I wonder if I am alone in this situation? I am walking around a supermarket and I spot down one aisle a participant that comes to my classes. I quickly scan the groceries in my basket, are they ok to be seen? Are they healthy items? Will I be judged? Can I hide something under the lettuce? Making a quick decision that there are too many naughty items to hide under the salad and tomatoes, I duck into the next aisle and high tail it to the self-scanning counter. Now, the race to scan and make a quick exit before I am discovered purchasing the ‘wrong things’.
Am I being paranoid, or have I had enough experiences of very nice people looking into my shopping basket and saying “should you be eating that?” or ‘that is not very healthy!’?
Ahhhh… Socially acceptable food bashing and by association, anyone who consumes it can also be criticised, has stopped me from joining members for coffee and attending gym social events. I avoid shopping in supermarkets close to gyms that I work in and try to avoid all situations when food or diets are discussed. It is just too much.
I remember once purchasing some almonds and eating these while having a coffee catch up with some of my loyal participants. What’s wrong with almonds? Well, nothing really, but it was the discussion about whether it was healthy or not, how many I was eating and what would happen if I ate too many… on and on it went. I found myself slowly closing the bag and slipping it into my backpack and excusing myself to go ‘teach a class’.
I have noticed it is not just members, but that this has also seeped into the fitness industry.
Food shaming is the stuff of eating disorders. It is what makes people feel that there is good food and bad food. This can impact our choices, especially when we are not feeling great. With the enormous amount of misinformation about food and diets (one size does not fit all), it can be overwhelming. Also, what I chose to consume, really is not anyone else’s business. If what I chose to put in my mouth makes other people unwell, then it would be a topic to discuss, but this is not the case.The only time that someone’s diet is discussed, is when the individual chooses to start the conversation. Offering unsolicited advice (passing judgement) is not appropriate. Even if people ask me what I eat, my next question is ‘why do you want to know?’ When you think about it – it actually is a very private question.
Enough with the unsolicited food shaming!
I realise that I have been judgemental with those who have chosen to do it, but someone has to say it.