Listen, I get it. You’re on a diet and it’s a big deal and you’re trying really hard and you’re hungry and probably kind of miserable. It might even be taking up all of your time and energy and ability to think about things.
But I’ve got a request for you:
Stop talking about your diet at work.
Religion, politics, and sex are, I think, pretty commonly regarded as topics best left for another time. (Not that this stops some people – and if you feel your coworkers are creating an environment hostile to you then you should speak to HR about your options.) I’ve love to see dieting added to the list.
Here’s the thing, okay? Dieting talk is actively harmful for some people. It is triggery as hell for a whole lot of people who have struggled with fat and body hate their whole life. Even if you don’t think anyone you know could possibly be bothered, well, other people’s trauma is a hell of a thing to bet on.
Recovering from an eating disorder, being in recovery, or otherwise trying to distance yourself from disordered eating and ways of thinking about food are all monumentally hard tasks at times. It isn’t like we live in a world where harmful behaviors are disguised as “for your own good” and “really healthy”…. OH WAIT THEY ARE.
There’s no good reason for your coworkers to know what you weigh. There’s no good reason for your coworkers to know how many calories you’ve eaten today.
I’m having trouble typing this next part because it feels mean to say it. But I’m coming right out with it. When you can only talk about your diet, it’s boring. I know it seems all-consuming to you but… *sigh* Dieting seems so performative, as though the person doing it needs an audience to bolster them through it. And yet, for the audience, there is no benefit to engaging on the subject.
So, it’s potentially harmful to others, it’s way more personal information than people need, AND it’s boring as hell.
I’m not trying to make you, as a dieter, stop dieting. That’s a personal choice and while I don’t agree with it, I’m not going to be up in your face about it. But I think it’s fair to ask you to leave that at home when you come to work. Find something new to talk about; let’s bond over something different. Work friendships are a good thing – let’s build that relationship on something positive.
This is potentially embarassing. I think that’s why a lot of people won’t speak up, you know? And maybe it makes you mad or hurt or otherwise injured that someone wouldn’t be interested in something so important to you. I understand, I really do. But your body isn’t public property, especially in an environment like work where everyone is kind of forced into proximity with people they may very well like or with whom they would never associate otherwise. It’s kind of like family that way. And so boundaries are healthy and really important if we’re all going to get along and be efficient worker bees.
Let’s talk about something else.
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