I had my first Facebook argument in a long time about being kind. I make it a point to try and avoid all of the drama, political, social, etc. But, I slipped into the swirling vortex of judgment. My mistake. But, I tried. And if I was able to get one person to stop and think and reconsider their opinion, then it was worth it.
What made me jump in?
It all started on a Facebook page I belong to that promotes happy, healthy moms. It’s about finding balance and learning to be happy and not jumping on the next diet bandwagon. Fantastic! Sounds great, sign me up. I’ve only been a member for about two weeks. I was still up in the air if this was a group for me. I realize now, it’s not. But, before today, I wasn’t sure.
I’m going to summarize the post because it is not my intent to call anyone out. Basically, a member was overwhelmed at the number of dieting posts and hashtags that had recently popped up on their Instagram feed. They were sad at all the unhealthy people following extreme diets such as Paleo, Keto or Clean Eating.
All the thumbs up surprised me, along with other posts commenting that they feel sorry or their friends who are eating clean and not willing to listen. It was a cesspool of pity and thinly veiled criticism for people who were choosing to “diet.”
I couldn’t and still can’t fathom why other people’s journey is sad. When I asked why this was sad, two members tried to explain that these were “diets” with the intent to fail so that people can continue feeling bad about themselves.
I tried to explain that for many, it might be a lifestyle change, not a diet. This might be a long term approach to life and their relationship with food. The only responses were “Nope, they are diets.” Their abrupt shutting down of my questions was startling. But, okay, I’ll try to use different words to explain my questions.
Uh, okay, technically we are all on a “diet” by the first definition at Dictionary.com. That point was shot down because, according to these Happy Healthy Moms, all of the other ways of eating have some form of restriction, thus people have an unhealthy relationship with food.
This was my direct response:
“What does it matter what other people choose to do in their own interpretation of a healthy lifestyle?
Isn’t that what everyone is looking for, acceptance? So, why if people choose Paleo, or Ketogenic, or clean eating, why is that a negative?
I think it’s admirable that people are passionate about being healthy in whichever way they choose.”
At the end of the day, this was my point and this remains a cornerstone of my belief system. And this is what nobody could give an answer to. All the responses circled around that ANY RESTRICTIVE way of eating is unhealthy and considered a diet and not the goal of the Happy Healthy Moms group.
Look, here’s my soapbox rant. I don’t care what approach a person takes to get healthy because everyone’s journey is different. Because yours is different than mine, doesn’t make one better over the other. If someone feels that the way they need to eat to be healthy is vegan, awesome! If someone believes that they MUST be Keto, awesome!
If you really have found a way to be happy with who you are and the journey you’ve taken, you won’t be sad for other people who are choosing to take a different path. We all need to find what works for us. And there’s no point in being negative towards other people because they don’t agree with you on what is the right way to be healthy.
For a group promoting being happy with yourself, I struggle to understand their stance about the only healthy way to live is moderation of ALL food. Unless you eliminate foods from your diet…oops, not diet, instead, well, I’m not sure what word to use. But, unless you eliminate a food for medical reasons, it is considered to be a sign that you have an unhealthy relationship with food and are feeding (no pun intended) into the diet industry.
And to feel pity, sadness, frustration towards others for not understanding or comprehending that this is the only correct, healthy way to live baffles me.
Why do we constantly have to judge other people? Stop it already!
We have a massive obesity epidemic with so many sedentary people and the amount of information out there is so overwhelming. The options are vast and people connect to different ways of eating. What grabs their attention? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. If someone is trying to improve their health and their relationship with food, more power to them. Don’t feel sorry for them if they choose a different way of eating. Support them, encourage them, and be kind to them.
Kindness. It goes a long way. Embrace their journey, ask how you can help. Be their friend. We face judgment in so many facets of life, so if we can share compassion, let’s do it!