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Female Competitive Food Eaters: Sonya The Black Widow Thomas

Updated on October 1, 2010

Take a moment to picture a woman who can eat eight pounds of sausage in ten minutes or eleven pounds of cheesecake in nine minutes. What does she look like? Let’s say that she’s in her early forties. Would you be surprised to find out that she looks about twenty years younger and weighs barely over one pounds? That’s the true tale about Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, a woman who holds numerous world records for her competitive eating efforts.

The Black Widow

Sonya’s nickname comes from the fact that she’s one of very few females at this level of competitive eating. Among the top 50 competitive eaters listed with the International Federation of Competitive Eating, there is only one other woman besides her. On her website, Sonya explains that she chose this nickname because she wants to obliterate all of the males in this world with her astonishing eating abilities. As number four on that top fifty list, she’s certainly done a great job of accomplishing this goal.

Sonya’s History of Competitive Eating

Sonya’s website says that she always had the three things that it takes to win a competitive eating contest: a strong drive to win, a great appetite and a good metabolism. She saw her first eating competition in 2002 and started competing herself the following year. The records that she currently holds with the International Federation of Competitive Eating include:

·      10+ pounds meatballs. Competing at Carmine’s Restaurant at Tropicana Hotel Casino, Sonya ate ten pounds, three ounces of meatballs in twelve minutes back in 2005.

·      11 pounds of cheesecake. It took her just nine minutes to down eleven pounds of Downtown Atlantic Cheesecake in 2004. That’s more than one pound of cheesecake per minute.

·      11+ pounds of lobster meat. It took her twelve minutes to eat 44 Maine lobsters from the shell in this 2005 competition.

·      31+ quesadillas. It took Sonya a shocking five minutes to eat 31.6 4-inch cheese quesadillas in this competition.

·      4 pounds of toasted raviolo. Charlie Gitto’s at Harrah’s St. Louis made the ravioli and Sonya ate it in just twelve minutes in 2004.

·      4+ pounds of fruitcake. Songa ate nearly five pounds of Wegmans Fruitcake in 2003 at one of her earliest ten minute eating competitions.

·      46 Crab Cakes. It took her ten minutes to eat these crab cakes in 2006 at the Baltimore Waterfront Festival.

·      46 mince pies. Many of us have never eaten a single mince pie but Sonya ate nearly four dozen of them at a 2006 competition in England. It took her ten minutes.

·      48 soft chicken tacos. At Zacalo Restaurant, Sonya impressed onlookers with her consumption of four dozen soft chicken tacos in 11 minutes. That was in 2004.

·      552 Acme Oysters. In just ten minutes, Sonya set a record in 2005 by eating 46 dozen oysters at the Acme Oyster House.

·      6+ pounds of crawfish. In 2010, at the Rouses World Crawfish Eating Championship, Sonya ate 6.5 pounds of crawfish in ten minutes.

·      6+ pounds of fried catfish. At the Rhythm City Casino World Catfish Eating Championship in 2010, Sonya managed to eat 6.75 pounds of fried catfish in ten minutes.

·      65 hard boiled eggs. It took her just under seven minutes to eat over five dozen eggs.

·      7 hamburgers. It took her ten minutes to eat seven burgers that were ¾ pound each.

·      7 pounds of buffalo chicken tenders. Sonya ate just under seven pounds of this spicy treat in ten minutes in March 2010.

·      7+ pounds of turducken. At a Thanksgiving competition in 2003, Sonya showed off her eating skills by eating 7 ¾ pounds of this turkey-chicken-duck stuffed combo.

·      8+ pounds chili cheese fries. In 2006 Sonya ate 8 pounds, two ounces of Winerschnitzel’s chili cheese fries. She did this in ten minutes.

·      8+ pounds of baked beans. It took Sonya less than three minutes to eat nearly eight-and-a-half pounds of baked beans in a 2004 competition.

·      8+ pounds of sausage. In 2005, Sonya ate 8.31 pounds of Armour Vienna Sausage in ten minutes at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Charlotte competitive eating tournament.

·      8+ pounds of sweet potato casserole. At the 2004 NC State Fair, Sonya spent 11 minutes consuming 8.62 pounds of sweet potato casserole. Wonder if she’s ever wanted to try that again?!

·      80 chicken nuggets. Try to eat eighty chicken nuggets in just five minutes and you’ll see what a challenge it really is.

·      9 pound cheeseburger. Have you ever even seen a nine pound cheeseburger? Sonya ate this one at the Plaza Hotel Casino in 2006. It took her 27 minutes on the nose.

·      9 pounds crawfish jambalaya. Back in 2004, Sonya set a record at LuLu’s Mardi Gras for eating nine pounds of this jambalaya in ten minutes.

·      9+ pounds of deep fried okra. In 2006, Sonya ate 9.75 pounds of deep fried okra in a ten minute competition at the Oklahoma State Fair.

Sonya’s Tips for Competitive Eating

Based on the answers she gives on her FAQ’s page at her website, it appears that Sonya offers the following tips for people who are interested in competitive eating:

·      Make sure it’s for you. Competitive eating isn’t right, healthy or comfortable for most people so make sure it’s really something that you want to do.

·      Eat healthy most of the time. She considers her eating competitions to be the rare exception to an otherwise healthy diet.

·      Eat one large meal per day. You have to stretch your stomach to handle these competitions. She does this by eating only one large meal per day and stretching it out over several hours.

·      Exercise. She exercises upwards of two hours per day which certainly helps her to maintain her healthy weight despite her consumption of tons of food.

·      Pace yourself and learn to burp. During competitions, she tries to pace herself even though she’s eating quickly. If she gets stuck then she burps to let out air so there’s room for more food.


Submit a Comment

  • The Rising Glory profile image

    The Rising Glory 

    8 years ago from California

    All I can say is, "Wow!"

  • ethel smith profile image

    Ethel Smith 

    8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    Well I am a greedy piggy but that lot makes me feel sick.

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    I have seen her in action on a few shows. How does she stay so thin? lol

  • pamplemousse profile image


    8 years ago from Austin, TX

    I've heard about this woman! She's certainly the exception to the rule, weight-wise: most competitive eaters I've seen are obese middle-aged white men...

  • Joshua Kell profile image

    Levi Joshua Kell 

    8 years ago from Arizona

    Great and interesting hub. I wouldn't want to bring her home with me, or to my momma, though. My dogs already, practically eat me out of house and home; and my mom is cranky.

  • samboiam profile image


    8 years ago from Texas

    Unbelievable. That's the kind of gal you want to bring home to momma.


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