Can we just stop diet shaming??

What is “Diet Shaming” and can we just stop it already?

Have you ever chosen to eat a salad and others make a comment about how “healthy” you are?

Ever been pregnant and others make a comment about what you should/shouldn’t be eating?

Have you ever been eating something and someone makes a “joke” or a comment about your choice of food?

Diet shaming is a real and common occurrence that most of us may not even realize when it is happening.

Side Note: Let me start off by saying that I really don’t like to use the word “diet”. I have always felt it has a negative connotation attached to it and, to me, it’s associated with restriction. But for the sake of this blog post, I’m going to use the word diet because I am talking about dietary changes specifically.

What do I mean by “diet”?

A diet can literally be any change you wish to make in your eating habits. That could mean that you prefer not to eat dairy or gluten or animal products OR even if you want to stop eating something like peanut butter for personal reasons.

The greatest thing about making choices for yourself if that you do not need a reason. No matter how many people ask or poke and prod. You can simply choose to change your diet whenever you feel it’s appropriate and fits into your lifestyle.

Most of the time, there is some underlying reason, but no one needs to know what that reason is besides you and you don’t have to feel obligated to share either.


Anyone who has ever chosen to make some sort of dietary change knows exactly what I’m talking about when people feel the need to ask you a million questions about why you’re doing it and some even decide to give their unwarranted opinions.

For example, in a culture predominantly revolved around eating meat, those that choose not to eat meat are considered “out of the norm”. Luckily, veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more accepted, but even still, those who choose that lifestyle can face criticism from those close to them.

I have personally been a vegetarian and chosen to participate in a more plant-based lifestyle and most people ask the same questions:

“Why aren’t you eating meat…?”

“Are you sure you’re getting enough protein?”

“Don’t you miss meat?”

Same goes for gluten free…

“Why are you eating gluten free if you don’t have Celiac Disease?”

And Vegan….

“Don’t you miss cheese?”

“Are you taking a B12 supplement??”

There are plenty more that I could list off, but you get the point.

There is one important thing I want you to remember if someone makes a comment about your eating habits/decisions….


Those who are not affected by your choices, simply do not care what you choose to do. It doesn’t affect them either way; therefore, they typically don’t say anything. I’ve noticed through personal experience that when people criticize your change in behavior, it has triggered something in them that makes them uncomfortable.

Diet shaming is a real thing and I think it is something we’ve all faced at some point; whether we’ve recognized it or not.

I know, I know. Some people may just be asking out of curiosity. And I totally get that! There is nothing wrong with curiosity. I’m just here to say that you don’t need to explain yourself if you don’t want to and that is enough.

Diet Shaming with Family and Friends

Our biggest critics are the ones that are closest to us! That is because they feel the most comfortable saying how they feel.

I remember when I first decided to move to a more plant-based lifestyle, I felt weird telling people that the reason I chose to make that change was because I couldn’t stomach looking at meat and knowing that I was eating an animal that was once alive (that’s a little dramatic, but the truth). It was my own personal feelings and I knew that some others couldn’t relate. So, I felt uncomfortable sharing the real reason and instead told others that I went plant-based to be “healthier”.  

Undoubtedly, plant-based diets are the healthier choice, but I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the real reason and it’s because of diet shaming.

I got questions like….

“You aren’t killing the animal, so why does it bother you?”

“We have to kill them otherwise they will overpopulate…”

“You’re not going to go full vegan, are you??”

And my favorite…..

“ Our ancestors ate meat to survive…” (actually, they ate more plants)

Unfortunately, we live in a society where different is usually criticized and those are all real comments I have received.

Not all people mean harm, as I stated previously, and not all people care what you do. But I also know that diet stigma is a real thing and sometimes it can be hard to face when you decide to make a change.

I think the times when it becomes most difficult is at parties and events.

How to handle Holidays and Parties

I know this can be kind of awkward at times, but if you feel strongly about not straying from your diet or you have a medical condition, then bring your own food!

It’s not that weird if you let the host know that you will just eat your own food. They are probably serving plenty of other people to worry about what you’re eating.

Bring your own food

Heat it up yourself (the host is probably too busy)

Eat with everyone else (don’t try to skip the meal time and avoid questions)

Lastly, if people ask you about it, just give them an answer and move on. You’re not obligated to explain yourself.

Every choice you make in life is YOUR choice. Other people’s opinions and comments are just a reflection of themselves. It took me a while to realize that.

It became most apparent that I was most uncomfortable around my friends and family because I felt like they were making judgements.

Sometimes those around you think they have your best interests at heart, but only you do. And if something doesn’t align with your values then don’t do it simply because it makes others feel comfortable or is “easier” for everyone involved.

Moral of the story… stand behind what you feel is right, with anything in your life, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

hi there, i’m michelle

welcome to my little home on the internet! I'm a Registered Dietitian and am here to share with you evidenced based and realistic ways to better your health for the long haul. Here you'll learn ways to eat that are both practical and sustainable. Enjoy!

Current Location

Current Location

New Hampshire

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