Sound familiar? I've often wondered where the good food/bad food dichtomy originates. Why is it that carrot sticks carry with them an aura of smug virtue, while chocolate cake bears the stigma of sin?
Of course I know the answer: It's all about the calories, stupid. But there's got to be attitude behind those calories. And there is. Turns out reseachers from Yale and elsewhere did a study several years ago (which I just came across) looking at the stigma associated with obesity. Get this: They quizzed obesity specialists--doctors, researchers, psychologists--and discovered that even people who have devoted their lives to the subject associate "blameworthy behvioral characteristics" with obesity.
These are folks who understand the genetic and environmental factors implicated in obesity. Who know that fat people aren't fat because they watch TV and eat bon-bons all day.
Geez, if you can't trust these people to understand, who can you trust?
This sense of judgment extends beyond food to any part of our lives that our related to fat and overweight. We fatties are told that we bring all kinds of bad things on ourselves, from diabetes to lower pay to heart disease.
If your heart were, I don't know, a sewage pump (which in some ways isn't such a bad comparison), and it got clogged, would you feel a sense of moral failure? Or would you just call the plumber to have the pipes cleaned out? So why the strong sense of self-blame and guilt over being fat?
Stigma equals shame. Shame equals a sense of moral dichotomy, good and bad. People with anorexia take this good/bad food thing to obsessive extremes. But I bet most of us do it on some level.
Pay attention to your feelings about the next plate of food you sit down to. See if it's true for you. Then practice moral blindness when it comes to food. Repeat after me: There is no such thing as bad food, only badly cooked, badly prepared, or bad-tasting food.