THE FOOD SHAME GAME
Isn't it crazy how much we judge each other for what we choose to eat? Its often not malicious, we genuinely want the best for people and want to help them be their healthiest. This can be counter productive though, as it can create a lot of self consciousness guilt & shame around eating & food.
This picture for example - when I posted it a few months ago, I got a ton of comments criticising me for eating something so unhealthy, that it had dairy in it, even that I was being a bad role model to my daughter! Never mind that my husband daughter and I all shared the one plate, or that we eat really healthy food the other 90% of the time and it was a treat, or that to me it is more about the art of a beautifully presented dish than it is the food itself.
And probably even more than we food shame others, we do it to ourselves. How many times have you shamed yourself for eating the 'wrong' foods, indulging in pizza or icecream or something you've deemed 'unhealthy' and therefore off limits? Or eating too much? Or eating at the wrong times? Or eating the wrong macros? I'll put my hand up, more times than I could even count since a very young age. Shaming yourself doesn't lead to feeling great and making better food choices though. Nope - it generally leads to binging or restricting and feeling really shitty about yourself.
Its something I've been much more conscious of since I had Lily. Being completely health obsessed I have to constantly catch how I talk about food or my eating habits. The other day she saw a large person at the supermarket and said really loudly "Mama, that man is really fat - did he eat too many pies?" Mortifying. And time to check myself again on our food behaviors and language at home. Yes, we need to be healthy. Yes, we need to set a good example for our kids and make sure they're healthy too. Its not about throwing our health out the window and eating whatever we want, it's about taking the emotion and stress out of it. I don't think we should stop talking about health and food, but we should never direct it at someone and it should focus on the positive, not on what we're doing wrong.
How We Can Consciously Stop Food Shaming
1. Don't label foods as good or bad, ever. Food is just food.
2. Don't comment on what other people are eating or how they're eating it, period.
3. If you're vegan, don't criticise someone for eating meat. If you're Paleo, don't criticise someone for eating tofu. Eat what you want to, for whatever reason you believe in, but don't tell someone else what they should or shouldn't be doing.
4. Don't force your kids to finish everything on their plate, you're teaching them to overeat for the rest of their life instead of listening to their own hunger cues.
5. Don't tell someone you wish you were skinny too or that you wish you could get away with eating whatever you want like they do. You have no idea what is going on behind the scenes, their genetic makeup, if they have an eating disorder. Stay in your lane, comparison will kill your own happiness
6. Stop making a big fucking deal of food. Food is for pleasure, for fuel and for health. Thats it.
7. If there are things in your environment like certain social media pages, magazines you read or a gym you go to that make you feel shame or guilt around food, get them out of your life.
8. If someone comments on what or how you're eating, let it slide straight off you - or just straight up tell them not to do it.
THE FOOD SHAME GAME