How Women Accommodate Others With Their Eating Habits

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How Women Accommodate Others With Their Eating Habits

Accommodation, n.

The act of making an adjustment to meet a need.

Accommodating, adj.

Fulfilling someone’s wishes or demands in a helpful way.

We women are SKILLED accommodators. We find out the dietary preferences of our guests before planning a meal. We offer people the more comfortable seat when dining out. We keep our eyes trained on other people’s plates or glasses, offering refills the moment they go empty.

At its best, accommodation is fueled by authentic kindness.

But there’s another version of accommodation that we all know well. This one is fueled by fear and obligation. This is false accommodation.

False accommodation carries a “should” energy. We do it because we feel as if we have to, not because we want to.

We’re taught to be connected and invested in others above ourselves. We’ve learned how to say “yes” when we actually want to say “no.”

For example…

  • Do you say “yes” to seconds at dinner at your mother-in-law’s house or your friend’s house, even though you’re already full, because you want to demonstrate how much you like the food?
  • Do you eat the cake and donuts and other treats that people at your office bring in, in order to not appear to insult the giver of said treats?
  • Do you provide vocal commentary about your food choices during a meal so that the cook will know you don’t mean to disparage their cooking if you don’t eat a certain dish or fill your entire plate?
  • Do you let other people feed your kids unhealthy food that you would rather they didn’t eat, in order not to have to worry about the other person’s feelings if you were to say “no”?

My questions to you today, for reflection, is this:

At what point does accommodating others make you feel smaller (even to the point of feeling like the least important person at the table)? Do you know the difference between when you’re accommodating as a choice and out of a compulsion?

It’s time to find a way to honor our own preferences and needs around food while also being kind to others.

As a woman, you were probably raised—or received messages from society—to maintain harmony during meals.

 

  • We’re trained to say “yes” all the time, even if it’s not an authentic “yes.”
  • We’re taught to smooth the eating experience for others.
  • We’ve been socialized to worry about other people’s judgment of our actions instead of what is best for us.

I believe that we can accommodate others while not adjusting so far that we make our own needs and preferences unimportant. In case you’re wondering: our own needs and preferences can never disappear–they just go underground only to appear and wreak havoc later if they’re not honored to a certain degree.

It’s time to make our own needs and preferences important.  When we consistently do this,  we’ll naturally stop focusing on accommodating others to the same degree. The pendulum will naturally swing back to a healthy balance.

I see us going beyond false accommodation to be able to authentically say “yes” to the food and experiences we truly want.

I see us practicing a new way of being the emotional centers of meals, one where we are kind, clear, and visible with our needs while remaining in harmony with others.

In the comments, tell me how you think women can take care of their own eating needs and preferences while also practicing kindness towards others. What does your version of balance looks like?

Comments

comments

Comments 8

  1. Such a great thought provoking discussion… 🙂
    I also notice that not everyone is ‘trained’ in being a good host.
    Especially in North America 🙂 lol
    But I on the other hand feel I am very attentive to my guests.
    I also would get offended if someone who came to my home refused a tea or any drink if I asked them.
    And I feel that saying Yes is actually proper – maybe choose a smaller portion of the cake or choose fruit if it’s there instead of the cake or just going with tea and saying ‘no thank you’ to the sweets.
    And please take off your coat and sit down even if it’s a short visit. (just a few days ago my sister in law sat down at my kitchen table with her coat still on…. I still can’t get over it (clearly) 🙂
    xox ella

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      Author

      Ella: Thanks for your comment. This is indeed a sensitive issue about saying YES and saying NO to food (and everything else too). From what you write, it seems that you want the guest to say YES to something….sitting down at your table (with their coat off), a cup of tea, a piece of fruit or a piece of cake. When people come to our houses, we want to give to them. I would personally be very happy to come to your house for tea and some vegan sweets in the afternoon.

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      Author
  2. When dealing with health issues I turned to macrobiotic cooking and, as I had always done, I fed my family what I thought was best for all of us and rarely catered to individuals at the table. I’ll always remember with pride when my 7-yr-old son came home from school, saw seaweed hanging by the woodstove to be dried for re-using, and said, “thank you for cooking good food for us, Mommy!” as he gave me a big hug.

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      Author

      Deena: I admire how you focused on your health first and smiled reading about the supportive comment from your son. That is one of our hopes, right? That our children will appreciate the actions we took to support their health and well-being. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog post and commenting here.

  3. Lately I just say no thank you. Before that I was eating everything and blew up! Now I am slowly feeling prouder and healthier about myself and choices.
    Another thing that women do is apologize for everything. We need to take a stand and say to friends yes that stinks instead of I am sorry to hear. And no thank you to food we wont want. Baby steps….

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      Author

      Alissa: I too say no thank you and I really mean it. “No” and “Sincerely, thank you for making this offer to me.” Setting boundaries around food (and everything else too) that supports us is so helpful. I believe that this can be done in a kind way. YES about women and “sorry”. I am mindful about this because I hope my daughter’s generation can let this social habit drop. Thank you for taking the time to comment here and share your thoughts with us.

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