Dealing with the Diet Police

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

Have you ever been given the third degree about whether you should be eating a certain food or be adding it to your shopping basket? “Do you really need that?”

“Should you be eating that on your diet?”

Was it like a scene from a movie where the person was just short of a bright light and a table to bang their fist on, or more slick like the subtle questioning of James Bond? Needless to say, those are typical "diet police" interrogation questions, designed to keep law and order and take control of your world.

Who are the diet police and why do they pay so much attention to what is on our plates and in our shopping carts? Why do they question us in a friendly, yet conniving manner about our well being and progress? Why do they make comments at family dinners and in public that belittle us about our weight or what we are eating or not eating? Why do they blame all of our problems on our weight, as if we couldn’t have any “normal” problems or issues?

The diet police are various sects of people who all share one thing in common; they believe they can make better choices for you than you or I can. Most believe that any means necessary might need to be employed in the name of saving you from yourself. Their intentions are not always bad, but can be harmful, just the same.

Some diet police will do or say hurtful things “For your own good,” thinking that humiliating you enough will motivate you to change. They do this because they feel it is their job to take care of you. Instead, their constant belittling of you fosters a feeling of inferiority and shame. This simply makes many of us build up a wall and eat in secret and isolate ourselves, feeling as if we are not good enough.

Many diet police don’t believe people can make sound choices about your own nutrition. They believe in one way, their own. You should follow their diet, because it’s the one that works. They think that if you could just eat right and exercise, everything would be okay. They don’t understand the complexities of weight loss and the psychological impact weight has on a person. It is a simple formula, actually. Calories in and calories out is the formula, BUT not everyone metabolizes at the same rate and not everyone is subject to the same eating or exercise rules. This doesn’t even take into account depression, injury, chronic pain, and eating disorders, among other things. Losing weight is a very individualized thing.

Diet police believe they have the right to visually search your shopping cart and plate for offenses. They still have that “Good food” and “Bad food” mentality. They can be legalistic and not understand the concept of moderation, thus judging a person on what they do choose to eat.

Most diet police have never had a major problem with their weight, and therefore do not know the struggles that people who are significantly overweight face. Many lack the experiences to be able to empathize and motivate those they are trying to police.

Diet police doctors are a pet peeve of mine. They are the doctors that think you wouldn’t get sick if you weren’t overweight or that all of your illness would magically disappear with some diet and exercise. While diet and exercise will help you and boost your immune system, keep in mind that thin people get sick too and overweight people deserve the same medical care and compassion when they go to the doctor.

Diet police can start bad eating habits from the shame they cause. From my experience and others I’ve known, we’ve hidden food, binged, had bulimia, anorexia, compulsive overeating, felt shamed, eaten alone in isolation, avoided gatherings, not sought health care, avoided working out in public and believed we would never find love. So far, I have overcome all of the above and so have a few of my friends. Some still suffer and go to therapy to undo damage that was done by their diet police. If you have diet police checking you for offenses or “Trying to take care of you,” by improper means, have a talk with them. Explain you are on a fantastic new plan called SparkPeople and you know exactly what you are doing. No more policing allowed, but love without shame is always welcomed. EXPLAIN to them how they CAN help you in a positive manner and SHOW them SparkPeople. You may make a difference in their life.

How do you deal with the "diet police"?