Do people ever give you a hard time for leaving the bread on your plate or skipping dessert? Do you find it challenging to stay committed to a healthy way of eating when you’re around other people that don’t eat the same way? If so, you’re not alone. This is a very common issue! The next time you feel like you’re being judged or criticized because you asked for your burger without a bun or your taco without the cheese and sour cream, try on one of these new perspectives:
1. It’s not about you, it’s about the other person.
Is the other person insecure about their own eating habits? Are they overweight? Did they grow up with a parent or significant other who criticized the way they ate? We all have our “stuff” and this person might have their own “stuff” that they are projecting onto you. Food is a very sensitive subject for a lot of people. Don’t take it personally. Be compassionate.
2. Consider that the criticism is coming from a loving place.
Instead of thinking that the other person is intentionally trying to make you feel awful, consider that this person is saying these things because they love and care about you. What you perceived as criticism might actually be someone else being concerned. If the other person is not informed about the reasons that supporting your eating habits, they might think that how you’re eating is not healthy or beneficial and they are genuinely concerned.
3. Look inward. Is their reaction a reflection of your own doubts?
Ideally, you have firm beliefs that support your decision for eating a certain way and as long as YOU are on board with why you’re doing what you’re doing, that’s all that matters. If for some reason, you are not 100% on board with why you’re eating this way, perhaps your interpretation of the other person’s reaction to your eating habits is actually a reflection of this doubt.
4. You don’t have to explain yourself if you don't want to.
Be confident about your choices. If you’re in a situation where you feel judged about what you’re doing, simply smile and say (in a loving, gentle, sincere way) something like “This way of eating is working really well for me and I am feeling the best I’ve ever felt because of it. Thank you so much for your concern though. I really appreciate it!” If needed, change the topic or ask them a question. Move on.
5. They’re not judging you, they’re just curious.
If you’re on board with the Paleo lifestyle, for instance, and someone is giving you a hard time about it, maybe they’re just curious. Maybe they’re asking you questions because they genuinely want to learn more, not because they’re challenging you.
The Bottom Line:
Throughout life, you’re going to meet people who disagree with you or who come off as judgmental and disapproving. You can choose to let it bother you and deeply impact your life in a negative way OR you can learn from it and use it as an opportunity to feel even more empowered about your decisions and even use it as a teaching opportunity for them. This shift in thinking just takes practice. Once you can free yourself from taking things personally, not only will you feel better (and more relaxed about eating) but you’ll likely improve your relationship with that person as well by clearing away any resentments or frustrations you might have developed. Remember, you can’t control what others say or how they act, but you do have complete control over your words and actions.
What are some of your tips for responding to people who you think are judging or criticizing what you eat?
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