Do You Diet Shame Your Friends?

September 28, 2016  |  
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It can be hard to know what to say or how to behave when a friend tells us they’re on a diet. Sometimes we think they don’t need to lose weight! So we panic and tell them to cut the crap–that they’re as skinny as can be. Sometimes we know they do need to lose weight, but we fear that if we don’t protest the diet a little, that they’ll feel insecure and say, “Oh. So you do think I’m overweight!” Nobody can blame you for saying something awkward when your friend asks for a salad at the pizza place. But some women take it too far, and they diet shame their friend who is trying to lose a few. They have plenty of reasons they do it, from jealousy to envy about the fact that they can’t stick to their own diet plans. But there really is no good reason to diet shame. That means if you’re doing the following things, you need to stop.

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You tell others

Your friend told you in confidence that she’s on a diet. Then, when she orders a salad at lunch, you pronounce to everyone, “She’s on a diet.” She doesn’t need the pressure of it being public.

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Corbis

You make it about you

When you order the burger, you say something like, “I bet this isn’t on your diet plan! You’re probably so grossed out by me right now.”
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You compare sizes

“Well if you need to lose weight than I definitely need to lose weight since we’re the same size.” Don’t make her feel like she unintentionally called you overweight.
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You tempt her

You tell your friend, “It’s just a little nacho…” or “You’re not going to make me eat this pizza all by myself are you?”
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You involve the server

“Excuse me, do you guys have like a lighter fare menu or an under-500-calories menu? She’s on a diet.” Um…your friend can ask for that on her own if she needs to.
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You ask her about calories

Since she’s counting calories, you start asking her to tell you how many calories are on your plate. But now she feels like she’s guilted you into counting calories.
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Dinner parties

You tell her you’re having a dinner party, but you don’t know if what you’re making will fit into her diet. So, you’re making her feel socially left out now.
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You don’t want to hear about it

Maybe you don’t want to discuss her diet; maybe you tell her you don’t even want to hear about it. That’s not very supportive…
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You ask for someone’s opinion

“Excuse me sir? Can you please tell this woman she doesn’t need to be on a diet and she is very hot just the way she is?” Um…she wasn’t doing it for the approval of others.
"Woman eating celery"

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You mock her diet

“I’ll have a pasta and she’ll have a piece of celery with a side of air.” Don’t exaggerate the limitations of her diet.
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You tell her horror stories

You tell her stories of women you know who dieted and then were never able to properly digest the foods they cut out again.
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You call yourself overweight

You let her diet bring out all of your insecurities, listing the areas you wish didn’t jiggle and bounce so much. Now she feels guilty for making you feel insecure.
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You ask when the diet is over

“Call me when the diet is over because you’re no fun on a diet.” So what you’re saying is, you prefer her when she isn’t looking to improve herself?
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“Some of the most beautiful women are…”

You start to tell her some of the most beautiful women are curvy, voluptuous, larger than a size 4 etc. But this, again, is a form of comparing her to others, which is not what she wants to do.
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You make the restaurant about her

When picking out a restaurant with a group of friends, you make a point to ask your dieting friend, “Will they have something you can eat there?” Don’t make her feel like her diet is inconvenient for others.

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