Today, I was standing in line at the grocery store. There was a mother and daughter in front of me. Both of them were, well…fat! And I mean really fat…big….super big. I looked at their cart as they unloaded it so they could pay and here is what I saw: ice cream, potato chips, pudding cups, chocolate chip cookies, sugary cereals, whole milk, processed block cheese, mystery sandwich meats, white bread, mayonnaise, frozen french fries, frozen dinners and at least 2 12 packs of soda – Dr. Pepper, I believe.
What I didn’t see was one single fresh fruit or vegetable. Heck, I didn’t even see any frozen vegetables and they clearly knew where the frozen food section was because there was no shortage of ice cream in that cart!
As I watched them struggle to move and gasp for air as they loaded their bags of just purchased so called food, back into their cart, I became alarmed. Then when I saw them in the parking lot in a handicapped spot, I became concerned. Clearly they are experiencing health issues. Now, it may be the chicken or the egg conundrum. Do they have health issues because they are fat or did the health issues come first? I have no way of knowing but I do know they aren’t doing all they can to take care of themselves and that annoys me. (Did I mention that the mother also purchased a carton of cigarettes?)
So as I watched them struggle to put their bags in the trunk of their car, sweat now pouring down their shiny red ruddy, unhappy faces I couldn’t help but feel utter and complete frustration for them and about them. I don’t like to be judgmental and this wasn’t a proud moment for me. Everyone should live their own lives in freedom and peace, I suppose. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the poor choices these ladies had just made. I couldn’t stop thinking about how all they are doing is creating more opportunities for high blood pressure, heart attacks and diabetes among other self inflicted health wounds people give themselves.
People always talk about “comfort” food. But food is no longer a comfort when it becomes a crutch, when it becomes an addition. And really to think about food as a “comfort” in the first place is a dangerous prospect because it allows for justification. It gives us permission to eat unhealthy food. It feeds negative food cravings. I know this from personal experience because I once had an unhealthy relationship with cheese. Cheese was for me like a warm blanket on my sorrows. For those few brief moments of joy as I tasted the deliciousness of wonderful cheese all my problems melted away. But they came back just as quickly as the cheese went down my throat!
Now, I am a vegan and I certainly understand this type of diet is not for everyone. And I have absolutely no problem with that. I don’t even care if people eat meat or other animal products. And I never wanted to be one of those annoying vegans who judges other people for how they eat and hopefully mostly I’m not but this post might annoy a few people anyway because I’m about to rant about how frustrated I am seeing people do themselves unnecessary harm from the way they chose to eat. And yes, ultimately it is a choice. It all comes to down to choices.
I understand that there are some times reasons for struggles with weight gain. I understand genetics plays a part. I understand certain medical treatments make weight loss hard. Drugs like prednisone for example. I understand that certain health issues make things like exercise more difficult which can lead to problems with weight gain. And I do understand that food becomes an actual real life addiction for some people and this certainly complicates matters.
But, despite understanding this on an intellectual level, I am still very frustrated when I see people engage in self destructive eating behavior. I’m not talking about the occasional treat. I’m not talking about an ice cream after a movie on a first date. I am talking about that mother and daughter at the grocery store who made choices to put all that junk food in their shopping cart and who shop this way time and time again never giving a second thought to just how badly they are hurting themselves.
I’m talking about the way people don’t stop and think before they shove an entire box of cookies down their throat over and over again. I’m talking about deciding to eat an apple instead of a donut. Healthy choices are choices too.
If you are an unhealthy eater, I beg you, I implore you to start thinking about food differently. Food is not your friend. Food is a means to an end. Food’s purpose is to give us energy so we can function to do the things we need and want to do to live our lives. Food should not be our lives.
And even if you struggle with the things that make weight gain an issue, I promise that by making better choices today…you will feel better tomorrow no matter what your issues with weight might be. And if you make better choices one day at a time every single day, it will soon become a healthy habit in your life and you will not only feel better physically, you will feel better emotionally too.
Next time you go grocery shopping, think about what you are putting into that cart and think about what you are doing to yourself!
You have choices!