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Grrr!! Frustrated by other people's non-understanding

So the Human Resources section at my work met me in their office to express their concern over my “tinyness”. They are scared I have an eating disorder. I tried to explain my lifestyle, but of course they don’t get it. Any suggestions on how I should deal with this? Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks.

Comments

  • tell them your lifestyle / diet is based on your religious beliefs. once a company hears ‘religion’ they usually back off real quick as they do not want to be involved in a discrimination lawsuit. i know it is a lie, or half truth, however unless your performance at the office is suffering, or illegal, they have no right to invade your personal life.

  • What’s your height, weight, and build?

    I have a gut feeling that you are actually a healthy weight for your body but by today’s unhealthy standards you seem tiny. For example, I’m a woman, 5’9”, 138lbs, medium build. I am at a very healthy weight for my body, but people are always saying I’m “too skinny already” and other comments, generally telling me to eat a steak(gag.)

    Tell them that you don’t interfere with their diet choices and that you’d appreciate the same courtesy. If you were overweight, do you think they would actually come up to you and express their concern over your “largeness”?

    Then again, if you think that you are too skinny or may have an eating disorder, go see a doctor and discuss this with them.

  • Wow, that is really audacious. I would flip it back on them and take the opportunity to really soapbox. Bring in articles, visuals.

    “I am actually really glad that you guys brought this up with me because I have just been dying to tell you about the amazing benefits that eating raw can bring. Generally I don’t like to push it on people until they really show an interest, but as you guys seem to want to know all about it, let me tell you. I have to admit that I have been a little concerned about your health and size as well.”

    If not, as mentioned before, to let them know that it is not their place, instead of saying it is religious thing, say it is due to a health problem. Diabetics never get shit for the way they have to eat. Just tell them that you have to eat this way for health reasons. Which is true. I think it is wild that they would do that to you at a job. Jeez.

  • This is horrible! I mean, if you did have an eating disorder is it really any of their business unless you asked for help? It is not like you are stumbling around the office sick and throwing up. If you say “no, I don’t have an eating disorder” – than that should be the end of it. I could see if you came into work drunk and they could smell liquor on you and then they would say something because that would be inappropriate at a job but an eating disorder would not be.

    Tell them about your lifestyle and say you have always been naturally on the tiny side and they do not need to worry about it. I have always been on a the tiny side but only when I got really skinny were some of my friends afraid I had an eating disorder. I told them not to worry about me.

    It is funny because they are probably basing your weight agaisnt the majority of the people in the world who are overweight and fat. Could they maybe be jealous? :)

    It is hard at work because people bring in snacks and stuff and they are always cooked and unhealthy things like donuts and they offer you some and you say no – and than if you say no enough, they will start assuming things about you and that you are unsociable employee. Even worse if you have to go out to lunch with people from work. That is so hard.

  • That is ignorant on their part.

  • If your coworkers are expressing concern that shows they care about your health. With so many women with eating disorders a smaller woman who they only see eating veggies would be a red flag to people. I think that you can thank them for their concern and use it as an opportunity to tell them about the raw lifestyle. It wouldn’t hurt to let them see you eating some raw desserts too!

    You also mentioned in a previous post that you wanted to gain 10 – 15 lbs. Perhaps this is why your co workers approached you.

  • Even though it is an invasion of privacy, it can be nice to know someone has some sort of concern. But she stated clearly that she tried to explain her lifestyle.

    I tried to explain my lifestyle, but of course they don’t get it.

    That is why I consider it ignorant. No one should have justify their lifestyle to anyone because they think they are too skinny. Think of it like this Patty do you believe they would be concerned if she were the opposite. Being obese can be considered having an eating disorder as well.

    I don’t see people looking at someone who is large and asking them what is wrong. Even if she did have an eating disorder it is inappropriate for the HR department to intefere in her diet because they are not counselors or medical personnel. Due to privacy laws if she did have an eating disorder she does not have to disclose that to them.

  • I think it’s important to remember that most people say something because they are truly concerned- not because they are trying to be malicious. I had a difficult time with my last pregnancy- very low iron and, despite all efforts to get my levels back up, it just kept dropping. I had to transfer care from my mid-wife to a high risk doctor. I was hounded by nurses and the doctor that it was my diet ( I wasn’t raw, just vegetarian and my iron levels were always great when I wasn’t pregnant) and that I was putting the baby at risk. I finally agreed to take a presciption that was made with cow’s blood and had wonderful results for people with low iron (please understand I was trying to do what was best for baby- I was pretty scared- doctors were talking about transfusions after delivery and the inability to produce breastmilk when it came time to nurse). It turns out my problem is absorption during pregnancy, so I could eat 50 steaks a day and still have problems with my iron. I took those damn pills and they didn’t do a thing to help. Fortunately, I was able to have a normal delivery (with my midwife) and everything turned out okay.

    My whole point to this story was that I was pretty mad that so much was taken out of my control during pregnancy (I come from a belief that pregnancy is natural- not a medical conditon) and that I had all these “professionals” labelling me a difficult patient because I fought so hard for my beliefs (I knew I was taking enough iron). People were constantly at me to go eat meat- that it would solve everything. In retrospect I see the concern was partly due to their training, partly from their ignorance to nutrition, and partly as a genuine desire to help others. I think the same can be applied to your case- people just don’t know any better. Just try not to get too angry (like I did- it’s a terrible waste of your energy) and remember it’s because they care!

  • What bothers me most is, why aren’t they calling in obese people and asking them about THEIR eating disorders? Heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol problems – these are some of the biggest risk factors today, all due to being overweight and eating a standard AMerican diet.

    You should all go to Mercola.com and watch the video there – it’ll give you a laugh and some food for thought.

  • This is an interesting topic. I hear of companies launching a wellness initiative program. Basically, an outside-company is hired to be a “health advisor” and assess your nutrition.

    Anyway, I think it would be interesting to have two dishes – one, a common SAD diet dish and the other an “equivalent” raw food dish. Then compare the nutritional value in both. I haven’t done this, but now I would be interested in knowing the results.

  • According to Dr. Douglas Graham in The 80/10/10 Diet, raw food is often comparable to SAD foods as regards the high levels of fat. germin8, if you do run the numbers, please let us know what you find.

  • From germin8: Anyway, I think it would be interesting to have two dishes – one, a common SAD diet dish and the other an “equivalent†raw food dish. Then compare the nutritional value in both. I haven’t done this, but now I would be interested in knowing the results.

    Well, let’s take Olive Garden’s Linguine alla Marinara. That has 551 calories, 8g fat(1.5g sat. fat), 79g carbs(8g fiber), 14g protein.

    Now we add to that Alissa Cohen’s recipe for zucchini pasta with marinara sauce. 1 medium raw zucchini has 31 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs(2g fiber), 2g protein. 4 medium raw tomatoes have 88 calories, 0g fat, 20g carbs(4g fiber), 4g protein. 3 cloves garlic has 13 calories, 0g fat, 3g carbs, 1g protein. 1 tsp olive oil has 40 calories, 5g fat(1g sat. fat), 0g carbs, 0g protein. 1 date has 66 calories, 0g fat, 18g carbs(2g fiber), 0g protein. The rest of the ingredients are seasonings with no significant effect on these categories. The total for this dish is 238 calories, 5g fat(1g sat. fat), 48g carbs(8g fiber), 7g protein.

    It would be difficult to compare the nutrient density for these two dishes because the OG dish doesn’t have published nutrition data beyond these basic criteria. But based on calories, fat, carbs, and protein alone(the main things that dieters look at), it’s clear which is the better choice here.

  • I don’t think your coworkers are being busybodies, or are they jealous or malicious. Eating disorders are very real and many of us who follow ‘non-standard’ diets, especially if we change appearance in a short period of time can draw attention from people who mean well. It would be a good idea not to get defensive or angry with people who do mean well (or if a company wellness policy means they officially want their employees healthy).

    But ask yourself these questions:

    1) are you eating raw in order to be thinner?

    2) Are you happy with your body the way it is or do you look in the mirror and say “I wish I could lose a few pounds”? Be honest.

    3) Do you think about food a lot (raw or not) and are you hungry a lot, without letting yourself eat?

    4) Do you frequently feel guilty about food you do eat? Even if it’s raw?

    5) Are you brutally anal about measuring and controlling portions? Do you feel ‘fat’ or unhappy about your appearance?

    6) Does strong control over food take precedence over other factors in your life? Do you feel a lot of pride over controlling your food intake and feel emotionally weak if you slip up?

    Of course the biggest eating disorder of all is eating way too much crappy food. But on the other hand, eating raw and taking care of your health is admirable, warning signs can occur. If you answered yes to more than one or two of those questions, then look into things more closely. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person, but it does mean that food issues apart from health are playing a part in a raw food lifestyle and help is available.

    I don’t want any raw foodists, or anyone, punishing themselves when we are all beautiful and healthy human beings.

    Take care!

  • joseegonthier,

    Eating disorders are real. Cargo discusses it well in his post. For this post, I am assuming that you are healthy. What is your BMI? Is it in the healthy range? Just tell them, here is my BMI, it is in the healthy range, I don’t have any health issues, etc..

    According to the World Health Organization, there is a worldwide obesity epidemic . I am sure your workplace is full of overweight people. You can ask your HR person whether they have pulled all of them as well. Obesity and overweight are so common nowadays that people don’t think twice about it. Yet, these are serious conditions.

    Also, as others have noted, the HR person is probably genuinely concerned. So, thank them for their concern, etc.

  • looking at your picture, you look beautiful. people with eating disorders look pale, weak, they lose their hair, poor circulation results in a bleu tint to their hands and feet. they also isolate, and tend to be very non social. you look great, your company has a problem with that? too bad for them…..

    my source is my own expirience with an ED.

  • People sometimes get very jellows because they have no will power to change.I mean change in any aspect in their life: marriage,friends…much more diet,lifestyle diet.The majority of people is living in an automatic pilot,and when they see someone living a full life and a happy life they get :concern”. Concern means jealosy,not understanding why they don’t have that happiness.

  • I have a similar problem at work, there is always jokes for my behalf about my mostly vegan lifestyle (I have back-slid) from time to time, and now with the raw diet.

    I have been sick a very long time and have moved to vaganism and now raw food to try and correct those problems. Whenever I feel ill, due to rising blood sugar, or pain from arthritis in my neck and spinal chord their response is always the same. It’s because I don’t eat meat. Pure ignorance. I have been diabetic for 8 years, a vegan for 6 months and a raw foodist for a a few weeks.

    But I let them have their jokes, all I know is that in the last 6 months I went from 190 to 155 lbs (my doctor is encouraging 10 more lbs for my ideal weight) and my sugar levels are starting to improve. So I think I’ll stick with this.

  • I remember 10 yrs ago, I was raw for 3 months and went out to dinner with a “friend” to a vegetarian restaurant. I ordered a large salad, green juice and fruit salad for dessert. We had wonderful conversation, laughs and even a few other friends joined us. As my friend and I were leaving, she turned to me and said ” I am never going out to eat with you again until you start eating real food”. As you can imagaine, I never did see her again. That was very hurtful at the time but now It is so funny to me, I’m actually laughing as I’m typing this. I’ve had more incidents with other peoples fear of raw food but this one was the best.

  • Here’s a positive story…. Yesterday I offered my 3 year old daughter toast for breakfast (used to be her favorite) or some fruit. She said she wanted “the real food” and grabbed the fruit! She is my biggest raw inspiration, as left to her own choice, she will always choose raw fruits and veggies to eat instead of the cooked stuff.

  • Hi I feel like you that it isn’t really any of their business. The thing that irks me is that how long had they been talking about it before they brought it up to you. Is there a physical required for your job or did your job suffer at all. If not, I don’t think they had any right to talk with you about it. If you were stumbling around work, sleeping at your desk, slurring your speech- now that would be cause for concern.

    One thing you could do would be to have a couple recipes of what you eat and how many calories they have. Even snacks. If you have one bag of sunflower seeds a day it’s 800- 1000 calories!

    If you had an over active thyroid it would be apparent because you would have symptoms. You could state you’ve been to the dr. recently and all of your blood tests were normal.

    I was in gymnastics and dance when I was younger and you are probably similar in body style as the girls in that. In gymnastics the girls are usually more muscular but still only weigh about 88 lbs and are in peak performance. It also depends how tall you are. In ballet the girls appear to be even smaller but if you were to see how much muscle they have it’s a lot. It’s just elongated muscle. If you do yoga you’d have the same kind of muscle.

    Sunflower seeds can actually make you lose fat quickly and keep you from gaining fat. They market a chemical in sunflower seeds for healthfood stores that is $40.00 to $100.00 a bottle because it is so good. It is gama amino butric acid. So if you want to gain weight you could eat different kinds of nuts like macadamia and even pumpkin. Brazil nuts are great as well in recipes and last a really long time if you get them in the shell and they are also more raw that way.

    If you ate a cup of pumpkin seeds you’d have 60% of your rda for iron- so that’s pretty good. That would be about 720 calories.

    Add a half a cup of dates or raisins and you have another 250 calories.

    The best way to see what’s going on with you is to see how many calories you are taking in compared to the average person or someone your height. Even so- someone there who looks overweight may be having a slimfast for lunch a lean cuisine for dinner and a bowl of cereal for breakfast and still have weight problems because that is the wrong food for them to eat. Slim fast has a lot of carbs too!

    I’d like to know what your food intake is so I could try it! I do agree there may be some jelousy there and some of the ladies probably want to know your “secret”. Hang in there!

  • Has anyone else had a problem with being accused of having an eating disorder when they don’t. Whether they had hyperglycemia or just a raw vegan?

  • refer them to this website

  • Actually, I find more and more people interested in raw. Maybe it’s just the area I live in (Greater DC). This last week I met two people who have tried it or want to try it. And someone else who wants to attend my raw food class. People at work are curious what I eat (I’m not 100% raw)... but, even being vegan has them looking at my plate of food. Here… being “different” (or yourself) is normal! One reason I love the DC area.

  • Hi Josee

    I’ve looked at your photo’ as well. These people are worried, but they’re worried about themselves rather than you. I suggest saying, ‘Look at my hair. Look at my skin. Look at my teeth. Do I look unhealthy?’ Also, there’s some research that’s been discussed in the UK recently that says, to minimise the risk of cancer the thinner the better.

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