27 Responses to (Never-Ending) Diet Talk

For fat people and those with eating disorders, diet talk isn’t as benign as it may seem. Here are some ways to respond to it.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Putting an end to diet talk

Whether you’re a fat person, a person with a history of disordered eating, or just someone who wants to stem the tide of diet talk to help those around you, it can be hard to find a rejoinder to put a stop to this ubiquitous (and, frankly, boring) phenomenon. So here’s a list of possible ways to intervene. The following responses range from sincere and supportive to caustic and sarcastic, depending on your style and the situation:

  1. “Can we talk about something else?”
  2. “I’m so sorry you feel that way about yourself.”
  3. “I want to spend my time with you discussing more important things.”
  4. “This topic is hard for a lot of people, so I try not to talk about it.”
  5. “I don’t really want to hear everything you’re doing to avoid looking like me.”
  6. “This isn’t an appropriate topic for the workplace.” (Or for dinnertime, or Thanksgiving, or…)
  7. “Food is such a joy! What’s your favorite thing to eat?” (When others express guilt around eating “bad” foods.)
  8. “I’ve had problems with disordered eating in the past, and I don’t want to talk about diets.” Alternatively: “This is a trigger of my eating disorder. Can we talk about something else?”
  9. “What’s wrong with being fat?”
  10. “I’m not interested in having this conversation.”
  11. “I don’t talk about diets or weight loss.”
  12. “Life’s too short to get so anxious over one meal.”
  13. “I support you, but I don’t need to hear about your diet.”
  14. “I’ve been working really hard at accepting my body, and this feels like a setback. Let’s talk about something else.”
  15. “How many diets have you been on? How many led to the long-term results you were hoping for?”
  16. “You are so much more interesting than this conversation. What have you been reading lately?”
  17. “I don’t make rules about food.”
  18. “Diet talk reminds me of high school.”
  19. “I don’t participate in food shaming.”
  20. “No more diet talk.” (Repeat as necessary.)
  21. Laugh as if they made a joke.
  22. “I’m on a diet from diets.”
  23. “If you think you’re too fat, wait til you see me!”
  24. Start a diet talk jar — like a swear jar — so everyone puts in $1 for every time they express hatred of their own body or participate in diet talk.
  25. Change the subject.
  26. Walk away.

Your Fat Friend writes about the social realities of living as a very fat person. www.yourfatfriend.com