Do coworkers give you a hard time because of your healthy eating habits? Do your coworkers make you feel like an outcast because you won’t eat all the cake, candy and cookies that they bring in? I’m a certified personal trainer who prides herself in coming up with brilliant ways to shut rude people up.
If your coworkers have been poking at you about your healthy eating habits, and can’t understand why you prefer the protein powder, tuna and salads over the vending machine junk, sodas and cookies, there are a variety of ways to effectively deal with these obnoxious coworkers.
Don’t eat with them. Why would you want to eat with coworkers who make your lunch unpleasant with endless questions about your healthy food choices? An innocent question here and there is not what I’m referring to. According to a thread in a fitness forum I read, some health enthusiasts report outright heckling and harassment, dirty looks and snubbing towards them.
Eat alone at your desk. Eat alone outside somewhere. These are practical options for many workplaces. At a newspaper I once worked at, there were a million possible locations (both inside and outside the building) where people could plant themselves and eat.
If you can’t get out of eating with the group, or, if the rude questions occur when someone sees you snacking on healthy food at your desk, here are some solutions:
Be honest and explain why the protein shake, egg-white salad, canned tuna or whatever. Give the innocent person, or bonehead if that’s the case, a nutrition lesson. Speak with conviction and this will probably prevent future heckling.
If it doesn’t, then up the ante. Give a more detailed lecture. Smile, but speak with conviction. If this fails to work and coworkers continue to badger you about your eating habits, then bump it up and get technical:
“Processed food contains many endocrine disruptors which have been linked to higher incidence of malignant neoplasms, as well as increasing the propensity for developing hyperinsulinemia and hyperlipidemia, not to mention raising levels of low density lipoproteins and triglycerides. And I won’t touch anything with high fructose corn syrup because the syrup involves a chemical process including liquefaction, saccharification, precoat filtration, ion exchange and isomerization.”
Question THEM about their junk food habits. Turn it around to them. Don’t soak up all the attention. Badger them with questions. Corner them.
Tell coworkers you enjoy the taste of healthy foods. You don’t have a sweet tooth. You’ve never cared for munchies. Telling coworkers you like the taste of your healthy food choices won’t leave them much to heckle you about.
Coworkers still won’t back off? Again, turn it back on them. Giving rude, ignorant people a taste of their own medicine usually works like a charm. I know for a fact that when someone is nagged about unhealthy eating habits, it drives them batty. So go for it. Every time the worst offender pops open that can of soda or opens a bag of munchies, give ’em a health freak lecture:
“You do realize that that’s loaded with trans fats, don’t you? Trans fats are responsible for 30,000 deaths every year in America.”
If the coworker says, “Ahhh shaddup!” Then reply, “Hey, that’s a good response. I’ll say that next time you rib me about my healthy food choices!”
Or if they respond, “Who made you the expert?” Tell them, “Good question. I’ll ask you that next time you challenge me about my healthy food choices.”
Next time you get badgered by coworkers about why you refuse the cake, cookies and donuts, respond: “Because I know how much you love junk food, and I’d feel guilty if I took any of it from you.”
If the coworkers are nasty, respond: “Why does it piss you off so much that I don’t eat sugary foods?” Then stare at them hard and wait for the answer. It probably won’t come because they will feel cornered.
If you behave like prey on the job, you will be subject to predatory behavior from obnoxious coworkers. You must toughen up your act in order to put a stop to rude, nasty, obnoxious coworkers who keep pestering you about your healthy eating habits. Learn to distinguish between innocent questions from knowledge seekers, and the true jerks who are just plain jealous.