Food Shaming: The Food Cop
Food shaming has become a huge problem in American culture. In this day and age, it’s extremely common for us to food shame one another. If you’re not the one doing it, someone may be doing it to you, and many of us have fallen victim to the food shaming game.
Often times, it’s the people closest to you that will shame your food choices, such as a significant other who has become a “Food Cop” and tells you what you can or cannot eat. Sometimes, they will even force you to change your diet altogether.
There are many signs that you are dating a so-called “Food Cop”. Food shaming can be outright obvious or it can be more subtle and subliminal. Here are a few red flags for when your partner is food shaming you.
1.) Every time you reach for a snack, they make a comment such as “are you really going to eat that?”
Unfortunately, this is all too common when it comes to a Food Cop partner. They’ll tend to make comments every time you sit down to have a snack or treat yourself. Sometimes, the food you eat won’t necessarily even be unhealthy, just more than they think you should consume at once.
2.) They constantly remind you of what you ate that day or week already.
Already had a snack earlier? Since Food Cops tend to micromanage, they probably already know, which is why they will never fail to remind you about what it was that you previously consumed that day or even that week already.
3.) They ask if you are going to eat the food on your plate. If not, they will just eat it for you.
It seems counter-intuitive, but not uncommon when they will offer to finish the food you were clearly planning on finishing yourself.
4.) They never restrict anyone else’s diet except yours. They may not even be as conscious about their own diet either.
For some reason, it only just seems to be you. You want to think it’s because they are your partner and are trying to keep your best interests in mind, but it makes no sense still that they single you out. Or worse, they aren’t even nearly as strict on themselves as they are with you.
5.) They tell you that you need to work out more to make up for any additional calories you ate.
This or any other type of suggestion meant it counteract the calories you consumed is another sign that your food consumption is being patroled.
6.) You are afraid of them seeing you eat, so you smuggle food around them.
Indeed, many of us have experienced the food-smuggling game in order to avoid being shamed. You’re afraid of what your partner might think if they knew you decided to eat one cookie today, or what they would say if they found out you broke your intermittent fasting (which they recommended you go on in the first place). Sneaking your food makes it less enjoyable and far more stressful, which can actually cause you to consume even more than you would have under normal circumstances.
7.) You have developed an eating complex and are constantly worried about what your partner will think of you and how you look.
When all is said and done, at the end of the day you’re still too fat. Even if you know that your are within a normal range or aren’t in any warning zones health-wise, you feel that you will never be good enough in front of the mirror or in your partner’s eyes.
So how do you stop food shaming?
Attempting to put an end to a situation where your partner is trying to gain control over you is tough. However, there are ways to try to get your partner to cease their toxic behavior. Ultimately, it is something that you may not be able to control, which we will get to next after these tips.
1.) Have an open conversation
Next time you hear them make a comment about your eating habits, straight up to them that you don’t want to hear it. This alone may be enough to get them to stop. Let them know that you are in control of yourself and don’t deserve to be food shamed or have your diet micromanaged. Ask them why they are doing this to get a better idea of their intentions. Sometimes we don’t realize what we are really saying or doing or how it affects others around us. They may not even realize that they are food shaming you and genuinely thought they were just trying to help.
2.) Try to “compromise”
Should you really try to compromise in a situation like this? Many would say no, however, there are strategic ways to do it that can help strengthen your relationship and put an end to the food shaming. Ask your partner to start cooking together more often. Have both of you choose recipes you think would be tasty and healthy. Make a deal that you will make a two or three-course meal including a dessert to treat yourselves for a hard-earned dinner. When your partner is involved in the cooking process, they may be less judgmental and will forget about criticizing your food choices if you’re cooking the food together.
3.) Fire back
Fighting fire with fire sometimes may be your only good solution to the issue at hand. The next time your partner says something that makes you feel shamed, fire back and point out that you never tell them what they can or cannot eat. Ask them how they would like it if you micromanaged everything they ate. If they are truly the ones with the poor diet and exercise, tell them that straight up. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and tell them that you’re not perfect – but neither are they.
4.) Ignore them
It sounds annoying and lame, especially when you want to fight back, but sometimes your best solution is to simply ignore. Don’t back down or even react to their negative behaviors toward you. Do exactly what you want and what you think is really in your best interest. Just ignore their food shaming at all costs. This can be difficult at first, but if your partner realizes you are no longer responding well or doing what they say, they may drop it altogether.
Nothing is working, now what?
Some people you just can’t break through to, which means it’s time to evaluate your entire situation and gauge if this is a deal breaker. Ask yourself questions. How long has this been going on for? Do they shame you in other ways besides food? Are you actually in an abusive or controlling relationship or is this just a minor part of your relationship that doesn’t seem to affect any other aspect?
Use the answers to these questions to make your next move as to what you need to do in order to get yourself to a better place. Food shaming may be a sign of bigger problems ahead and just the beginning of a controlling relationship. Other times it’s simply a really obnoxious character flaw in your partner that will take time and patience in order to help them understand what they are doing and stop.
Ultimately, your mental and physical health are what is most important. Use these warning signs and tips to help guide you to the best path. Put yourself first, and realize you deserve better than any food shaming treatment regardless of how great your partner may otherwise truly be.
All the best from
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