Food Commentary

Before I get to anything, I just want to thank you for all of your supportive comments in response to my post about rejecting a diet. It’s times like those when I remember just why I so love being a part of this community.

Alright, down to business. I’ve got a potentially controversial topic coming at you on this lovely Saturday morning. A little food for thought, if you will.

Har har har.

Do you think it’s appropriate to comment on other peoples’ food – specifically, how healthy it is?

Sometimes, when I’m eating something healthy – say, a salad for lunch, or a snack of carrots and almond butter, or an apple with cheese – someone will walk by and say something to the extent of, “Oh, how healthy!” Now, I know people don’t mean anything by these comments, but I’ll be honest – they really bug me sometimes. Hearing people comment on my food takes me back to my high school years when I constantly felt judged for my weight and, thus, everything that went into my mouth.

That makes sense, right?

Yesterday was an especially notable day on this matter. My office had a celebratory office lunch provided for us, consisting of In-N-Out burgers, fries and my favorite ice cream truck, Coolhaus.

People were psyched.

We were told about this lunch, of course, in advance. Naturally, almost nobody brought their lunches to work.

I mean, who turns down free food, right? Especially from southern California’s beloved In-N-Out Burger! Who would bring their own lunch?

Well, I did.

It wasn’t for any reason but that I don’t eat fast food, and that is for a reason. It doesn’t make me feel good. And not only that, but I honestly don’t really think it tastes that good.

Honest to blog (took that one from Juno), I preferred my salad.

Into the mix went:

  • bed of romaine
  • grilled chicken
  • baby heirloom tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • grated carrots
  • pomegranate seeds
  • walnuts
  • Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette

Anyway, I didn’t completely skimp on the free lunch. I got an ice cream!

I actually got to help in picking these flavors out, so I was pretty excited about them.

You’re supposed to get the ice cream sandwiched between two cookies, but I figured the ice cream was enough of a treat for me.  I am watching what I eat.

I got a cup with half Nutella Toasted Almond and half Salted Caramel.

So. Incredibly. Amazing.

Anyway, I didn’t end up eating outside. I actually ate upstairs at my desk, since I felt kind of weird eating my salad outside. I got nervous that eating my salad was going to inspire comments, and I didn’t want to get all defensive.

I was right. As I was eating my salad (at my desk), at least four people walked by and made comments about about it, and, naturally, I jumped to bad conclusions about their intentions. Why did people care? How does what I eat affect other people? I automatically assumed that it was as though people were disappointed in me, or thought I was depriving myself, or thought I was being judgmental about what they were eating… which, of course, I was not.

Anyway, that’s kind of all I have to say on the matter, but I’d really like to open this up for a little dialogue. What do you think about this? Am I entirely overreacting, or is it inappropriate to make comments about others’ food?

And, furthermore, has this ever happened to you? How has it made you feel?



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19 responses to “Food Commentary

  1. actorsdiet

    people commenting about my food used to trigger a lot of e.d. behavior for me (both bingeing AND restricting). part of my recovery has been learning how to react – or in my case now, not react. just because a lot of people still place judgement on foods doesn’t mean i have to – and yes, that includes when people comment on my blog, meaning well…

  2. Coolhaus has the best ice cream. I didn’t know you could get the ice cream in a cup! They actually come to our area from time to time. So delicious!

    We chatted about this earlier. It makes me uncomfortable when people comment on what I’m eating or not eating. Especially in a situation like yours!

  3. Claire

    I totally know what you mean. I too get really uncomfortable when people comment about my food. At my office people would say “You packed a lunch!”. I was like “What’s that supposed to mean?”, but obviously only in my head where it nagged at me. Healthy, I know.

    So despite the fact I totally understand, I’m pretty sure we’re overreacting. People probably mean to be encouraging of your healthy lifestyle in a non- condescending way. Honestly. Most people are terrible at giving complements. And generally people suck at accepting them too. Maybe we should practice more. You rock Kaitlin!

  4. You are definitely not overreacting. It is one of my biggest pet peeves! When I first started eating healthy, I feel like everyone that made a comment was hinting they were durprised because I used to eat total crap. Now that I am almost back to my heaviest weight, if someone sees me eating out, they make comments about how surprising it is to see me do that, which of course I take to mean they’re surprised I let myself gain the weight back.

    It is no one’s business but your own what you choose to eat, and I have to remind myself that when I feel like punching someone in the face when they start peering into my plate. Sorry for the tangent- clearly this bothers me as well 🙂

    Okay, last thing- I commend your ice cream choices. That is the best combo!!

  5. I’m a new blogger to your site and might just be a regular! As for commenting on food– this so urks me. My old co-workers used to all travel to McDonalds or Pollo Loco for lunch, and then comment at my appearance and food preferences almost daily. The worst was when they’d say “oh you must just be lucky and have the skinny gene.” I’m healthy and I take care of myself by working out regularly and eating well. It’s not the genes kiddos, it’s called discipline.

  6. A Tablespoon of Liz

    I think your salad looks much better than any fast food would. I always felt kind of uncomfortable eating in front of other people in general, let alone food that was different from what they were used to, and a lot of it was because of the comments (not intentionally malicious or anything.) I don’t think you’re overreacting at all.

  7. I’m totally with you. I still get uncomfortable eating in public or going out to eat with people I don’t know really well, because I (unhealthily) think they’re judging me on what I eat (even though they’re probably not) even if they don’t say anything, and it makes me really self conscious. I think this is especially true when I’m eating foods that make me think of when I was in the middle of my ED in high school, such as if they’re “fear foods” that I wouldn’t go near back then. Or, on the contrary, if they’re “super healthy” foods that remind me of how people would comment on my eating back then.

    But I also think that a lot of the reason that I get self conscious is because I had an ED and because I was really self-conscious about my body in middle school/high school (and to an extent, still am self conscious, though thankfully nowhere near how I was.) I think that history makes me ultra sensitive. That’s not to say it’s appropriate for others to comment on what other people are eating, but I do think that they are most likely not aware of the sensitivities some people can have to that, and don’t mean anything by it.

  8. people do that t ome all the time.. i never really know wat to say.. im just like.. yeah, i try to be healthy… what is so weird with bringing your own food!? i totally dont get it.. im with you girl!

  9. squigglefloey

    I know what you mean — just know that you’re taking care of YOU and making choices that are going to make YOU feel good. At the end of the day, you’re the one in your body, those people aren’t. You’re brave girlie! keep making the best decisions for yourself

  10. Nutella Toasted Almond and half Salted Caramel…omg. I want some!
    I don’t like when people comment on what I eat. It’s my busniess what I’m putting in my mouth, healthy or not, and I don’t like anyone commenting on it.
    You made a great decision… salad over burger. Yay!

  11. I’m normally not too bothered by food commentary. Normally, the only commentary that really bothers me is sitting with people who point out how other people are poorly eating. Ie: eating lunch and someone says “look at that girl over there eating 4 slices of pizza”. That bothers me. But I have to say, when it comes to be comments directed at me, I’ve come to a point where my reaction or lack thereof is a choice. I used to let comments bother me but normally, I find, that people’s comments are less a reflection on me and more a reflection on them. The person who feels the need to point out how poorly someone is eating (or how well) is possibly insecure about it. I know that I feel good about my choices, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters to me. Other peoples comments are just like background noise.

    Also, salted caramel ice cream? My FAV!

  12. Jillian

    Hey Kaitlin! Long time reader, first time poster. Just wanted to take a sec to tell you I totally know how you feel! Senior year of high school I set off on a major physical overhaul (diet, exercise, and other sensible behavior, I was seriously overweight) and every single day friends and classmates alike would comment on my food choices or tell me I was looking so slim. It made me feel terrible! I felt I could never slip up or look sloppy because I was constantly being scrutinized. It’s worse now that i’m 40lbs smaller, the pressure to keep it off is insane. But yeah, just don’t let those people get to you. People mean well, i’m sure. But I also know those comments come from their own insecurities and it’s not really about us at all.

  13. I know how you feel, K – we know that it’s stupid and that we shouldn’t feel bad for making “healthier choices”, but we do feel uncomfortable with people’s comments. I’m particularly known for always making healthy choices, so whenever someone has chocolate, candy, fries or any kind of “junk food”, I’m the only one who’s never invited for a bite.
    It’s just plain stupid what some people do. Judge others for their decisions is NOT they’re job – it’s OUR lives, not theirs. Ugh, this makes me SO upset.
    Anyhow – I don’t have a clue on how to deal with this “properly”, but I usually just act cool and ignore the comments, as if trying to show them I still like my food best. I mean… it’s the best we can do, right?
    Fighting, complaining… it’s never worth it.
    Well… good luck, girl!
    It’s never easy.. but it’s always worth it!

  14. I am in total agreement with you on this. It makes me very uncomfortable when people comment on my food choices. My husband is a preacher so we attend ALOT of big southern cooking meals. I often bring something “healthy” for me to eat. It drives me crazy when people comment about what I have on my plate but really when I think about it they are probably a little envious. I often envy other people’s healthy choices and wish I could be more disciplined.

  15. Ok, let me first start by saying that when I was in high school I made my best friend carry my lunch to the table for me. I hated people seeing me with food! I hated that people would know that I eat and I thought that they were judging me and saying hurtful things.

    However, when I began my health journey I realized that eating in secrecy was bad news for me. It led to binges and I had to dig deep to learn why I cared what people thought of me eating or my food choices. I had to start worrying more about what I thought of my food choices and less of what others thought. I had to accept that I only need to justify my choices to me.

    It is hard to be consistent with this ‘who cares what others think’ mentality, but the biggest reminder I give myself when someone comments is – people admire healthy choices and I just need to smile and say thank you. It may be cocky, but I think most folks say something out loud about others healthy choices because they feel bad about not doing the same. 🙂

  16. Jen

    When I used to work in an office people always commented on my food choices, I was the only one who brought my lunch every day and I felt like an animal at the zoo the way everyone watched what I ate every day!
    Personally, I think your salad looks way better than the burger and fries and I’m sure you were probably way more satisfied than they were after eating lunch!


  17. Yup, I’ve gotten the same comments as you (same person, perhaps? haha) and was equally annoyed. Gotta say, though, knowing office life, I honestly think it has to do with people not having anything to say.

    “how was your weekend”
    “ooo healthy”
    “how’s it going?” (for the eighth time that day).

    Half the time people say things just to say them, without considering the insinuations, or, even really what they’re saying.

    Still, I’ve been in the same boat as you, although opposite….feeling like I need to justify my healthy eating by explaining that I did, in fact, eat ten pieces of chocolate for breakfast, and that I do not, in fact, have an eating disorder of any kind….I just sometimes like salad.

    Maybe it’s the way it’s said. Who knows. But hey, your salad looks pretty tasty. Even better than in ‘n out. And…..HEALTHY.ha.

  18. I’ve been thinking about your post for a few days now. Today someone made a comment to me about eating my own lunch rather than the soup the doctor that works in our office brought in. I really try to eat healthy and give my body the nutrients it needs with some occasional splurges. I was told I was rude for not eating the soup. Well, the soup was made with heavy cream and butter (I asked what was in it), which is not something I enjoy making a lunch of.

    I like to think they are jealous of me making the right choices for my body!

  19. Pingback: My Seven Links | Kaitlin With Honey

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