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Aibu to hate these comments

(33 Posts)
lastqueenofscotland Mon 23-Nov-15 14:31:56

This is very very trivial but it’s causing me massive amounts of stress!
So I’m not drip feeding I have a long long history of eating disorders – anorexia/bulimia/compulsive over-exercising etc, and after slipping back into old terrible habits I’ve been working really really hard on it of late.
There is a woman in my office who is lovely but forever commenting on what I’m eating/quantity/how I cooked it etc etc etc. Ie today I missed breakfast (BAD) and in an attempt to break habits went and bought lunch from a sandwhich shop that makes them to order, this is a big deal - it wasn’t something I’d made from home with perfectly measured ingredients. So that felt like I’d had a mini achievement that I’d gone and bought that and was enjoying eating it.
She comes hawking over going ‘ooo that’s a lot of food I don’t know where you put it’ etc and asking tonnes and tonnes of questions about what was in it. Suddenly I find myself trying to justify to myself what I had for lunch, desperately trying to work out how much blumming hummous they put in my hummous salad wrap, trying to work out if I can move around my weekends menu to have my lighter dinner tonight.
My issue really is that she does it a lot. Whatever I’ve got for lunch comes with questions ‘ooo what’s that/did you make it yourself/how much time do you spend cooking’ etc, even if I’ve eaten somewhere else she’ll bring up ‘oh go anywhere nice for lunch/have anything nice?’ every blumming day. I’ve no idea if she does this to other people but I actually find a lot of it really triggering. Feeling like I’ve been told off for eating too much or ‘praised’ when I’ve eaten something she says looks healthy or whatever. I really do get that she is just making conversation, but I still find food a really pressured subject.
AIBU to find her perfectly innocent comments really upsetting?! I also really want to ask her not to but I also don’t want the whole office knowing I've got issues!

SallyStarbuck Mon 23-Nov-15 14:34:53

Of course YANBU to find these comments upsetting.

Depending on how well you know her, could you maybe mention something to her in private?

And well done on buying yourself some lunch.

SwearyGodmother Mon 23-Nov-15 14:40:43

First of all well done for eating lunch when your day didn't start well - and particularly for doing do where you did, that's a huge achievement.

Do you have any friends at work who know about your ED past? If so could you ask one of them to have a quiet word with her about how it makes you feel? If you don't I suggest taking the bull by the horns and telling her it makes you uncomfortable. I'd probably send an email explaining that you'd not been well in the past and her conversations, though you know full well they're not meant unkindly, make you very anxious. This article might be worth sharing with her. She'll probably be mortified that she's upset you unless she's my mother in which case she'll tell you that you're making your anorexia up and will endeavour not to do so in the future. We are a hugely food-centric society at the moment and it's hard to navigate when you're trying to avoid being sucked too far into an ED.

And your problem isn't trivial - it's important to you so it's important!

HaydeeofMonteCristo Mon 23-Nov-15 14:49:49

Commenting on what other people are eating is always rude IMO.

Obviously in your case it's a lot more that than because of the history you have.

I can never believe the threads where people's friends and relatives feel able to constantly comment on what they are eating!

Enjolrass Mon 23-Nov-15 14:49:51


Some people feel the need to fill a silence and ask odd questions. I worked with a few people who spend hours talking about food. They were usually ones that were on diets or watching their weight. Not ED, just trying to loose weight, as though talking about replaced actually eating it. It's really annoying.

The other issue is that people think comments like 'ohh you are tiny, where do you put all that food' is a compliment. Again annoying, but not malicious.

How you handle it depends on you. Personally I would handle it by asking 'why are you so interested in my food?'

But that's possibly a bit confrontational. A quiet word with her would be good, but do you feel capable of that?

Well done for eating the lunch, but if your struggling please get some help.


Fugghetaboutit Mon 23-Nov-15 14:56:15

Can you tell her to fuck off? I'd love to for you.

I would write her an email asking her to refrain from commenting on what you eat anymore due to issues you have with food.

You do know that she does it because she has issues with food, don't you? People who comment on what other people eat always have food issues too.

Fugghetaboutit Mon 23-Nov-15 14:56:10

And well done for getting food from the cafe!

00100001 Mon 23-Nov-15 14:59:18


YANBU because people are OBSESSED with making comments about food in this country - especially women, especially in the workplace... who knows why confused

YABU because she is saying "normal" things and she (probably?) doesn't know about your eating disorder.

If this upsets you so easily and she doesn't know about your disorder, then you need to do something about it. Either directly to her, e.g "Please don't make comments about what I eat, it upsets me." or indirectly through her line-manager.

00100001 Mon 23-Nov-15 14:59:52

you don't even have to say you have issues with food as PPs have suggested. If it upsets you, it upsets you, tell her. No need to justify yourself.

Lostcat2 Mon 23-Nov-15 15:01:54

Well done and of course it's irritating.

Do you mind saying if you are very thin op? That seems to make people feel they have total rights to comment on your size and food intake when they wouldn't dream of saying that to a fat person.

I would just keep my head down. Not engage or use one word replied around any food discussion. Look bored and she might get the message.

If you email her giving details she might gossip.

kogasa Mon 23-Nov-15 15:03:24

I hate shit like this. But people don't think before they speak if they haven't been through it themselves.

LurkingHusband Mon 23-Nov-15 15:04:21

I prefer Douglas Adams reasoning ...

"The reason some people talk so much is if they don't, their brains start working ..."

manana21 Mon 23-Nov-15 15:10:03

yanbu - i hate comments like this - similar history to you and much dislike eating in public at all. i'm not sure what you can do about it other than not engaging, anything else is going to draw attention to it. She clearly has no manners.

RachelZoe Mon 23-Nov-15 15:12:20

Some people, particularly some women, and extra particularly in this country, have a real pathological need to attribute "good" and "bad" to food and talk about it almost constantly. You see this at dinners where there is 10 min conversation about how "bad" and "naughty" it would be to have a desert etc or having a piece of fruit and chorusing about how "good" they've been.

It's exhausting and infuriating, I guess doubly so if you have a history of eating disorders.

YANBU for being upset and irritated at all. You need to tell her, as others have said, you don't need to justify yourself at all or provide an explanation (I totally get you don't want to discuss your problems with colleagues), just tell her it needs to stop.

Congratulations on buying your sandwich, that is a great achievement.

CwtchMeQuick Mon 23-Nov-15 15:17:16


However I don't think many people realise how triggering their comments can be. Id take her aside and tell her you've been unwell in the past and comments about what you're eating make you anxious.

You're doing really well. Don't let this woman's comments make you feel shit

3luckystars Mon 23-Nov-15 15:19:08

Eat elsewhere. I eat on my own because I can't stand people looking at me eating, I always manage to eat away from people so just try your best to eat elsewhere if you can.
How annoying!!!

wowfudge Mon 23-Nov-15 15:20:30

I suspect she may be a larger person or one who wants to be slimmer and she is asking you about what you eat precisely because you are slim. What she doesn't realise is that you have issues with food yourself.

Yes, have a quiet word with her and if that doesn't do the trick then speak to your manager or HR.

liptolinford Mon 23-Nov-15 15:28:29

YABU. She's probably just trying to have a conversation and has no idea about your eating issues. You could try changing the subject?

Orange1969 Mon 23-Nov-15 15:45:12

She sounds a bit of a pain, but probably doesn't mean to be. I would tell her that you find talking about food difficult because you have had an eating disorder in the past and that keeping well is a work in progress for you.

EssentialHummus Mon 23-Nov-15 15:50:22

What binary said. I don't have an eating disorder but was driven round the twist by random colleagues commenting on my lunch ("Ooh, isn't that healthy?, "Oh, I see you're treating yourself today!", "Is that all for you?", "I'd love Pret but it's so dear."


If possible, eat elsewhere / keep the food hidden in a bag until lunchtime.

Dollius01 Mon 23-Nov-15 15:53:59

God I remember having a total rant at someone trying to inspect the contents of my sandwich in the office at my first job. So bloody irritating! Who wants to be hovered over when they are trying to eat?

And I don't have an eating disorder.


TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 23-Nov-15 16:08:54

You are a skinny minnie and she is not. She is trying to figure out what your magic secret is in the vain hope that she can lose weight by adopting your lifestyle.

Option A) tell her exactly what you eat and how much you exercise. My husband sort of does this. No eating issues per se but gets a lot of comments because of the sheer volume of food he consumes at work. So he tells them that he runs 100 miles a week and goes to the gum daily. That usually shuts them up when they realise that they are not going to get up at 6am to go running and the magic is in fact just sheer hard work !

Option B) tell her the truth.

Option C) fabricate a thyroid issue or something else

Option D) gently take the piss about her obsession with what you are eating.

Spellcaster Mon 23-Nov-15 16:11:54

YANBU. Don't tell anyone at work about your issues - not even HR. Telling them will make you feel even more vulnerable. It does NOT affect your ability to do your job well and therefore they have absolutely NO right to know. Best solution is to eat somewhere else. Second best is to turn it back on this nosy busybody. First an adult statement "I would rather not talk about food when I'm at work." If she doesn't back off ask her calmly "Why do you comment on my food?" Say it with an expressionless face at a moment you feel very calm. Just wait out the awkward silence. Don't say anything else. She will start feeling awkward and perhaps blurt some words out. Just silently be expressionless. If you absolutely have to speak simply repeat the same phrase "I would rather not talk about food." Broken record technique is handy, don't let her manipulate you into saying anything at all. Just repeat the same words over a few times. It will feel really awkward and you will have to ride out the awkwardness of those few moments. Focus on staying quiet and expressionless. She will stop! Then of course you can start chatting with her about another topic, if you like! After all you want to stay friendly with her, she just had to stop with these nosy and inappropriate food comments. Good luck!

NinaSimoneful Mon 23-Nov-15 16:26:48

Jesus that would piss me off. I'd definately be looking to eat elsewhere if that's at all possible for you. A lot of people appreciate a bit of privacy when they are eating so this shouldn't mark you as in any way odd.

lastqueenofscotland Mon 23-Nov-15 18:05:51

Thanks all. I do often eat elsewhere but if she sees me putting Tupperware in the fridge it's questions!
I think I might just politely ask that she doesn't ask about my food... She's much much older than me (must be nearing retirement age) and I'm positive means well, she is lovely, but it makes me so anxious!

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