How to Deal with Healthy Lifestyle Sabotages

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 28, 2009

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Good afternoon!

Today we have a wonderful guest post for the Summer Glow Boot Camp. Take it away Paige. :)


How to Deal with Healthy Lifestyle Sabotages

Hi OSG readers! My name is Paige, and I blog at Running Around Normal. I’m fairly new to the blog community, but I’m hooked, and find it to be inspiring, helpful, and a whole lot of fun! I’m super excited to be doing a guest post here at Oh She Glows!


I’m going to talk about how to deal with people who, whether innocently or spitefully, make comments to sabotage your healthy life-style habits with their words or actions.

People can be pretty critical when it comes to others being healthy. Strangers, coworkers, friends, and even family members can act judgmentally toward one’s healthy lifestyle. Have you ever been at an office party and chosen to snack on fruits and veggies, while a coworker, who isn’t as mindful about healthy eating, turns your way mocks your food choices? There are so many diets around today that people think just because someone is eating healthfully, they’re trying to lose weight. Whether that is or isn’t the case, we all know having a healthy lifestyle is much more than just trying to lose weight.

Sometimes it’s hard to deal with these naysayers. It’s easier to go ahead and grab a donut or a food that isn’t as healthy so they’ll be satisfied and go back about their business.

Moreover, it’s not always certain why people choose to express negativity towards a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps they’re unhappy with their own health, or jealous they don’t have the same self-discipline, or possibly they just aren’t aware that what they’re saying is even rude in the first place.

However, there are ways to deal with diet derailers without, well, derailing your diet.

· Take the high road: Don’t take the comments personally. As mentioned earlier, you don’t know the real reasoning behind the comments, and they could be not about you at all. Simply smile and say something like, “actually, I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a super long time. It’s great!”

· Surprise them back: Let them know they’re not being PC, but in a non confrontational manner. You could just reply, “how rude!” a la Stephanie Tanner, and give a friendly laugh. Let them know they’re comment took you aback, without letting it affect your attitude.

· Play along: take it as a compliment, and pretend the back handed part just didn’t happen. Give a simple, “Aw, well thank you for the compliment!” or “You’re too funny/kind.”

· Be honest: If they warrant a response, just tell them why you’re making the choices you are. Something like, “Well, crappy food makes me feel like crap, and this food makes me feel great! I’d rather feel great than eat that and deal with the consequences later.”

If you’re happy with your body and lifestyle, that’s what matters. It’s hard when people, especially loved ones, are critical of our healthy life-style habits, but just remember to take it in stride, and be true to who you are. It might be frustrating, but there ways to handle the healthy life-style naysayers without giving in to their jabs.


Do you ever deal with negative comments about how you eat or other lifestyle habits?

Does it bother you or are you able to let it slide?

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen July 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Great post! I’ve also heard these people called “Healthy Habit Haters.” I think anytime someone makes a comment about another person’s decision to be healthy, they aren’t hating on that other person– they hating on themselves. They feel insecure about whatever decision they’re making, so they try to bring that other person down so they don’t feel so bad.

And do you know what I have to say about that? THAT’S WEAK! Love, don’t hate :)


Chelsea July 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I’m 18, so the idea of eating anything other than fast food and junk is unheard of among the people I hang out with. I got a lot of comments about my choices initially, but my closer friends I see more often have learned to respect my choices…for the most part.
The people who are the worst for me are the ones who insecure about their own habits. I hate that they deal with this by saying things like “what are you, ANOREXIC!?” when I choose carott sticks over chips, but it’s their issue, and eventually they’ll figure it out.


Eve July 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Great post! It’s amazing how sabotaging even close friends & family can be. I work with these issues quite a bit with my clients.


Jennifer @ His N' Her Health July 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm

I hate when people make comments about my eating habits. It happens a lot with my friends since I am in college and all they eat is fast food. I basically ignore it, but it does bother me!


Jess July 28, 2009 at 1:44 pm

This is a great post – thanks paige! :)


coco July 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Great post! And so true about how others might affect our own healthy life style by offending us.


Leah @ L4L July 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Great post! My (overweight) family ALWAYS comments on my eating habits and how much I exercise, even though I don’t think it is an abnormal amount at all. They really do bother me and I probably shouldn’t. Eventually, I just look at them, and their lives, and say to myself, “I don’t want to be like that. That’s why I am the way I am.” And then I’m fine! The people closest to me, my boyfriend and closest friends, are overwhelmingly supportive and that’s all that matters.


Linda July 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Wonderful guest post! I loved reading it!

I just started down the clean eating path and started an exercise regime and I get the most slack from people whom I work with. Not so much comments on what I am eating, but what I choose not to eat. A lot of “oh, just have a litte bit”, or “just a few bites wont hurt you” when I say no thanks when it’s offered to me. I’m geting to where I just say oh thanks and leave it at that, it goes un-noticed wheather I ever ate any or not..hahaha!


carolinebee July 28, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Great post!! I love Paige’s blog! I hate the negative/critical comments- and i seriously CAN’T help making a snide remark back sometimes :D I think the rudest is when people say ewww that is disgusting or how do u eat that it’s so gross! With family you just have to deal but hopefully as far as friends go we can surround ourselves with supportive people!


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) July 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

“…people think just because someone is eating healthfully, they’re trying to lose weight.”


I get a lot of comments to the tune of “Look at Vanessa, she’s eating so healthy again!” which I just ignore and smile quietly to myself when everyone around me is uncomfortably stuffed at the end of a meal and I’m perfectly satisfied.

People are funny.


britt July 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm

i have never understood why people comment on healthy eating yet never give a second thought to eating crap. my mind works totally opposite. in fact, back in april i was at my parent’s house and went grocery shopping with my dad and an uncle. i bought things like veggie burgers, hummus, fruit, etc and my dad made the comment, “we didn’t raise you to be like this,” but in a very judgemental way. i simply replied that, no, he didn’t raise me that way, but i learned to live a healthier, happier life all on my own.


Bree July 28, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Great post! I wrote a blog post recently about workplace saboteurs. Fortunately they seem to be the only people in my life that give me a hard time about choosing healthy foods and saying no to the constant barrage of treats. The one thing that I still don’t like is when people say “you can have this you are so skinny!” or “oh come on, live a little” as if to say eating a giant piece of birthday cake is the only way I will live. I say boo to that. Sure I love cake, but what my co-workers don’t seem to understand (and I am sure I am not alone) is that I do have a life outside of work and I choose my treats wisely. They don’t see what I eat or do outside of work so its not really fair to say I don’t have a life without indulging in every treat that passes under my nose!


Andrea July 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Excellent guest post! Thanks, Paige. Your dog is SO cute!


LaurenB July 28, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Thanks so much Paige, this is such a timely post for me – this type of behaviour is so common (unfortunately).

I went through this recently with a “friend”. Over the past 6-7 months I have dropped 25 lbs (the healthy way = eating well & exercising). This friend knew I was trying to lose a bit of weight and asked how I was doing, I told her and was innundated with comments like:
– “Really? 25lbs? You don’t look like you’ve lost that much”
– “I lost weight last year too, but you know we eventually all fall off the wagon and gain the weight back, right?”

I brushed it off at the time by just replying on how good I feel because I know the comments are rooted in insecurity & jealousy, but it just makes me sad that this “good friend” would be so unsupportive.

In the past when I’ve tried to bring this up with her she seems to go into ‘defensive mode’ and my concerns are lost – what’s a girl to do?!


Bree July 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Great post! I have had to deal with comments all my life! I have always eaten pretty healthy, I have IBS and figured out a pretty young age that junk food did not work for me! It used to bother me, but as I have gotten older I can just brush it off. If someone really harps on it, I tell them the truth. It’s funny how it would be inappropriate to tell someone that they may want to rethink that donut or bag of chips, but it’s OK to comment on someone’s choice to eat the veggies and fruit.


andrea. July 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Great post — I always love a good Full House reference! :D

I agree with some of the other commentors that the workplace seems to be the worst for this. I usually just say something that’s half true, half joking, like, “Oh, I can’t, I’m going out tonight, and I have to try to have a LITTLE balance! Ha Ha!” So it’s honest to an extent — I AM striving for balance — but then they also don’t think I’m a big party pooper or anything. :)

Sometimes I also just lie and say I’m allergic. :)


Chloe July 28, 2009 at 3:14 pm

This happened to me last week. Everyone was enjoying donuts and coffee and when I opted out of donuts I got about 5 comments saying I should just eat them or “you’re too healthy”. I’ve also gotten comments about how I eat healthy “all the time”, which isn’t true and my coworkers know it. Sometimes I think they say those things just to point out that I’m different than them instead of accepting the fact that I’m being healthy while they sometimes aren’t. A lot of it has to do with their own insecurities, so I try and stick to my guns and remind myself that I’m opting for healthier choices for me, not anybody else.

It’s interesting that our society is so hooked on the latest diet fads but we taunt those who are striving to be healthy every day.

Good guest post!


Kelsey July 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

love the topic and post!!! i could go on for days about this topic. as bree said, why is it ok to tell a thin perosn they are too skinny but not ok to tell an overweight person they are fat?!?!? a double standard really, but i suppose it is a tactic to make them feel better about their unhealthy habits. talking about weight is something i never do, because it makes me feel uncomfortable and it is a very personal thing.


Kiersten July 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

“Have you ever been at an office party and chosen to snack on fruits and veggies, while a coworker, who isn’t as mindful about healthy eating, turns your way mocks your food choices?”

YES! It happens to me all the time, not only because I am a healthy eater but because I am a vegan too. I agree with the advice you gave about dealing with this. As rude and annoying as it may be, it doesn’t help to take those kinds of comments personally. I think that people who do this are either jealous or threatened by our habits. I often get people who make comments about my veganism and then try to justify their own habits later. (They’ll say things like “Well I only eat red meat ocassionally” or “I only eat chicken”)

I’ve learned to let comments like this just bounce off me. It’s not worth getting upset over.


Paige @ Running Around Normal July 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Leah, I understand you there. My dad used to be a very unhealthy eater, and would mock my eating habbits. Unfortunately now he has diabetes, but I’ve been making him healthy dishes, and alas, he thinks they actually taste good!

Carolinebee, I agree – sometimes the comments can get nasty enough where they *do* warrant a confrontation. Can’t let people walk all over ya!


The Running Yogini July 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm

What a fantastic topic for discussion. We feel bad about eating junk AND we feel bad about eating healthy in front of people??! Ack! Usually I find that when people pick at me about eating healthy its b/c they feel guilty about what they eat. Sometimes I will have the same people that make seemingly mean comments ask my questions later. What do you eat for breakfast usually? etc. and then I get to talk more about little tips and we both feel better. Good thoughts though. And of course super cute pup!


Kimberly Lee July 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I encounter this a lot at work. I work in an office that is 95% women – so there is always talk of needing to diet, or lose weight. But if one of them sees me skipping dessert at the company luncheon or eating a salad instead of a burger, it becomes a HUGE deal. I generally just ignore the comments or turn it back around to trying to adopt healthy habits to ensure that I remain as healthy as possible.


Monica July 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Interesting that this is the topic today. On Dear Abby she answers a letter from someone who gets comments about not drinking alcohol. Same concept, different vice.
I have family members who will chastize me when I stop eating after one serving of food. I think of their very overweight daughter and realize that the “abundance” they are offering is an effort to show love.
Most people make the critical comments about health food (and abstaining from alcohol) out of their own insecurities though. Either way, you are so right to realize those comments really aren’t about you, they ARE about the commenter.


Brandi C. July 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I go through this ALL the time! Thanks for the guest post =] I usually just ignore it though because “Those who mind don’t matter and Those who matter don’t mind!”….Usually, lol.


Emily July 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

It was nice to read this post. Its about one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate when people judge my healthy choices. For me, it happens all the time with regards to alchol. My friends drink every night, and as a result are not active and soem are overweight. I try and limit my beer consumption, but I am seen as “lame” for chosing the gym over the bar!

Good luck with the blog Paige!

Ps – Angela… I tried my first green monster last night! Bought a new blender and everything haha


Brandi C. July 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

FYI Angie: I tried the Amazing Grass Chocolate Meal and I am ABSOLUTELY addicted =(….Why the frown you ask…Bc I CAN’T afford it!


Kathy (Moving Beyond Perfection) July 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Thank you Paige for this lovely post! I, too, have dealt with judgemental comments regarding my eating habits. I haven’t had any recently though, because I’ve begun indulging a bit more in work places, random moments, etc. Not necessarily overdoing it, but enough to satisfy my palate and those around me. While I completely agree that it’s a double standard to be able to comment on one’s thinness or healthy food habits but not on another’s unhealthy habits, I would like to touch upon one thing..

Having been through disordered eating where I turned down almost every single dessert ever offered to me within that year, I think I can understand a bit where some of these negative comments are coming from. Food is often associated with social situations, and I can understand how some of my freinds may have thought I was less “fun” during my disordered eating spout, because I would never splurge with them. Even if I was physically there, it probably made them feel uncomfortable that I was the only one not eating ice cream or w/e it was they were enjoying. I also realized what a shame it was that I wasn’t able to enjoy so many moments with my friends. I’m not saying we need to indulge in that office cookie or birthday cake all the time, but a small sliver or every now and then can’t hurt – plus, sometimes you may tell yourself you don’t want it, but sometimes you really do on the inside! And when you really do want it on the inside, you should let yourself enjoy some of the treat. We all deserve to enjoy ourselves every now and then! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

I absolutely loved this tip:

You could just reply, “how rude!” a la Stephanie Tanner

LOL! I’m so doing this!!

I also loved the ‘play along’ suggestion. So clever!



Marcia July 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

This was a very good post. In general, I don’t experience this anymore. I used to. When I first lost >50 lbs, I stopped eating out with coworkers. I brought ZERO money to work so I couldn’t hit the vending machine. I stopped drinking ANYTHING. I turned down cake at parties.

I got some comments.

But now? You know, I’ve been healthy and mostly thin for 7 years now. My eating habits are normal, and everyone generally pats me on the back for it and maintaining the weight loss.

Now, I did get a comment from my 16-yo nephew, who said “I can’t imagine vegetarians, they must be so skinny and weak, so unhealthy!” I said “you know your uncle and I? We eat mostly veg…maybe only meat once a week.” He was quite surprised.


gina (fitnessista) July 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm

great post, paige! i wrote about this awhile ago, too and it sparked a lot of good discussion:
have a great day!


Susan July 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I get a lot of people who seem insulted I don’t want to eat the same food they are. Others have told me that choosing something healthier makes them feel bad. I just brush it off or laugh nervously. I’m not very good at dealing with it! Why should I change what I eat to make someone feel better about their decisions? Guess it’s something to work on ;)


Christina July 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Great post! I love all your ideas, especially the one about just taking it as a compliment. I usually just blow the comment off if someone says something to me.


allijag July 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Love Paige’s post – very wise! :)


Katie July 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Amen! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been mocked or called weird for choosing fruit over cookies, but it doesn’t get to me because guess who’s gonna feel better about themselves in the long run? Oh yeah, that’d be me:)


sminnick July 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Ugh! Boy does this hit home! I have coworkers that make me crazy! They always have something to say about what I am eating. They act as though it is wrong that I take the time to pack a healthy lunch and snacks each day, and don’t buy school lunches (I’m a teacher), or go the quick route with a Lean Cusine. I usually just smile and laugh it off, but inside I am really annoyed. Oh well, I am healthy and take care of myself and they do not. Too bad for them ;)


Crystal July 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Thank you so much for this post! It is so true, I have actually been picked on in the office break room b/c I chose a salad for lunch! I truly couldn’t even believe it! I also agree with a previous comment – why is it ok to tell someone they are to skinny but it would never be ok to tell someone they are overwieght? I would never make a negative comment on someone elses weight but it is a pretty big double standard.


Danielle July 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I can def. relate to this. My family isn’t over-weight but they binge on junk and order out a lot. It’s interesting that I only get rude comments from my family and not my friends, but then again I have to look at the reasoning behind it. I love the advice on “taking the high road.” What matters the most is how YOU feel and behind those negative comments lie some jealous parents!


[email protected] July 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Such a timely post for me! I have a bunch of work and family meals coming up, and inevitably someone will make fun of me for some “weird” food choice. I generally just shrug and laugh it off. If only people knew how great I feel the more I choose healthy foods!


April July 28, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Great post! I have never had a problem, all my peeps and family are very supportive. I’m going for lunch with a friend Thursday and she said I can pick the place just no tofu please :) It’s great because everyone knows and respects my healhty lifestyle! I wish everyone could experience that.


Madelin @ What is for breakfast? July 28, 2009 at 7:48 pm

What a great post – I have had to deal with this at work A LOT! It’s really annoying :(.


Paige @ Running Around Normal July 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Gena, wow that did spark some great discussion! I see you call them Healthy Habit Haters like Kristen. I mentioned you and her in one of today’s blog about this clever name for ’em! :)


RunToFinish July 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I think when I first started eating really healthy, I got a lot of comments but now people just assume that’s how i’m going to eat and don’t say much. Then again I still enjoy a doughnut when I want to without any guilt.


Jess July 28, 2009 at 9:47 pm

First – this definitely hits home for me. And I mean HOME! My husband is the biggest offender of this and it really makes me sad more than anything. I know he’s not doing it to hurt me, and that he’s really upset with himself for not having the motivation to eat healthy too. Most of his comments are kind of directed at him and have a pseudo-compliment for me in there – things like ‘Jess is doing so well on eating better .. me, I gotta have the burger & fries.’ Or he’ll randomly pick up pizza for dinner or make a batch of cookies to tempt me. Plus, whenever we go out, he wants to go to the chinese buffet or Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s upsetting sometimes and it’s sad because I want him to be healthy too! The best thing I can do is lead by example and hope he comes to his senses.

Second, I love Brandi’s quote about those who mind don’t matter!

Third, I’m so grateful that I do have some supportive people around me. Since I’ve been eating healthier and really putting myself out there with how much I’ve lost and how things are going, a few friends have told me that I’m an inspiration to them. That totally made my day. Not only that, but when I visited my mom, she told me she was proud of me and made sure to tell all her friends and doctors that I’m eating healthy and didn’t make it sound bad at all!

Last thing (I’ve rambled for too long), one co-worker saw me today and said “hey, skinny!” … That was the highlight of my day!


Jessica July 29, 2009 at 1:45 am

oh goody it works now! i was just going to mention that occasionally i intrigue people about my lifestyle and they start making better choices. its quite rewarding when that happens :)


Rebeca July 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

This is amazing… I especially love the “how rude” I always wanted to be Stephanie Tanner :)


Olivia July 29, 2009 at 4:41 am

Great post! I sent Angela an FAQ on this subject that she answered a while ago (no. 222), so it’s great to see that I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by other people commenting on my eating habits and telling me I must be anorexic or whatever.


Emmanuelle July 29, 2009 at 6:30 am

Great post!
Actually I will be staying at my parents soon, and as much as I love them and am happy to see them, I am kind of dreading it a little bit as they are not really healthy eaters. Also I have been a vegetarian for a few months now and I already know they will try to have me eat some meat, you know, “a couple of bites won’t kill you”.
I don’t think they understand now the way I live, eat and exercise (I used to HATE HATE HATE exercising, and they still have the picture in mind I guess).
Anyway, thanks for the tips, I will keep them in mind when I go back to France next week!


Sarah August 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

I always just laugh because most of the time the people making the comments to me are unhealthy people. I don’t expect anyone to understand how I live because it’s me and what works for me doesn’t work for everyone. I think keeping a positive attitude is the best way to go, including with your reactions to negative people. Hopefully they will see a difference in you and want to do that for themselves ;-)


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