Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Betty Draper Overeater

Did you see that delicious scene in this week's Mad Men where Betty Draper Francis arrives home, takes a can of whipped cream out of the fridge and squirts it straight into her mouth?


The formerly svelte Betty is now more than zaftig and failing at Weight Watchers.

We see the despondency slowly emerge. When picking up the kids from Don's fabulously modern new apartment in the City, Betty opts to stay outside the door, but her daughter, Sally, insists she comes in. Betty catches sight of Don's young, kittenish new wife Megan buttoning her blouse in the bedroom. Certain other things hint at how much Megan is loved by Don and the children. Betty drives the children home to their sprawling Tudor home in the country and heads straight for the fridge.

More evidence of Betty's quiet misery the next day at Thanksgiving dinner where she serves herself just a few morsels and declares: "I’m thankful that I have everything I want — and that no one else has anything better." As blogger Whitney says: "How to eat your feelings."

Betty eating her morsel of Thanksgiving dinner

Why is Betty overeating?  I've come up with a few explanations - which seems most likely to you?

* While Don was cheating, Betty had an incentive to stay beautiful, she was in a competition. Now that she's married to Henry - who considers himself lucky to have her - she can pig out.

*The willpower she used during the years with Don has left her with no reserves now.

*She's unhappy and bored. But then why is she bored/unhappy now that she has shed the cheating husband and the kids are older? Is it boredom in the bedroom?

Henry feeds Betty a slice of his steak, verboten to Betty on her diet

Do you ever overeat? Is it when you're stressed, depressed,  bored... or what?

I've just realised I overeat when I'm tired. I am a huge sleeper - I like to get nine hours a night and I also benefit from a nap in the afternoon. (I know, this makes me virtually unemployable.) If all that sleep doesn't happen, I'm feeling droopy and then I'm all over the toasted white Thomas English muffins spread with lashings of butter and gobs of marmalade. (I just ate seven in one sitting) I know it's a funny choice for a scoff, but the obvious stuff - chocolate, ice-cream, cakes (except banana cake) biscuits, cheese and chips - doesn't do it for me. You can tell my family is originally from Manchester - the jam butty is my nemesis.

By the way, I know it sounds counter-intuitive that you avoid putting on weight by sleeping loads. But a number of studies confirm this and a friend who suffers terrible insomnia starting taking sleeping pills, got a good night's rest for the first time in years - and lost 15 lbs in a matter of weeks.

What food fills your Betty moments?


90 comments:

  1. Oh I'm loving the Fat Betty storyline! I don't care if it's schadenfreude - I hated her from the first episode.

    I've recently started making my own ice cream. If I'm not careful I'll start ballooning like FB too.

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    1. I love how the writers are strong willed enough to keep her unlikeable and not make her a sympathetic character. I won't buy a bread maker...they'll have to roll me out.

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  2. I don't watch it but I think the over-eating Betty was just a cover for her real life pregnancy. I also love/need my sleep - don't think it's losing me any weight though,Damn!I just had a muffin with cheese for breakfast. My downfall will always be chocolate.

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    1. It will be interesting what turn it will take now Betty has had her bubs.

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  3. I need to get more sleep, and get back onto this show.

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    1. Lots of people don't like it anymore, now Don is thoroughly domesticated, but in some ways I think it's even more clever.

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  4. It's tiredness for me too. I get confused sometimes between tiredness and hunger, they often feel the same, so i'll eat and feel less tired or eat and still feel tired so eat more to see if more reduces the tiredness! Biscuits and chocolate are my poison.

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    1. Hi Max, welcome to the blog, thanks for popping by. I will have to amend my nightly hours - I actually need ten hours....

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  5. I overeat when I'm crazy busy. If I'm too busy to stop for a good lunch I'll grab chips, chocolate, a danish...and nibble away. Luckily it doesn't happen too often these days. I should be asleep right now! x

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  6. Can you believe that I have never so much as seen a single episode of Mad Men? That is criminal, right? :P

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    1. You're in for a treat, especially you as a fashionista!

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  7. I'm loving the Fat Betty Storyline too, and I think you are right on all three points.

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    1. It's always more than one answer isn't it?

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  8. This post is fabulous - a breakdown of the "Fat Betty" storyline.

    I think she has all of the above reasons for her overeating. And Megan probably just makes her feel like complete whip-cream eating crap.

    When I met my now husband, we both gained "love weight" from eating out and drinking bunches while dating and falling in love. We look back now and laugh... "fat and happy" was a real thing! Now that we're married, it is "healthy and happy."

    My problem is not eating when I am slammed at work. In the high pressure situations my job puts me in, sometimes it's so hard to make time for lunch. Then I get home late starving. No bueno. After a few months of that, I've learned to keep food in the fridge to stop the insanity.

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    1. Eating out is the most fun way to put on weight, that's for sure!

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  9. Funny scene and one we can all relate to. When I'm on a roll and watching my calorie intake, I don't defer. When I fall off the wagon, anything is game. Eat or be eaten (still blame it on PMS) ~ sugars and fats, sometimes pasta. YEP, that sums it up.

    Sleeping: I like to get at least 8 hrs but sometimes wake up with hot flashes and I'm a lighter sleeper now, so I hear little noises that wake me up. So.. I guess I should try napping to get more rest instead of more caffeine.

    Leslie

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  10. I too love the Fat Betty storyline. I think her comment at Thanksgiving says it all - Betty doesn't know how to be actually happy in herself. She can only be thankful if she compares herself to other people. She's always been an object, from her early career as a model, to the "perfect wife" of Don (who himself was hiding his real self from her) - she's always lived in a world of appearances and facades.

    Then she marries a man who really loves and supports her, she discovers the emptiness inside. She has the big house, the money, the husband, the social status but she is still miserable and cut off from herself and others.

    In the end though I didn't peg Betty as a whipped cream in the mouth girl. I thought she's be more of a hunk of cheese or an entire box of cereal in the car - more starchy and fatty.

    In a way, I hope she doesn't lose weight and "get back" to being the "old" Betty.

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    1. Yes, well put, it's all about the competition for her and she's supposed to have "won"...but somehow now it doesn't feel like that.

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  11. You are just adorable with your jam butty cravings (I think we must be twins). What did I bring home the most of from England? Four jars of Robertsons Golden Shred marmalade! Used to be able to get it here but it's all but disappeared from the shops now. Big plate of hot buttered crumpets with loads of marmalade is my idea of heaven on earth. Good job I haven't seen crumpets in the shops lately either, otherwise I'd be as big as a house. I tend to over eat when I'm happy - can't even look at food when I'm sad. Currently, I'm enlarging - ergo, happy :)

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    1. Oh that's the marmalade was looking for yesterday...Robertson's. Crumpets sold at Trader Jo's last time I was there.

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  12. I recently saw Tony Soprano eating (drinking?) whipped cream from a can by the fridge. That wasn't quite so appealing as seeing Betty do it! I eat when I'm bored at work. Which is pretty much every day. Most it's Cadbury's creme eggs, even though Easter was yonks ago.

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. Your header is so cool, I love it!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Annie. The whipped cream squirt is what we've come to expect of Tony Soprano (and sundry 14 year olds) - more shocking when Betty does it.

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  13. Thick white bread with real butter, and usually around 3.30pm when I'm starting to flag. If I'm ill and tired it will be a golden syrup sandwich - if I'm hungover its cornflakes! However I'm feeling I do love to eat and there's virtually nothing I dislike!

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  14. Golden syrup sarnie! That might be my new nemesis!

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  15. Cookies, brownies, cakes, custards. I'm such a pig. My will-power cycles on and off as my pants get tighter and and then looser. Once they feel loose feel, I go crazy and eat everything in sight. Then they become tight (try not to linger on the image, but imagine a 10lb sausage in a 5lb casing), and I stop eating anything but greens. I refuse to change sizes, I simply have too much invested in my wardrobe.

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    1. Good philosophy to always return to the same size, totally efficient.

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  16. I have read many times about the correlation between sleep and losing weight. I believe it.

    I LOVE Mad Men. Betty drives me crazy. I think she's bored, the grass wasn't necessarily greener but it is easier because of Henry. She loves the bad boys and Don is H-O-T. She doesn't want to see him happy.

    I eat when stressed (not sweets necessarily) but anything that's not nailed down. And the wine...that flows down nicely as well. I definitely gain when stressed.

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  17. betty's behavior makes *perfect sense.

    for me?? PASTA.

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  18. I like the Fat Betty storyline too, (although surely it's only to hide the fact that January Jones was pregnant, so at some point she has to shed a ton of weight presumably.)
    I think she still loves Don - she was mad at him and that's why she went off with Henry, but Henry is fundamentally boring and she can't stand to see Don happy. Also I think she is fundamentally deeply unhappy - she was while married to Don and changing the scene hasn't made any difference.

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    1. It's like: "Wherever you go, there you are"

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  19. Poor Betty - I hope she feels happier soon - she should get some speed tabs from the docs - I think they were given out routinely in the 60s/70s! I do feel rotten when I'm tired and probably self-medicate with carbs, so yes, the more sleep the better! xxx

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    1. I always wait for the second wind with carbs but they make me feel even gluggier

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  20. Yup. I need 9 hours sleep too and am unbearable when I don't get it... even though I've been told that 6 hours is more healthy.

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    1. Apparently Maggie Thatcher only needed five hours a night and felt fresh in the morning so I don't feel bad about being the opposite... a sleeper...

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  21. I just love eating. I love sleeping too. I never manage a nap, but I do head to bed around 8:00-- I can't eve believe it.
    I eat the junk (chips, chocolate, any candy...) and over the past 4 years I've paid no attention to the volume of food and junk I consume. I just recently lost 20 pounds though by walking and using an app called Lose It to track my calories. I've never looked at calories before in my life--having a calorie budget really helps get things in check.

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  22. Oh when I saw Betty put that can to her face, I started yelling, "Don't do it, don't do it!!!". I think she's bored, I know. That's why I keep myself so busy and I do love my naps as well, LOL!!!
    Thanks for visiting me today,it was a pleasant surprise!!
    Oh and my food of choice is anything with CHEESE!!!!!!
    Bad Girl am I !! Love Di ♥

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    1. I do love Cowgirl Creamery goats cheese from Point Reyes

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  23. Thanks for the link love! I think that Jenography.net sums up the "Fat Betty" storyline pretty well in her comment above...now I just hope they bring her bitchy friend Francene back in a cameo for some awesome Suburban Sixties Side-Eye action ;)

    I freaking love your blog.

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  24. Oh Francene, yes she needs to come back soonest.

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  25. I actually tend to overeat when I'm feeling bad about myself in general. Like I have no control or discipline in life. I drank too much/didn't go to gym/spent too much money/etc. I blame myself and then comfort myself by eating whatever. It's a vicious cycle. Happy to say I'm not in one currently :) xoxo

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  26. Betty seems really stressed :p

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  27. I must admit that while being available here in NZ, I've never watched this series, so I've no idea about Betty or her troubles.

    But if I'm fed up, I tend to eat savouries. Mostly pies (Do you miss Steak & Cheese pies?)or Congee or best of all, Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.

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    1. I do so miss steak and kidney pies (even from a petrol station) and the bacon and eggs ones even though my sisters tell me there is a golfball of fat in them!

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  28. Totally agree with you on the sleep and eating. I should be in bed right now...Thinking about that can of whip cream in the frig and the Thomas's English Muffins right next to them! Thanks a lot Jody!! ;p

    Have a good weekend!

    xo
    Kim

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  29. i am the same way about sleeping/eating. i think i am trying to make up for the lack of energy i have due to the lack of sleep. or i just like to eat...i'm not a sweets girl. i love popcorn. but english muffins with butter and marmalade sounds delicious right now.

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  30. You've just reminded me to get more sleep. I'm an owl. I think better at night. Which means I start to get hungry. So I snack. I totally understand how one can drop a dress size or two from sleeping earlier. Note to self: sleep earlier from tonight onwards.

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    1. Hard to resist the late night snacky-poos!

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  31. Oh lord, I'm on a trip right now where all I'm doing is eating--cheese is my downfall...so love the character turn Betty has taken--the secret over-eater--who can't relate? I'm all with you on getting more sleep--if only I could do it at home, not sure how you do it with kids--do you wear earplugs or are you one of those people graced with the ability to just fall asleep anywhere? Have a great weekend Jody!

    xoxo Mary Jo

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    1. What cheese is in vogue down there in SoCal?

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  32. Hmmmm.... I am not a big compulsive eater, esp not lately. I sometimes anxiety eat, but that is rare. As for sleep.... I crave it all the time. Seriously, thank goodness I work from home and set my schedule for the most part, otherwise I would NEVER have a job!

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  33. i'm literally rewatching this ep right now! i eat when i'm tired too.

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  34. I think Betty is unhappy and doesn't feel like she needs to keep her figure to keep her man. I love to sleep too! I don't tend to overeat but I do snack at night...something I wish I could curb. Great post!

    xx

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  35. I havent seen this episode yet but I did see her before she left and I couldnt believe how big she was. I agree with getting enough sleep or even keeping a good sleeping pattern. I get terrible sleep or sometimes stay up way to late and end up eating because I'm bored. Sometimes I just need to turn the TV off and go to bed! Im a bad late night snacker. Ive been exercising but Im just not seeing a difference because I eat too much at night. I need to learn to drink lots of water instead!

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    1. It's tempting to watch from one show to another..

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  36. I wish I could sleep like you! I rarely get more than 6hours a night and end up falling asleep on the sofa at 8.30pm usually. Which could, of course, explain why I've never seen an episode of Mad Men :-(

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    1. I'm sure you get a lot more done than me though...

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  37. i never liked her character... she was always quite miserable! ha!

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    1. That's the fascinating thing - we should feel sorry for her and like her because she was so badly treated by Don and yet it's Don we're behind.

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  38. am so loving Mad Men...... I want to wear all Megan's close now but think her figure belongs to another period of my life......the more you sleep the less time you have to eat...... I think I need to sleep more!!

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  39. Megan green and blue dress in the office was incredible.

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  40. um hello?!?
    i put the emo in emotional eater....i started to emotionally overeat when seconds out the womb my mother offered her 1st of many rejections of me when she refused to breast feed me....cue the many scenes of katie reaching for the proverbial bottle in hopes for mother's love...
    i go for cheese.....sad katie calls for a mean, stinky stilton....

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    1. I do love a good stilton too. When I was a chalet girl one of the punters bought his own mega wheel of stilton (he said he took one wherever he went) Quite a good policy, I thought. It certainly sorts out the sheep from the goats...

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  41. Hello ! I must be the only woman in the Western hemisphere who has never watched "Mad Men" ! Anyway, I overeat (jam butties will do fine, thank you !) when I'm tired. Like your friend, I suffer from terrible insomnia. Of course, I feel awful in the morning and counteract the lethargy by eating too much, anything, anytime, anywhere. I always think that it's better than swallowing pills but you're making me rethink that ...

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  42. I have to eat chocolate to give me enough energy to get upstairs to bed. Maybe I should move to a bungalow?

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  43. I eat anything to hand in the fridge...don't have to be tired or emotional or in love or anxious or happy....I just like to eat! and sleeping is wonderful.....I could sleep for hours and yet I can't catnap!

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    1. Sometimes my wee sleeps become The Big Sleep

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  44. I have to start watching Mad Men!
    I can't control myself when I have Ritz Crackers in the house.

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    1. Any kind of crackers are good for me, but love Huntley and Palmer

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  45. dark chocolate and i justify it with the antioxident thing....

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  46. Anything with peanut butter on it. My husband thinks I am weird and a little nuts (he is probably right), but I love to put peanut butter on vanilla ice cream. I tend to overeat when I am worried or nervous. I know that is the exact opposite of most people who generally cannot eat or even think of food when they are really nervous.

    I am a new follower. It is nice to meet you.

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    1. A good dollop of peanut butter is part of most diets nowadays!

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  47. I'm with you and Betty, heavy cream or butter does the trick, not so much sugar. I cannot overeat when I'm tired, but definitely when I'm bored or procrastinating.

    Following for slices of kiwi humor.

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  48. I'm the opposite of Betty. I have no appetite when I'm happy and I go to town on food when I am. Haha!

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  49. Great post! I love your analysis of Betty's binge eating! I am an overeater when I'm stressed or super tired... which has been most of the time lately! xo style, she wrote

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  50. I found your website the other day and after reading a handful of posts, thought I would say thank you for all the great content. Keep it coming! I will try to stop by here more often.

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