Two things happened at the weekend that compelled me to come out of writing hibernation.
First, a local bakery posted a picture online of some of their cabinet items and one of my friends innocently commented underneath the photo. Some of her friends saw the comment and decided to ‘warn her’ by replying and telling her how much sugar were in the items, and how unhealthy they were. Each comment ended with a disappointed/disgusted emoji face.
Secondly, a mother in Australia sent her three year old to school with chocolate slice that she had lovingly baked for her and her 7 siblings. Sadly, the lunch box came home with a note from the teacher telling her to re-evaluate her food options and stop sending the chocolate slice in. You can read about that craziness here.
So, I’m going to straight up say it.
This just flat out pisses me off.
As a nation, more and more people are realizing that whole, fresh foods are better for you, that cooking at home will provide you with better nutrition, and that so many foods in our supermarkets are laden with sugar which is detrimental to our health.
And overall, I love this trend. It means it’s becoming easier and more common to get your hands on fresh, healthy, local, whole foods which I love to eat.
Unfortunately though, this shift in culture has also created a bit of a toxic by-product: better-than-thou attitudes and also judgements about other people’s choices about food.
“Soooo much sugar!”
Thank you Mrs Judgey Judge Pants. By now we are all aware that cream buns and lolly slice have sugar in them. But why do we feel the need to call people out on their food choices, or shame people for merely commenting on a picture.
And this ‘shaming’ goes both ways.
Making health-minded eating choices does not make you immune from judgement either – trust me, I’ve been there! I once ordered a salad for lunch because that’s what I felt like, and was accused by some of my girlfriends of being “no fun” because I didn’t get a burger like they all did.
Can we please just stop.
Yes, healthy living IS important to me. I am in the business of helping people to improve their lives through better health, which includes improved food choices. What I am not in the business of is making the people in our lives feel guilty about their food choices.
Here’s the thing though. Food is not intrinsically good or bad – It’s just food. We are the ones who place meaning on it. We have convinced ourselves that the definition of eating healthy is completely black and white, and that we are also ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on what we eat.
And when we hold ourselves to this standard, it’s so much easier to judge everybody else by that standard also.
So let’s try and end this craziness.
Your friends, family etc are free to eat whatever they want, regardless of what everyone else is eating. It is not your responsibility to make them happy or sad based on your own eating for your own body. Be an expert on yourself, and what is going on in your own body. And be careful of which advice you listen to. Listening to somebody else’s idea of what you should eat is like someone telling you how often you should pee. You know your body best.
How do we change it?
Michael Jackson suggests we start with the man in the mirror.
The best way to see change in the world is to start with ourselves. So, I personally am going to make a better effort to pay attention to when I have shaming thoughts or even when I’m comparing my own food choices to what others are eating. In those moments I will remember that I have no idea what that person’s diet is like, what they’ve eaten that day or what their health goals may be.
Please remember that no matter where we are on our health journey, there will always be people who are ahead of us and behind us. And, as soon as we think we’ve got it all figured out there will be some new research, or article that will pop up on our Facebook news feed that proves we still have so much more to learn.
In the end, let’s just be kind to each other.
Tags: body shaming, choices, family food, food shaming, good choices, good eating, good food, good food for families, healthy food for kids, healthy kids, healthy kids food, kids food, kindness, love, support, uplift others, Wellbeing