How to Deal With Health Shaming

Health shaming. It’s a real thing, and if you’re conscious about what you put into your body you’ve probably experienced it. It usually sounds something like

  • “You’re no fun.”

  • “Live a little.”

  • “Ugh, you’re making me feel guilty.”

  • “Really? That’s all you’re gonna get?”

  • "Just have a little bit!"

This commentary is tiring and it can make eating with friends a drag. Here’s what you can do to avoid being brought down by health shaming:

Laugh it Off

  • The same people who shame me for what I eat, whether its ordering “only” a salad, or making substitutions to the menu are the same people complimenting me on my body in a bikini. Realize that although it’s a bummer they’ve got something negative to say, it’s probably only because they know deep down that they want to be making similar choices but may not be ready. Accept that, laugh it off, and continue with your lean and green order.

Find a new tribe

  • Often life is better when you surround yourself with people whose values match your own. Chat up someone after yoga, go to a healthy cooking class, be open to conversations at the gym. Meeting like-minded people who encourage you to meet your goals and also hold you accoutnable can transform your life.

Advocate for your health

  • If being more mindful of what you’re eating is a new endeavor, or maybe you’re temporarily cutting something out like dairy to see how it feels, letting your friends know ahead of time can be helpful. Suggest a restaurant on the healthy side and tell them you’re trying to cut back on pasta. Or, tell your friends you’re not eating cheese right now because you think it may be breaking you out. Advocating for your health can educate your friends. It also lets them know where you’re at ahead of time so they are less likely to shame when they hear your order.

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