Unexpected Ways You Food-Shame.
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6 Unexpected Ways You're Food-Shaming Your Friends

Eating together can be a great experience! Especially when you're eating and not food shaming.

6 Unexpected Ways You're Food-Shaming Your Friends

Food shaming happens all the time, and you may not realize you're doing it too. Check yourself before your next dinner date!

1. You suggest healthier options.


This may seem totally helpful and nice, but this is a form of food shaming. Maybe you're a nutrition major flexing your dietary know-how. Unless your friend asked for your advice, suggesting a healthier option isn't kind. Empathy goes a long way in these situations. Imagine yourself in their shoes. If you wouldn't want your mother to do it to you, don't do it to them. The pressure to be thin, fit, eat organic, be the healthiest, etc., is everywhere. Your friends don't need it from you while sitting across the table. Take a break from micromanaging and focus on the company, not their plate.

2. You comment on the portion size of their food.


"Wow! That's so much food!"

Someone actually said this to me at work. This is food shaming. The funny thing was, this person couldn't actually see what was in my lunch bag. If they had been able to see inside, they would have seen my large, beautiful salad with fresh raw vegetables and grilled chicken. The best part about this example is that because it was a closed lunch bag, it doesn't matter what was in it. If you think your friend is eating too much, keep it to yourself. Sometimes this will be hard. For example, you may witness your friend emotionally eating after a breakup or something else. Asking them if they'd like to talk, or if they'd like to keep you company while you work out are two totally acceptable solutions for dealing with the idea that their body has anything to do with you, or that its any of your business. Which it's not.

3. You tell them they're lucky they can eat whatever they want.


Food shaming goes both ways on the body morphology spectrum. Big or small, tall or petite, muscular or thin, food shaming happens. If you express jealousy that your friend can "eat whatever they want," you are food shaming them. This attitude assumes that your friend doesn't care what they eat and that their body won't change regardless. Maybe that's true, but its none of your business. Maybe that friend has been wishing for boobs and curves since middle school and pointing out that they're super thin isn't helping them. When you point out other's bodies and food choices, you are really pointing out the insecurities you have about your own. Learn to love yourself and your judgment and jealousy of others will lessen.

4. You complain when your friends choose healthy foods.


"If I knew you were going to order salad, I wouldn't have invited you."

"You're making me feel bad. I should have gotten that [healthy item.]"

"You're already skinny why are you eating so healthy?"

These are all examples of food shaming. You might think food shaming can only happen when you've got pizza in one hand and a Coke in the other, but it's not true. Complaining about someone else's healthy eating habits is food shaming. You are drawing negative attention to their food, and surrounding it with negative energy, and wishing another choice on them. Stop it. If you are struggling with your self-esteem, which food shaming implies, there are a lot of ways to hang out with your friends that do not include eating. It may also be worth it to figure out why you feel compelled to comment on other people's food choices. Do you know that it's wrong and do it anyway? If so, maybe therapy can help. Are you just realizing for the first time that this might be a little bit abusive? If so, I forgive you, but please stop.

5. You passive aggressively say "I can't eat that."


I have a gluten allergy, so I really can't eat that, but I'm not talking about food safety. I'm talking about the holier-than-thou diet-happy attitude that says "I am better than you because I don't eat (carbs, meat, dairy, transfat, baked goods, sugar, whatever!)"

Saying, "No, thank you!", works just fine if you've been offered something but want to stick to your routine. There's no crime there! Just say no thank you, and keep on partying. What you should avoid, is making a scene. The friend who offered you gummy bears did not also set a soapbox down for you to get up on, and exclaim to the world that you are better than gelatin. Thank you, no thank you. When someone offers you food, those are the two responses you should choose from.

6. You beg them to eat something.


Alternatively, maybe it's you that can't take no for an answer.

For example, you say "There's free ice cream in the quad today, come get some with me!" and your friend says "Okay, I just ate but I can walk down with you." If you then proceed to throw a giant hissy-fit and beg them to eat ice cream or guilt them by saying you don't want to eat alone, you are food shaming. You're allowed to not want to eat alone, but your friend is with you, so you're not alone. Figuring out why this bothers you so much is a big part of how you can stop doing it. Are you ashamed of eating ice cream? Do you feel like you are being judged? Figure out how you can work on those feelings, but please don't pass the judgment along by food shaming.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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