Dealing with Food Commenters

Food commenters: those people who feel it necessary to comment on your food choices, how much you eat, how much you don’t eat, or how you choose to fuel yourself.  Basically someone who feels it necessary to comment about your food. We’ve all run into them at some point and I’m curious to know how everyone deals with that kind of situation.

The type of food comments I’m referring to are the negative and passive-aggressive ones.

I’ve recently been on the receiving end of many food comments lately and I have to admit it leaves me feeling frustrated and alienated. Like my eating habits are being put on a microscope and everyone is watching me and what I do. I’m wondering why all of the sudden the way I eat is up for discussion.

I’m not referring to folks commenting on the blog.  This is a food blog so naturally people are going to comment.  I’m referring specifically about being in social situations where someone has decided that they need to openly share their opinion or make a statement about my food and how I’m eating it.

I’m not sure why folks feel that they are free to comment on one’s food when in a social situation but it happens and for me, it’s happening a lot lately.  In the past month, meaning this month, I’ve been on the receiving end of such gems as:

“Oh, no cake for you? I guess you’re not human!”

What? Of course I’m human, I just don’t like cake. Period. I do not like cake. Why would I eat something I don’t enjoy?

“Well if I worked out like you, I could eat that way too.”

What does that even mean? Eat what way? With my mouth?

“Oh I see Andrea didn’t go back for seconds!”

Excuse me? My portions are now up for discussion?

“Aren’t you going to eat something?”

No thank you. I’m not hungry, I’m here to socialize and catch up with folks I haven’t seen in a while. But I’m glad you’re keeping tabs on me!

Those are just a few of the many scrutinizing and highly passive-aggressive comments that have been tossed my way.

Being labeled the “healthy person”, I’ve had more people comment on my food habits now than when I was overweight and unhealthy.  Because I’ve lost weight, I’ve had people mention that clearly I don’t eat or that I don’t eat enough.  Or that they are shocked I eat pizza or fries because obviously all I eat are salads or “rabbit food and grass”.

I eat REAL FOOD folks.   I like to eat. We’ve discussed this before.

I choose to nourish myself with foods that work for me and make me feel good.  I avoid foods that make me feel like crap.

A very quick mood killer and way to get me to not enjoy your company is by being a food commenter.  Those kind of comments hurt and come across as very mean.  While I realize that most of them are the result of that person being insecure about how they eat, that doesn’t really take away the sting.

It never fails that these situations always take me by surprise and then I’m left not knowing what to say.  I know what I want to say but I keep that to myself. I usually end up ignoring the person and moving on or away from them if I can.

A quick discussion about this on Twitter yesterday resulted in everyone involved also saying that they don’t like it, it’s rude, and it’s mean along with being hurtful.

No one likes to have their food choices openly commented upon, and yet here we are dealing with it too often.

How do you handle it when it happens to you?  Has it happened to you? I would love any tips, tricks, and pointers if you have them.

19 thoughts on “Dealing with Food Commenters

  1. Buck up camper!! You are much more thick skinned than that!! That is someone making a snarky comment because they hate themselves for not being as discipled as you are. You put in the effort and you get the results you want.
    I remember when the food journey for you started. I am so proud of you and and you have inspired and encouraged me and I see small steps in my everyday (as I sit here eating my granola and NOT a doughnut!!).

    There is no correct way to answer back as you would be stooping to their level. Just flip them a bird mentally and move along.

    • Monica, I am way more thick-skinned but sometimes when they come in batches like that it can wear you down a bit. Ugh why people can’t just zip it.
      Nicole, it is most definitely awkward.
      Brandi, yes! It definitely comes in waves and it’s so strange!
      Nicole, We get that a lot most especially at the grocery store because we don’t buy any meat there. I usually order veggie dishes when out and for whatever reason people assume we don’t eat meat.
      Tiffany, I love, “No, I was saving the seconds for you!” Ha!
      Nalene, I would hope they don’t think that because I don’t ever even talk about someone else’s food! I like eating just as much as the next person. :)
      Janetha! I’m sorry you have to deal with it so much, tis a pain!
      Heather, yes! I’m not out to make people feel guilty about food ever. Nor am I trying to be all holier-than-thou. Eat what you like!
      Heidi, I fully agree. I think it’s more of an insecure knee-jerk reaction.
      Matt, I’ve gotten that before too. “Wait, you just ran and now you’re going to eat a salad?” Um, yes. How is this not an acceptable meal?!
      Hi Ally! Welcome to OHC! I’m glad that you haven’t had to deal with this because it’s such an awkward situation.

  2. Food commentating can be awkward and bothersome! For me, it depends on who and the context. Usually it’s people I don’t know well who bug me the most if they comment on my food. I try to be polite, maybe even laugh it off, and if it seemed especially mean/judgmental, I give them my ‘look’ and respond in what I hope is my ‘steely don’t mess with me’ voice and then I move on to nicer people!!

  3. ugh, isn’t it so strange when those start all of a sudden? I totally expect them when/if I actually DID change how I was eating, but it seems that they go in cycles for some reason.

    i usually just ignore the comment because I don’t want to get into or make the person feel bad or embarrased for saying something, but if someone continues to say stuff…that’s a different story.

  4. One of my favorites, which thankfully isn’t annoying, is “I didn’t know you were a vegetarian.” LOL. What, because you saw me eat ONE meal that had no meat? I’ve run into this one a lot. Had it this weekend, to which my husband replied for me that we’d just had STEAK the night before.

    For me, the most obnoxious is listening to my mom talk about what she’s NOT eating. And she’s a food pusher, too.

  5. This reminds me of Hangry Pants flower cutter thing. Her post was in the context of wedding planning, but it’s well worth reading if you haven’t yet.

    Ignore them or come back with a lightly mocking retort. “Oh no cake for you! I guess you’re not human!” gets a “Nope, that’s one of my superhero powers”. “Oh, I see Andrea didn’t get seconds” gets “Nope, I thought I’d save it for you! You seem to need it”. Nothing seriously mean, but needling enough to shame them for the comment. I tend to ignore if it’s an isolated incident, elevate to a dirty look for a repeat offense and finally slash them with my vicious vicious words (yay Glee!) if it’s habitual.

  6. nalene says:

    I don’t let someone’s opinion or perception of me bother me because I know my true intentions.
    Though, playing devil’s advocate, maybe they think you think you’re better than them because they lack self control. In a way, having self control is a more favorable trait than not having any…but people get defensives and self-conscience..

  7. Great post, Andrea! I hate when I hear “I feel bad eating this b/c you eat so healthy all the time.” What? Why would you feel guilty? And, have you seen my tush?? I don’t eat healthy all the time! It can be so awkward……

  8. Heidi says:

    I love this post! I think people comment about food to make them feel better about their own choices. I generally try to ignore them.

  9. So frustrating. I deal with that too. Especially now that I say no to more and more foods. Cutting out processed foods really shows you how much is being consumed out there! Mainly by everyone around me at work.

    I also gave up added sugars (except during long runs) partly for Lent, partly for training and partly because I wanted to give it a try. Oh, that has caused an uproar. I was talking about how bad my blood sugar swings are since I’ve started running (not since giving up added sugar) and that when I am hungry I have to eat NOW, and my coworker said, duh, it’s because you aren’t eating sugar. :) Seems people think it’s a necessary food group.

    Oh well, live yours and I’ll live mine. Or I guess I should say, eat yours and I’ll eat mine.

  10. Jenny says:

    I’m sorry you have to deal with such bad manners….which is what it comes down to. Some people feel the need to comment on ANYTHING that’s different from how they do it. If you eat more than them, you better believe these same people will be commenting on your weight or give you advice on how to be more healthy. I see this same behavior in all topics of discussion…they just want validation for their choices so they make you feel inferior in the process. Just remember you are an adult but we still have to deal with peer pressure….not EVERYONE is doing it so stick to your guns!! :) I really don’t have advice on how to respond back because I’m very non-confrontational so I try to ignore them. Don’t you wish we could tell grown folks to “mind their manners!” ;)

    “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. Those people are simply rude and you shouldn’t associate with them.

    Being a former vegan, I face a lot of scrutiny about my choices to eat meat and dairy again. What I wanted to say was “It’s my body and my life and none of your business.” You should never have to defend your choices to anyone, especially if you feel you’re making the right ones for you.

  12. I get comments too, mainly that I’m a food snob or like “wierd” foods, and I think I eat pretty normal! Lighter on the meat and heavier on actual real foods, but it’s the processed crap the other person eats that’s got “wierd” stuff in it, although I would never call them on that! At gatherings with friends, I’ll make snacking decisions based on what’s worth the calories to – store-bought cake or homemade cookie? No brainer. And it’s not like I’m trying to subject my friends to what is admittedly a little more out there to many of them, like tofu – I’m still contributing things like homemade dips and cheesy appetizers, how is that snobbish or wierd? Gah, it can be so frustrating, right?

  13. Oh that sounds horrible Andrea!!!

    I’m labeled “healthy girl” at my work place but people don’t really comment about my food. Largely, they leave me alone.

    Mind you that may have something to do with the fact that I’m polite and still eat factory produced meat when we’re together. Although, really I’ve cut it out of my own life. In fact, for the most part I eat mainly fruits and veggies when I cook for myself now.

    Something tells me that if I were to fore-go meat when with my co-workers I would open myself to comments.

  14. I tend to ignore them, but if someone keeps it up, I’ll throw a nasty-nice comment back at them.

    I don’t really understand why people think they’re entitled to comment on the eating habits of others but it doesn’t surprise me given the way that most people have no sense of boundaries.

    In the interest of fairness though it’s just as rude for ‘Healthy eaters’ to comment on the eating habits of their meat and fried food eating bretheren–and it does happen.

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