Healthy living motivation and inspiration | I’ll take mine without the judgement please

A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend and fellow fitness professional at the grocery store. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes about teaching schedules and the gym and our children. Just as I was about to end the conversation and continue with my shop it happened.

Her eyes briefly left mine to skim over the contents of my grocery cart. When her gaze returned upward I knew immediately that I’d been JUDGED; judged and found lacking by the food that I’d chosen to feed my family.

motivation and inspiration

My gut reaction was to defend myself.

We’re having company over for brunch. I don’t usually buy bakery cinnamon buns. That whipping cream was for a special dessert. Those are turkey hot dogs, made without nitrites and preservatives. Why don’t I have more produce in my cart? I never buy produce at this store; it’s fresher and less expensive at the green grocer’s down the street. This isn’t what a ‘normal’ shop looks like.

But I held back, not wanting to acknowledge and validate my friend’s judgemental behaviour or create a scene by telling her what I really think of fitness professionals who look down their nose at people whose choices aren’t one hundred percent perfect, one hundred percent of the time.

Do they really think that judgment serves to motivate and inspire?

As a healthy living blogger and personal trainer I frequently dispense information about fitness, nutrition and making better choices when it comes to eating and exercise.

But what my readers and clients DO with that information is entirely up to them. I’m here to help, not judge.

Remember that the next time you see me in the grocery store and have the urge to run the other way lest I see the Doritos/ice cream/Oreo cookies/Twinkies in your cart. Your body. Your choice. Your health. End of conversation.

While we could all use a little healthy living motivation and inspiration, I’ll take mine without the judgement please!

Have you ever felt that your food choices were being judged by friends or relatives? What did you do?

Fitness professionals, have you ever run into clients at the grocery store and had them ‘rationalize’ the contents of their cart to you?

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. I’m a trainer, blogger, and occasional fitness newspaper columnist in a very small town. This happens to me almost daily.

    Clients and friends rationalize what they buy, as their eyes scan what I buy. Speaks so much about the insecurities that are fed by our media, and social media.

    I have gotten very good at defusing these conversations, but every isle is like a minefield — who knows what’s around the next corner…

    • I used to laugh at the grocery store ‘confessionals’, but find them just exasperating now. Really, I don’t care what’s in your grocery cart!

  2. welll I like to mess with people.
    a lot 🙂
    so we shall just leave it—and my cart contents 🙂 — at that.
    Miz recently posted…Blogging is DEAD. Blogging will NEVER die.My Profile

  3. Yikes! This makes me realize that I’ve subconsciously done this to other people, which is just terrible. Thanks for your honesty on this one.

  4. I love this post & your thoughts on it Tamara! Yes – not our place to judge. PLUS it is all about balance anyway! I know people check what I buy & eat but whatever…

    I had a family member say to me the other night, don’t look at what I am eating – my response was that I don’t care what you are eating – do what you want… like you said – it is not my place to judge – it is their life & choices….
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Chest Work from Different AnglesMy Profile

    • Exactly! Always happy to answer questions and point people in the right direction, but not judging!

  5. A friend of mine (yes a friend) who has four kids, was shopping at costco and had a cart full of chips when she saw a health nut coworker with a cart full of tuna. She dodged and hid down a different aisle!

    • I wonder how often I this happens with me? I only see the people who choose to be seen…

  6. I am so guilty of doing this! I always survey what other people I bump into have in their carts compared to mine, whoops!
    Katie recently posted…Summer Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Cilantro SauceMy Profile

  7. Sure do!! Every damn day! You see I have had gastric bypass surgery and so everyone’s you own personal food police after that! Seriously have a conversation about gastric bypass patients and tell me you don’t hear all about what so n so that I work with eats candy and chips and fried food and and and…… Sorry you were judged I can personally SO relate 🙂

    • It really sucks, doesn’t it? And it certainly doesn’t make you want to swap your ice cream for celery sticks…

  8. I just read on another blog it’s not what you do occasionally it what you do consistently! So very true!

  9. I’m not into the judging thing – I don’t want anyone judging me based on my grocery cart and I don’t really care what is in their’s – we all make our own choices.
    Kim recently posted…200 Minutes of Running – Done!!My Profile

  10. Great post. I feel people judge my kids’ food more than mine. I am focused on their health but I also allow them to have treats on occassion. If I do, there are some people who love to point it out. Worse is I have a friend who always feels she needs to justify her son’s food when I am around. No matter how many times I reassure her that I am not judging it all.

    • Oh yes, my kids’ lunches have been judged before as well. Nothing like a food judger to undermine your confidence in your parenting skills!

  11. You’re right. I have felt judged by my food choices, but I usually shake it off. Every once in a while, it will bother me. Hmmm . . . I wonder what the difference is between when I care and when I don’t. I’ll have to think about that.
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted…Our New Family Member, ShazamMy Profile

    • Oooh, good question Michelle. I wonder what was bugging me that this incidence stuck with me for so long… off to navel gaze!

  12. Great point about the “helping, not judging!”. A good friend of mine frequently posts tips on FB for healthier living & I told her she does a great job of making information available yet not cramming it down peoples throats. As fitness professionals our goal is to motivate others, not force them. Excellent post 🙂
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted…One Word Wednesday…My Profile

    • Thanks Katie! I must admit to having ‘unliked’ several FB pages recently whose owners seemed a bit too preachy and judgy for my tastes. I know when I’m making a poor decision; sometimes I still want to make it anyways!

  13. This is so true!! I feel like I want to hide my cart sometimes when I run into people and then other times I feel like people want to run from me so I won’t see their cart! It’s a no win either way!

    • True! I just try and make sure that people know they don’t have to fear my opinions on their food choices!

  14. Not food choices, but I have been judged for other life choices. Judgement fosters more judgement and compassion works the same way… why can’t we all get along? I’m not saying I’m a saint and never judge, but I try very hard to catch myself when I do, and I try to correct my thoughts. Generally speaking if I feel judgement it is because of my own self esteem issues. Judgement only hurts one person, the person dishing it out.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted…My Favorite Running Things- Spring 2013My Profile

  15. This made me laugh because I’ve felt the say way when I bump into clients/members at the store. Usually it’s because of my wine though 🙂

    More often I find that I somehow generate a guilty mindset in people I meet, even friends. They think I’m judging them (which I don’t). They’ll say things like, oh, I will be back at the gym (or back to running) soon, I’ve been (pick one) sick, busy, tired, injured.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted…IHRSA 2013 Wrap Up: The Trade Show and Random HappeningsMy Profile

  16. Yes, I do often feel judged by my food, parenting, career choices – you name it! We live in a very stereotypical NYC neighborhood where parents are all about organic, local food choices and certain parenting views and I do feel like I have to defend myself when my choices are different. But I try not to because it’s my choice for my family. I do agree that there’s a difference between inspiring/supporting and judging.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…6 signs that Mommy needs a time-outMy Profile

  17. I have had a similar, but different type of judgement at work. My teachers at school think of me as extremely nuts about food and fitness, so when they see me eating a soft pretzal or a cupcake, they always make comments. I always answer the same, “I’m human and love sweets and junk food also, but know when to stop”. That usually stops them in their tracks.

  18. This is funny because I was dealing with this today at a work lunch. I really, really wanted a cookie but my co-workers were watching what I got off of the buffet! Maybe it was for the best since cookies are recommended 4 weeks out from a competition… but whoa, did I feel the eyes!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Gettin’ Grounded & TVP Bacon BitsMy Profile

  19. YES!! And why is it when I am buying the good stuff I run into no body that I know and when I am buying the bad food (b/c its someones birthday or going to a party and I am bringing the “good” dip) I run into every one!!
    Kathy recently posted…Unleavened bread and BAD MOM egg photosMy Profile

  20. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was once entirely right. This submit actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  21. found your website on these days and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some a lot more later !!.


  1. […] Personal training clients and group fitness participants don’t like to work with trainers who make them feel judged. Do you? A fitness professional’s attitude towards other’s lifestyle choices is […]