Dear Cassey: How do I respond to snarky comments about my diet?

Dear Cassey,
What’s your advice for handling criticism when watching what you eat? Since I’ve started making smarter choices, I’ve noticed that people LOVE to comment on what I am or am not eating, and it makes me super self conscious. I think that since I’m on the skinnier side people assume I can/should eat whatever I want, but crappy food just makes me feel crappy so I try to avoid it. What would your response be to people making snarky or nosy comments about your food choices? I don’t want to be rude, but I also wish people were more supportive about being healthy.
My Plate Is My Choice 

healthy bowl of cut fruit on white surface

Dear My Plate Is My Choice,

UGGHH I would love to tell you that I’ve totally figured this out, but I’d be lying. It’s really hard not to let these comments get to you, especially when they come from family and friends.

I’ve learned some good ways to handle these situations. It’s actually been helpful to understand WHY people make these comments in the first place.

Many times, it’s a reflection on their own insecurities. I know the comments may come off as rude and snarky, but MOST of the time, people mean well. They might feel insecure about their own plate or their body. Who knows, maybe they are legitimately curious about why you’re eating what you’re eating so they can make better choices. Their delivery might just be uh… awkward. Not always the case, but sometimes!

I’ve also learned that most people really have no clue that they’re hurting you. Even if they don’t necessarily mean well, they probably don’t think it’s going to deeply bother you. It definitely doesn’t make it okay for them to dissect your plate, but knowing how thoughtless these comments usually make it easier to roll them off and move on 🙂

So…how do we respond to snarky food comments? Should you respond at all?

I think YES, in most instances.

It’s your chance to educate and shut this kind of talk down. BUT you are in NO WAY responsible for justifying your food choices to anyone. So here are some things that might work for you:

  • Stay positive – there’s no benefit to battling snarkiness with more snarkiness
  • Keep it short – shut the convo down quickly if you’re uncomfortable. Don’t let this conversation ruin your mood!

So if someone mentions your plate being “too healthy” or “not having enough on it,” you could simply say “yeah, there’s so much to choose from! I’ll get more if I’m still hungry later.”

If they comment on your overall diet and say you should “live a little” or “go eat a cheeseburger” (WHY is this always a go-to comment?!), tell them EXACTLY what you said in the question! “I eat those foods sometimes, but I realized my body feels a lot better when I eat healthier.” End of discussion. No further explanation needed.

If people keep pushing, change the subject or just end the convo altogether.

Hopefully, this helps you navigate these situations a little easier. They can seriously be sooo uncomfortable and annoying. If people honestly want to learn about the way you eat, comparing plates and making rude comments is NOT the way.

BTW – I’m so proud of you for eating what feels good for YOU. It’s not always easy when there’s so much pressure and judgment around, but keep going! It might not always seem like it, but you’re probably inspiring someone (or many) to do the same!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

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