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I was recently talking to a friend who was discussing her frustration with listening to another friend talk about being on a “master cleanse.” “Is it rude if I tell her that I don’t want to hear about her diet?” my friend asked me. My friend went on to describe how she felt best when she was listening to her body, however as soon as she heard others talking about their latest fad diets she began to question and fixate more on her food choices.

We live in a culture where we are inundated with advertisements and individuals that discuss their latest diet-plans with almost a religious fervor. However, I do think it is appropriate and-sometimes necessary-to set boundaries with people who are constantly talking about their latest diet attempts or are demonizing certain macronutrients. The reality is that all foods in moderation can fit into a healthy diet. 

Research demonstrates that dieting does not lead to maintained weight-loss in the long-term for the majority of people, may lead to increases in one’s set-point weight over time, and can trigger eating disorders in genetically vulnerable individuals.

Listening to your body and nourishing it with food and movement that you enjoy, will ultimately serve you much more than any diet ever will.  Your body is amazing and is much more knowledgeable than any external source of information. If you are struggling with listening to your body, it could be helpful to reach out to a treatment professional who is knowledgeable about intuitive eating and health at every size.

So with all this being said, what are some things that you can say in response to diet-talk?

  • I’d rather talk about anything other than your diet! Did you watch the new Beyoncé video?
  • How about that new Game of Thrones episode?
  • I hear that your really into your new diet, but talking about it keeps me from enjoying this meal and my time with you.
  • I hear that your into your new detox cleanse, but I save money by relying on my functioning liver and kidneys.
  • I’m trying not to focus on weight; there are so many more interesting things about people.
  • Health and happiness is not size specific.
  • I’m trying to focus on listening to my body’s needs, so could we refrain from the diet talk please?
  • I try to never discuss diets, religion, or politics at work!
  • Life is too short to worry so much about food-so I choose to focus on other things.

Of course it is up to you and your comfort level in terms of what to say when someone launches into his or her latest diet tirade, but it is well within your right to set some appropriate boundaries. Just because someone wants to talk about their diet, does not mean that you must sit there and listen. 

Ultimately, the food that you eat and the size of your body do not determine your worth or value as a person. You are worthy of love and belonging and you are enough-just as you are.

Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW is a therapist, body-image activist, and intuitive eating counselor, who specializes in working with adolescents, survivors of trauma, and eating disorders. Jennifer blogs on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. “Like” her on Facebook at Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW.

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