When to speak up, when to shut-up?

How bout those Canucks?!?! For any non hockey fans, you can expect a lot of play off talk for the next while. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the Canucks WILL take the cup!

Alex Burrows.

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I wanted to get your guys opinion on a situation I constantly find myself facing at work. There is a girl at work who is not healthy, yet she likes to think that all of her choices are healthy, and openly speaks about them.

For example, she has about five 100 calorie snack packs a day, chocolate cookies that say “natural” on them, canned soup, Crystal Light….essentially no real food. Yet she cannot stop talking about all the healthy choices she is making by eating these things.

A very large part of me wants to speak up and tell her how happy I am she is trying to make healthy choices, but guide her to make natural choices. However I haven’t, because I don’t want to be preachy, and I don’t want to overstep boundaries. Because she isn’t asking me for the advice, do I give it?

I haven’t said anything because I don’t see it as my place. However I so badly want to provide information on better choices not only for her but also for the environment (don’t get me started on snack packs or anything that comes in way too much packaging).

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My standpoint on advice is that if it isn’t asked for, don’t give it. However, when someone is flaunting their viewpoint and opinion around constantly, does that give another the right to speak up?

It’s not that I have a problem with what she puts in her body, or her as a person. She’s wonderful and really what she eats truly isn’t any of my business. But, the fact that she constantly states how healthy it is and my passion for real, natural, whole foods, I just feel inclined to say something. It would be no different than someone calling what I eat “hippy food” (I get that all the time. ALL the time).

What would you do? Is there an appropriate way to say something? Or just keep my mouth shut?

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About carlydeal

My name is Carly and I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada! I work for a non-profit organization and spend my free time upgrading my education, snuggling with my LIB and kitty, working out, cooking, and reading.
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20 Responses to When to speak up, when to shut-up?

  1. I totally understand this. I try to mostly lead my example and people tend to follow. Maybe you can start speaking up without directing it at her. When you bring in something whole and natural just say something like “Oh I try not to eat a lot of package foods because they contain chemicals and things I don’t want to put in my body.” Maybe bring a healthy snack you enjoy and tell her shes got to try it because it’s so good. She probably needs some help and advice, but doesn’t know it. I used to be a 100 calorie, healthy choice meal addict until I started reading blogs and learning what REAL food was.

    • carlydeal says:

      Good advice! This–>”She probably needs some help and advice, but doesnโ€™t know it” is exactly it. She is quite a bit older than I so I feel out of place giving advice too.

  2. Touchy subject! My initial reaction would be to say “lead by example” but I know that’s difficult when they are talking up a (misinformed) storm… I guess I would try to show her how to make 100 calorie packs – at home – with whole foods. I use tupperware or ziploc bags (I wash and reuse mine until they break) and make small packs of trail mix, homemade crackers, fruit salad, veggie sticks, etc. I’d bring in a stack and leave them on my desk for “when I need a healthy snack”. Like the comment above me, extra emphasis on the chemical and preservative-free part too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • carlydeal says:

      Good call. Typically I would just continue to lead by example and keep quiet, but the constant talk makes me feel like I get the right to step in! Emphasis on the chemical and preservative free is also a good call.

  3. Jess says:

    Hm I think the Sabres are gonna give you a run for your money!
    I think that’s a tough situation, and she may be more put off by your suggestions than seeing them as helpful. Lead by example, and maybe say things under the radar here and there- but I wouldn’t personally openly attack her choices (not that you would do it an attacking way, i just can’t think of another word).

    • carlydeal says:

      Oooh a Sabres fan. I don’t think so!
      Yeah, it’s definitely not my place to attack her choices, but sometimes I am just so tempted to say something!

  4. I think I’d probably leave her be for the most part – quite a lot of the health nuts I know started off by using bars etc, but then eventually progressed to *actual* healthy eating. Lead by example, and, if she does ever ask for your opinion, say exactly what you think.

  5. I would not say anything unless she asks for advice. I completely understand how irritating it is to listen to someone who is misinformed. Hopefully with time, as she sees your food choices she will ask questions. That has always been the case with me.

    Or you can start leaving pieces of fruit on her desk with post-its on them that read “100 calories”… either way! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Argh, I can understand so much! I like to be very “live and let live”-minded, so I ususally don’t get involved into things like that. It also depends on how close you are with that girl. Appanrently, you aren’t friends, but do you speak to her sometimes? Say hello? Exchange what you did on the weekend? Things like that.

    I think I wouldn’t go to her and say to her, “I don’t think it’s healthy what you’re doing.” However, if she mentions the “healthiness” of her foods again, and this uttering is directed to you, you could reply with a question, like, “Is it really natural? It looks packaged.” The danger is, if you offend her with anything you say, she’ll just clam up and block any suggestions, as good as they may be. So, *if* you want to do something, then try to do it as indirectly as possible, so she doesn’t feel pressed under any circumstances. A very open, very harmless question might work the best in that regard.

    • carlydeal says:

      We have an office only relationship. She is old enough to be my Mom, so I also feel awkward giving advice. She is wonderful though.

      These are all good suggestions! By mentioning how packaged it is I could likely indirectly inform her too.

  7. My uncle said I eat hippie food, but that was OK by me.

    You could approach the situation in a round about way. Rather than saying outright that she’s really not eating healthy, you could (in subtle ways) talk about how your meals are healthy. When she raves about her 100 Calorie pack, you rave about your “luscious apple” and what a tasty “whole food” it is. Over time, she’ll pick up this language and maybe (just maybe) it will click that 100 Calorie packs aren’t nutritious or whole foods. Maybe.

    You could also say something like, “Have you ever tried XYZ?” She’ll probably say no. In that case, tell her about XYZ and why you like it so much.

    This is a very hard situation to deal with because you don’t want to get on bad terms with a co worker. Good luck!

    • carlydeal says:

      Good calls on all of this. At least if it didn’t click, I can feel like I tried. Not that it matters, I don’t need to start a revolution.

      I just think it’s funny everyone openly calls my food hippie food, yet I need to consult help on how to call their chemical laden food garbage! (I’m clearly not a stubborn or defensive person at all)

  8. Get her a subscription to Natural Health magazine to be supportive of her new lifestyle ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love that mag.

  9. Such a sticky subject. I’ve got a few friends who are very vocal about their “amazing” diets. Most recently there has been a trend to “cleanse” their bodies by eating a mere 600 calories a day for a certain amount of time and then switching to 1200 (I think?). I was completely appalled, especially given my history with eating disorders, but I knew trying to talk sense into them was useless. So I said something to the effect of, “you already know my feelings about how harmful that can be to your body, so I won’t get into a long debate with you. But just know that what you are doing is extremely unhealthy.” I don’t know if they listened, but I want everyone to adopt a healthy attitude toward food and sometimes it is hard not to scream at them that what they are doing is sooooo unhealthy!

    So not really the same, but kinda. I also have another friend that recently lost 40+ pounds, but all via diet coke, canned soup, 100 cal packs (hmmm, sounds oddly familiar…) and never drinks water. Like, ever. Sure, she looks great on the outside, but I’m sure here body is screaming at her on the inside! I’ve tried to bring it up casually, in more of a “look how tasty this fresh dish is” or, “man that apple was so much more satisfying than those 100 cal packs I used to buy,” but I’ve never said anything directly about her eating style. I feel like anything I would say would come off preachy or critical.

    So instead I write my (trying to be) healthy living blog and invite her to read it. And with some of my unhealthy eating co-workers I always suggest healthy living blogs to them when they talk about food. Like, “oh I saw the best recipe last night on X blog, here’s the link, I thought of you.” A few have checked them out and one even started making some of the recipes!

    wow….that was a reallllly long response. Ha, sorry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • carlydeal says:

      Good idea to pass on blog suggestions! I hadn’t thought of that.

      There is another girl in my office who has lost a ton of weight eating next to nothing, and all fake food. I have been there so I know how easily she can be offended, yet I do try and encourage her to eat more than rice cakes. I don’t want to be critical at all, nor do I want to come off as judgemental.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I would say keep your mouth shut and lead by example. I pack my own lunch and I find that people often ask about what I’m eating. I know that I HATE it when people feel the need to comment negatively on my food choices (my favourite: someone eating a frozen Lean Cuisine dinner telling me how unhealthy my smoothie was because it had coconut oil in it).

  11. Pingback: 7 Links | Carly Love

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