Weekly column by fitness expert Adam Wright for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
YOU’RE out with friends for lunch or a coffee. Or having a night in with the lads/ girls and getting takeaway. At a family get together. A birthday party. A BBQ. Or in the canteen at work with colleagues. It doesn’t really matter what it is… there’s food!
You have goals. For the way you feel, or maybe for the way you look, or how you perform. So you order/ eat food (and drink) that is in line with your goals. And then the comments start: “Are you not having one?” and then “I don’t think you’re eating enough” or “Would you just relax and forget about your diet for once!” or “Is that all you’re having?” usually closely followed by my personal favourite “Sure, you can eat whatever you like and you never put on any weight.”
‘If you wouldn’t like to be called out for making a “bad” choice, be sure to think twice before you, even in jest, comment negatively on someone’s healthy choice’
I’ve spoken to a couple of people that have found themselves in one of these situations over the last few days and it got me to wondering:
How does it make YOU feel?
For some people having these kinds of comments levelled at them is enough to make them not want to attend certain functions, or eat with certain people, where they know this might come up… and, to me, that’s not cool.
This was the case for one of my clients over the weekend. She was considering skipping an evening with friends because she knew when it came to getting takeaway (and she wanted to “be good”) that her choices would be questioned or criticised. In my time in the fitness industry I’ve come across this enough to think there are a lot of people out there bothered by this kind of behaviour. Enough people to ask the questions…
Why do people make these comments?
My opinion: I feel it’s because your “healthy” choice makes them feel worse about their “bad” choice. Even subconsciously. If you can be convinced to be “bad” too then they don’t have to feel guilty about not being “good”? But that’s just an opinion. Even if it’s “just a joke”, if that joke makes someone feel bad in any way is it really that funny?
How do you deal with it?
My advice to the people that have discussed this with me has been not to explain and not to draw attention to it. Order what you order. If you get asked about the amount just reply “It’s enough for me.” If asked why you’re not having dessert answer, “I’m OK with a coffee thanks”. And if you still get pressed about it, a slight exaggeration that it might upset your stomach, in my experience, will make most people back off.
And finally… What if it were the other way around?
What if a friend of yours orders a big plate of lasagne and chips. Or someone in your family orders dessert after already having a starter, a main and most of a bottle of wine. And someone says, “Really? You’re having another one?” or “Are you going to eat that as well? I think you’re eating too much”…
I’m fairly sure you’d be able to hear a pin drop wherever you were… and I suspect one or more people in the vicinity might get quite upset.
If one is not OK I personally don’t think the other is either. If one would upset someone why wouldn’t or couldn’t the other? If you wouldn’t like to be called out for making a “bad” choice, be sure to think twice before you, even in jest, comment negatively on someone’s healthy choice.
Like I’ve already said, these are just thoughts I’ve been having. What do you think? Is it an issue for you? If not, is it an issue for someone you care about? If writing this helps one person feel a little better, directly (by letting them know they’re not alone in being upset by this behaviour) or indirectly (by preventing comments levelled in their direction altogether) then it’ll be worthwhile.