16 People Share Times They Were Shamed For Their Food Choices

In today’s society, people seem to openly share their opinions about others, even when it is extremely inappropriate and potentially damaging.

Our words hold an immense amount of power, and, if we aren’t careful, the things we say can have lasting negative effects on a person’s well being. Some of the most dangerous comments are those about other people’s food choices.

Comments about food choices can drastically shift a person’s relationship with food, often in a very negative way. In addition, for people who have eating disorders, this shift is even more concerning. These types of comments can potentially trigger a relapse or setback in eating disorder recovery. For people who don’t already have an eating disorder, these comments can contribute to starting an unhealthy relationship with food.

I asked my Instagram followers about times where they’ve received comments about their food choices and how it made them feel. Here’s what they had to say:

“Comments as simple as ‘Woah, Olivia, are you sure you can eat all that?’ really affect me. Like yes, I can? Should I not be this hungry? It totally affects what I think I should/shouldn’t be eating.”

“While I was at college and went to the cafeteria for one of my snacks, one of the cafeteria ladies said to me, ‘You’re back...again!’ This was very triggering for me and put me over the edge. I believe this was the first domino to fall in my relapse because I then subsequently started to restrict snacks.”

“I once had a therapist tell me I was eating too many carbs/grains. Little did she know, I had recently gotten out of treatment, and, prior to that, I had been so carb avoidant that I had almost entirely cut out the food group. So it was a big deal or me to be eating carbs/grains. I was mortified when she said that. I felt so much guilt and shame. The thoughts got very disordered, very fast.”

“When I was in full swing of my eating disorder, I had pizza as a challenge to myself and my father said to me, ‘You’re faking anorexia!’ because I had pizza! I feel the need to prove to him I am ill and that will always hold me back from fully recovering.”

“Holidays are always a really hard time for me. This past year, I opened up to my family about my 13-year struggle with bulimia. I was able to stay ‘sober’ for 102 days before I relapsed. I was determined to make Thanksgiving day great. I was going to eat stuffing and mashed potatoes and lather it in gravy. And, if I wanted seconds, I wasn’t going to stop myself or make myself feel bad about it. My husband’s uncle took it upon himself to do that for me. He asked me if I was going to purge before having seconds. ‘Because that’s what the Romans did.’ It honestly felt like he was making a joke about my struggle, and I immediately hated myself for getting seconds. I still got seconds, but I ended up relapsing hard afterwards.”

“At my senior prom, we had a buffet table of treats, including cream puffs, which are my favorite. Throughout the dance, I ate a few. One of the boys in our group, whom I had never spoken to before this event, told me I probably shouldn’t eat anymore unless I wanted to get fat. This was triggering for me because I was recovering from some health issues at the time which had previously prevented me from gaining weight. While I was still at a healthy weight, I had gained some weight before prom.”

“My dad said, ‘If you keep eating like that, you’re gonna get fat, and no guy likes that.’”

“I often get the comment that I’m ‘happy to eat sweets’ but ‘don’t eat anything healthy.’ This used to be a major trigger for my eating disorder to take over and forced me into yet another restrictive cycle, even over a year into recovery.”

“My mom once told me that if I stopped eating so much ice cream, my pants would fit better. Even though it was (and still is) my favorite food, I was unable to choose it for dessert snack throughout three times in treatment. I do eat ice cream today, but that comment from my mom pops up every single time.”

“One general comment that I get often now is ‘oh, you’d love this (insert weird ‘health food’ here). Aren’t you like way into healthy stuff?’ I’ve been recovered for four years now, and, for some reason, people just automatically assume that I love all those ‘juice cleanse’ things and anything green just because I suffered from anorexia.”

“I’m living with a roommate right now who makes so many comments on my food, such as ‘no one drinks milk at our age’ and ‘It’s so cool that you eat breakfast.” It’s so triggering for me. Right now I’m really struggling to follow my meal plan in general, and the idea of having her around makes it even more difficult.”

“I was in kindergarten, getting home from soccer practice. My mom had made dinner. I had reached for another dinner roll, and I remember my dad saying ‘Do you really think you should be eating that? Don’t you want to play better this year?’ That was the first time that I had ever thought that the amount of food I ate dictated how good I was at soccer. I began to believe that by eating, I would no longer be good at the sport I loved.”

“A couple years ago, I was preparing a snack that was one of the few things I was comfortable eating. As I was adding ingredients, my dad said something along the lines of ‘Gosh, that’s a lot. Do you really need all of that?’ I calmly finished preparing the dish, and took it to my bedroom where my parents couldn’t see I hadn’t eaten it. After, I threw it out and never ate that dish again. Never.”

“I have a lot of vegan friends who sometimes comment on my non-vegan choices. I wish people kept their opinions about food choices to themselves, and if they want to be a role model, then just be one without making others feel bad.”

“I had a few awkward instances when I was a kid where someone questioned my food choices that still impact me today. The one I’d hear the most was ‘You don’t know what you’re missing,’ if there was a type of food I didn’t want to eat. Why is it your business or anyone else’s what I like or don’t like?”

“My dad used to teach ballet and dance professionally, and so I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. He knew that, so, when I was little he would regularly make comments like, ‘Are you sure you want seconds?’ and ‘Are you sure you want that piece of bread?’ My mom would jump in and tell him to stop and he would say that to be a successful dancer I needed to be smaller. I always felt like I was being judged when I ate around him, and that made me feel awful.”

As you can see, comments about food choices can make a huge, lifelong impact. Unless you are someone’s dietitian, their food choices are none of your business. Our words can leave a huge effect on the lives of others, so we need to be mindful of the comments we make. There are plenty of other topics to comment on, from the weather, to the book you just finished reading, to what you’re studying in school or working on at your job, to so much more — be aware of how important and impactful your words are, and choose to discuss things other than someone’s food choices.