It’s really hard to escape diet conversations. They are happening every day. I’ve heard them in line at the grocery store. I hear from my clients all the time, how often those conversations are happening at work, you know, in the work lunch room. Maybe it’s during girls or moms night out.

Those conversations feel inescapable that you just cannot avoid them, but you might also feel like you don’t know how to respond when those conversations are happening.

In this week’s episode I share with you three ways that you can respond in these conversations. Three ways you can handle them in person or online.

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Hey ladies, welcome to episode 95 of the health life and more for women podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer D’Amato, I’m really excited for this podcast episode today because I believe it’s really hard to escape diet conversations. They are happening every day. I’ve heard them in line at the grocery store. I hear from my clients all the time, how often those conversations are happening at work, you know, in the work lunch room. Maybe it’s on that you know, girls or moms night out. Those conversations feel inescapable that you just cannot avoid them, but you might also feel like you don’t know how to respond when those conversations are happening.

 If you’ve even just started exploring intuitive eating or exploring the idea that diets don’t work, you might find yourself wanting to run when you hear these conversations. Like get out of the room, you just might feel stuck on how do I respond? Because you don’t want to encourage dieting. You don’t want to feed into those beliefs and, you know, diets don’t work, but you’re not sure how to handle these conversations. So I want to share with you three ways that you can respond in these conversations. Three ways you can handle them in person or online. We know that these conversations are happening on social media all the time. Honestly, they’re happening at probably even a higher rate online than they are in person, but they’re definitely happening. And you probably can’t go through a week without hearing someone talking about their diet, or the struggles they’re having or how they feel in the body that they have.

Now, before I dive into these three ways to respond to diet conversations, I just want to invite those of you who have stepped away from diet culture, but you’re just feeling stuck. You’re not sure where to go next, what to do. And you even might be feeling that pull back into diet culture, because you’re just feeling confused with what to eat, how to eat when to eat without a diet, dictating it for you.

I want to encourage you hop into the show notes, book a call with me. I help you break down dismantle those rules that have been keeping you stuck that have been really negatively affecting your relationship with food and help you go through the fundamentals and principles of intuitive eating so you can reconnect with your body, reconnect with what’s best for you and redefine what health is. No other outside message. Just what’s already within. Book a call. Let’s talk more about working together and if this is the next best thing for you. 

So sometimes I do better with imagery, like, so I can kind of see this unfolding. So in your head, even just picturing this conversation. Maybe you notice there’s a group of women, let’s say anywhere from four to six, and someone has started a conversation about dieting, about the diet they tried the diet that’s not working, or they’re talking about weight loss. I can’t lose weight. I’ve lost this weight. I can’t keep it off. I need to lose that last 10 pounds. All of those things that have become so commonplace in conversation. So someone has started this and in general, a lot of people are just contributors.

So they’re just part of the conversation. They keep it going. They just contribute to the conversation. Because you do not want to be a contributor to the conversation I’m proposing there are three other ways to respond. One is the responder, the other the interjector, and the last is observer. Now, let me in this, this scenario show you how each of those looks.

So the conversations going on and people are contributing. You can take the role of responder. Now this is different from contributor. That’s the person who’s just part of the conversation and keeping it moving. You, however in that role, are just thoughtfully responding when asked something specifically. You are responding. You know, that’s generally when something is directed toward you.

When you’re asked a question about the topic, you respond. Now, of course you have the option to respond with, I don’t want to talk about this. But you may just respond with, you know, an honest response of how you relate to what they’re talking about. So responder is an option, but I just want you to see that there’s a difference between someone who’s contributing, just completely involved in the conversation and someone who is involved in a passive sense and only responding when asked a specific question.

When you take on that responder role, you might even have thoughts of, please don’t ask me something. Please don’t ask me what I think about this. I know I’ve had that thought and usually it’s because if you ask me what I think I’m about to shake up the entire conversation and probably never be invited again. But you do have the option to respond in this responder role. You’re listening, you’re paying attention, but you only respond when asked specific questions. 

Now the second response option is the interjector. Now you probably know this person, this is the expert, or really the self-proclaimed expert. Always interjecting their opinion or their thoughts. They just always have something to contribute. They know something about everything. They have been there, done that they have to continually put in their opinion, based on what’s being said. Now you might expect that someone like me, someone in my position would take the interjector role.

I can speak on these topics. I can tell you without a doubt why diets don’t work. I can explain to the women in the room that are having the conversation about weight loss or about this product they’re trying or about the keto diet, why they’re having results at the beginning and why that does not last and why they regain all the weight.

I absolutely can interject expert information. I can talk about studies. I can lay it all out. I can give client testimonials. Generally, I don’t take this role. It’s actually one that seems combative when you come from my vantage point. Because honestly, a lot of these conversations, people are looking for validation. They’re looking that other people are right where they are. Other women are struggling with the same things and that it’s okay that I’m not eating. It’s okay that I’m restricting. It’s okay that I feel like garbage about my body. They’re looking for that validation. 

There’s nothing wrong with being an interjector. Especially coming from the anti diet perspective. I know so many clients who have kind of become this diet disruptor in the conversation. And I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s wonderful. And there are times this is the role I’ll take. It’s not very often. But I do believe that we can set boundaries for ourselves in the context of these conversations and sometimes interjecting, Hey, did you know that 99% of these diets are failing and that most people gain all the weight back and then some, and they’ve also slowed down their metabolism.

Hey, did you know that our brain needs carbohydrates in our body likes getting energy from them? So cutting them out completely. Actually has adverse effects, even ones you can’t see. And eventually you will also gain that way back if you start eating carbohydrates again. Did you know? Now you can do that. There are times I have done that, but I also believe that takes some strength to be the interjector from an anti diet perspective, because it’s disrupting the diet conversation. And it’s part of the reason I take the last role of observer. I’m often in the observing role. 

Now I’ve admitted on the podcast, I’m a total people watcher and unapologetically I love watching people and partly it’s because people are the most fascinating things to observe. They really are. I was recently in a situation where the conversation was like thick in the air with talk about dieting and weight loss and the negative body talk was just overwhelming. I felt we could have painted the walls with how thick it was. My response in the conversation was observer. I think a lot of people believe that being an observer is a passive role, but it’s not. When I take the role of the observer, I actually feel my brain is probably working harder than if I interject or even respond.

It looks like I’m stepping back and maybe even to the other people in the conversation, it looks like I’m not participating at all. But this is not a passive role. I am actively engaged in what the conversation entails, the words that are being spoken, the body language that’s happening. And here’s the key for me about being in observer role. I believe we can build compassion from curiosity. I am extremely curious. I am always wondering, where did that come from? What makes you believe that? Why is that your response? And so in this role of observer, most recently, that’s exactly what was happening. I actually felt like my brain could not turn it off.

It got me so curious, why do you believe this about your body? When did that start for you? Why do you think this is going to work for you when nothing else has? Now, this is not coming from a place of judgment. That’s never my approach. It really is a compassion builder. When I get curious about these things, when I really am wondering the whole time, the root, where these things came from, how they’re built and why they become these beliefs, I feel this overwhelming sense of compassion.

 In the role of observer you can also observe your own thoughts. You can really take a step back to what your thinking about the conversation. About your own body, about your journey. And, you know, I really was able to simultaneously take that reflective look as the observer. Where I’d been when I lived in that space, where diets were the norm and where I am now, and it builds self compassion. It’s amazing what can happen in the role of observer.

 So I hope you’re getting this, that I don’t believe your only choice in these situations is to just be another contributor. You have the choice to respond if you’re specifically asked. You can take that time to be reflective and respond in those moments. You also can be the interjector. You actually can be the complete diet disruptor to the conversation. Or you can take the role of observer. You can get really curious. You might get curious about the topic being discussed, but you also might get really curious about how you feel about it, about your thoughts on what’s being said.

I know these conversations are hard to walk away from. I mean, physically hard to even walk away from you might be in a situation where you actually can’t even get up and leave. So I hope one of these gives you something to try on. Maybe you want to try on being just the responder. Maybe you want to see what it feels like to be an observer the next time this conversation’s going on and you can’t just get up and leave.

Or maybe, maybe you’re feeling strong enough to be the interjector. You want to be one who says none of that works. And by the way, here’s this podcast that explains it even better than I can. Maybe that’s where you are. But if you are struggling, if you’re struggling with the thoughts you have in these conversations, or you feel like I’m just the contributor. I am constantly on the dieting train. I can’t get off. The reason I’m in these conversations or starting these conversations is because I’m just living in it and I can’t get out, but I want to, but I’m interested, but I need to know more. Like I said earlier, let’s talk, let’s talk about what life looks like now and what life looks like when you’re no longer dieting. When you’re no longer spending so much time thinking and obsessing and wondering about food and what you should eat and if you’re working out enough and all of the things that come when you’re completely immersed in diet culture. 

I hope that these three options for responding to diet conversations gave you something to think about. And really, I hope that they gave you something to try on the next time you feel stuck in one of those conversations. I am curious, which one speaks to you the most? Which one do you find is the best role for you? Is it responder, interjector or observer? Hop onto Instagram health life and more for women shoot me a DM today. Let me know which one do you identify with most and which one are you trying on this week. I think, you know, I’ll be playing the role of observer. All right until next week, ladies.

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