A Guilty Appetite

Confession time.

I get a lot of comments on what I eat. This is something that drives me absolutely insane. It’s my body–shouldn’t I get to decide what I put in it? Is that really anyone else’s business?

I would define myself as a health-conscious eater. I count calories (using an online food journal that I HIGHLY recommend), I focus on proteins, I get my five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have my splurges. I love a bag of peanut M&Ms during a movie, sharing a bottle of wine with my husband, or going out for fro-yo. I’m comfortable in my eating habits; they match my lifestyle, and I feel good about myself. However, it’s always clear to me that other people are not comfortable with my food choices.

All too often, I’ll get:

  • “Well, what can you eat?” when I’m staying at somebody’s house. (I can eat anything, by the way, so just cook what you want to cook and I’ll choose what and how much I put in my mouth.)
  • “Don’t you like _____?” (Yes, I probably love whatever calorie-dense food you’re referring to, however, I know that I’m going out for fro-yo later and would rather save my calories.)
  • “Look at you with another salad.” (Yep. Look at me. Eating a salad.)

But the very worst is:

  • “Oh my gosh, you’re going to eat that? I’ve never seen you eat anything like that!” (Generally when I’m giving in to a cookie offered at a meeting or the Funfetti cake served at a friend’s birthday party.)

I know that I should just brush it off and not care what people think. But, in my opinion, it’s just plain rude to comment on somebody else’s food! Do I ever look at the person eating a pre-packaged meal and give them a lecture on the high fat and sodium content? No. Do I point out that you just can’t keep your hands off the sweets and treats offered  your direction? Absolutely not. You know what not? Because that’s rude. I’m not going to judge you for drinking a sugared soda while eating a Hershey’s bar, so I’d appreciate it if you keep your comments to yourself when I pull out my carrots and hummus at a staff meeting.

But you know what makes me the most upset about other people’s comments? It’s the fact that, even subconsciously, they’re always there in the back of my mind. (And this is where, I’ll admit, my health-consciousness may be a little unhealthy when mixed with my OCD-tendencies.) Those cutting comments creep back into my mind whenever I decide to give myself a splurge or a treat. Today, for instance, when I sat on our balcony for the afternoon, reading my book, and enjoying a small bag of plain M&Ms… Well, the entire time, I couldn’t stop mentally calculating the calories I’d eaten over the weekend and worrying that my little splurge was putting me over the edge. I kept hearing the voices of these few people in the back of my head: “You’re going to eat that?” Sure, I’m on-track and motivated and committed to a healthy lifestyle, and that’s all well-and-good; but sometimes I just want to enjoy some gosh-darn M&Ms.

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