Stop Doing That. Please?

I have a few pet peeves.

  • People who don’t “string” string cheese. What kind of monster just takes a bite?
  • Loud/open-mouthed gum chewers. I have had to change seats on the train to get away from serious offenders.
  • People making negative comments about healthy food choices. I’ll explain below.

While the first two are things that I wish I could actually make illegal in all 50 states, I’ll let them go for now. The point of this post is the 3rd bullet point, and one that I know others have experienced too.

Raise your hands if you’ve ever been out to eat with friends, or at a work lunch with colleagues, or heck, even been eating around strangers and been subject to any of the following:

  • Eye rolls when you ask for menu alterations (veggies instead of fries, for instance), or asking for dressing/sauces on the side
  • “Why can’t you just order off the menu like everyone else?”
  • “Ugh..Of course you are ordering that”
  • [about food you’ve made] “You didn’t make a weird healthy version of this did you?” or “Ugh of course you made healthy substitutions”

Seriously. Would it be acceptable for me to go out to dinner with friends/colleagues/family and say things like:

  • How come you’re ordering that, fatty?
  • You’re really going to eat those fries? You know how bad they are for you.
  • Of course you’re ordering dessert. You ALWAYS order dessert.
  • Are you really going to eat ALL of that?

NO absolutely not. I would never, ever even consider saying something like this to someone that I was eating with. And if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d get slapped into next Tuesday. So why is the opposite ok? Why do some people think it’s ok to try to make others feel bad about being healthy?

I can only assume that comments like this are made out of some type of insecurity. Insecurity about ones own food choices being projected onto the other person, no matter how ridiculous or inappropriate. I have had this happen to me several times, and each time I have just kind of brushed it off, smiled and said “yes I am ordering this. That is the way I prefer it”. (All the while going into black-out-rage-mode in my head).

And then there’s the other side of it. If I make something and offer it to you (at work, or at a party, or just in my home), do you think I’m going to offer it to you if it tastes like crap? I’m not in the business of making people eat things they don’t like, and I would never serve something that tasted bad just because it was “healthy”. So if it’s healthy, and it’s tasty, isn’t that a good thing? It seems like some people just feel the need to complain, just for the sake of, well, complaining.

This certainly doesn’t happen all the time, (most people have at least some common decency), but it happens more than is acceptable. Questions are one thing. If you have questions about what I’m eating, why I’m ordering what, why I’m taking half of the bread off  of my sandwich, than ask me! But don’t judge me negatively just for the fun of it. If I choose to not eat white bread, that’s my business, no?  If I choose to order salad dressing on the side, how does that effect your lunch? Just like if you choose to order fries, that’s your business, and honestly I order fries sometimes too (they’re delicious!).

My point is, stop with the negative comments about others who are doing things to better their health. Whether the comments stem from jealousy, curiosity, or are just for the sport of making others feel bad, it’s not ok.

And next time someone does this to you (because if you eat healthfully, its bound to happen at some point), just smile, nod, and let it go. It’s just not worth getting upset or snapping back a rude comment yourself — unless of course you go into Rage Blackout Mode and can’t control what comes out of your mouth. In that case, get ready to eat your salad elsewhere.

Have you ever experienced comments like this? How do you usually react? Why do you think people make comments like this? 

12 thoughts on “Stop Doing That. Please?

  1. Very true! And it happened to me only yesterday… I’ve starting logging my food intake for a couple of weeks as a sort of pre-race training check up. A colleague saw me reach for a mini cupcake during an office birthday celebration and immediately shouted across the room: “I hope you’re going to log that!” I was really shocked by the snide attitude, but got some similar comments later in the day from my flatmate. It’s the first time I’ve tried a running-specific approach to eating and I need encouragement, not heckling!

    Incidentally, I blogged about my diet revamp here and would really appreciate any advice for a beginner: Great blog – keep it up!

    1. Hi there, and thank you! I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I think a food log is a Great idea to see where you’re at and where you could use a few healthy changes! Many people don’t realize what they are eating until they write it all down. I can’t believe, though, that your colleague would say that to you! It’s so rude, and frankly, none of their business whether you’re going to log it or not! Good luck and keep working hard towards your goals, I’ll be sure to check back in and see the progress you’re making!

  2. i get this on both ends of the spectrum! i’ll occasionally get comments about getting the “healthy” option of a dish, etc. like you mentioned. but also, and actually even more frequently, people will find it necessary to comment instead on my voracious (runner/group fitness instructor) appetite. “i can’t believe you’re going to eat ALL of that!;” “wow, that’s enough food for me for two meals;” or my favorite, “it’s not fair! you eat all of that and you’re still SO skinny!” news flash: i am CONSTANTLY moving! i need a lot of fuel to keep going!

    okay sorry. end of rant.

    but i’ll leave you with this kathleen madigan gem:

    1. HA – I love that clip!!! I get it from both sides too — An old colleague of mine used to comment on my lunch every day no matter What I was eating. “A sandwich AND crackers, Stephanie?” “You’re only eating a SALAD?” Argh. So frustrating. People need to realize that every body is different, and comments like that are not only rude, but they don’t make any sense!

  3. I have on the removal of bread… I don’t like white either, I’d rather just eat the contents of the sandwich. Most of my friends are happy if I cook … they don’t generally freak about healthy, and I’ve done some switches slowly even hubby is on board, but I do feel it sometimes so I can get your rage. Cute pics lol.

    1. Me too! A lot of times I’ll take the bun off a burger, and sometimes with sandwiches I’ll eat half of it with bread and then just eat all the fillings out of the other half… Unless it’s unbelievably delicious, then I just eat the whole darn thing and worry about bloating later 🙂 Thanks!!

  4. Timmy Jones Johnson August 3, 2012 — 4:30 pm

    Fine, sorry.

  5. I love this post. Something I have noticed on this topic–now, I have never been the healthiest eater but man oh man the last few years I sure try. As we speak I am eating a salad, GASP, a SALAD at work. It is sometimes hard for me to choke down, or even say aloud, but I do it because I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I get crap from my students (college students mind you) about my food all the time. Anyway, I digress. SO, before I found out I was allergic to gluten, some friends would comment on my healthier choices. Stupid things like “Well, if you don’t get dessert I can’t get it.” Seriously? You can’t? Why, because you will feel like a chub? Well, maybe you are then. Personally I embrace those times that I am the only one getting a dessert and if I feel like a chub I feel like it. Who the heck cares?! Since I found out I was allergic to gluten (holy heavens next month it has been a year), people look at my food decisions quizzically and then when I say I am allergic to gluten they seem at ease. “I mean, otherwise, this girl would be eating pizza like me right?” I know this goes through their head. Sometimes, if I don’t like the person, I will say something like, “well, friend, actually I was eating this BEFORE I was allergic to gluten because I want to live a healthy, long life.” BO-YA.
    So, my friends know I struggle with sugars everyday of my life. Otherwise, I am a healthy eater. However, I love going out with my healthy friends, which is probably 75% of them, because they motivate me to say no to bad foods and to ignore my rude, cholesterol eatin’ friends. Thanks, Steph for always helping me see the food light!

    1. I think it’s so interesting that people tend to “understand” food choices more if they are made for a medical reason… Why isn’t your personal preference enough of a reason to eat/not eat something? And I’m with you on dessert — If I want to order it, I don’t care if nobody else does! Although your last point is a very good one…surrounding yourself with like minded people and people who have similar goals are the best motivators!

  6. 100% agree with you all the way
    other comments I hear
    “you’re exercising again…you dont need to lose weight” as if ppl workout just to lose weight
    “geez you’re so weird…eww what is that?”
    yep…its a jungle out there

  7. musclebeachhereicome August 28, 2012 — 6:51 am

    This post is describing exactly what I’m feeling!! My coworkers constantly tease me about what I eat (I’m currently training for an NPC bikini competition). It’s like, “Why do you care what I eat? I didn’t even ask for your opinion… so why are you giving it to me?? Leave me alone and go eat your double bacon cheeseburger, large fries, and large coke!” And I just couldn’t figure out why people are so negative. But what you say makes total sense… It’s their own securities for their poor choices. I just wish they’d leave me be

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