Do you find yourself feeling “guilty” or “bad” after eating certain foods? Do you categorize these foods as ‘fattening” or “cheat meals”? Or are you the one judging others based on what they eat? Either way, you may be suffering from food shame. The concept of classifying food as “good” or “bad” and then judging others, or yourself, based on what you eat is called food shaming. This can negatively impact your health.
Food–shaming is criticizing someone for eating something that doesn’t match his or her own definition of what food is “good”.
Examples of food shaming include: judging your girlfriend for choosing pizza over a salad, or making comments to your partner who has skipped breakfast, or shaming your colleague for being a vegetarian. Food shaming can also be internal, when you shop at the grocery store and deprive yourself of buying ice cream because it’s “bad”, or you beat yourself up for purchasing the chips.
This is just a short list of the common types of food shaming that happens every day. The reality is that we need to watch what we are saying to others and to ourselves about food choices.
Food shaming becomes a vicious cycle in which you may find yourself engaging in this behavior over and over, such as when you are at the store and see another shopper with a cart full of what you consider unhealthy, fat and sugar laden food. You automatically assume that they must be in poor health. It all stems from influences and messages that you receive throughout life. These messages come early in life from parents and build throughout your years from the media, friends and even healthcare professionals.
Food shaming can lead to further problems down the road. Food shaming can create such a strong fear of what to eat that a person becomes so rigid they risk their physical and emotional health, whether it be from malnourishment, disordered eating patterns, or eating disorders.
3 Ways to Break the Cycle of Food Shaming
1. Embrace Intuitive Eating:
Learning to break the spell that diets have over you and dismantling diet culture messages will help you relearn to trust your food choices again. Tuning into your physiological cues to eating is only one part of the journey. Developing a strong backbone to the culture you live in will help you stay true to yourself. Surrounding yourself with a community of women who share this same message will help you neutralize all foods. The result: you will find you no longer engage in food shaming, both at others and yourself.
2. Eat Mindfully:
There is so much value is slowing down long enough to enjoy your meal. When you take the time to sit down at the table, eat slowly and with full attention, you have the ability to taste and savor every bite you take. This brings a great sense of satisfaction and ultimate pleasure from the meal/food you are eating. There is no judging food as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Learning to engage in mindful eating is an important part of your intuitive eating journey.
3. Enjoy All Foods without Judgement:
When you label foods as “good” or “bad”, you essentially are giving power to these foods and placing them on a pedestal. This is why when you have a trigger and reach for these foods, you tend to overeat on them followed by judgement, guilt and shame. By removing the labels from all foods and taking the conditions off these foods, you neutralize them and they lose their allure.
Defend yourself from food shaming by breaking the cycle of dieting, labeling foods as good and bad, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community
. Over time, you will find yourself more at peace with food and will live your life to the fullest!
More articles you’ll want to check out: