Friday, October 5, 2012

RANT - People hating on healthy eaters.

I think I have posted similar rants to this one, but if I have, I'm going to post it again.  If not, then here goes!

One of my number one pet peeves is when people a) assume I eat healthy just to be skinny and b) people assume that anyone thin must just have a naturally fast metabolism...Or they are anorexic. Or they just don't eat enough.  Oh, and it's okay to taunt people for eating right and trying to be healthy, but saying something about someone being overweight would be awful.  Okay, I guess that was more than one pet peeve, but they're all related to the same thing.

When did our culture turn into this?  Can't we have a happy medium?  I'm guessing it has something to do with magazine covers and movie stars setting "unrealistic standards," so our culture has completely rebelled in the opposite direction.  Suddenly it's okay to be really unhealthy.  And yes, obesity is unhealthy.  You may not notice many issues at age twenty, but you will notice them when you are forty, or maybe in your thirties.  I can understand that not too many people can look like super models.  That's okay.  I can understand body acceptance.  If you're naturally built to be a little chubby, but you take care of yourself/eat right/exercise, then that's cool.  Even if you're not always the healthiest eater, that's not the end of the world either.  I'm not writing this to criticize other people's eating habits, but more to criticize people who criticize healthy eaters.  The same way someone overweight would be really pissed at me if I commented on their food intake and body.

Example of what I've heard about smaller folks... Apparently we only eat bird food portions and starve ourselves.  Not the case.  As a matter of fact, at somewhere between 105-110 pounds (depends on the day, but I don't own a scale), I am almost NEVER hungry because I eat healthy foods that fill me up for awhile (chia seeds, nuts, leafy greens, fruits, peanut butter, oatmeal, etc.).  Or very rarely if I forget to bring food with me somewhere and go too long without eating.  And I am training for a damn marathon.  My "secret"?  I eat healthy, natural foods and exercise (I KNOW I've posted this before).  But really, it's no secret.  I think the problem comes in when people don't want to put in the effort to get healthy, so to justify their own habits, they put down the people who do work hard.  Let me list the reasons why I do what I can to take care of myself, and why I switched to a more natural diet in the matter of a short time - especially after my diagnosis of epilepsy:

I am taking a bunch of medications that screw with me as it is as a result of the epilepsy, which, by the way, is somewhat influenced by food because food can influence hormones/metabolism/chemicals, which all have an influence on brain activity, and the side effects RELATED to my medication often result in vitamin depletion which causes other nasty side effects, so I try to eat right to avoid those side effects.  Type II diabetes is rampant in my family, and even at a healthy weight, I've sometimes been near borderline diabetes, so I don't need that on top of everything else.  I FEEL better when I eat healthy. I don't want to get cancer from ingesting a bunch of unnatural foods.  I prefer the TASTE of real foods - rather than chips, as an example, which are merely "addicting," and actually only taste good after the first few - but we all know how hard it is to stop once started (as an example of the change in my taste buds, I used to eat Compleat meals... aka, boxed meals you put in the microwave - I tried to eat one after changing over to healthier stuff and I almost gagged).  Oh, and because I'm at a healthy weight - and I know it's my healthy weight because it's where my body naturally fell once I started eating more natural foods and exercising - I think I look better too.  I still have my shape that I had before and definitely don't look unhealthy, I'm just a bit smaller with less "extra" weight in places I don't want weight, like the back and hips (which I still have, by the way).

Those are just a few reasons why I choose to eat right.  I don't feel like I should have to justify my healthier eating habits, but apparently our culture is so skewed the other direction that it's necessary if I don't people to assume I have some type of eating disorder, or I'm just some crazy health nut who can't enjoy life.  I also feel like I have to explain that yes, I do eat "tasty" food too, though nobody can understand how I enjoy eating salads or fruits.  I mean, what's not to enjoy in a green leafy salad with feta cheese, avocado, walnuts, various seasonings and other veggies and olive oil? Sounds pretty delicious to me.  I still eat chocolate, some ice cream, and I pretty much eat what I want when I go out to eat (which isn't often).  I just hate having to justify it to people who want to feel better about themselves because they don't take care of themselves, and I do.  I understand this isn't everyone, this is more directed at people who DO give me an attitude when I pick up organic foods, or tell me I don't need to eat healthy because I'm all ready thin, or to stop running because I'm going to get too skinny and blow away.  I can still maintain my weight when I'm not running... So I HATE when people say it's all related to "oh, you run so much!  That's why you're thin!"  Some guy said that the other day.  We were waiting for something or the other, and he's hurt so he can't run, and he says "See, she's lucky, she can run.  When I run, I cut weight so quick." (by the way, yes I do feel lucky I can run because I love it, but it has nothing to do wight weight).  Okay... you can still cut weight if you stop ordering out.  It just might take a little longer.  Most of the people I know who are overweight in the army attribute it to being hurt and unable to exercise like they could, and yeah, you might put on a little extra weight because you can't burn off that extra food you had yesterday, but sometimes just a little adjustment to eating habits can at least slow it down, or result in less extra weight.   I'm sure I would gain a few pounds if I stopped exercising, but unless I was eating a bunch of junk food, it wouldn't be enough to make me overweight.  But I constantly see these same people eating junk food, ordering out, or going to fast food restaurants... It's not just the lack of exercise.

I'm not trying to make myself sound like I'm some perfect, healthy eater all the time, and I look down on others, even if it sounds that way.  I know everyone has different reasons for their choices.  But I would get criticized if I looked at someone's chips or pizza and said "you probably shouldn't be eating that - you're all ready big."  It's the same as when I'm out on a run, or I pick up something healthy, and someone tells me "you don't need to do that - you're all ready thin."  It completely destroys all of the work I've done to make myself healthy, and makes it sound like it's all a ploy to either make others feel bad about themselves, or that I have some type of disorder that causes me to eat healthy even when I'm all ready thin.  Which, by the way, when I did have eating issues, I was hungry all the time, and reasonably heavier than I am now, so no, I don't have any eating disorders. I just learned how to take better care of myself, and that naturally resulted in a healthier me.

Okay, rant complete... for now.  I hope if you're one of those people who criticizes healthy eaters that it upsets us as much as it would upset you to be called fat, or criticizing your food choices.


On that note...Here are some pictures to a) prove that thin doesn't mean unhealthy looking, and b) showing what I love to do that helps with that :)  (all from Montreal) - the first one was during a run, hence the sweatiness, the third one was renting a bike to ride across a bridge (with a HUGE hill!), the fourth one is enjoying a very tasty chocolaty cappuccino, and the last one was walking through a park.  All quite fun if I do say so myself :)

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