Do you look around at other people’s plates to inform your eating decisions? It’s time to put a stop to plate checking, and get in tune with your own body.
Many of us have been there. We’re eating a scrumptious meal – when someone nearby suddenly says to us, “You’re still hungry?!”
Or how about, “You’re so good. Your meal is so healthy!”
Perhaps someone doesn’t say anything at all, but gives that look of disgust which sends the message that what you’re eating or the amount of food that you’re eating is bad, gross, or wrong.
None of these scenarios is acceptable, yet being surrounded by diet culture frequently makes it the norm. It results in judging others based on their food choices and body size – or being on the receiving end of this judgment. Here’s why it’s important to stop plate checking yourself (and others) and get to a place of enjoyment.
1. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed over.
Making comments about someone’s plate of food may cause that person to feel anxiety, anger, and embarrassment, which can eventually result in more harmful behaviors around food and their body. Recognize that no one is less or more of a person based on food choices, the amount of food eaten, or body size. All bodies are good bodies that deserve to be nourished.
2. Your food preferences, hunger, and satiety matter.
Work towards developing a healthier relationship with food and your body by tuning into your food preferences, thoughts, emotions, and internal cues – not someone else’s. It doesn’t matter if the person you’re eating with is having a salad while you’re having a burger with French fries. You also don’t deserve to receive the comment, “Oh, you’re ordering pasta?! There are so many carbohydrates in that! I’m trying to be good!”
Honor your hunger and fullness cues based on what you feel, and not what other people are doing. There’s no such thing as being “good” or “bad” when it comes to eating.
3. Your food needs never stay the same.
Ask yourself: what sounds good to you at the moment? Give yourself permission to think about what flavors, textures, and temperatures will be the most appealing at that moment. As you tune into your hunger and fullness cues, remember that we all have different energy needs and no one body is alike.
Also, recognize that your degree of hunger can vary from day-to-day. It’s important to honor your hunger – even when you think you shouldn’t be hungry – in addition to exploring which food combinations help you feel both mentally and physically satisfied.
Remember, everyone eats differently, so it’s more critical to tune into your own needs.
Not someone else’s.
Adapted from the original post.
HEADER IMAGE: LISA FOTIOS
Jill Clodfelter-Mason, RDN, CD, is a private practice dietitian, health coach, food blogger, and owner of Cultivate Joy Nutrition in central Indiana. She assists her clients with developing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. Jill’s mission is to help women overcome the ‘shoulds’ that rule their lives, so they can become fully present in celebrating delicious, nourishing foods and reconnecting with who they are – mind, body, and soul. To learn more about Jill, check out her website, www.cultivatejoynutrition.com, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook @cultivatejoynutrition.