How to Deal With People Who Judge Your Food Choices

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Healthy food choices can inspire all kinds of judge-y comments.

For instance, does this sound familiar? “Surprise, surprise! Keri’s eating kale again.” (Cue laughter.)

It can make family gatherings, dinners with friends, and especially potlucks, uncomfortable. You want to just relax and enjoy a great meal and pleasant conversation and yet your Uncle Bob needs to ask you how anyone could survive without meat and potatoes over and over and over. (If you’re a health or wellness professional like a nutritionist or trainer, this is likely an issue many of your clients will ask you about handling, too.)

But you don’t need to scrap all of your healthy eating habits in order to make the people around you happy. Try these five tips to manage the judgement with grace…and good food.

How to Deal with People Who Judge Your Food Choices

  1. Be firm, but don’t make a huge deal out of it. Grandstanding about being gluten-free isn’t going to help. Making a big announcement about what you will and won’t eat isn’t necessary and will provoke the judgment you’re trying to avoid. If you make your food choices without making a fuss, others may not even notice you’re cutting back on sugar, and you won’t offend a host who prepared food you’re going to pass on.
  2. Remember that it’s not about you. Why would anyone even care if you eat a carrot instead of a cookie? When people judge the way you eat, they’re projecting their own insecurities onto you. To avoid getting defensive, remind yourself it’s not really about you, and you’ll be able to react from a place of calm.
  3. Have a comeback ready. If you’re walking into a situation where you know judgement and comment are inevitable, have a go-to response ready in advance. Choose something that works for you in terms of deflecting the comment, whether that’s an expression of pride (“Yes, I’m feeling so great since I started eating healthy!”), a joke, or totally changing the subject.
  4. Think about if the situation were reversed. If you’re tempted to “just eat” something you really don’t want to just to make someone else happy, ask yourself if they’d do the same for you. Often, the people who are most judgemental are not the ones who’d graciously try your Sweet Potato Cupcakes if you were the one hosting. Eat for you, not for someone else.
  5. Tap into how good you feel eating good food. When you eat good food, you feel great because you’re treating yourself well. Harness that feeling and focus on healthy, happy vibes, which will counter the judge-y ones that threaten to ruin the gathering.

In the end, you don’t ever have to be rude or a stickler about food choices, but it’s not fair to feel like you have to totally change your diet to satisfy other people’s appetites, either.

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