We’ve all been there once or twice – that person with whom you have a close relationship says something that’s hurtful, insensitive, and downright inappropriate. There are just some phrases that are so ingrained in diet culture that I’m not sure they’ll ever totally cease. So how do you respond? When I get upset about these things, I shut down. These comments throw my brain right back on that neural pathway of inadequacy – for those who have never experienced what I’m referring to, it’s painful. It takes time to heal the damage that a lifetime of diet culture has nurtured.
We can’t totally prevent those words from being uttered by others, but we can control how we speak and the energy that we put into the social sphere.
Here are some things that others have said to me since I’ve been a preteen:
Common phrases I hear that get under my skin
- You look so skinny!
- You’re disappearing.
- You’re obese.
- That isn’t the right thing to be eating.
- You don’t eat bread?
- Well, you’re missing out.
- I heard that diet makes your vagina stink.
- Wouldn’t it be better if you just ate less?
- Just try one bite. Please?
- What you’re doing is wrong.
- Keto? Aren’t you going to have a heart attack?
- ________ isn’t keto.
The. List. Goes. On.
And there are only a couple of sane explanations for some of this behavior. The people who say these things are either toxic (and you need to set them straight or get them out of your life stat) or they’re insecure, or jealous (or maybe both of those last two).
Want to know what really gets under others’ skin?
When somebody else is successful at something they’re failing at.
So maybe you’ve read some of those sentences above, and are thinking, “well what the hell am I supposed to say to my friend who’s on keto?”
The short answer is, you don’t have to say anything. Better yet, don’t comment on anyone’s weight or food choices unless you are asked for your input. Unsolicited comments like the ones listed above are just plain rude. How do you feel when someone says those things to you?
What you said before: “You look so skinny!”
What to say next time: Unless you’re asked about someone else’s size, just shut up.
What you said before: “You’re disappearing.”
What to say next time: Nothing. Ask yourself why you want to make this comment. It is not a positive one, no matter how much you might think it is. If you are seriously concerned with another person’s low weight, then ask them if they want your opinion or if they need assistance. More than likely, they don’t.
What you said before: “You don’t eat bread? People need bread.”
What to say next time: “I never considered that you could cut bread from your diet. What do you have instead?” Be willing to learn, if you’re interested enough to make a comment.
I could give a million other examples for how to redirect your attention to others’ diet plans, but there’s ultimately one solution:
SHUT UP ABOUT THE THINGS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.
Yep, that’s really it. Other peoples’ business is just that – their business, and not yours. Keep it that way. I know it gets under your skin when people say those insensitive things to you, so don’t expand on the most toxic part of diet culture – judgment.
Have you ever heard those phrases above? How did they make you feel? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,