As if it weren’t bad enough that we are shamed from every direction for having normal, healthy human bodies, as soon as we decide to take back the power over our health and well being, and begin the process of learning to nourish ourselves properly to support our activity, so begins the calorie shaming.
What am I talking about? I cover several main themes on my facebook page, and the last week or so I’ve been focusing on eating enough calories. Here are a few of the comments people have left on my posts just in the last day, these are directed at me and my food choices:
“Ask yourself why you must defend your need to have [sugar]?” (left in response to my post about sugar being an awesome fuel for my workouts)
“Uh, hello? 3000 calories a day is not normal or healthy intake! Unless you are running a marathon every day.” (in response to my post that 3000 calories a day is not unreasonable for an active healthy adult – it’s about how much I eat. Not everyone needs quite that much, but many do.)
“3000 calories is a large amount of food if you are a healthy eater. Fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins do not have many calories. What to you do? Eat a cheese burger on a big bun and than go running and call yourself healthy?” (same post as above)
The message here is that eating this much food is undesirable, unhealthy, bad.
How someone can look at my pictures and then criticize my eating philosophy as unhealthy and ineffective is beyond me. Well, I’ll take that back, we’ve seen very clearly that people who don’t want to hear the truth can make up some pretty amazing stories to rationalize away my success and ease their cognitive dissonance. These comments make me shake my head. Some have said to just ignore them, but I think it’s really important to highlight them and TALK about them. Disordered thinking is so deeply ingrained in or culture, I think that a lot of people reading comments like these won’t recognize the disorder, and will internalize it. That’s how our culture has conditioned us.
The good news is that the vast majority of responses my posts about this topic get are positive. Comment after comment from people who’ve increased their calorie intake to a more sustainable level and seen fitness, body composition and even weight loss progress where before they were frustrated. But these negative comments can be powerfully subversive, and have the potential to derail a person just beginning the recovery process. So I am talking about it. As you begin to emerge from the dark of the diet maze, you will be subjected to calorie shaming. It will come from all directions: the media, your friends, your SELF. Recognize it for what it is. It is not healthy.
You deserve a healthy strong body, and you can not starve yourself healthy and strong.