By Megan Shuman
Snap judgment. It’s something each and every one of us do on a daily basis. A not-so-guilty pleasure, perhaps. Not guilty, because originally it was an evolutionary adaptation meant to save us from an untimely demise. Who knew danger was no longer the wild animal at our door, but that girl with the sculpted eyebrows who sits in the back in our 100 class?
It’s not so much that we need the cliche love everyone, hate no one mentality. We’re human, we have emotions and they’re there for a reason. But what’s important is taking a minute before you act on your little belligerent biases. Even if it is just a sideways second glance, it has an effect. Now, judgement has made its way into even the most simple of human activities — eating.
Food choice in the presence of others has changed from a simple want to a complex, winding decision for many. With the general public counting calories quicker than true crimes, a menu turns into a mess of quick calculations. The worry I am getting at, of course, is a lesser known bias – the bias against eating healthily.
Everyone is fighting some sort of battle. The small coworker you see who is constantly eating low carb snacks and doesn’t stop reading labels may have diabetes, and is trying to keep her body from being poisoned. The skinny kid choosing a salad at a burger joint has a food allergy and would prefer not to spend the rest of her night in agony because she ate something she shouldn’t. And that last one is from experience.
You become “that girl” — the one who gets glares and negative comments for free. Then, there are those who simply want to eat healthy because they feel better when they do, medical conditions aside. Why is it that when we see someone simply taking care of themselves, we automatically put them down? They are free to make their choices while I make mine. ‘They make me look bad.’ ‘They ruin everyone’s so called ‘cheat night’.’ ‘They can’t just give the health kick a rest for five minutes.’ Perhaps the key can be found by putting confidence in what we put in our own bodies, realizing there are ends to every mean. And some of those effects do more than tip the scale.
Judgment can save lives, but it can also take them. Bullying, a pointed and precarious form of judgment, has ended lives that no one can replace. Sometimes, it has even made life worse for those who choose to endure it. No one wants to force themselves to be sick. Bullying over such a menial necessity is unusually cruel because each and every one of us partakes in such an action. As much as we try, diets are largely affected by the busy lives we all lead. Trying to maintain control of one small factor such as how one treats their body is a natural response, therefore judgments shouldn’t even be a second thought.
So, next time you’re glaring at that poor skinny soul reaching for the low-fat, artificially- sweetened, zero-calorie-snack, don’t think about their choices, think about your own. Maybe the problem isn’t in the decisions they are making about how to treat their body, perhaps the true issue is that their body had to make their decisions for them. And even though the latter sounds easier, you can bet your last dollar, it just makes it all the more difficult in the end.