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Disparaging Diet Talk: Support or STFU?


I just overheard an awkward conversation that went something like this: 

Girl: "That salad was delicious."

Dude: "Yeah, that's a lot healthier than the fucking hamburger you were eating before. Maybe now you'll lose some weight."

I can elaborate that this conversation was in the context of the girl starting a new eating plan to improve her health due to a medical condition (because I know them personally...and will be cooking the food for her food plan for the next month).

It's not my business, so I did not get involved in the conversation, but I can say here that it bothers me to hear this kind of exchange.

No matter what you are eating, it's nobody's business. Personally, when I comment on how something tastes, I'm not inviting comments about the nutritional quality of that food or any food I've eaten prior to it or how I look while I'm eating it. It's generally because I think it's too exceptional (or too exceptionally bad) not to say something.

But somehow, that's what happens so frequently. One of the best things about cooking for other people, in my experience, is showing them that they can cook things that taste really great but aren't unhealthy, full of preservatives, frozen, etc.

My approach to personal cheffing is similar to that Jesus parable about teaching someone to fish...you know the one. I want to give people around me agency in their food choices so that they don't have to rely on the ever-changing marketing onslaught of diet, nutrition and health products. That stuff generally poses as an authority yet teaches very little. Anyway...

So to go back to the conversation between the girl and the dude...There is nothing more counter-productive to an effort to try to find what combination of food works for you than hearing negative comments from people in your life. It can negatively effect body image, overal mental state and seriously derail attempts to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately, it's very acceptable now to make presumptive comments about how or what other people should be eating since there is such a huge industry built around that very thing.

Should I have said something? I'm never sure.

I just wish that what we eat and, by extension, the state of our bodies weren't subject to such "public" scrutiny. Health is a personal thing and there isn't a single statement about it that can be applied to every human being on earth.

Basically, support the people around you. Don't presume to know why they're eating what they're eating or what they want to accomplish in their own health. You can be supportive or you can shut the fuck up.

What do you think? Would you have said something if you were me?

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