General Diet Plans and Questions - When others do not accept your woe

09-03-2011, 12:58 PM
For a month now I have been Intermittent Fasting (explained here:, doing what comes naturally for me by eating one meal a day (dinner). Although this woe is controversial for some, this has been working great for me and my digestion, but has put off family and friends. Aside from moving my meal up an hour or two to accommodate an early dinner with others, I refuse to hand-hold or to eat more or outside the pattern that feels best for my body to accommodate others. However, I hate that uncomfortable feeling among them, content not eating, when they are. I easily provide lively conversation as always, but I am just not putting food into my mouth. I am already a long-time homeschooling parent, so I should be used to being an outcast by now! lol

I am guessing that I am not alone here regardless of the different woes practiced. How do you tactfully handle these situations and regain a comfortable tone in the room? I know that one cannot control others, but as I am a very social person, I really would like to rectify this if possible. :)

09-03-2011, 01:15 PM
I do have a tip for restaurants, if that is ever an issue. My friend has a corn allergy and cannot eat anything at restaurants, and sometimes she can't even be inside them. When we eat out, she orders an appetizer for the table as her order, acts like its her order, then just lets us eat it and I pay for it. That keeps the waitstaff off her case.

As for your friends, sounds like they need some training. If training fails, maybe avoid them at mealtimes?

09-03-2011, 01:54 PM
Whenever your behavior is controversial (and even when it's not), it can be extremely difficult to avoid negative opinions (and neutral and positive ones as well). People tend to share their opinions, especially with friends and family.

Many people have been raised to feel uncomfortable eating when others aren't, or when their offers of food are refused. It's so ingrained, it might as well be genetic (and there's even some evidence that it might be). Most cultures, including ours have "hospitality" rules and taboos, which generally make people feel uncomfortable when someone is "refusing" to be hospitable by sharing a meal or accepting food.

You can mitigate the situation, but you can't entirely prevent it. Some people are going to be uncomfortable, if only because it's a foreign concept or experience. Others will have had legitimate and logical opposition to your behavior, and will want to share their opinions.

I have two tactics that work for me. They may appear to be polar opposites, and I use them with different crowds. With most people, I'm open and just am my usual outgoing, friendly, witty self. I refuse to take criticisms personally, and always assume the person has my best interest at heart, so I approach it as if we were discussing and disagreeing over a neutral topic like movies or art, or any other topic of interest. I can say "I understand why you think that, but I've been doing a lot of research and I've found.... blah blah blah.

This can make some people uncomfortable, either because they disagree with you, or because they think your eating behavior is a reflection on them. They may feel uncomfortable eating what they want to, feeling that you or others may be sitting in judgement of their choice to eat. It can be really hard to convince someone otherwise.

With people who are more critical, I will use deception. I will make it appear as if I'm eating, or drinking when I'm not. It's funny how if you have a plate in front of you, and a fork poised over it, no one actually notices if a forkful ever makes it to your mouth, or how many do.

Now when you're actually not eating at all, that's not as practical. You could bring an opaque water bottle and imply it's a protein drink (but then you may get just as much criticism of liquid diets). You could say "I ate earlier (which is true, even if you mean yesterday.) Or you could bring a food-like substance that really is so non-caloric it's essentially not breaking your fast (like a lettuce-only salad with a bit of balsamic or rice wine vinegar).

You may consider that "hand-holding" and you certainly don't have to do it. I consider it an acceptable compromise (in some cases) to social taboos, which can be very hard for people to break. I've noticed that people generally don't notice what you're eating (unless you draw attention to it by complaining about it) as long as you seem to be eating along with everyone else. You may or may not be comfortable with deception as a way to deflect attention. You may feel it's dishonest or disrespectful to your WOE.
So you'll have to choose your battles and your battlefields.

If you want people to understand your WOE, you can try to explain it but it can be difficult to do so in a way that everyone at the table will be comfortable with. Also, people who still disagree with it are going to share their opinions back, so you have to be comfortable with the discussion that can follow, and the possible discomfort that may cause. I don't think there's any way to guarantee that the discussion will go well (especially if conducted while people are eating).

09-03-2011, 04:22 PM
First, congratulations to you both in regard to your weightloss ~ Well done! :carrot:

Thank you both for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I think that they are not only helpful to me, but to others in a similar situation. For myself, the deception part is a clever idea when at a party or something just to be a grateful guest, but when in a restaurant or unplanned, informal lunch at someone's home, I would feel that I was doing a disservice to myself and possibly inflate the situation which is the opposite of what I am trying to do.

I don't want this to be a big deal and therefore have been informing people briefly within our regular conversations when we are not eating (during would be too odd) as a heads-up. I try very hard not to get into discussions about it. Still, they make a big deal of it.

I guess what it boils down to is that it is their issue and they will just have to get over it and learn to enjoy only my sparkling personality - and I will have to wait that out while (silently) standing my ground. I refuse to debate my eating pattern choice with others as I am a rational, educated adult. Besides, I don't want to create 'bad blood' between them and myself or to have an argument as I really don't care about convincing them. I sure as heck am not going to avoid social situations - even those that include eating as this is a lifestyle that is to last a lifetime.

I just don't think that it is fair that others are allowed to have the power to coerce me into going against what is good for me. I tend to be a pushover as I am overly caring and want everyone in the room to be happy. Guess what is about to change besides my figure! ;)

09-04-2011, 01:58 PM
I just don't think that it is fair that others are allowed to have the power to coerce me into going against what is good for me. I tend to be a pushover as I am overly caring and want everyone in the room to be happy. Guess what is about to change besides my figure! ;)

Believe me, I do understand what the pressure can feel like, but you need to remember that believing the situation is "unfair" tends to reinforce the idea that this is something you have no control over. In this case, people only have power that YOU give them. Which essentially means you have all the power. You can decide to give it away or to keep and use it for yourself.

The only way people have true control over your eating, is if they're tying you down, and force feeding you (it can sometimes feel that way, but it usually isn't).

While I've never thought of myself as a pushover, I was definitely addicted to the thrill I received by making people happy (I still experience that thrill, so I'm as much an "addict" as before, I just have to be very careful of when I indulge the addiction).

To gain control of it though, I had to recognize it as an addictive behavior.

Don't get me wrong, most of us do have a strong psychological need to "fit in." I think of it as our "autopilot" setting. Breaking the norm requires effort, often intense effort (at least at first). But weight loss and weight management is an issue on which we don't want to fit in, because the "norm" in this case is to be overweight, inactive, and/or on the yoyo diet train.

Some of us have an easier time accessing the "inner rebel" than others. Personally, I now find it entertaining and fun, since I've realized that most people are not hurt at all by my refusal to be at their beck can call.

09-04-2011, 02:26 PM
I never thought of it as addictive behavior, but it could very well be for me as well. Interesting take on things. How can people continue to argue with someone who is silent?

I am so glad that I came to this forum. There is so much more here than just weightloss support. :)

09-09-2011, 08:57 PM
I hear you! The crew at my office do this "lunch review" everyday. Everyone at the table has to comment on each others' food choices and discuss them...if you eat healthy they make fun of you, if you don't eat they ask you 'why?', if you have a cookie they'll comment on your choice of cookie.

If you say you're trying to lose a few pounds they ask 'why?' or tell you that you're not fat. People telling me I'm not fat is absurd.

It's painful.