Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Please Stop Talking About Your Diet

I don't want to be rude. I just wish you would cease discussing your no-carb, no-fat, gluten-free, low-salt, no-fun diet. Nor do I want to hear about the "snob" diet, or the one where you eat certain foods only during certain times of the day, or the raw diet, or how you get all your slimming meals delivered. Do not speak to me of Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous, Jenny Craig or the Dr. Perricone salmon skin cult. Mention not the regime where you don't consume anything until you're about to pass out, and then you eat a single cube of cheese.  I really don't want to hear about your cleanse, your juice fast, or how much energy you have now that you disdain all solid food. Do your skinny jeans fit? Is your skin glowing? Are you retaining water? I didn't just ask that, because I don't give a crap. Don't tell me your goal, current, or ideal weight, your set point, how much you have lost or gained or that you've reached a plateau. You're worse than boring me. You're torturing me.

I am desperate for a new conversation. There is mounting evidence that dieting doesn't work, and the majority of people who lose weight gain it back and end up with a slower metabolism. It's an exercise in futility; I see you go up and down, and up and down. I want to scream: "Let your body be!" But I know that's not my decision. So diet if you must, but please do shut up about it. Though it is hard to think about other topics when you are starving yourself, I beg of you to try. Suggestion: get a new hobby, such as gardening, snow boarding, poker, bridge; anything other than the manipulation of your figure.

I especially demand that you not talk about your diet in front of my daughter. I am addressing you, person who informed her that too much cheese will make a person fat. She doesn't need this information. It's a rule, and it's non-negotiable. I don't want you to replace the dreams in my baby's heart with an automatic calorie counter. While you're at it, please stop talking about your diet in front of your daughter. Mothers who obsessively diet can end up with anorexic daughters. It's not just about you anymore.



24 comments:

  1. Yes! The way that grown women talk about food to/in front of girls is galling. You can just see food issues being transferred before your eyes. Not in my house, either.

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  2. THANK YOU!!!!! I began binging and purging when I was 12...I now have a 12 year old. I don't know that you can necessarily recover from an eating disorder, because it is something that I live with all the time, even though I am not active. But I don't diet. As someone who is dealing with NOT binging and purging EVERY SINGLE DAY I get so upset when people start talking about dieting, I want to scream or cry or punch something. I usually tell them I can't listen to them and walk away. Let them think I'm rude or crazy.

    I focus on making healthy choices with my girls...but that pertains to food, exercise, smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc. No diets, just good choices.

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  3. Thank you for this post. I loathe this form of female bonding and always have.

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  4. Like this post.
    Diet is boring, and my husband complaint me for repeating the topic about diet, my goal, my aim to start afresh..every week. Action speak louder tan words, says he. and so it is.

    -Honeybee
    http://healthybeautifulblog.blogspot.com/

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  5. Thank you! I completely agree! I have been losing weight for the past couple of years, but I hate to talk about it. I have had to ask several people to stop talking about it in from of my kids. What I eat is a personal decision, and while I have been happy to talk about what I eat with interested adults, I will not discuss it in front of children. Also, it feels rude to ask people to stop commenting on weight loss, but I hate that my children hear "you look great!" when the only thing that has changed is my weight. I generally say a quick "thank you" and then change the subject, but I worry about the message it sends. I grew up with a mother who was always dieting and I grew up thinking I was fat (I so wasn't).

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  6. I've just read an article which literally terrified me
    http://jezebel.com/5895602/mom-puts-7+year+old-on-a-diet-in-the-worst-vogue-article-ever
    The story of a child on a diet and of a mother who has always struggled with her image. I know children on a diet (for obesity issues) go through a very hard time, but such a mother surely won't help them to achieve a healthy image of themselves.

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  7. Superqueen, thanks for posting the link. Scary stuff.

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  8. I recently went to get some tacos with a couple of friends that I used to be really close to, but through nobody's fault we see less and less of each other. Throughout the hour, hour and a half that we spent together they mentioned their food issues at least 15-20 times. Either they felt guilty that they were eating tacos, or they said that they would have to get rid of the calories at the gym later, or they felt guilty that they hadn't gone to the gym in (gasp!) almost a week, that since they didn't have boyfriends they might as well eat, that they would probably not get boyfriends if they kept eating and got fat. I've been trying to remember if they were always like this, if that's why I'm happier now that I don't spend my days feeling guilty about what I eat or if this is a more recent thing.

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  9. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

    One of the things that I love about mostly working from home is avoiding workplace food chatter, which I was reintroduced to last year. There are too many examples to go into, but they all boil down to the same thing, which is that I'm not going to be complicit in your self-loathing, so stop dragging me into it.

    Diet culture is really pervasive, and I don't neccessarily fault individuals for buying into it. But keep it to yourself, and don't you DARE drag children into that mess.

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  10. While I have a lot of empathy for people with food allergies who have to be creative and like to share their ideas, I completely get what you are saying. There are so many other interesting things in life to talk about. I especially appreciated you bringing up the daughter issue. We should be teaching our daughters that they have extraordinary beauty because of their intellect, their sense of humor, and because they have good hearts. I totally embrace real food (butter and triple-cream brie included) and real people, striving to accept themselves as they are in spite of unrealistic societal pressures.

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  11. Thank you for writing in your blog what I feel so strongly. A friend of mine who has has a history with bulimia is raising the MOST beautiful daughter who absolutely hates her body & it breaks my heart.

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  12. YES... So true. Diet talk makes me really uncomfortable. Though I understand people who just want to eat healthier it way too often weers into "how little can I eat and how skinny can I get".

    Luckily my daily group of friends really have no food issues, but I must say that I've started skipping articles at xojane because of this - there seem to be a lot of that going on at the site at the moment, right?

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  13. AGREED!

    http://munchmecat.blogspot.com/

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  14. Amen! I have been guilty of talking about this. No more. Aside from it being bad for our collective psyche, it is just an incredibly boring topic.

    Can we also retire the word "skinny" as it applies to food? Skinny margaritas! Skinny chips and dip! Skinny lattes! Sheesh, just eat real food in modest portions.

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  15. I know right? it is so annoying and 1/2 the people who talk about it dont need to!
    http://thesnazzypeacock.blogspot.com/

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  16. Yep. My mother's a former model, and I've been struggling with eating disorders since I was 11 because of her constant jabs and obsession with her own food intake. Please, let your girls know that they're beautiful as they are, for who they are.

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  17. I once overheard a (supposed) mother tell her pre-teen daughter that if she ate all of her fries she's be "too fat for skirts" if she ate all of her fries while eating in a Jack in the Box. You better believe I swivled my size 20 hips (in a mini skirt no less) when I walked past that table as I left.

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  18. If it were only down to our mothers' examples! Unfortunately I think social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram may be the biggest accomplices in body image distortion and dieting ad nauseam - and to that I say thank God I was a teenager in the nineties. More Talenti gelato for me.

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  19. YES!!! Esp the part about "not in front of my daughter." I second that!

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  20. I like it. I have the opposite problem than the person who wrote this. I am eating disordered and would like to live a normal life other than my eating habits. I would really like to have normal conversations about anything except for my eating habits but some of the people at work won't let me. They want to try to force feed me (which doesn't work) and ask a bunch of stupid questions. To the main one harassing me, I don't want to talk about it in front of your daughter but you won't shut up about it. She is going to see that the one who bathes, wears make-up, dresses in style and has piercings and tattoos starving herself and the one that dresses like a sloppy loser eating because of you NOT me. I would hide it from her but you don't shut up.

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