Once upon a time, food was simply food. We ate because it was nourishment and went on with our day. We have entered a time of food abundance where overeating and unhealthy habits have become the norm. With the emergence of health trends and social media, we are starting to see food shaming. Food shaming is making others feel guilty or shameful of what they are eating. Apparently, this occurs at both ends of the spectrum: unhealthy and healthy foods. If you choose to eat unhealthy foods, you are considered gross and have no self-control. If you eat healthy foods, you are boring and pretentious.
Even as a dietitian, I don’t believe it is my place to make anyone ashamed of their food choices. I am here to provide knowledge to people who are in need of learning more about their food. There are a plethora of reasons why people eat what they eat. A lot of these reasons are psychological. We eat when we are bored, lonely, sad, happy, celebrating, or stressed. There are even times when we feel pressured to eat: someone cooked a homemade meal for you, everyone from work is going out to dinner together, and the old adage to “clean your plate.” We can even food shame ourselves. “I shouldn’t have eaten those brownies. I’m so weak.”
We need to change the way we think about food. First of all, we need to think about food as fuel and an investment in our future health. Food builds our bones, our muscles, and prevents diseases, among other things. Secondly, what other people eat is none of our business. The desire to eat a certain way comes from within. Food shaming will only perpetuate negative thoughts and emotions surrounding food. We need to create a positive environment and encourage those we care about to try different foods and inspire others to eat healthy.
For an interesting article on food-shaming, click here http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/food-shaming.