Respect For Eating Decisions

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Kathy Henderson at Rudd Sound Bites brought up a real concern with no answers:

Why is it that people are generally so much more respectful of parents’ food-related decisions due to allergies or religion, but not of these same decisions when framed as nutrition- or weight management-based? Is it the immediacy of an allergic reaction that drives the point home? The apparent severity? And why is religion a more respected explanation than general health? Perhaps it is the idea that one “violation” will have little impact on health, while we see violation of religious tradition as a bigger deal. On the other hand, there is no evidence that one cigarette will cause major health consequences, and most of us would be pretty upset if our children were offered one cigarette. The reality is that many more children are impacted by poor nutrition and weight problems than are affected by food allergies.

UT Geek/Blogger Dinner by LauraMoncur from FlickrThis reaction doesn’t just affect parents and children. When I had severe stomach problems, no one questioned when I said that I couldn’t eat something, especially when they saw (or smelled) me suffer through an episode. Now that my stomach problems have subsided, however, people are much less willing to let me say I don’t want to eat something. They say things like:

Come one, just a small slice.

You can have just one, right?

Oh? Are you dieting… AGAIN?

I almost want to make up fake allergies or stomach ailments just to escape from the talk. They are right, just one small slice of pie isn’t going to derail my weight, but it DOES derail my eating habits for a couple of days.

It all comes down to training those around us to respect our eating decisions. The oldest cliche about respect is:

If you want respect, you have to give it.

No matter who you encounter in your life, respect their eating decisions. If they are a raw food vegan, that choice is theirs to make. If they are a junk food junkie, that is also their choice. If you treat others the way you want to be treated, then they will have more respect for you. That includes keeping those barbs to yourself:

Don’t you think you’ve had enough?

I can’t believe you eat that crap.

You know that isn’t cheese, don’t you? It’s just orange-colored congealed fat.

When I eat healthy, I tend to get on my high horse about food and let loose comments like those. For every time I’ve insulted Mike’s nachos, I’ve attracted a “just one bite.” When I am able to keep my food judgment away from other people, they will keep their judgment away from me.


2 Responses to “Respect For Eating Decisions”

  1. Renee Says:

    This hit home for me QUITE A BIT. As much as I get annoyed by people (especially family) disrespecting my wishes about what I eat and/or how much I eat, I need to learn to bite my tongue more often when it comes to my own judgements about what they eat.

  2. Leslie Says:

    Try..”my doctor recommended that I stay away from (sweets, liquor, fatty foods, whatever).” Or try..”You know, I just feel better when I eliminate (sugar, fat, liquor, processed food) from my diet. (smile).” If someone presses after that, then it ought to be clear even to them that they don’t have your best interests at heart.

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