how to handle eating “different”

Posted: October 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

Today’s Bloggers of the Day!! (random from yesterday’s comments)

  • Running Around NormalPaige is a personal trainer and gives great workout ideas as well as meal ideas
  • Healthy Coconut – Lea is gorgeous and loves sharing travels with healthy eating and fitness as well
  • Live Love & Peanut Butter – Bec is a new reader (or at least commenter – hi!) and her blog seems to have some great stuff

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Last night began our weekly small groups in church. Each week, we spend part of this time together sharing a meal and catching up before getting into the discussion and prayer. Last night’s meal was fried chicken, potato salad, and coleslaw.

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Not the most appetizing thing to me since realizing I don’t really care for chicken too much unless a small part of a whole dish (like a casserole or in a salad). I had a few bites of the chicken before it made me feel sick. And of course a meal of potato salad and coleslaw doesn’t quite make a satisfying meal. Lindsay asked me to do a post on how I handle eating differently than friends/family. So, here’s another Reader’s Request!

First of all, I don’t find I eat too differently from friends and family. Peter is always open to foods I prepare, even the more veggie based meals I’ve been whipping up. With friends, we usually dine together at restaurants or social events. At restaurants its easy to order what I prefer and at social events I usually enjoy to some extent many of the foods provided and there are always a few healthier choices, like below with a plate full of veggies to balance out other things. I wrote a post about not overeating in social situations here, if you’re interested.

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However, I do still encounter some remarks and questions about my food choices. And I do find times I have to adjust things, especially when not pregnant because my preferences are different then and I will have to be more mindful while working to lose the baby weight (I’ll open the can of worms on how I plan to approach that process in the future).  So without further ado, below are the scenarios I encounter the most and how I handle them.

When I know there will be a limited selection of foods I enjoy or feel comfortable eating at a social engagement. I want to be clear here. I will always choose to eat things I enjoy. However, there may be times when faced with food you outright do not like, or times when options do not fit into what you can eat if you have food allergies or are vegetarian/vegan. In the past, I used to pack and bring my own meal. Now, I do not do so because I personally feel rude and prefer other ways. I will eat a satisfying meal before I leave, then still munch on what works for me with others without starving.

Remarks when you do eat something not quite so healthy. I think the most annoying scenario for me is when I do eat sweets or a heavier dish that I like and someone says something along the lines of “I thought you were a healthy eater’”. In that situation, I always laugh it off (because its usually not said with ill intent) and respond with “I believe its healthy to eat things you love and its all about balance”. Yes, I have said that. Numerous times. Including to the waiter at the Italian restaurant on Tuesday night after telling him I write a healthy living blog and ordering the cheesy fondue.

Remarks like how do you do it, don’t you get sick of vegetables, why do you even like that stuff, I couldn’t eat that way, etc. With this, I yet again remember that people likely intend to make conversation and are generally intrigued. I don’t think people attack me and my eating habits. So once again, I always laugh it off and simply state that I feel best eating the way I do and choosing healthier foods as often as possible. I will also at times bring lighter dishes or share recipes so people can see healthy doesn’t equal gross.

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Overall, I prefer to live my life and if it acts as inspiration or an example to someone, great. I refuse to divulge all my reasoning in a long diatribe or feel the need to defend myself. In other words, I simply don’t let it get to me. I think people generally don’t notice or don’t care and then, those that do comment, are either genuinely interested or validating their own habits. By not making a big deal of it myself, it once again doesn’t give food the power. I also always keep the perspective that one meal every now and again that isn’t my ideal choice won’t hurt me. So there are still plenty of times where I’ll just go with the flow, eat the sub-par to me, and enjoy the time…like I did last night.

  • Do you ever encounter misunderstanding from others with your food choices? How do you handle them?
  • What do you think of bringing your own food to social events and eating something completely different than everyone else? I can understand it and I’ve done it, but now I don’t see it as necessary and prefer being more laid back about it since I don’t have many dietary restrictions.
  • Any other reader requests???

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79 Comments to “how to handle eating “different””
  1. Angela says:

    I love that you addressed this because I also get asked a lot of questions – particularly by family – about why I don’t eat “unhealthy” food, or “treats”. I try to tell them that eating the way I do is what makes me feel my best, but some of them still have a hard time accepting it.
    About bringing food to social events.. I think it’s ok to do if it’s that type of event – like a potluck, or one where you wouldn’t be the only one to bring a dish to share with everyone. However, I don’t think it would be very polite to bring food JUST for yourself. By bringing, say, one dish that you feel comfortable eating, but offering to share it with others, it helps to make sure there’s healthy options available but doesn’t make you stick out as “that girl that won’t eat anything unhealthy”.

    • LindseyAnn says:

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. Potlucks are also a great time to show people how something “healthy” can be “freaking delicious”.

    • Tina says:

      Definitely! I guess I should have clarified I meant bringing a separate meal JUST for you and eating something completely different than others.

  2. For me, my toughest food choice critic is my husband. He is a meat and potatoes guy and will never be swayed otherwise. So sometimes he makes comments if I choose to go meatless. I find that as long as I make him a meat-based dinner, he is usually happy. I think he fears that my meatless choices sometimes will affect him. But once he know he still has his meat, then he’s okay with it.

  3. LindseyAnn says:

    Can I ask some follow up questions?
    1. How do you handle eating differently while travelling? (Meaning: car snacks, meal stops, staying in different towns)
    2. How do you handle eating differently when you’re staying in someone else’s home?

    • Tina says:

      I’ll cover these and maybe a few other points in a part 2 post. Thanks for the extra topics to share and discuss. 🙂

  4. Alisha says:

    Yes, I have. For about 3 months before I got pregnant with Sydney we had quit eating meat. I always felt like I had to explain why b/c American is a meat-eating society. My reasons weren’t even for health reasons but for animal welfare reasons and it’s something I still struggle with even though I went back to eating meat once I got pregnant…long story about why. I also try to eat minimal amounts of processed foods and even fewer for Sydney. My in-laws probably “get it” the least of anyone in the family and I definitely feel like they think we are stupid. We go over there a lot and we always eat frozen hamburgers, frozen appetizers, and sometimes pre-made cole slaw and potato salad. My MIL is cooking more lately though so I think our eating habits have had something to do with that but I’m not quite sure. She would never admit it.

  5. Confession: my problem is that I do almost everything in my power to *not* come across as “different.” I’m already not a very restrictive eater to begin with, but when I’m at social gatherings, I do tend to want to feel/look…well, normal. I’m ashamed to admit that, though, because I should be proud of my healthy habits! With that being said, I never eat anything that I don’t truly want to eat simply for the sake of “fitting in.” does that make sense? 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Yep. It makes perfect sense. I think I do sort of similar since I don’t have many things limiting my food choices and like many different things. I just try to be sure I only choose things I truly like. I think thats probably why the “I thought you were a healthy eater” scenario is most common for me.

  6. This is always a tough topic for many (myself included). It goes to show how quickly people often judge when you say you are healthy or fit or enjoy exercise or that your career is focused in health/fitness.

    For the past year I’ve struggled a ton with this. When I began to pursue my new career I was a proclaimed intuitive eater. I had never been happier and my body never looked better. But over the course of this past year I started to put new pressure on myself. Pressure to look the best, to eat the best, to put up pics of me in my swimsuit to show what progress I’ve made since I lost 60 pounds! So much negative pressure that I put on simply b/c I EXPECTED everyone who looked at me to only think I was legit if I looked the part.

    So unnecessary! Looking the part for me is different than everyone else. I decide to look my part. To feel my best and to eat my best. And that includes oreos often darn it! 🙂 So now when someone asks me about my eating or why I eat oreos if I’m healthy I can respond with confidence that I eat the best for ME. That includes everything that makes me feel good.

    Awesome topic!

    • emily says:

      I love your response “I eat the best for ME” to people that ask why you eat oreos. Really awesome!

      I am a Nutritionist working on my RD, and so many people look at what I am eating and say “Thats not healthy” or “If you can eat that, then I can too”…..and I hate those comments!
      Its all about balance and moderation! So I will have to borrow your response!

  7. Really interesting post, I have in the past experienced all of what you’ve discussed. Its really difficult as sometimes I felt like I was being judged by what I was choosing to eat. Like you, I now just smile and explain that eating healthy food makes me feel good and leave it at that although I do have to control the urge to launch into a long rant about the benefits of healthy eating and how much I have benefited from it!

  8. I can’t eat gluten or dairy and it is hard for me in social gatherings to assert that sometimes. The other night friends invited me over for dinner and I thought they would remember because I had discussed this with them before…of course they didn’t and I felt bad saying i couldn’t eat anything so I ate the pasta anyway and spent the next 12 hours feeling really sick…

    so obviously I am not very good at this but I am working on it. In a bigger gathering, I just try to take what I can without drawing attention to myself, and often eat before I go, or bring something more substantial to eat in the car ride home. I find that not everyone understands and that I have to love myself enough to do what makes me feel my best.

    • Tina says:

      That last sentence sums it up perfectly. Not everyone will understand but that doesn’t mean we should change what we know helps us thrive.

  9. This is a great post and I think so relevant to today’s world. I’m allergic to gluten and I try to be as quiet about it as possible, but I always find it frustrating when someone remarks, “oh, that’s why you’re ‘this’ or ‘that’.” It usually has nothing to do with my gluten allergy! Thanks for the tips, Tina!

  10. Great tips! Before I went vegetarian, I thought I might have trouble with things like this, but truthfully, I’m rarely in a situation where I feel completely left out in terms of finding something that fits my dietary needs. When that DOES occur though, I just try not to make a big deal out of it. I munch on what I can, and remember that I’ll just eat when I get home– not eating for a few hours isn’t going to kill me 🙂

  11. Kim says:

    I found that when I first announced I was giving up meat my friends and family kind of freaked out and stopped inviting me over for dinners because they couldn’t think of what to make for me. I’ve had them over though and cooked them meals I eat regularly ( I still eat fish) and now they’ve come around. My boyfriend whom I live with doesn’t complain much about our meals.. I do 99% of the cooking so on the rare occasion he’ll complain I just tell him to get into the kitchen and make himself something he wants. He never does.

    As for bringing food to a social event.. unless it’s something like a potluck or the host(ess) has requested it I don’t bother. Like you, I’ll eat beforehand.

  12. I had a hard time with this in the past, but never worry about it anymore. I just plan a little and make sure I’m not super hungry that way I can make the best choice for me 🙂

  13. Morning Tina!

    Do you ever encounter misunderstanding from others with your food choices? How do you handle them?
    – Absolutely. I do what you said. I try and smile and be graceful, and just let people know that I believe in a balance of foods. I don’t want people to think that I think I am better than them because of what I eat, but I also don’t feel like people need to tear me down and judge me because of it. When in doubt, just be nice and change the subject.

    What do you think of bringing your own food to social events and eating something completely different than everyone else?
    – I always have snacks with me, but I wouldn’t bring my own meal. This is life. We need to make adjustments and just go with the flow. I think it’s a little extreme to do otherwise unless you have allergies or major restrictions that would make it hard for people to feed you.

    Any other reader requests???
    -I’m looking forward to your approach to losing baby weight. It will be nice to see someone with a balanced approach taking on something like that.

    • Tina says:

      I’ll give you a hint. It will be pretty similar to how I managed it back in the O2 days…just BEFORE any competition prep stuff. I have lots of posts ideas revolving around all that though. But it might wait until closer to baby time (like in January).

  14. I still struggle with eating around other people … I’ve tried bringing my own food, but usually end up eating my own plus whatever else is on offer.

    I try to remember that eating one meal that’s not strictly on-plan won’t make me gain … it’s letting that one meal snowball into a whole day or week or month that causes me trouble.

  15. Courtney F says:

    Most of the time I qould prefer to bring my own food, but I too feel like it is rude and draws attention. So, I will eat a little to tide me over until I get home.

  16. Felicia says:

    Love your attitude. Whats really funny is that throughout highschool, college, and working as a nurse I had comments thrown at me left and right about being the healthy girl. At work especially. Sometimes their comment were actually a bit rude, but I didn’t let it affect me. (At first it did, but then I realized I didn’t care and was not about to feel uncomfortable about eating fruits and vegetables, thats just ridiculous). I knew that they wanted to eat the same way, but basically did not want to put the effort into it (and I knew this because some told me that was why). My BF’s family eats, a lot, especially meat, so sometimes I feel bad going to eat there because a lot of the time they don’t have options I would like. Eating before hand definitely helps! But then comments like “oh you barely ate, have more, you dont eat meat?!” etc really get annoying, I hate explaining myself over and over, and would rather not go into a conversation with 20 people how I prefer organic meat and veggies. As time goes on I’m starting to care less and less about what people think, which makes it easier 🙂 Have a great day tina!

  17. Steph says:

    When it comes to social gatherings – it’s all about where your focus is – are you thinking more about the food or more about the conversation and personal interaction?

  18. Thanks for the shoutout, love!
    Lindsay is such a sweetie – what a great question:)
    I totally hear you on the point of getting remarks when you *do* choose to eat something not coined as “healthy.” Nearly everyone at work knows I’m a personal trainer, and that I love to workout and stay healthy, so when we have a “food day” here at work, my coworkers are for some reason shocked when I reach for a brownie. And a brownie *and* a cookie?! Oh my. Like you, I take it as an opportunity to educate them that being healthy isn’t about eating “perfectly” all the time, but it’s about enjoying what you want in moderation! A strict diet is *not* healthy living. 🙂

  19. Lauren says:

    I get misunderstandings from my family all the time whenever I visit them (they live in the South). They always nag me for being “too skinny” and “eating like a bird”, and it really used to bug me. They are all overweight but I think the fact that being overweight is the norm for all of them makes it easier for them to make unhealthy choices most of the time. Emotional eating runs in my family, and there are always huge meals at our family gatherings, so I always feel self-conscious about what I eat around them. I usually say something like, “I feel better when I eat things that are good for me” and remind myself that I can only do what’s best for me and my body. Other people make their own choices and we have the power to make healthy choices – if we want to.

  20. Kat says:

    I def just did a post about this and it is something I have struggled with for a while. The thing with my family is, although they know how I feel about nutrition and they know I like to eat clean and healthy, they refuse to change the way THEY eat, which makes family dinners really hard. I either have to bring something for myself or indulge in what they have. I just feel like sometimes they dont really care about what I am trying to do. I mean, cant we at least have a fruit bowl? lol I dont want to force my family into a healthier lifestyle, but when my mom is constantly giving me cake, cookies and fried chicken, it gets really frustrating. I dont want to be rude and tell her I dont want it, but the truth is I DONT want it.
    I still havent really figured out how to handle it all, which is a problem since the holidays are coming up!!

    • Tina says:

      Hmmm. That is a tough situation. Are the family meals something where you could offer to bring a side dish? So that way it isn’t you having to eat things you don’t enjoy but not bringing something just for yourself if thats uncomfortable? I agree we should never try to seem like we are forcing habits on others, so maybe there’s a way to share a bit but not in an overstepping way?

    • emily says:

      I have been in your shoes! I am a Nutritionist and my family eats unhealthy. But many times, I have told my family “I refuse to eat that” or I have brought my own food…..and they have NOW learned what foods I like and have changed their cooking ways. I have taught them how to prepare the same dishes with low fat ingredients, etc. So if you can cook, then maybe you could show them how to prepare the same dishes with low fat and low calorie options!

  21. I’m such a picky eater when it comes to certain things that I’ve been in a similiar position before. For example, I’ve never really liked mayonaise that much so if I was presented with coleslaw and potato salad, yikes!!! I don’t know what I would do!
    I don’t bring my own food with me, but I will have a snack before leaving if I know I might not like the food at the place we’re going.
    I’m looking forward to hearing your baby weight loss plans. I’ll need some tips as well and I trust your method!

  22. Jess says:

    Sometimes I feel awkward in terms of bringing my own food and have some desire to be “like everyone else.” So I usually have a hearty snack before I leave and try to at least have some of whatever is at the event without needing to completely fill up on it 🙂

  23. Nic says:

    Thanks for this post! I run into the “I thought you were a healthy eater” a lot when I reach for a sweet or a treat. I like the whole balance line. I’m going to have to try that one. With a smile on my face of course 🙂

  24. Allie Finch says:

    As I started making healthier choices that were good for me, co-workers at the time were the first to note. I think I often don’t realize how “differently” I eat from the “norm” until someone says something. I am not making a big deal about it, & I assume they are genuinely interested. I explain how much better I feel, but equally want to stress how much I ENJOY “my” food. Yes, health is a main motive; but food is one of my passions! I don’t eat food I do not enjoy. Period. To eat something purely for “health’s sake”? Blah.
    I like to keep snacks with me but would only bring food if it was appropriate & to SHARE [not just for myself]. Food is always appreciated, even if it just a side dish or light dessert for a dinner party.
    Most importantly, it’s about not missing out on the social interaction & friendships…simply because we are so stressed over what is on our plates.

    • Tina says:

      I always try to point out that I like the way I tend to eat as well. I used to eat things I didn’t enjoy for the sake of it and it did me no good.

  25. This is so important to address and something I’ve dealt with most of my life. There have been so many embarrassing moments I’ve learned to just downplay it and make sure I’ve eaten before large public events where everyone will be making a big deal out of accommodating me. So much easier to just say “Yup, I’m not that hungry but thank you anyway!”

  26. Dawn says:

    I was told by my brother when I turned down the dessert he offered one night that he hates it when I’m being good and that I’m no fun when I’m on a diet. He was actually *angry* that he was able to keep more cake for himself. Go figure … just goes to show that you can’t make everyone happy.

    I’ve thought about bringing my own food to places but I’ve never worked up the nerve to do it. This is such a private journey for me – I haven’t shared it with the people in my real life yet – I feel like this is MINE and I don’t want to open it up yet to people who would try to make it their business, you know? Eating my own food would cause too many questions that I’m not ready to answer yet – I’m not ready to call that kind of attention to myself. So I usually make do with what’s on hand and make the best choices I can under whatever the circumstances are.

  27. I know how nervous I am at social situation, and sometimes I just remind myself that maybe the other person is nervous too and all they can think of to talk about is what I eat. It bothers me only when the comments are “but you’re so skinny, you can eat what you want” — that makes me want to slap the person.

    During marathon training it was kind of easy to turn things down or to not overeat, because my running suffered if I ate too much sugary/carby junk food — or too much booze! Usually I just try to change the subject.

    If there will be nothing good for me to choose from, I eat a little beforehand or I bring a snack in my purse. But almost always there is something decent.

  28. Maren says:

    When by myself I eat differently from practically everyone I know, but I don’t go crazy when I’m with them and we’re eating. If they want to go to In-n-out or Denny’s I go, no comments or anything. I try to order healthy things but I think eating differently sometimes is good for your soul.

  29. Jenn (GH) says:

    Southern CA is very health conscious. Most of my friends buy local and organic so it’s rare that I’m in a situation where I’m uncomfortable with the food choices. It’s so rare that when I do encounter that situation I really enjoy myself. 😉

    There are some things I don’t like to eat such as pork for health reasons. I will politely tell people we try to avoid pork but if it’s the only option we will eat a bit of it.

    When I visit my family in the mid-west things are a bit different but since it’s a vacation I tend to enjoy myself. I just don’t like making a big deal out of the way I eat. I find other people sometimes make it a big deal because it brings issues out for them.

    PS I love fried chicken.

    • Tina says:

      I have been told I can’t really be from the South because I don’t care too much for fried chicken before. LOL

  30. Commenting on your point yesterday about needing people to be close to — yes, definitely! I’m busy and don’t get a chance to do regular hangouts — maybe 1-2x/mo, but we do e-mail (often). Just knowing the ins and outs of each others’ days is helpful.

    Even worse is when you see your SO 3-4 days a week… that’s the person who’s supposed to be closest to you, so being away = blah.

  31. The only times I ever considering bringing my own food is when we are headed to a restaurant. For instance, if my friends are going to In and Out Burger, I’ll order a protein style burger and since that’s obviously not enough for me, I’ll bring a Larabar to balance it out. No one thinks its weird when I pull out a bar. That being said, if I’m headed to someplace where I’m invited as a guest for dinner or a BBQ, I will not bring my own food out of politeness.

  32. I encounter this all the time. It is so difficult because I don’t eat like most of the American public. I have completely cut dairy, legumes and grains out of my diet.

    My friends don’t really understand it i have been called orthorexic because I don’t eat like any of them. one person even sent me this article…http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2010/03/24/2010-03-24_orthorexia_an_eating_disorder_afflicts_those_with_an_overthetop_obsession_with_h.html, my doctors dont understand the way I eat either when I tell them they ask me if its sustainable or if i know im not getting all the food groups. My response is usually along the lines of “well there are 3 macro nutrient catagories: protein, carbs, and fat. I dont see how in your opinion i am not getting all 3 grains are not a macro nutrient.”.

    I think the most frustraiting is going out to eat and trying to eat well… I am totally one of those people when it comes to ordering. I have been told “well that’s too hard” or “this is breakfast we only serve breakfast foods during this time” in my request for veggies. some places have been really great about it but for the most part I plan ahead. I cook my meals and if I’m going to a social function I make sure to bring a snack with me, or eat ahead of time.

    The key I have found for myself is planning ahead I make meals I can get 3 servings out of, use tubberware and am vigilant to ask for the gluten free menu when I do go out. I no longer worry about how much work the server has to do to get my order right, i am not afraid to speak up because this is my health.

    • Tina says:

      Wow. That’s likely hard that your friends think such things. And doctors a lot of times don’t know much about nutrition, so I would say if your blood work and other health screens all check out good then they should be fine with you eating a way that makes you feel best.

  33. Camille says:

    Often, people will ask my boyfriend about my eating habits instead of me. They will say things like, “She’s a vegetarian? Why would she do that? Does she try and make you eat her food?”
    Luckily my boyfriend is very cool about it and explains my motivations behind my diet and says that I am happy to cook things we can share but I don’t put any pressure on him to cut meat from his diet.
    I think being vegetarian is very misunderstood!

  34. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: how to handle eating “different”: Today’s Bloggers of the Day!! (random from yesterday’s comments) Running Around … http://bit.ly/9sAort […]

  35. Becca says:

    This really hits home with me tina! WhenI went home to visit family during prep it was really hard. It was their first time experiancing me being so strict and they didnt deal with it well. I love your suggestions though! 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Yea prep is hard. That was the toughest time for me. I did bring my food places and it was rough because honestly I could have found perfectly acceptable and healthy options there, but I always had to play it safe. Another thing that made me feel not like “me” during prep.

      Although I also found people understood a bit more when it was working towards a goal instead of it just being what I like on a regular basis. LOL

  36. As a dietitian, I used to struggle with social situations. It seemed that every time I ate anything…people would either talk about eating healthy or comment on what I was eating or what they were eating or not eating or their latest diet, etc. It’s kind of hard to get used to! BUT, thankfully I think my family is finally realizing that I do eat just like everybody else and that while i LOVE discussing nutrition, I don’t ALWAYS have to talk about it ya know? Great advice!

  37. ps. I also don’t care for chicken that much!

  38. I’m with you.. .not a chicken fan! 😉

    I wouldn’t want to bring my own food, but I’ve planned ahead and eaten before an event, then “nibble”.

  39. Heather says:

    still so sad your post doesn’t show up til 8 hours later 🙁 i LOVE chicken and i’m pretty much game for anything…usually the best response i’ve found is that i just feel like eating one thing over another. that usually makes the most sense to people and you get spared the random lectures and weird questions 🙂

  40. stacey heald says:

    SUCH a great topic! I try so hard to not draw attention to my eating/food issues so I normally eat whatever is served. But then my own issues still go home with me and sometimes impact the rest of my day. For example, we went to playgroup today and lunch was pizza, salad and cookies. I ate the pizza and salad and then more than my share of cookies…sneaking back and getting another while hoping no one watched me. Then came home, beat myself up about it and ate more crap when I was dressed and ready to work out because “I’ve already screwed up today”. UGH!

    To take care of myself and work through all this right now I feel like I do much better when I am in charge of my food. I even considered taking my own lunch today but I knew that would cause lots of questions. I don’t know what the better answer is for me. Is it to take my own food, avoid or answer questions and feel good about what I ate but totally self conscious around people? Or eat what others are eating but probably react in a disordered way but behind closed doors? Or avoid social situations that involve food for now until I have a better grip on things??? There’s not a good answer!

    I wish that we would all pay attention to what we eat and not feel the need to pay attention to everyone else! People eat different things for different reasons. I need to learn to better take care of me and not worry about others!

    • Tina says:

      Sorry to hear you dealt with this today Stacey! I know what worked for me in situations like that when I was in the all or nothing hole, I would still plan for things but be open to the different foods. Like l would plan to enjoy one piece of pizza plus a serving of salad plus one cookie. Then I didn’t have to feel like I blew it because I had already accounted for it. You have to do what works for you, but I know doing things like that helped me because it forced me to let go of some control so I could grow and gain some balance with food…but not so much that I spun out of control and binged.

  41. Really great post, Tina!

    I love what you said about not letting it get to you. I often struggle b/c I assume people are criticizing me, but the truth is that I’m the one getting defensive. People are usually just curious or making some off-hand remark; they’re not judging me. I need to remember that!

  42. Thanks for the great post!!! I find that it’s not TOO hard to find something I can eat, as a vegan, but there are a definitely a few instances (such as a wedding where the food was a BBQ) where I pretty much can’t eat anything. I usually just find something to drink, and smile 🙂

  43. Holly says:

    Tina, thank you for posting this! I’m going to come back to it next time I eat around certain people….unfortunately, I have a few friends (who happen to claim to loathe both working out and pretty much all fruits/veggies) who always tease me when we get together about my food choices. I need to remind myself, like you said, to lead by example – and to realize that their comments aren’t about me…likely, they are about themselves and questioning their own eating habits. Like Katie, I often think they are criticizing me, but deep down I know (hope?!) this isn’t true.

    I usually don’t bring my own meal to somone else’s house….I just might pick/choose something healthy that I can find. That’s why I LOVE pitch-ins, because there is always at least a fruit or veggie tray in sight, at least!

    • Tina says:

      I truly believe that people will react strongly to things they don’t understand. So since your friends don’t get why you would choose certain things, they make a bigger deal of it. I agree its best to not think of it as judgment. Just keep on doing your thing with a smile. 🙂

  44. Eating “different” – isn’t that the truth?

    I usually bring my own, when I don’t my tummy doesn’t agree and I can’t be fun/hang out/etc. I get the “judgy” – WHY did you bring your own food? OR the “judgy” – WHY are you eating that cake – don’t do it on our account.” Um…. not doing it for you, if I want cake I want it and without comment. It comes up at work a lot and I know i’ve been downright rude lately because every time I have chocolate it’s like I just invited a host of comments. SO annoying. I find that I just do what I want and what works for me and my tummy and leave it at that. I try not to get annoyed because I truly think they don’t mean anything by it. (at least I hope not!)

  45. great post Tina! I eat what I like and thats that. Most people in my life that know me well know that I eat a pretty healthy diet and what pisses me off is exactly what you said which is when i do have a brownie or ‘sweets’ I get the “OMG NAOMI, you are eating a sweet!!” as if its a HUGE deal that I am eating something that doesnt have health written all over it. I guess I never looked at it from this perspective!

    I just tell people that this is the food I like to eat, and what tastes good to me! I dont comment what they eat, so maybe they will realize they dont have to comment on mine

  46. Mellissa says:

    I am the “weird food eater” at work and I just go with it, if they have something to say they can say it. For all the crap I see my coworkers eating I just let it go 🙂

  47. janetha g. says:

    wow, the post and all the comments were all really awesome on this one, tina! great tips–we should never feel uncomfortable about eating what we want.

  48. Dorry says:

    Great post – great topic. Hits home for me for sure. I’ve been bringing my own food to family gatherings and social events for years – not EVERY event but when it’s a football party and I know there might not be anything for me to snack on, I’ll offer to bring a dish – even something simple like hummus + pita or guacamole to go with the typical chips + queso. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable bringing my own food even though I get a lot of questions and confused looks. I hope I never come across as being judgmental…I just need to fuel my body with foods that it appreciates. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      I think if its something to share food its more acceptable. I know I have brought things I like to gatherings too to be sure an option is there. I guess I mainly feel weird bringing a completely different meal and not partaking in whats served. Not saying you do that though.

  49. Ela says:

    Thanks for this post – it was eye-opening to me, because to my eyes, you eat relatively ‘normal’ food. I.e., you’re not a rawfoodist/vegan/gluten free/etc. It was helpful to me to be reminded that any one of those things, or even just eating lots of veggies, is often viewed as aberrant.

    I have so many allergies and intolerances, as well as my preference for ‘raw,’ that it’s usually more convenient for me to bring my own food along to a social occasion. If I explain why, people are usually fine with it. If it’s at all possible, I will bring a huge salad to share with everyone. If it’s not like that, maybe I’ll bring a smoothie for myself. It definitely feels awkward at times, but I’ve had to accept that it’s a part of taking care of myself.

    love
    Ela

    • Tina says:

      Well, I do like things that I don’t typically care for when not pregnant so things are a lot more “open” than how my typical choices. I get more of those sorts of comments/questions when not pregnant. But yes, people do notice when you go for more veggies than sweets at get togethers or choose one of the healthy options off a menu.

  50. Thanks for sending blog love my way. If I can’t to get to paradise, why not post pictures on the blog and I can look at them all day right? My virtual vacation.

    I like socializing and getting together with friends, but there are times where I do not like the food that is being offered. If I know ahead of time…i.e. planning to go to County Fair and everything is fried, then what I do is eat a healthy meal before we head out and I eat dessert at the fair. I don’t feel leftout, and people don’t ask why I came to the fair and not eat anything or why I’m just standing there watching them eat.

    When I go to parties, I offer to bring dishes that are healthy, that way I know I can count on eating something healthy when I get to the party. I only do this when it’s a potluck.

    For every joke/comment that is said about my healthy eating, there are 10 times more comments that I get that are inspiring. I don’t let it get to me.

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