Health.com
July 19, 2011


By Tina Haupert

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine joked that I shouldn't snap a photo of what I was eating for my blog because it wasn't "healthy." Granted, I was eating a cheeseburger with Doritos, potato salad, and a brownie—obviously, not the most nutritious foods to pile onto my plate.

I knew that my friend was only kidding when she made the statement—she regularly reads my blog, so she knows that I eat healthy most of the time and allow for splurges once in a while—but her remark made me think about how other people view my lifestyle choices as a "healthy living" blogger.

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My blog's tag line is "sharing my life one bite at a time," so I'm not surprised when readers make assumptions about my food and exercise habits. Putting myself out there on the Internet allows others to judge me more than the average person; it's all part of the job. It used to bother me when people commented on my choices, but I've learned how to deal with them, which has ultimately made me a healthier (and stronger) person. Here are a few tricks I use to stay positive in the face of negative food judgments.

Remind myself there is no "right" way to be healthy
When I first experienced judgments with regard to my lifestyle, I always used to question my choices and whether what I was doing was truly healthy or not. Over the years, however, I learned that there is no "right" way to be healthy. Since then, I've changed my eating habits for the better, stuck to a regular exercise routine, and worked hard to figure out what works best for me. When judgments are thrown around, I remind myself that healthy living is all about the choices you make for yourself to live the best life possible. Being healthy is different for different people; it's about making choices that are good for your situation and your body.

Remember how far I've come
When judgments start to get me down, I think about how far I've come on my healthy living journey. When I first started to lose weight, I used to focus on eating low-calorie and low-fat foods even though they were typically made with artificial ingredients and they didn't make me feel as good as eating “real” food. Nowadays, I focus on filling my diet with mostly nutritious foods, but, of course, I allow room for fun ones, too! Additionally, even though I've always enjoyed exercise, I now consider myself a well-rounded athlete. I regularly lift weights, practice yoga, and even run marathons!

View judgments as constructive criticism
Instead of getting upset and defensive about comments, I try not to take the words to heart. I use these judgments as a chance to self-reflect. Is there some truth behind it? Is there an aspect of my life that I can improve upon? For me, healthy living means always striving for a better version of myself. Listening to constructive criticism is one way to keep moving forward.

Try to understand
In three and a half years of sharing my life on Carrots 'N' Cake, I've been told that I drink too much iced coffee, that I eat food that looks like vomit, and that I shouldn't run as much as I do. I don't like to hear these things, but I try to understand where people are coming from when they say them. What I perceive as judgment from others might actually be unfamiliarity and curiosity on their part. I try to keep this in mind when people assume things instead of trying to understand why I live my life the way I do.

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