Stop the Obsession with What Other People Eat

Stop the Obsession with What Other People Eat - post by andie mitchell

I was talking to my mother yesterday and she has been following a diet I helped design for her a couple years ago.

She was venting about how frustrating it is when someone finds out you are trying to lose weight and they start giving you their opinion or advice. It seems like everyone has a strong opinion on the correct foods to eat and what to avoid—or some magic secret, like you need to be drinking a half gallon of apple cider vinegar every full moon to stoke your metabolism. Even though my mom has found a way of eating that works for her, other people’s comments make her second guess herself and worse, they make her feel judged.

I think often times people feel the need to prove to themselves and others that they understand proper nutrition. They get to dispense their “advice” under the guise of helping even though most of the time it’s a selfish act. It gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling. A lot of the advice I hear from other people is just flat out scientifically wrong. But even good advice is only good if the recipient is open to hearing it.

We need to stop caring about what other people are eating. Unless they are directly asking for advice I think it’s best to just let people be in charge of their own bodies. There are countless diets and yes, some are healthier than others, but everyone is entitled to make their own choice and doesn’t need a waist-watching white knight riding in to save them from a processed snack or diet soda.



27 thoughts on “Stop the Obsession with What Other People Eat

  1. Carrie @ Poet in the Pantry

    Yes, yes, YES!!! Thank you! It seems everyone has an opinion on what you’re eating, even when the topic isn’t even what you’re eating! Let’s live and let live. It’s not our job to police what others are doing. :)

  2. MKL

    YES! Thank you for this post. How true it is! Everybody needs to stop arm-chair quarterbacking and do what works for them! If someone asks for advice then give it, otherwise it is not our place.
    Great post. I also enjoyed your book! Thanks!

  3. sarah

    So true! You wouldn’t believe how much criticism I hear about the fact that I have several snacks a day… It’s taken me years to realise that snacking keeps me and my low blood pressure happier and that it makes me less likely to binge. So I’m definitely not letting anyone tell me that “it’ll make me gain weight” or that “it’s not good for me”! Different things work for different people, that’s the only truth.

  4. Cheri

    Agreed. It got to where I could never go anywhere – personally or professionally – without having a conversation about my weight. The constant scruitiny was, I think, part of why I ultimately blew it and gained it all back. Obviously the gaining was on me… But the burn out was a group effort.

  5. Ashley

    Yes! The best “diet” is the one that works for you. Who am I to judge what works? I hate telling people about my diet because I’m a competitive athlete so I eat what seems like TONS to still lose weight, so my diet probably wouldn’t work for someone else. Very frustrating to hear things like “ha! I wish I could eat that much” or “…and you’re still losing weight? really?” Then there’s that weird dynamic where people start confessing their “sins” to you, which I hate! “I was going to work out today, but I overslept” or “I’ll probably hit the gym later”. I’m sorry, but I don’t give a flip if you do or don’t hit the gym. I’m not your coach…I’m your co-worker. I’m not going to judge you for what you do in your off time.

  6. Meg

    Try being a type 1 diabetic … Every morsel of food that enters my mouth is scrutinized … Open season for the “experts” to comment when they have no idea of the daily balancing act this disease demands … Your words ring true for anyone who is eating with a healthy goal in mind … Thank you for your insight …

  7. Sara Giboney

    Yes! Everyone is different…has different lifestyles, genes, preferences and non-negotiables. One person’s cure is another person’s poison. I’m a health coach, and I have people offer nutrition information and advice to me often. I always wonder why they feel compelled to school me on nutrition, but you bring up a good point. It may be their own insecurity or need for validation. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Marianne

    Amen! Thank you Sara for this post. You nailed the frustration of many and a thoughtful common sense perspective.

  9. Ashley

    This is so true. I had to stop listening to others. I had a personal trainer that gave me his regiment and honestly, almost gave me an eating disorder. I got scared of eating everything because i was scared of his judgement. I lost 50 pounds by myself with my own ideas, and i know i can do it again. I post my meals and things online because people like to get cooking ideas from me, and it never fails, someone always tells me how something i am eating is wrong. ugh.

  10. Nancy

    Thank you for posting this. I never, ever tell anyone that I am trying to lose weight ,and I didn’t realize why until I read this. I just don’t want their comments (and their judging)!

  11. Anne F.

    My sister is always on a diet. She talks about which one and at times wants you to do the same with her. I love her DEARLY but finally had to say I could not talk about diets anymore. It was well-intentioned on her part but I’m just over it!!! I’ll do what I want when I’m good and ready. She has since been good about not always, obsessively talking about it. Maybe this is an idea for those being told what to do. Thanks!

  12. Anne F.

    My sister is always on a diet. She talks about which one and at times wants you to do the same with her. I love her DEARLY but finally had to say I could not talk about diets any more with her. It was well-intentioned on her part but I’m just over it!!! I’ll do what I want when I’m good and ready. I will make an effort to NOT talk about it to her she so it doesn’t tempt her to talk about what I’m doing. She has since been good about not always, obsessively talking about it. Maybe this is an idea for those being told what to do. Thanks!

  13. Silvia @ skinny jeans

    So true! Similar to eyeing other people’s romantic relationships and giving ‘advice’ observing peoples’ bodies, judging them and giving ‘diet advice’ must be the second most popular hobby of many, as if we all just need to follow the ‘right’ rules to get it right and everyone is an expert. When, in reality, it is so intensely private and personal and no one’s business.

  14. Kay

    I was a former follower of the Belly Fat Cure, and I think it helped set me up for the future, but I just missed too many of my favorite foods. I decided this time to “eat less and exercise more” and I have lost 11 lbs so far. I remember reading your diet for your Mom, she still had her treats, and she still lost weight. That’s what I can do for the rest of my life. Thank you!

  15. Savvy

    HOW NICE to retire from being part of the FOOD POLICE!! As a teenager, I battled food, weight, diet pills, wierd tries….and this side of menopause/NO thryoid is even worse!! OUCH!! So now I’ve fallen in love with your cookbook, and breakfast sausage, and more!! Thanks!!

  16. MaryC

    I do happen to sing the praises of certain protein bars, but I fall short of thrusting my “favorites” on others, except if I give one to a friend who has been eating similar food, but much less healthy. Wait. I also suggest things via blog or blog comments, but I do it low key.
    I do lower carb, not low carb, & I’d thought you might as well, but I cannot be sure from some of the posts.

  17. debbie in alaska

    Yeah, that’s a quick way to lose friends :) So much of what I do — that has turned out to be successful long term for me — is deemed wrong by “experts”. I’ve struggled with eating issues since my early 20’s and FINALLY I decided to say screw the experts — I’m doing what feels right for me – and only me. It’s been a year and a half and I’ve kept off the 40 pounds I lost. Just a smattering of the rules I break:
    I don’t eat breakfast (my body doesn’t need or want it).
    I use full fat foods (this one is supported by many — but not by all so I’m throwing it in the mix) and butter!
    I eat frozen meals (organic and limited ingredient – but still — NOT FRESH! :-O) — I hate to cook.
    I only eat twice a day (sometimes I throw a snack in there IF my body asks for it).
    I drink alcohol when I want to.
    I eat Sour Patch Kids at least once a week.
    I don’t calorie count, fat count, carb count — I generally try to avoid math in general.
    I eat after 7 pm. Sometimes I eat right before bed! Gasp!
    Anyhoo — you get the gist.
    My rules. My body. My success. Win win!
    And YAY! for your Mom for finding her own way.

  18. La.

    I think most of the time people have good intentions, BUT I do wish people would leave my choices alone. This is my first time to your blog and I’m liking it! People REALLY want you to do what they do…even if it doesn’t work!

  19. Anna

    Could not agree more! Nothing makes me more frustrated then when my roommate tries to give me nutrition advise. What I’m doing works for me — so please worry about yourself thanks.

  20. Isabelle

    Omg… I’m guilty of this! Your post just made me realize that I need to stop advising people on food/diets. I just sent an email to a good friend about the fact that I think she’s not being healthy trying to eat around 1200 calories a day (she brought it up, in my defense)…But what do I know?? I’m not her! And she’s way too polite to tell me off…. So I’m swearing, right here right now, to never comment again on someone’s diet unless I’m asked for advices!!

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  22. Christine

    I felt like I was looking in the mirror when I read this!!! This is the script from the dinner table with my Dad throughout most of my childhood. I used to call it “Dad’s Diet Tips” time, which always occurred at the dinner table. Augh. Finally, at some point in my teen years, I said “Just STOP! I don’t want to hear anything more about how I eat or my body!” That seemed to make the conversations stop, but the feeling of being judged never really went away. Thank you so much for your posts and insights- I appreciate them so much. Love your recipes too!

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