Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I was recently the unfortunate witness to the worst that can happen when people's passionate opinion about food collide with a well meant suggestion that violates that opinion. A thoughtful lady suggested on a Facebook thread not long ago that those who wish to avoid sugar should try Agave Nectar as an all natural substitute. She didn't know how venomous the debate surrounding this processed high-fructose syrup had gotten. The backlash was instant and quite vehement from several people. All of which left her doubting not only her adequacy in her dietary choices but, I think, prompted her to leave the private group.
This saddens me a great deal. Not just the reaction to her suggestion, but her response. Until that moment she had been under the impression that she was doing really well. And to be honest, she was probably right. She was feeling the effects of eating a consistently healthier diet and her outlook was obviously improving as well. It broke my heart to see her confidence and excitement to change her diet and lifestyle evaporate with the thoughtless words of just a couple people. I hope it didn't cause her weight loss efforts a setback, but I honestly expect that to be the result at least in the short term.
Now it's one thing to offer resources, opinion, experience, and information. That's why we join groups. To learn from each other and move forward together. It's something else to start with, "What a stupid suggestion," and go downhill from there. You never know where someone is in their journey and it's important to remember just how fragile our efforts are when we're just starting to figure this whole "healthy" mystery out.
We are bombarded by information, opinions, options, misinformation, outright lies and propaganda every time we turn around and it's both frightening and overwhelming. Add to that the fact that a massive majority of people with weight issues also have confidence, self-worth, and depression issues as well and you're looking at the likelihood of an ill-thought word overturning one of the bravest efforts many people have yet undertaken, if only temporarily.
Kindness costs nothing, but it may mean everything to someone else.