If you’ve been reading, you know that I gave up grains and white starches for lent. It was definitely a challenge, and gave me some perspective on the role of those foods in my diet, but one of the biggest things the experience brought to mind, was the protection being on a diet provides.
When eating around others, whether you are sharing a meal, eating your packed lunch, or out to dinner somewhere, it is inevitable that everyone will size up what the other is eating. Most people don’t like to admit it, but it seems there is always a small amount of judgement involved. “I can’t believe she ate that entire plate!” “She didn’t eat two bites of her food. No wonder she’s skinny.” People have no problem offering their criticisms and inquiries regarding what you have chosen to put on your plate (I am guilty of this sometimes as well). “You chose the steamed veggies over macaroni and cheese?! Are you on a diet?”
And here is the moment I’m talking about. The moment that you say, “Oh yeah, I’m on Weight Watchers/Jenny Craig/Atkins/South Beach/Paleo etc…diet.” the criticism tends to stop. You are then either left alone to eat your food, or met with a slew of questions about your chosen diet and any success (or even more intriguing, your failure).
But what if you aren’t on a diet? What if you actually like foods that are good for you? What if you actively choose foods that will properly fuel your body? What if eating healthy is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle?
People have a hard time accepting that one.
It’s hard for those who haven’t transitioned into a healthy lifestyle to understand preferring fresh roasted veggies to their fried counterparts. To them, “health food” = deprivation and tasteless torture by food.
During lent, people had no problem (past a few intentional temptations) accepting that I wasn’t eating grains and white starches. Of course there were plenty of “I couldn’t live without carbs” comments, but in general, I lived under the protection of the diet I was on.
But now, now that lent is over, everyone expects that I will return to carb loaded delicacies. And I’ll admit I definitely went a little nuts in that department last week. But I realize that it’s not the right way to fuel my body, and I plan to get back to a better balance after that week of indulgence. I don’t, however, look forward to returning to having to justify the way I eat.
It’s sad that it’s so much easier, because it’s much more accepted, to hide behind the protection of being on a diet, rather than being celebrated for feeding your body with healthy, real foods because you want to, and because you enjoy them.
And now I’ll step down off of my soap box and get back to eating my tofu and vegetable stir fry. In case you were wondering…it was delicious and I ate the entire bowl 🙂