Stop food shaming. Seriously, stop it now! I am talking to myself and the catrillion other people who have looked at some one’s lunch and either thought or said, “I can’t believe she’s eating that.” I am talking to myself and the catrillion other people who have deprived themselves of nourishment because it had too many calories, too much fat or too many carbs. I am talking to myself and the catrillion other people who have felt guilty about eating something. I am talking to myself and the catrillion other people who have been labeled as picky, high maintenance, difficult or too good because we asked for no cheese, we wanted to know how the sauce was made or we decided not to indulge in the delicacies brought to some celebration.
In an article from the Huffington Post, Michelle May, M.D was quoted as saying, “When we judge food as being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ we also judge ourselves and other people as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ depending on what we ate.” It is my belief that these judgments are cultivated through social norms and misguided perceptions of the perfect body, clearest skin, roundest ass, perkiest boobs, flattest abs, longest legs or whichever body part has been assigned highest value for the moment. Somehow these physical traits have been assigned moral values, while the purpose and intent of the food itself has been disconnected from the act of eating. As if not eating to be skinny means we are nice or having an extra piece of cake to keep our curves and have big boobs means we are fun.
The purpose of food is to fuel our bodies and maintain optimal health. It is not inherently good or bad. It does not make us more enlightened, and it certainly does not make us better or worse than the next person. As a dietitian I know how different types of foods affect our bodies and minds. I have strong opinions about foods I choose as fuel and why, because I understand the science and can explain digestion. I will serve as a guide to making food choices that support the highest quality of life and optimal health, not the food choices that achieve a specific physical shape.
Since health is individualized it should not be measured by the size of our pants, the numbers on the scale or how our assets compare to Kim Kardishian’s. While there are some markers of health that can guide us towards making appropriate lifestyle changes, we get to determine what feels best and how we want to live, and there is no shame in that. Consider this a judgment free zone.