We all have the right to eat whatever we want whenever we want. Of course, we are responsible for what we put in our bodies, but what we choose to eat is strictly our own business that we don't need to explain to anyone.
Food is Fuel, and Proper Fuel Matters
Sure, there are foods that are probably better for your health than others. It would be naive to think that what we are eating won't affect our health.
Just a couple of days ago I went to a book signing event in San Francisco. Three amazing ladies, Juli Bauer from Paleomg, Vanessa Barajas from Clean Eating With Dirty Mind and Diane Sanfilippo from Balanced Bites shared their thoughts on modern Paleo living. Juli and Vanessa also signed their new books. You can find their books filled with mouth watering recipes here and here.
When each of them told how they find their way to Paleo, Vanessa said something very important: Most people eat three, many of us even more meals a day, so of course what goes into our mouths affects our health. This realization got her to change her diet completely – from eating whatever she could get in her hands to eating real foods.
Sure, it's important to eat the way that supports your health. But it doesn't mean that whenever you eat something that is not in line with X diet, you should justify your choices to someone or apologize for having it.[tweet_box design=”default”]There is no need to apologize for eating. [/tweet_box]
Why would you do that? What you eat is your business.
Eating “Right” to “Earn” Love and Acceptance?
I have a friend who tends to apologize for eating a lot.
Let me explain.
My friend has a history of eating disorders, but in past couple of years, she has come a long way in getting better. She has realized that there is no need to be super strict with the diet because that's just not sustainable, and she also seems to have made peace with her body.
The issues that she faced in the past originated from a not so healthy friendship. She had a friend who would tell her that she should get her diet under control, lose weight and get skinny.
This friend was “perfect”: She would measure all her food, weigh herself every single day, eat strict vegan diet because that was the only way to go, and do other “healthy” things, such as avoid fat at all costs.
My friend used to look up to this woman. For the longest time, she would think that she is not worth anything unless she is skinny like her. She would do anything that her friend would tell her is the healthiest thing to do, because she thought that this is the way to earn her love and respect.
It took a while for her to realize that she is worthy exactly the way she is, and stop trying to earn the love by eating certain way.
But the fear of becoming judged is still there.
There is No Need to Justify Your Food Choices
My friend and I talk about food a lot. Obviously, we both love food. And there are so many times when she justifies her food choices.
For example, she would tell me:
We went out with girls last night, and while I don't drink all that much in general, I had two glasses of wine. I don't know why… I know that it's not, good, but it was Saturday night and I needed to relax, and wine seemed like a good idea.
After going to movies last night, I got a mini donut as I walked back to my car. I know that it's bad, but then I thought, I'll let it be my one treat of this week. So I had my treat and I won't have it for a while anymore.
I had some sour cream with my tortillas yesterday. I know that I didn't have to do that, I don't even like sour cream that much, but all of a sudden, I just craved it… I know I shouldn't have done it.
So many apologies for such small things! Two glasses of wine on Saturday night, a mini donut after movies and one spoonful of sour cream. That's all we are talking about.
First of all, there's nothing bad to have these things in moderation, and second, I wouldn't judge her for what she ate. It's her business.
Is a Piece of Salmon Too Much?
But I have been there myself too and honestly, sometimes I still find myself apologizing for what I'm eating. However, hearing my friend unnecessarily justifying her food choices has opened my eyes and helped me to realize how odd it really sounds.
I have dealt with disordered eating habits as well. I used to feel guilty for eating certain things or at a certain time.
Say, back in college, we were going home after having (too many) drinks at the bar. You know the urge of stopping by at a fast food restaurant for a slice of greasy pizza before heading home? I believe we've all done that.
So, my friend and I would get our pizzas before heading home. And for sure, I would say: I never have pizza, but I'm only eating this because that's what alcohol does to me… I never want it otherwise! But if I have it, it makes me feel better tomorrow, and maybe the hangover won't be as bad…
Who was I trying to impress with how clean I eat otherwise? Why did I even say that?
Or here's another scene from a regular weekday dinner. I would get another piece of salmon and feel the need to explain it to my then boyfriend: I don't know why, but I'm still kind of hungry. I guess it's because of the long run earlier today, and I have a workout tomorrow, so that's why I'm having a bit more…
Why would he care if had one or two pieces of salmon? Would he even notice it if I went back for second helping? Probably not.
Foods Have No Personality
The need to apologize for eating (certain foods) seems to be a problem of those people who have suffered from disordered eating habits. If you too tend to apologize for what you are eating, remember this: Eating is a perfectly normal thing.
Even eating the “evil” foods that are not in line with the X diet, is perfectly normal. I put the work evil in quotation marks because I don't think we should be labelling foods as “good” or “bad”. Food is just food. It doesn't have personality. Noelle Tarr talks about it a lot on her site – go check her out if you haven't yet.
This all is not to say that eating fast food or processed food to often is good for you. I do think that we should be eating minimally processed food, lots of veggies and lean meats for most of the time.
But if you choose other options once in a while, that's fine too. And if you think that anybody pays attention to it, you are probably wrong.
Eat, Enjoy, Move On. No Explanations Needed
The truth is, people don't notice what you eat. Apologizing for having food is odd.
It's like with working out: You may think that all the people in the world are staring at you when you are running or lifting weights, because you are obviously in such a terrible shape.
You haven't put on a bikini for five years because everybody will notice your cellulite.[tweet_box design=”default”]Eat, enjoy, move on. No explanations needed.[/tweet_box]
The truth is, people don't care about your cellulite. They also couldn't care less if you had a donut last night or not. You are probably the only one to who it matters, and the only one who stresses about it. Justifying it to others is just odd and completely unnecessary.
However, if you do have a person in your life like my friend had, someone who is putting you down for your food choices or criticising you for how your body looks, rethink if this person actually deserves your love and friendship.
If you are craving this donut, have it, enjoy the hell out of it and then move on with your life. Stop thinking about it as soon as you have finished it. And don't apologize. You don't owe an apology to anyone.