Last week, I noticed a trend with a few of my clients when we began discussing the challenges that they faced over their last few weeks. It was very interesting to hear this topic be brought up by more than one of my patients, which makes me think this is an issues that a lot more people are struggling with but may not always talk about.
The issue was dealing with negative or innocently harmful commentary from close friends and/or family members towards the patient. The negative commentary may or may not be innocent in some cases but the innocently harmful commentary may come from someone who TRULY doesn't understand how their words may harm the individuals outlook and relationship with not only their food choices but their body image and self worth as well.
Unfortunately, even if we put all the work into developing a very healthy balance and routine with food, we still have to put up our emotional shield around others who may constantly project negative comments around food, body image or self worth. Most of the time we hear these comments from family, close friends and we can hear it in the media too.
Some examples of negative or innocently harmful comments to identity:
"Have you seen so and so lately? They look like they've gained weight"
"I won't tell anyone if you eat the whole pie. It's okay if you do"
"That meal has too many calories so you shouldn't get it"
"You don't look like you have high blood sugar"
"Did you really just eat all of that?"
All of these comments put a VALUE and a WORTH on the person's body image and/or food choices when these comments are projected and applied to another person other than yourself. It can be extremely toxic to say phrases like these to people when everyone is on their own unique health journey. These comments can sabotage someone's progress because of the way they make them feel. Feelings that can results from these comments are: shame, guilt, embarrassment and feeling judged or not good enough.
So that was my little PSA of what not to do when talking to someone about health, nutrition and wellness! However, how do we handle the situations when someone says things like that to us? Simple. Shut it down immediately! In a nice way of course. Here are some examples of what to say when someone projects negative beliefs or harmful beliefs on to you or someone you know.
What to say to shut down negative projections:
"A person's body does not define who they are. Weight is personal and none of my business"
"Thank you for mentioning that you will not judge what I eat today. I always hope to never be judged!"
"I do not count calories. I consume calories because they give me energy"
"A person's body size does not determine their health"
"Yes, I really just ate all of that because I wanted to and it makes me feel good"
Take these phrases and run with them! I want to help protect all your energy when it comes to health, wellness and nutrition! If you want more help on how to handle these situations all while creating a healthy and balanced weight loss plan for you, click here to book your FREE 15 min discovery call where we can chat even further!! Have a great week!
Katie Janeczek MS, RDN, LDN