Imagine a diet free culture where we could enjoy time out with friends and family without justifying our food choices or feeling we have to ‘burn it off’ later or compensate for it at our next meal.
At a chocolate workshop I ran in Singapore, a participant from India asked why western people feel guilt and shame when they eat delicious treats. In India, she explained, ‘sweet treats are an important part of our culture that we gift to others if they have given birth, are getting married or have any other reason to celebrate, and we eat these treats without guilt’.
Food for celebration and connection
This was such a taught provoking question as we too celebrate with treats.
Celebrating with food is ingrained in all cultures around the world. We celebrate with a birthday cake. We provide gifts of chocolates for Valentines and Mother’s Day.
Food is an integral part of most of our social gatherings. We get together over a BBQ, a glass of wine, a coffee, or a meal.
So, why do we feel guilt and shame for our celebratory eating?
So why do we feel guilt and shame in enjoying these celebratory foods at food centred gatherings
My initial thought was because we have such an ingrained diet culture, which has demonised the very foods that our celebrations and social connections are centred around. Thus, creating internal friction as we want to join in, yet at the same time feel we shouldn’t be indulging in these foods.
So, I responded to the Indian lady’s question by proposing that our diet culture was a possible culprit.
She then asked, ‘why is dieting such a large part of your culture?’
Hmmm. Before I could form an answer in my mind, a wave of emotion came over me as I realised just how much dieting has taken over our lives in western culture.
Imagine a diet free culture
For a moment, I could only imagine a life where we could enjoy treats that were gifted to us as someone loves us.
Imagine if we could celebrate birth, graduation, marriage or the life of a loved one passed, and enjoy the delicious delicacies being served without thinking about our waistline or whether what we are eating is good or bad for us.
A life where we could enjoy time out with friends without justifying our food choices or explaining that we’ll ‘burn it off’ later or ensure our next meal is much more controlled to compensate for this indulgence.
Or imagine a life where we could focus on living life to the fullest, enjoying each moment, without constant concern and consideration of what we are eating and feeling our body isn’t good enough the way it is.
Are you ready to break free of diet culture?
My gift to you is the chapter, Debunk the Diet Myth, from my book, Joyful Eating: How to Break Free of Diets and Make Peace with Your Body, which you can download for FREE.