Can we stop the shaming? Please! Any kind of judgmental eye trying to shame someone into new behaviour will never stick. Fear can only motivate you so far, love however can keep you going on an infinite supply. Too sappy for you? Too bad, it’s true!
Once upon a time I was a serious health shamer, you would eat a Rice Krispie square while I was eating my apple and my judgmental eyes would shoot you some serious beams. Then I decided to kick my eating habits up a notch; I worked with a nutritionist, joined a health nut group and looked around and said I have got all the right answers. It took me less than an hour to realize, based on what they are saying, I am not as healthy as I thought. The shaming was going on bad there and you cannot motivate a person to eat healthy if you are shaming them. My little light bulb turned on and I realized for years that I had been judging people and putting up a small barrier between us based on my perceived judgment of them. I wasn’t inspiring them, I was just making them feel bad for their choices.
I personally subscribe to the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time I eat healthy based on my body, the other 20% I eat the Rice Krispie square and you can take those judgmental eyes and shift them somewhere else please. I learned from my group that everything can be taken down in judgment. So you may tisk tisk on my marshmallow but I can tisk tisk on your gluten. Did you know now a days wheat is so chemically processed you might as well as be eating the marshmallow- why do you think so many people can’t digest it? Wheat is evil, it’s disgusting. I bet that sentence pissed you off a little, especially if you eat wheat. Motivated now to eat like me? I doubt it.
If your eating a cheeseburger and someone sits down beside you and says, “oh, that’s disgusting you really shouldn’t eat that”, how do you Feel? You may stop eating it, or if you’re like me you eat it and be depressed by it, which can last days. You may pick up a salad the next day but you can’t stay committed because your operating out of fear. Fear someone will see you, fear that you shouldn’t be doing it, fear for all kinds of reasons but fear cannot keep you motivated long term – trust me, I know. I spent years trying to lose the freshmen fifteen (okay, it was more like the freshmen thirty), trying to appease how I should look to the rest of the world. Only when I shifted my focus to eating real healthy foods that worked with my body did I actually start seeing results and have it stay. I could only move forward when I looked at my body and thought, I love it and I love how eating like this makes me feel; scale be damned, this was working for me in a whole different way. Do I look like a supermodel? Hell no! But do I feel good ? Hell ya! There my friends is the motivation. Feeling happy with yourself by being happy within yourself.
The other part of my rant today is this : every single body is different. What works for me, may not work for you. Dairy often makes me feel sluggish, so I tend to avoid it, but on Friday nights for an evening snack I am going to be having some cheese and crackers and that’s okay. I also can’t eat quinoa, my stomach just cannot process it well and I end up in one of my stomach fits, super healthy but I just can’t do it. I have had some real a-holes tell me I should be able to eat it and what’s wrong with me, it’s so good for me? If I am in extreme pain from eating it, then it doesn’t work for me, please accept that and move on. That is my body, yours may eat quinoa until you turn into it- that’s great! I used to love it but can’t eat it now, I am happy your happy. There is no one stop shopping for being healthy. I like to run, but can’t do ab stuff because of my gut issues, I found something in running, so yay me! You may love to go for long walks, yoga, dance, whatever, there is probably something that speaks to you specifically. Everyone has their own subscription for what works for them and to force someone into yours is missing the point entirely.
Well Danielle, that’s all well and good but what about those people out there that need to change their eating habits because they are killing themselves. Truth: you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change. I know, at times it can be very frustrating but it’s the truth. If you want them to change all you can do is be the change, when they are ready they will come around and they may not, you have to be okay with that. Just be you. What does be the change mean? That means you want someone to eat healthy, then you eat healthy. Maybe one day they will notice that salad your having looks pretty good and maybe that will be a catalyst into a new lifestyle for them, maybe it won’t, you have to be okay with that. Just be gentle for crying out loud, remember you don’t have all the answers, you are not perfect, no one is, we are all just doing the best we can given the bodies we have.