OzDoc tweetchats are fertile ground for posts on this blog! Often, as soon as the chat is over, I start to write because some that was discussed has triggered a wave of ideas, or thoughts or, as was the case after last night’s chat, wanting to know more.

This week’s chat was all about food – one of my favourite topics in the world, and one that I could, quite honestly, speak and write about full time. I think about food a lot. A. Lot. I have been known to ask the question ‘What will we have for dinner?’ as we sit down to start to eat lunch. I have rushed home, desperate to turn on the oven and bake a cake and then sit in front of the oven, watching it cook.

There is a lot to love about food. But clearly, from last night’s discussion and from many discussions with others, food is not all about bowls of cherries. (I am counting down until November when cherry season is upon us again….)

Guilt and food are two words that are frequently used in the same sentence. This is not only for people with diabetes. It is entrenched in our way of thinking.

We are almost conditioned to feel guilt when we eat certain things and this in turn forces us to think that what we are eating – and could be enjoying in the moment – is a bad, bad thing.

I’ve written about how language and food get intertwined and mixed up. But what I really want to know is where the guilt comes from. Why do we feel it? How did we learn to feel that way?

I don’t ever feel guilty about what I eat. Ever. I’ve no idea why – I just don’t. (There’s plenty of other stuff I feel guilty about, so I don’t feel guilty about not feeling guilty about food!)

Is it what we hear from those around us? Cutting comments from family members, shaming comments from friends or judgemental comments from health professionals can all take their toll.

I have heard them all. I have had family members comment on what I am eating (especially when I was younger and ate like a proverbial horse). I have been asked if I should be eating that. I have had healthcare professionals judge what I eat (when I bothered to tell them).

But besides annoying me, (and visualising hitting them on the head with a spoon I have recently been using to scoop Nutella directly from the jar), I’m not bothered. No long lasting effects and certainly no feelings of guilt.

That’s not the case for everyone. And that’s what I am interested in. Why is it that in some people guilt-inducing comments are like water off a duck’s back, yet for others, result in hours of anguish, hurt, tears and stress?

I watched the response to last night’s chat with great interest. The questions were all very thought provoking and generated a lot of discussion. But not once, was the word ‘guilt’ mentioned in the questions. And yet a lot of answers did.

It seems that the two just do go together for a lot of people. I know that is the case for people without diabetes. But undeniably, it is worse for many of us who do live with it.