Obviously, the big caveat when it comes to food and nutrition is that you and your doctor know best. Of course, if you are on a special diet or have restrictions under medical supervision, then you should listen to the doctors in your life. The same is true if your restrictions align with an ethical or religious belief system that is important to you. My point is not that everyone should feel pressured to eat everything in front of them with unfiltered devotion, but rather to drop the morality of food and especially the morality of certain types of food.
Here is an example. As you scroll down social media or read the headlines, how often do you see people refer to a food, meal or recipe as “healthy” or “good for you” or “better” or “real”? While this obviously varies a bit which corner of the internet you are in, I'd say it's pretty insidious. And here's the thing: food is food. Health is subjective. What does it mean for a meal to be “good”? Sure, it could be related to your calories or your macros. "Good" can also refer to a popular family recipe, appealing smells and textures, a filling serving or a meal that can be prepared quickly.
Here is another common example. While we often read the word "genuine" to mean that a food is not processed, the truth is that even the most processed, laboratory-made food is genuine. And the truth is, when diet culture tells us that only certain foods are "real" or "good," there is a whole range of classicism and skill in those ideas. Whether you are making your french fries from scratch or they come frozen off a tray, the food is still real. And what you choose should be a choice based on what works for you, not what a diet influencer is trying to shame you on.
What we eat doesn't make us good or bad people. Food can be a reflection of our values - for example vegetarianism or veganism or buying from local suppliers or small businesses. Eating can be an extension of other goals as well. When training for a great athletic performance, you can prioritize some foods over others. But no food is inherently good or bad, and eating (or not eating) anything does not change your integrity as a person.
And if you wrestle with the argument, what about health? Here is a study on chewing. A 2017 study suggests that the perceived weight stigma actually poses a higher health risk than what people have eaten. The same study found that weight stigma posed an equal health risk as a lack of physical activity. So yes. Weight stigma and fat phobia can rightly damage people's health.
Would you like to eat Christmas cookies? Do it – and only use the word "pampering" if it appeals to you with warmth. We are surviving a literal pandemic. If there is a time to be kinder to ourselves and release the pressures of diet culture, it is now.