The guilt and shame of New Year’s food resolutions

It’s that time of year again, when people start focusing on what foods they’re going to go without in the weeks and months ahead.

Personally, I’ve never liked these kinds of resolutions. They’re restrictive and immediately have you focusing on what you’re losing, rather than what you’re gaining.

Besides, I work out a few times a week, which helps allay any guilt I might feel about grazing on the odd piece of cake or Tim Tam.


With life moving faster and faster, I use my workouts as a time to concentrate on me and take an hour or so just for myself. When the opportunity presents itself, I sometimes even do a double workout.

Now, since we ran out of time to have a Christmas party, my usual workout class decided to celebrate in the New Year with cakes, scones and brownies after class one morning.

The offer to indulge was incredibly tempting, albeit counterintuitive; after sweating it out for an hour, it seemed like such a waste to pour all of those calories back in.

So I decided to decline the sweet feast and instead stayed behind for the following class.

Despite missing out on some delicious free food (apparently the vanilla slice was to die for), I was feeling good – and yes, maybe even a touch smug – about my decision.

I expected to cop a little slack from the other people in my class. We poke harmless fun at each other during workout sessions, so I knew I wasn’t going to get away with declining cakes and brownies without a ribbing.

But I certainly didn’t expect to cop it from the instructor.

She piped up with, “Why on earth would you choose another class over cake? That’s just wrong! Are you seriously going to ditch us for that?”

After my second workout finished, she walked past me shaking her head and snarking, “I can’t believe you gave up brownies for that class!”

In my book, making someone feel guilty for not having a brownie is just as bad as any other form of food shaming.

I may not be a fan of food-related new year’s resolutions, but I reckon she should make one of her own: to butt out of other people’s food choices.

What do you think: am I over-reacting? Or should someone who is paid to help people get in shape have been a little more understanding of my motivation?