Anticipating and Responding to Unwanted Comments

Most of us are happy to be able to gather with family and friends this year, and also there is an anticipation and anxiety around unwanted, unrequested and inappropriate comments. Comments about your looks, your body, your food choices.

While we can’t control what others say to us, we do have control over how we choose to respond. There is no right or wrong way – it’s really based on what feels right for you.

First let’s talk about your response to the person who is making  the unwanted comment.

  • You may choose to ignore the comment and meet them with a blank stare (this can be a great tool for making them realize their mistake without you having to say a word).
  • You may choose to walk away without addressing the comment.
  • You may be more direct in acknowledging their comment and setting boundaries.
  • If the person continues, especially if they defend their comment as being “concerned about your health” you have the right to reinforce your boundaries or walk away.
  • You are the ONLY person who knows your hunger, fullness and satisfaction levels. You can choose to eat if you are hungry, and you can choose to eat if you’re full. Either way, it is your choice.

Next let’s talk about your own emotional response to their comments.

  • If you can, take a minute to write down or think about some of the hurtful comments that have been made to you. Take some time to acknowledge the pain, anxiety or any other feeling that came up as a result of the comments.
  • What was your response in the past? Did you tend to rebel and eat more out of anger and resentment? Did you set a boundary that worked for you? Was it all that you could do to just leave the situation?
  • Take a minute to think about how you would like to respond if/when this happens again. How do you want to feel?

I know that this is hard to think about and even harder to do. It may be worth writing out a letter – especially if there is one person who constantly makes inappropriate and unwanted comments. As you consider how you want to handle this, I have no doubt that you will come up with your own best way to set boundaries for yourself and in turn teach others how to do so for themselves. You don’t have to be bullied. You can trust yourself to make your own best choices around your food and your body. You’ve got this.

With Gratitude,
Coach Beth