Once again, I spouted a wee bit on my own Facebook page, and then I thought a little (after the fact) about how I might have been perceived. So I’m going to take the time to write some clarification, because these things matter to me.

I wrote: By the way, any one is welcome to do whatever they want with their bodies. You can diet or not, exercise or not, have surgery or not, that’s YOUR choice. But for me? I will make my *own* choices and I have *specifically* rejected the default diet industry notion that my “after” photo is any different from my “before” photo. Just in case you’re wondering. Also? Best line of the weekend from #ATSHomecoming, when Angie Never told me how awesome it is when she sees “big belly gals” baring it all on the stage. Personal choice is personal — and I’m proud of my personal choices for me.

Now, before any more people tell me about how inspiring this is, etc. I need to possibly apologize to the friends of mine who *are* pursuing various changes in body size as their personal choice. I have friends who have had bariatric surgery. I have friends who are doing various shake programs or weight loss memberships or other diets, based often on a desire to change their body size. Know this: I do NOT think any less of you for any body or food choice you make. You are STILL lovely people I value and applaud and care for.

So how do I really reconcile my rejection of the diet industry and my love and support for personal choices? I think of it like having favorite or least favorites for flavors. Your choice to do XYZ about food/body size matters as much to me as whether you like the taste of chocolate or coffee or raspberries or pork or cheese or rye bread or licorice. I have no preference for which flavors you like. That’s a personal choice! For example, I hate the taste of licorice. I cannot stand the smell of hazelnut. I never want to eat a persimmon or a mango or an avocado. Does that mean I’m less of a person? Of course not. In fact, it means that if you like mango, I’m going to give you mine.

As I see it, my notion of “bad” foods versus “good” foods is COMPLETELY different from the articles you see pushing one food choice over another. You know what a bad food is? One that will cause you harm. Did you have surgery on your intestinal tract and you can no longer eat specific raw vegetables? Eating raw vegetables would be *bad* for you. It would cause you harm. Are you diagnosed with celiac disease? Then eating wheat gluten (and likely a host of other foods) would be *bad* for you. It would cause you harm. Do you have religious reasons to avoid pork and shellfish? Then eating shrimp and oysters would be *bad* for you. Do you have an old memory of a food served that made you sick in the past? Is that flavor disgusting to you now? Then this would be a *bad* food for you.

What’s a good food? One that you enjoy. One that you want to eat. One that is not going to cause you harm. Personally, when I’m served breakfast in bed, that’s a *good* food. (wink) Sometimes it might not be the food I would have picked out, but it was served out of love and affection, and that matters to me. Do I like the taste of poppy seeds? Nope. But when I’m served a meal at my friend’s house and the dinner includes Caesar salad with croutons (which I’m not a fan of) and poppy seed rolls, then I enjoy the meal made with love (and I can even sometimes pretend I’m not tasting poppy seeds).

So rock on, crouton — by the way, someone want my croutons? — and you pursue what makes you happy. If you are truly happier doing a shake program or a weight loss program, then you enjoy that flavor in your life. It’s not the flavor I enjoy, but that’s not the point. The point is I care about whether you are pursuing what flavors *you* like in your life. Because, by gum, I’m going to pursue the flavors *I* like in my life. (Bubblegum is a flavor I enjoy, btw.)

What are my favorite flavors in life? I’m a fan of the flavor of diet coke. Doesn’t matter what science article you have about the chemicals, etc. I like the flavor. I like the flavor of coffee, chocolate (dark, preferably). I like my chocolate without nuts. I hate chocolate and orange together. I love chocolate and cherry together. I like the flavor of pineapple (but I cannot eat it raw, it makes my mouth swell up). So canned pineapple is good for me, raw pineapple is bad for me (it causes me harm).

I also like the flavor of hard work in a dance class. I like the flavor of long walks, even if I have to walk slow. I like the flavor of pursuing fitness habits, even at my current size, without waiting to change body sizes. I like the flavor of smiling. I like the flavor of laughter. And I like the flavor of friendship with people who like things different than I do. I like the flavor of communication and understanding and a willingness to be different.

And I hope that helps with understanding me. Because being kind is a flavor that I’m very fond of.