’s not easy being a woman. We only earn $.78 for every dollar dudes earn, we have to put up with things like periods and high heels, and—maybe worst of all—we’re constantly being bombarded with advice from lady mags, lady sites, and lady-oriented talk shows that purport to know what we should be doing to get thinner, sexier, and happier. Too often their tips are questionable at best and downright moronic at worst.
So every week I’m taking a look at the advice that falls into the “moronic” end of that spectrum. If I can convince even one girl to reconsider whatever’s being professed in her glossy of choice, I’ll sleep a little better at night.
In the relatively small pool of article templates that women’s magazines turn to month after month (find the best jeans for your body type! Learn how to make a smoky eye! Consider swinging—wait, whaaa?) there are two perennial models that will never go out of style: tips on how to lose weight and tips on how to snag a man. Knowing this, the editors at Women’s Health have come up with a genius idea for an article that combines both topics. It’s called “Prevent Love Chub,” and it’s about how your S.O. is making you fat.
Yes, even though ladymags believe any female who isn’t constantly attached to or trying to become attached to a man is kind of sad at best and totally pathetic at worst, now Women’s Health is also saying that boyfriends are any body-conscious chica’s worst enemy.
See, men sabotage our toned limbs and flat bellies in five distinct ways—they love eating out (… at restaurants! Get your mind out of the gutter!), they prevent us from being physically active, they encourage us to eat more in order to keep up with them, they buy unhealthy food, and, worst of all, they make us happy. And as author Jill Waldbieser says, “Research shows that what’s good for your heart may be bad for your hips.” More specifically: “A study published last year in the journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine found that happy people were less likely to succeed at losing weight than those with a ‘slightly negative and cautious outlook.’”
Uh-oh! Somebody better call the diet police, stat! There’s got to be a way for women to be both perfect girlfriends and perfect stick figures at the same time. What say you, Women’s Health?
Well, to begin, the magazine suggests that fatties like you should eat “a healthy snack that contains protein and fiber a few hours before your meal,” if you and the boyf are planning on grabbing dinner out. Yup—eating in secret before you eat in public with your boyfriend. That sounds healthy.
It also advises women to eat “about three-quarters of what he’s eating”—but not if he’s eating something fatty. In that case, Waldbieser suggests having “portion-controlled, lower-calorie alternative[s] on hand to munch while he takes down that bag of chips or pint of ice cream.” Because a guy certainly wouldn’t think there was anything odd about you breaking out a plate of celery stalks while he’s chowing on Doritos—and that low-cal alternative snack will definitely be as satisfying as whatever he’s snarfing. Relying on “popchips” or Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, as Waldbieser suggests, seems like it’d just encourage women to eat more of those supposedly healthier options—which makes this whole thing a zero-sum game.
Finally, to make sure that you don’t balloon up just because you’re feeling confident and loved—the horror!—the article makes its craziest proposal yet: “regular weigh-ins.” It’s unclear whether Waldbieser means that you and the boyfriend should weigh each other regularly or whether you should just be obsessively monitoring your poundage on your own. Either way… come on!
Maybe women who are in relationships do tend to gain a few extra ounces in comparison to their single friends. Even so, “Prevent Love Chub” creates a mountain out of a molehill. It acts as if gaining weight is equivalent to murdering puppies, something any sane girl must prevent from happening at all costs—no matter how crazy it makes her look to that boyfriend she worked so hard to find.
It seems that according to Women’s Health, we just can’t win—you’re either skinny and lonely or happy and chunky. And if you’re in the latter camp, and you take this advice in order to try to get thinner, chances are your hard-won BF is going to think you’re completely bonkers and dump you in favor of a girl who isn’t so insecure. Ugh. Stay classy, Women’s Health.