|January 9, 2020

What to Say When People Ask About Your Diet

By Rebecca Paredes
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

What to Say When People Ask About Your Diet

  • You’re committing to a healthful diet. Maybe you want to have more energy, improve your digestion or manage your weight. That’s great! Go you.
  • People might ask questions or comment on your food choices. They may even push food on you.
  • Your food choices aren’t anybody else’s business. But when they do ask, here’s how to respond to common questions and comments.

Food isn’t just fuel. It’s an event. Food is a celebratory meal with your family, dinner and drinks with friends or a cozy breakfast at home. Depending on your health and wellness goals, you might make different food choices over time. That’s great! But it gets harder when you’re dealing with food pushers and diet doubters. Here’s what to say when people ask about your diet — aside from “mind your business.”

If you’d rather listen to this article, click play below:

What is a food pusher?

Woman looking into pot on stove

A food pusher is a person who pushes food on you either directly (“Just have a bite!”) or indirectly (“I could never give up bread.”). When people see that you’re changing your routine, it can make them feel insecure about their own eating habits. That insecurity can lead to questions and comments about your diet.

Whether you’re cutting back on sugar, eating more whole foods or experimenting with the keto diet, your diet is nobody’s business but your own. Food doesn’t define you as a person. You deserve to eat foods that nourish your body. And you aren’t a “bad” person just because you’re turning down a slice of cake.

At the same time, you might draw attention when you pass on donuts at work or drink water instead of beer at happy hour. When people ask about your diet, here’s what to say.

How to respond to food pushers and diet doubters

Woman stretching in room

Change the focus

If they say: “I could never give up bread.”
Say this: “It’s an adjustment. But my digestion is better, and I like the way I feel.”

People might indirectly comment on your diet by saying how hard it would be for them to give up alcohol, carbs, sugar or however they interpret your diet. The problem with this line of thinking? It reinforces the idea that eating healthfully means depriving yourself of food.

First, some facts. Your diet should make you feel energized and awesome, not hangry and fatigued. Nourishing meals filled with whole foods can be delicious and satisfying. Need proof? Take a look at this Paleo meal plan, or these easy keto Instant Pot recipes. Yum.

So, change the focus and redirect the conversation. Focus on what you GAIN from your diet. You feel more focused and less bloated because you’re intermittent fasting. You’re sleeping better because you’re not staying out late drinking every night. You’re saving money because you’re meal prepping instead of eating out for lunch every day. That’s a positive change — and it’s a change you’re making for YOU.

Say “I don’t” instead of “I can’t”

If they say: “Just one cookie won’t hurt.”
Say this: “I don’t eat gluten, but I appreciate the offer.”

Here’s the situation. You’re cutting back on sugar and gluten. Then, your friend offers you a cookie. That’s kind of them, but not part of your diet. You say, “I can’t eat that.”

They push you anyway, saying, “Just a bite won’t hurt.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

You physically can eat the cookie. But you’re choosing not to because it doesn’t fit your health goals. Instead, say “I don’t.” It’s a little more forceful. But it makes a bigger impact because you’re reinforcing your personal choice and setting a clear boundary. According to research, that distinction also makes it easier to stick to your diet and not cave under pressure.[1]

Just say “no”

If they say: “You’re really not drinking?”
Say this: “No, thanks. But I’m still enjoying myself.”
If they insist: “Come on. Just one drink.”
Say this: “No. Hey, how’s work going?”

You don’t owe anyone an explanation about your lifestyle. People might try to convince you to eat the food you want to avoid, come out drinking or have some of the treats they made. It’s okay to say “no, thank you” and move on. Really. That’s it. And if someone continues to push food on you (because they can’t take a hint), don’t take it personally — just change the topic.

Remember why you started

If they say: “But you don’t need to lose weight!”
Say this: “I feel more energized and productive now that I’m adding butter and MCT oil to my coffee.”

A lot of people think that being “on a diet” means you’re trying to lose weight. That’s not necessarily the case. Your diet is the food that you habitually eat. You might change your diet because eating more fiber is great for your digestion. Or you’re intermittent fasting because it may help you live longer. Or you’re eating more balanced meals and fewer processed foods because you want more energy. There are tons of great reasons to eat more healthful and nourishing meals, and they’re all great responses when people ask about your diet.

Big change starts with small steps. To create healthy habits, make simple, sustainable swaps and stick to them. That’s it. There’s no magic pill or secret. Whether you’re adding Collagen Protein to your coffee for an extra boost of protein, committing to a daily walk or eating more vegetables, you’re taking control of your health and wellness. That’s awesome.

For more tips, check out the Bulletproof 30 Day Upgrade and learn how to get more done and hit your goals, one day a time.

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