Only six minutes and twelve of the spiciest wings in Buffalo Wild Wings history stood between me and that coveted champions shirt that I had come for. I was amped to start the Blazin' Challenge confident that I would come out of it unscathed (see before pic oozing with my naive pre-wing glow).

Brianna Hoelting

I started strong, well ahead of the six-minute pace; but, at about minute three minutes, I was beginning to slow down. My lips were numb, my hands were shaking, and my eyes were blurry. It was at this moment when I thought I couldn't go on that something changed—my motivation for completing the challenge. 

My friends asked the waitresses if they had ever completed the challenge, to which they responded no, in fact they said they had never seen a woman complete the challenge. Hearing this, I was reinvigorated to finish the challenge, my friends even joked, "Do it for the wage gap!"

I completed the challenge, a proud moment for sure; but, when I later reflected upon what the waitresses said and even my friends jokes, I saw something I did not like. I am talking about the unhealthy relationship women have with food. Women are constantly being held to some sort of unspoken standard when it comes to the food they put in their bodies. 

I have never been a petite girl, being 6'0 tall kind of dashes all chances of that, so I definitely can eat my fair share. But, I have accepted this fact and am not afraid to declare and show my love for food. However, there have definitely been times where I have felt shame for the amount of food I eat or felt judged because I went for an extra roll at dinner. 

In fact, I distinctly remember being at dinner with a few of my friends and one of the guys saying, "I bet Bri finishes her plate." He might not have meant it in a mean way, but saying that in front of all my friends, and a few people I don't know too well, made me question how others perceived and/or judged me. Do I really eat too much? 

While this happened a couple years ago, it has still stuck with me, and thinking back to it still makes me angry. He blatantly stereotyped me and made me question my body image all because I could finish a plate of food.

I would like to think that I am the only person who has experienced something like this, but too often girls are deemed "pigs" or "big girls" if they can eat a lot. This sad reality needs to end. Why should society and gender roles get to decide what I put in my body? Women should not have to suffer and sacrifice eating good food, or even completing a buffalo wing challenge, because it's not "ladylike."

So, my fellow women, eat up. It's liberating.