It seems like we've become a society that's really good at finding fault in others.
Whether it's skinny-shaming or fat-shaming, we put others down based on their appearances and lifestyle choices. And that depletes the self-esteem of men, women, boys and girls everywhere.
Regardless if Gen-Y is becoming "too sensitive" or not, I want to speak out about something I see firsthand that's affecting more people than you think: health-shaming.
It may go under the radar, but it can be seen through comments like:
"Let me guess, the health nut is going to order a salad again?"
"I was going to suggest ice cream, but you're probably too healthy for that."
"You're being boring! Live a little."
"You've been healthy enough, so you can indulge!"
"I could never be healthy like you. I enjoy food too much."
"You look fine, so why do you exercise so much?"
Have you ever wanted to order a salad at a restaurant, but you chose the cheeseburger instead to escape the scrutiny and comments from others at the table?
While body-shaming is most prevalent on social media, health-shaming mostly comes from friends and family, which makes it difficult to dismiss when it's coming from ones you love.
When someone makes a passive-aggressive comment or seems to undermine your hard work, it can be hard not to immediately be on the defense and respond with a snarky comment.
Here are some common examples of health-shaming and ways you can respond that will help keep the peace:
"But I made this dish just for you! It's the holidays. Come on, you can have a little."
I call them food pushers. Most of the time it's your mom, your dad, you grandparents or your co-workers.
It can be hard to deny them because they only want you to be happy and comfortable and enjoy the foods they made.
But when you find your body doesn't do well on certain foods, there are ways to reply without pointing out what's wrong with their dish.
If you're worried about coming off as ungrateful, you can try to find other ways for them to be hospitable to you. That can be done by asking them for a drink or giving them a compliment on their dishes.
If the food pushers are suggesting you just have one because "one won't kill you," you can say, "Thanks, but I just know I probably wouldn't stop at one!" or "I'm really working on changing the way I feel through the foods I eat."
Explaining your values and goals instead of defending yourself will make it easier to understand.
"I would work out as much as you, but I'm busy with work and a family."
It may be hard not to react when someone says something like this because it can be seen as a subtle jab at where your priorities lie.
You may question if you actually do work out too often, or if you should focus on other things like this person does.
Instead, you can reply with, "Working out makes my body feel really good, and it is such a stress reliever for me!"
This way, you're explaining why you choose to exercise, and you might even pass off some info along the way.
As long as you stay true to the reasons you exercise, you shouldn't think twice about why someone is questioning you.
"Oh no. Did you bring your weird food again?"
Eating healthy sometimes has a snobby and gross connotation to it. Vegan, gluten-free and other buzzwords come off as pretentious and not as tasty as more common choices.
These foods may also be weird to most people because they're different than what they're used to seeing and eating.
We all want to fit in with whatever group we're in to a certain extant, but if you find that certain dietary habits make you happy, keep doing them regardless.
Sure, some people may make fun of your weird kale chips, but others may find it interesting and might ask you for the recipe.
Why you should stay true to your habits:
- You can serve as an example for others that are interested in what you're doing. - Your body will thank you for nourishing it with foods it thrives on. - You will be happier with your decision made by you, not by somebody else.
Basically, I'm here to say that you should order that salad if it's what you truly want, if it makes your body feel good or if it helps you accomplish the goals you're working toward.
I'm also here to say if you're craving a slice of pizza from your favorite restaurant, then you should get that.
Listen to YOUR body, what makes your body feel good and what YOU want to do.
Don't defend yourself, always give others the benefit of the doubt for why they may be making these comments and overall, stay true to yourself.
You may not realize it at the time, but the real you can serve as an example for others about living a happy, vibrant life.
This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.