You may want pretend that you don’t do it…but you do. You’ll peer over at the grocery checkout line to the person in front of you and maybe you’re appalled by their 4 boxes of croissants. Maybe you’ll look at your meat-eating friend and be disgusted because she selected the steak off the menu – it’s not even organic! But here’s the thing, someone has likely done it to you too. Whether it’s judging you for your Twix bar that you had to have during your period or the coffee in your hand, you have been victim to it to. It’s called, food shaming, so how do we stop it?
In the recent news, we’ve heard a lot about, slut shaming, but food shaming is another phenomenon that I believe is loaded with hypocrisy and creates unnecessary stress. Now you may have been told that you should never eat processed foods. And for the most part, I agree with that statement…except never say never. I have been that girl who’s hidden the Twix bar (a jumbo one too!) under my kale and yes, I have eaten non-organic meat at a restaurant! And while I’m a Nutritionist, I’m also human too. And I can bet your pretty pants off that many of the Nutritionists, ND’s, etc. that you follow have also eaten a little dirty too.
My biggest beef about food shaming is the stress that it creates and the disproportionate relationship that unfolds around food. When we indulge in something we rightfully know will make us bloat, or give us the shits, we beat ourselves up. So every time we feel awful, we associate feeling and being an awful person with punishing ourselves with poor food choices. Instead we should be striving for balance and see our food as a point of nourishment rather than a point of stress. So how can we stop it?
Stop judging and start understanding
I realize this is easier said than done but maybe that person clutching their coffee was up until 2am working on a project, trying to soothe a screaming child or couldn’t sleep because she was upset about a breakup. Or maybe she’s just drinking coffee because she likes it! Whatever the case is, everyone is fighting their own battle that you know nothing about. So search for the understanding that you wish others could have with you at times. Because point is, you never know.
Stop the glorification of cheating & stop making excuses for your actions.
Truthfully your friends don’t need to hear your excuses and your enemies won’t give a shit. Glorifying that, oh my God, I can’t believe I ate gluten is not helping the cause. Yes, we realize it will likely give you a zit or two or bung you up, but get on with it and shelf the complaints. So the next time someone cries after they ate a baguette with you, reply with something positive like: Yes and what a treat it was!
Realize that one diet is not right for the entire world
While I do eat mainly a Paleo-type regime (with the inclusion of some grains like soaked quinoa or Job’s tears), I don’t believe that everyone should be Paleo and I won’t fault you if you’re not. There are millions of people who live on this earth who have different bodies, types of enzymes and who function differently. So if you’re a hardcore Paleolithic junkie or a hardcore vegan, ease up. Not everyone is you. So if you find a Nutritionist who touts one eating regime for all, run like hell.
Stop the fear mongering & provide humble education
Posting PETA videos of dying animals while effective for some, will not be for others. I truly believe that if you want someone to change their purchasing decision, then provide them with the benefits in doing so. How can this serve their current values? How can they afford to do so and feed their family? Practical tools, humble education (rather than coming across as preachy) is where true change is born.
So let’s dump the hypocrisy and stress around food. It’s another layer that none of us have room for in our lives. Instead let’s celebrate. I’ll be discussing a little bit about food shaming and how to find your balance with food during my FREE webinar on, “Letting Go & Becoming Stress-Free” on October 23 at 7:30pmEST, so if you haven’t joined my tribe to get access on the 21st, then what are you waiting for?
In the meantime, be kind to yourself and be kind others. Everyone is facing a battle you know nothing about. So stop judging…even yourself.
Show me more: Mind & Body