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Is it ever okay to judge?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I have a confession to make: I am scared that I am becoming a food/eating decisions/exercise elitist.

I really don’t have a right to be so judgmental. I make bad choices (hello nachos and a margarita on Friday night), I don’t properly measure my portions, I’m prone to mindless snacking, I am averaging one skipped workout a week… and yet I have caught myself quite a few times lately passing judgment on the habits of others.

For example:

Saturday night at the endless meat buffet, I chose to only order the endless salad bar. I ate fresh asparagus, cucumber salad, a lettuce salad piled high with onions, broccoli, cauliflower, etc… and I was FULL after eating it. Not bursting full, but happily satisfied. The rest of my dinner guests couldn’t help but comment on my choice, only to shut me down when I tried to explain myself. THEY were judging me without understanding and I still felt a sort of animosity from them for my choices. Maybe they felt guilty? Maybe they don’t want to hear the truth? Maybe it was only fair that I sat there watching them inhale meat and judging them too (albeit silently) since they openly extended that courtesy to me? All I know is that I didn’t appreciate being called out or laughed at for my choices.

Here is how I see it: I have been researching nutrition and learning more about which proteins to consume and which may be harmful for you. I have discovered that a big pack of tofu is $1.50, where meat can cost over $10 and an animal had to die to feed me. I am by no means a vegetarian, but if I can cut back to save money and animals, I will. It is kind of ironic, but one of the critics from Saturday night who was one of the loudest founded an animal welfare group in college. Huh? I guess just for dogs and cats. Nonetheless, consuming large quantities of red meat isn’t ideal. Shoot – consuming large quantities of anything isn’t ideal.

Yesterday I had a work lunch meeting. My coworker ate a sandwich so covered in so much mayo and sauces that I couldn’t say for sure what kind of meat was in it. She ate a bag of potato chips and drank a big orange soda on the side. Knowing what I know now about nutrition, calories, processed foods, etc… I was shocked to watch someone eat a meal like that. Again – armed with my knowledge – I can’t ever see myself eating a meal like that ever again, even on a super stressed out in a pinch kind of days. I would at least have chosen baked chips, no sauce, and a bottle of water. Is it mean of me to analyze what she was eating? In a way it felt like a reminder that I was on the right path and gave me a little motivational boost.

Does this make me a bad person? I’m not verbalizing any of these thoughts. Not once have I spoken a word about how I’m thinking and feeling watching others eat their food. I guess I value the reassurance in my choices but I feel guilty for doing so at the expense of other people? I know I don’t like to be judged, but where is the harm threshold for internally judging others?

I think part of me is just shocked at how I used to treat my body and how many people do the same still around me. I want to live a longer and more fulfilling life. I want to outlive a zombie apocalypse. I want to be stronger and to last longer. I want to save myself money later in life by avoiding unnecessary medications and health complications. I’m proud of myself for taking these steps and for changing my life like I have over the past year.

I’m not perfect and I’m not claiming to be. But I’m TRYING and that counts for something right? I am afraid to turn into one of those “righteous, perfect health nuts”… but I DO want to be satisfied with my choices and live my life as I see fit just for ME. Something tells me I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.

That being said – tonight is my first “night” run. I’m a little nervous. I bought a day-glo yellow wicking shirt from Target. Hopefully that will stand out enough in the dark. Our roads are still pretty well lit but I worry about things that go bump in the night. I don’t run alone, I have my big tall BF with me, but you never know! I also worry that these dark, increasingly cold nights will scare me away from running. I just haven’t mastered the treadmill yet even though I know it is coming – I can’t run in three feet of snow. I also need to get back in the gym for strength training which I have slacked on since starting the running program. See! Not perfect, but moving!

Try to take care of yourself, even for one minute today. You are all you have when you think about it!

And I will keep trying not to judge… ugh!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    IMO, it's fine to judge other people if you keep it to yourself. People judge, people will be judged. It's natural.

    If it's bothering you, look away when your co-workers are eating. It's not really any of your business what they're putting into their bodies.
    3074 days ago
    I think its perfectly fine to form your opinion as long as you're not calling them out on it. You're learning many new things and really paying attention to your habits as well as other people's habits... also you are not criticizing the person just their choices (in your mind)… you are making mental notes on what not to do or what you used to do in order to recognize the positive choices you make now.
    Don't worry about becoming self-righteous as long as you don't cross the line and make people feel bad about themselves for the choices they make, it's kinda the same thing calling out a heavy person for eating a doughnut in the office when everyone else is eating one too…

    My husband told me he thought I was losing my patience, since I've gotten to where I can keep up with the general public if someone too slow gets in my way, or I'm line and the teller is taking their sweet time, I get frustrated so much faster lol…
    I guess we all have changes we are dealing with, this is very new territory and we're all trying to make it through as best we can!

    Oh but my main thing I wanted to say is,when noticing the things that other people are eating it can almost make you sick now but then I'd probably be like yum...

    3074 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4454521
    I get exactly the same way. I kinda go with the if I don't say it out loud, who cares what I think mentality. I can't help think it, but I don't have to bombard people with my feelings about their food choices either. I don't appreciate it when people do it to me, so I shouldn't do it. I'm the same way about smoking, when I was smoking I wanted to tell all my critics where to stick it (and there were alot of critics). But now that I've been a non-smoker for three years, I don't feel the need to outwardly criticize others (even though I'm completely disgusted by smoking now and can't believe I did that for 23 years!).

    Anyway bottom line - just stay true to yourself and let the rest of them sort themselves out.

    Happy Tuesday!
    3074 days ago
    Yaye to wanting to outlive a zombie apocalypse! I am taking up running for the exact same reason! emoticon

    Also, it is true, we are more conscious of what we eat when we are trying to be healthy, and we notice what others eat as well. It's hard.
    3074 days ago
    Ever since starting sparkpeople and learning about nutrition, I have to stop myself from saying things like "Do you know how much sodium is in that?" or "You need to drink more water." I can't help it, it's just in me to spread the spark.

    3074 days ago
    Use those as part of your notes to self on what NOT to do. I think we all know when we're making a not-so-healthy choice, but it is all about the willpower that we practice over certain such questionable habits. How much stick-to-itedness do we have? How determined are we? Those are hard struggles at times. Plus, if we never let ourselves have any indulgences (all within reason), then we are most likely to rebel against the whole "diet" after all. Because, of course, it's not about being on a diet. It's about a lifestyle of creating healthier habits that we are going to stick with in the long haul.
    3074 days ago
    Everybody has the tendency to judge unfortunately. Like you I've been continuously judged on how well I eat, how much I exercise and so forth. I've even been accused by my dad of doing nothing but sitting on the sofa stuffing my face because he doesn't know how much I exercise or how little I eat... he feels that I as a woman should be losing twice as fast as a man.
    3074 days ago
  • THEBEE59
    I think as we get more informed about what is healthy and what is not, along our journey for a better lifestyle, we automatically view food as either good or bad. And this includes what other people around us eat. So dont' be so hard on yourself. It's not like you're lecturing everyone at every meal how fattening that mayo is or how many calories are in that soda and how much physical activity it will take to burn it off.

    I think you're okay, lol. Just keep taking care of you!
    3074 days ago
    Ya know, after learning what you now know - it's hard not to want to educate others. For the sake of friendship you really do have to say nothing but when you see someone building a salad and then dumping 4 cups of salad dressing on it - it really gets hard to keep quiet. Just keep in mind that we are only responsible for our own decisions...........good luck..............
    3074 days ago
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