Since I’ve slowly began to change my eating habits, I’ve begun to notice a lot of interesting behaviors people have exhibited in addition to the lack of healthy food available.
One of the first things I noticed when I began to change my diet was the disapproving sighs. Going out to eat became the ultimate public shaming. “You mean you aren’t going to get a double-double?” or, “Why aren’t you getting cheese on that?” and by far my favorite, “Are you like on a diet or something?” It’s the sighs that I would get from the people I would go out with, the disapproving are-you-seriously-ordering-a-salad sighs. As if my healthy eating choice was going to hinder them from enjoying their foods. By far though was the assumption that I was changing my diet to lose weight. No one ever asked me if it was simply because I was trying to clear my diet of the crud that consumes the majority of Americans diets today. The automatic consumption was that I was trying to crash diet to become a size negative 3.
Grocery shopping was even more annoying. If being judged simply by what I was ordering when I was eating out wasn’t enough, no one wanted to go grocery shopping with me. Although I will credit some of it to the fact that once you start doing your research and learning what is going into your food, you become much more ingredient conscious. Previously 10 minute grocery trips now took almost an hour by the time I combed through the whole store trying to find foods that had the least amount of processed chemicals in it as well as trying to gauge how much fruits and vegetables I would need until my next trip to the store. So I started shopping alone.
Not long ago I was eating out a a restaurant, deciding to make the decision to have my burger lettuce wrapped (which put me at the threshold of some weird looks from people in line). It was my own personal choice. Standing off to the side with my ticket waiting to my order, the group behind me stepped up to order. The first of the group said, “Yeah I’ll have, uh, a double-double with fries and a large soft drink.” The friend behind laughed and ordered next, one upping the first by saying, “I’ll be having a four by four, with cheese, and animal style fries.” Pats on the back confirmed that this was the ultimate order and was widely popular with the group. When the last of the group stepped up and ordered a simple cheeseburger and a cup of water, a murmur broke out through the group along with extremely disapproving looks.
That’s when I noticed it. That the poor eating decisions most Americans make today are actually celebrated. We love the gorging of foods. It’s celebrated in such a way that, “Awesome you’ve put yourself into a food coma!” is a fantastic achievement. In the event you decide to start eating healthy, though, no one celebrates this decision as a good idea but treats it as though you will forever be shoving it in their face that you’re eating healthy and they’re not. It reminds me of an addict who becomes clean but can no longer hang out with his addict friends because he will only make them feel bad about themselves for not being able to quit as well.
People are addicted to their food. They’re addicted to the convenience, the accessibility, and above all else the sugar. For those who can have the self control to break free of the addiction and keep more healthy foods in their diet versus unhealthy foods are shunned simply due to the fact that they’ll make everyone else feel bad about their inability to break their choices.
If you think about it, when’s the last time you saw an ad on TV for healthy eating or the last time you dined out at a restaurant that offered only healthy options? Perhaps media has manipulated us in celebrating those who continue to conform and shun those who are trying to break away.
But then again, it could all be the sugar talking.