He Said, She Said: Woman tired of office mate’s constant eating critiques Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2015
By Shaun and Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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We like to eat where I work, a lot. We are always having potlucks and I love it. It builds camaraderie.  And who doesn’t like to sample yummy treats?  However, one of my coworkers always ruins it for me. He is constantly guessing the calorie content of everything and talking about portion sizes. He is a body builder.

I get that he likes to keep his physic in excellent shape. But, I am a little on the plump side and he always makes me feel bad for eating what I like. He even makes it a point to say something when I am eating my morning honey bun or afternoon ice cream.

How can I let him know that he is hurting my feelings? I don’t want to make anybody mad.

HE SAID:  Been there! I used to share a cube with a really nice guy, but he was a vegan and he believed it was his obligation to convert everyone else to his eating preferences.  

At first, I tried being polite, and said “I’m happy for you, but my body likes real food.” This just seemed to provoke a challenge and he continued. So I was a little more clear and said “I love the fact that you can eat or not eat whatever you want to, I don’t care how many carrot juices you have in a day, or about the fact that they are turning your hands orange, but I’d really appreciate it, if you would keep it to yourself.”  

This too, proved to be a taunt, that he had to convert me, so I became less subtle … every time he started in on the virtues of a vegan diet, I would excuse myself, run down to the snack bar and grab a double cheeseburger, then return to my cube to devour it in front of him. This offended him so that he would get up and leave and eventually he stopped. I say all of that to say this; we all get to make our own choices in life, rather that is your religious beliefs, eating habits or political points of view.  

There will always be people out there that think they know better than you … and sometimes they might even have a point, but when they try to force their beliefs on others, they turn people off.  

Tell him straight out, how you feel and ask him to respect your right to live your life. Tell him, if you want his input, you will ask for it.  Ask him how he would feel if you tried to tell him how to live his life spiritually, politically or dietary wise? Ask him for the same respect he would expect from others to make his own choices.  If this offends him, too bad, that’s his issue —  just like it is your right to  live the way you deem  appropriate.    

SHE SAID:  We all know this “guy.”  He (or she) has taken their fitness aspirations to the next level. Typically, it’s the “no one else cares” level.  They post their daily workouts on social media, explain how every piece of food you put in your mouth is poison, and basically, they are better “human beings” because they are totally and completely obsessed with the way they look. The truth is, they don’t really have anything else in their life working well, so they focus on something they feel they can control.  OK, that’s my 5 cents worth of psychology.  

The bottom line is, we all know this person. Unfortunately for you, he has decided to make you a mission or cause. By focusing on what you eat and when you eat it, he can correct your behavior and feel superior.  

I would tell you that you could lay this all out for him; explain that his shallow, one tract mind is obsessive in nature and no more healthy then being “plump.”(Your word, not mine.) Or you could simply explain to him that you aren’t interested, and you would appreciate it if he would keep his opinions about what you eat to himself; that includes verbal and non-verbal “clues.”

I don’t think it will hurt his feelings if you say it in a way that you would want to hear it.  He needs to understand that, as exciting and enthralling as all this is to him, you couldn’t give a flip. If you don’t think you can say it to his face without getting emotional, write him a letter, email him, or cut out this article and put it on his desk.  What you shouldn’t do is say nothing.  No one should have to work in an environment where they feel ridiculed or belittled.  Good luck.

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 April 2015 )