Are You Being Bullied For Your Healthy Food Choices?
In this society, there is always an added pressure to live a certain way in order to be healthy and stay fit. This is seen in fitness models and the other size zero supermodels. This can be very demanding and put a lot of pressure on the average person in order to become the same way. This is, in a way, passive bullying people to get into healthy dieting and lifestyle. People usually lead a very healthy life just from eating what they want and indulging in a few treats once in a while. The key is moderation when eating or in terms of your training routines. It is always about the right balance and to find something that suits each individual.
If you are being bullied for being healthy, please know that you are not the only one. In today’s society, unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to hearing about cases of fat-shaming – people judging others for their unhealthy eating habits and for being overweight. We constantly hear people criticizing others for not having enough control and not taking the necessary actions to limit their food intake. We live in a world where a size-zero supermodel has become the norm for ideal and we are being bombarded with ideal body images since childhood. But this is not news!
Because I work in health and nutrition and blog about holistic health and wellness, I have made it a habit not to comment on anyone’s diet, unless they specifically ask, for a variety of reasons. The most important one being people are reluctant to change and refuse to listen to something that deeply contradicts their beliefs. I can relate because I was one of them. For this reason, I am deeply convinced of my health and food beliefs and I have decided that there is no reason to justify this to anyone. The problem started when I started hearing comments about other people’s healthy choices, such as these:
- “What is it you can eat?”
- “Do you really believe gluten-free propaganda? They are just doing that to sell more expensive products!”
- “You know it wouldn’t kill you to eat 1 piece of cake.”
- “What is that you are eating? Is that some vegan crap? The food you eat is too weird.”
- And the worse of all: “We have been eating this food for years and now suddenly you can’t digest it anymore!”
I realized that this is no longer about my food choices. We were now living in a world where people are being bullied for their healthy food choices or health bullying. And this is completely unacceptable!
If you are being bullied for being healthy, please know that you are not the only one. Health bullying is someone making fun of you choosing not to eat that piece of frosty cake, or you asking for gluten-free options, or you drinking a green smoothie. People experience it is a variety of ways, but it results in making you feel ashamed of your food choices and how you generally decide to live your life.
How Did We Get From Fat-Shaming To Health-Bullying?
One of the reasons that come to mind is that people have, for a long time, associated the idea of health with ideal weight. And this is not an accurate belief. Most people who have decided to adopt gluten-free diets or become vegan or indulge in smoothie bowls are people who have suffered from chronic cramps, bloating, or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) among other conditions and have decided to change their lifestyle. These are people who have opted for feeling good as opposed to having the right number on the scale. Sometimes, this could mean both.
Why Is Health-Bullying Happening Now?
Well, this is probably because the holistic health community has been achieving huge wins in changing labeling policies and affecting consumer behavior and everyone else is consequently feeling threatened. Once people feel threatened and insecure about their beliefs, they start attacking other peoples’ beliefs for a number of psychological reasons. So yes, if we look deeper at the core of the issue, this is the result of a positive impact. And we should be proud!
But that still doesn’t make it ok. It also means that we can no longer afford to stay silent and we need to speak. The solution is not to comment on other people’s eating behaviors or to tell them what they should or shouldn’t be eating. Instead, when they feel like they can do that to you, and since they initiated the conversation, we should reply by opening a logical and constructive debate to help them keep an open mind. And yes, that will be hard. But here’s how I would go about it:
Q: “What is it you can eat?”
A: “I eat everything that is nourishing for my body and it can digest – food that gives me energy instead of making feel drained. Food that is natural and from the earth and not out of a bag. Try it for a week and let me know how that feels!”
Q: “Do you really believe gluten-free propaganda? They are just doing that to sell more expensive products!”
A: “There is a real problem with gluten for a huge number of people because it causes inflammation in their intestines. Most of us do not notice it because indigestion and bloating have become a part of our everyday life. Try following a gluten-free diet for a week and let me know how that feels!”
Q: “You know it wouldn’t kill you to eat 1 piece of cake.”
A: “Yes, you are right, it wouldn’t. But it will make me feel sluggish, sleepy, and bloated. It is simply not worth it.”
Q: “We have been eating this food for years and now suddenly you can’t digest it anymore!”
A: “One of the biggest problems in our food is that it has become so modified that your body doesn’t recognize half of the ingredients it is digesting. When that happens, it creates an inflammatory response because it needs to fight this foreign body to eliminate it. After a while, it might cause autoimmune diseases and cancer. I would rather not put my body through that level of intense stress.”
Remember, if you are being bullied for being healthy, you are not alone. Instead of judging ourselves and others about their food choices and health beliefs, let’s start by practicing self-compassion. Let’s not beat ourselves up for indulging or eating too much. It is always a balance. Let’s start preaching about living mindfully – mindful of others, of our bodies, of our food. The more mindful we are, the better we start understanding our own bodies. We then realize that our relationship with food is individual and personal. It is not up to me or you to decide what I should or shouldn’t eat.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.