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May 28, 2009 01:55 PM

Is Your Dieting Friend Going Too Far?


Having once been a dieter and uber picky (years ago thankfully!) I can sympathize with anyone trying to eat healthier or stick to a diet. However, it becomes harder for me to me to be empathetic when:

1. The dieter is constantly quoting calories/nutrtitional info about the whole menu or what I am eating. (I usually eat things that are relatively healthy but this irritates me because I believe in moderation and do not want to fall back into the trap of counting calories...for myself at least I find that it can become an unhealthy habit)

2. The dieter is very vocal about not eating from the bread basket. Very understandable when you are trying to lose weight, but does this statement need to be repeated numerous times? (Or while I am chewing my bread?) My mom in particular drives me crazy with this- she bores holes into me and my dad when we're eating bread- quite passive aggressive! To be fair I can understand why it would be hard to have bread on the table when you're avoiding it-which is why I discreetly eat it and have the waiter take the rest.

3. "I'm not getting dessert" leads to the dieter trying to take more than one bite of mine...many bites in fact. 'Why not get your own?" "You know I'm on a diet- I just took a taste!"

4. The after meal run-down of what the dieter ate: "Aren't you proud of me? I only had 1/2 of the soup, no rolls, only ate 3/4 of the steak, no dessert...." And then proceeds to count the # of calories that she ate (usually a gross understatement) I'm always up for giving support bu

Again, I mean no ill will to anyone who is trying to make themselves healthier or lose a few pounds. However, I do not understand why discretion seems to go out the window a lot of the time in social situations when someone is on a diet. If you want friendly advice or even just a word of support I'm always happy to provide it- especially to a friend. But I think for some reason people on a diet often go way overboard in social situations.

How do you feel about this? What have you done in similar situations?

  1. I completely agree with you! I grew up with a halth-obsessed mother who was always trying to lose weight/get me to lose weight and for a long time, it drove me to stuffing my face with really bad foods as a way of rebelling against it. Thankfully, as an adult, I developed such an appreciation for food that the mere thought of being on a diet makes me shiver.

    I love eating healthily now as much as I love indulging my cravings when necessary and I believe that when you eat good foods, there is no need to count calories or 'cut out' anything. I have a friend who is always on a diet (even though she is very skinny) and I decided long ago not to eat with her as it depresses me to see someone with such contempt for food that her intake is limited to 2-3 items that are considered 'safe'.

    I can respect people ho are trying to lose weight or be healthier as long as they do not lecture me or go on and on about it, especially when I'm enjoying my food! I have asked my mother to keep these comments to herself as it's very off-putting for everyone else and although she tries her best, she sometimes cannot help being self-righteous so I just laugh it off and thank my lucky stars that I managed not to inherit that particular trait.

    1. I think these self righteous people fall into the same category as faux vegetarians and pescetarians and semi kosher (when it suits) people who go on and on and on at the table and MUST tell you what they do or don't eat.

      If you offer a taste of your food 'try my steak/pate/pepperoni pizza/pork chop/lobster they look at you like you are totally crazy and in a condescending tone tell you they don't eat that.

      I don't care for an inventory of what people eat or don't eat. Just shut up please.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie

        I have a male coworker who is always giving an inventory of what he does and doesn't eat. It is usually as a result of seeing what someone else eats. "I used to eat that but not anymore now I eat..." It's like he is addicted to self-deprivation. One day he said it while I was eating a small barbeque all white meat chicken sandwich. I wanted to introduce him to the knuckle sandwich! I have learned not to eat around him. Even my marathon and triathalete friends are not as rigid in their diets.

      2. Social situations are no place for diet discussions, IMO. I no more want to hear about somebody's diet while I'm eating than I want to hear about their last operation or illness.

        And if you are not a diet-driven person, have a few more (or even maybe more than a few) pounds on than your dieting companion, thoughts of passive-aggressive behavior being directed at you definitely spring to mind.

        My bottom line: Dieting? Keep it your yourself, your food diary and your doctor. You want to run down all the details or get approval for how well you're doing? Join WW or OA.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mcsheridan

          Yes. It is rather like someone sharing the images of their colon, while I am dining.

          Now, I married a nurse. We did not see each other that often, due to schedules. I learned early on to not ask how her night had gone, usless I wanted to hear about patient A's health issues. This was in the days before HICKFA, and I soon learned that health issues were part of her job. If we were dining, I did not ask.

          Same for diets, in my book,


        2. I can so relate to this! I love bread baskets, LOVE them, and will often polish off the entire thing before the salad hits the table. I have only once dined with someone as you described (note I said ONCE) She made every damn bite feel like I should be ashamed of myself. She ordered a DRY salad, a poached chicken breast with steamed white rice, talk about flavorless!

          I think it is great that people on a diet feel good when they avoid temptation, but I don't need to feel a guilt trip for eating a second piece of bread, or ordering something with .... I don't know.. flavor!.

          1. As someone who has lost a lot of weight in recent years and has many friends and family members on perpetual diets, I speak from experience on both sides. Like many aspects of our personal lives, there is a time and place for certain subjects. It's unfair to drag others into your personal saga while they are trying to enjoy (and paying good money for) their own meals. We like to go on cruises, where eating is one of the recreational highlights, and we have a standing rule that all talk of diets/weight/calories, etc. stops the second we set foot on the ship.

            You hit the nail on the head: discretion is what's lacking in these situations. It's easier to address with close friends and family but it might be more difficult in other situations without avoiding these people at mealtimes, lol.