What have mothers always told their daughters as they enter the dating world? Sit with your legs crossed tight…men are always thinking about sex! Well, if moms are being fair, they’d share a little warning with their sons too: Protect your wallet and your fridge…women are always thinking about food!
To be fair, I’m being a little dramatic about it. And I’m a little biased–I am a woman! But face the facts, people. The Daily Mail reported on Monday on a recent study that yielded some interesting results regarding what’s on the minds of men and women these days.
Shape Smart, whose research was based in the UK, found that while men fantasize about sex, women are planning their next meal, smuggling purse-sized snacks, and daydreaming about Grandma’s old triple cheese lasagna recipe. That’s right–ladies think about food just as much as men think about sex!
According to the study, 36 percent of men think about sex every 30 minutes. Ok, that seems normal, right? A measly (but still pretty big if you think about it) 5 percent even think about it every minute. Wow.
As far as women are concerned, however, only 10 percent of us think about sex every half hour. But 25 percent of women think about food at the same frequency. That means that in the next 30 minutes, nearly as many women will be thinking about food as men who will be thinking about sex!
This makes perfect sense evolutionarily. Back in the day, if there was a problem, evolution stepped in to solve it through adaptive changes that ultimately improved the human race. Throughout history, women have always played the role of caring for our children and our homes, which included preparing meals, while the men hunted. A man chose his mate based on which woman won the unspoken contest of best homemaker or best cook. These traits of awesome wife skills eventually passed on to offspring…and voila! Generations upon generations of women who are literally programmed to put food first.
As Jezebel writer Sadie Stein put it so clearly for all non-women to understand: "I think about food all the time, like a middle-school boy thinks about sex. Or, rather, like Oliver Twist thought about food."
Humorous as her statement seems, she highlights something interesting. Are women really at the point where we compare our own obsessions with food to the hunger of an orphan whose only wish is to have some more porridge, sir?
Once again, I’m overdramatizing the situation. But let’s think deeper. Twenty-five percent of women supposedly think about food every 30 minutes. This is crazy considering the extent to which we also obsess about looking like we don’t eat. Results like these pose a direct opposition to what the media tells women about how we’re supposed to look. And yes, I am going to rant about this for a second, even if it makes me sound like all the feminist soapboxers out there.
The study additionally discovered that a whopping 60 percent of women do not feel comfortable eating in front of their partner. How sad is that? We think about food twice an hour for the 16 hours we’re awake each day, then we don’t even feel confident enough to enjoy a cheeseburger with our husbands or boyfriends when they take us out to dinner.
The insecurity doesn’t stop there, girls. Fifty percent of ladies in a relationship feel uncomfortable about getting undressed in front of their partners, dieting and weight concerns constantly plague the minds of 40 percent of women, and 13 percent choose low calorie options in restaurants instead of what they really want to eat. To boot, 15 percent of women eat junk food in secret…and 10 percent lie about doing so!
The results of this study only add to the queries women have been wondering forever: how am I supposed to look and feel the way the media says I should when my brain is leading me in the exact opposite direction?
Personally, I have no idea–I’m currently thinking about delicious Trader Joe’s chicken tikka masala I’m going to pop in the microwave for lunch.
But according to nutritionist and behavior therapist Mary Strugar, there is an answer and it’s NOT starvation! "The role of appetite is key to weight loss and a detrimental cycle of food restriction that causes hunger pangs may lead directly to overeating," she explains.
I suppose the ever-applicable rule of moderation could help too. And as always, a healthy dose of confidence that your worth is not in your appearance would surely distract any woman from her food-centric thoughts for a moment!