With so much time spent with our coworkers, it’s inevitable for diet conversations to come up. Here’s how you can handle it with grace.


As we hit summer, it seems like diet talk explodes everywhere around us. Diet culture has ingrained in society that we need to get “beach ready” and diet for a “summer body.”  And if you feel as if you can’t escape the diet talk in the workplace, you’re not alone.

Because we spend so much time at work with our coworkers, it’s difficult not to be surrounded by diet talk. It can be sneaky comments, such as “I really need to give up X so I can fit in my bathing suit, it’s so bad for me,” or “We did X amount of activity today, so we can burn off that cookie.”

If the diet talk is getting under your skin, here’s how you can deal with the diet talk swirling around the watercooler.

1. Consider your options

Have in mind a couple of options on how to directly deal with the diet talk. You can choose not to engage in the conversation, change the subject, or physically remove yourself from the conversation by going to the restroom. Decide whether or not you want to educate in the situation, or just let it go. It can be mentally frustrating to educate others who aren’t open to listen. If the person you’re in a conversation with is really adamant about their style of dieting, you’re probably better off using a different tactic than education. Simply move on from the conversation instead of engaging in debate.

2. Set boundaries

All good relationships need boundaries, and you have the right to create these boundaries regardless of the type of relationship. Whether it be your significant other, dear friend, family member, or coworker, boundaries exist so you can cultivate healthy relationships.

Think of these boundaries as a line you don’t care to cross. When your coworker brings up a new diet they’re on, try changing the subject. Depending on how direct you’d like to be and how comfortable you feel doing so, you may choose a more firm statement. “I don’t really want to talk about diets and losing weight anymore.” Know who you’re speaking with and what kind of a relationship you have with this person before responding. Remember, you don’t need to join in to fit in. Be yourself and stick to your beliefs.

3. Be compassionate with others, and yourself.

Recognize that not everyone is on the same path as you, so don’t get discouraged when their beliefs don’t align with yours. Be compassionate with friends or close coworkers who are still on the diet train, and remind them to the effect of: “You know I’m not a fan of diets and I love you the way you are. Just always remember to take care of yourself and put your well being first.”

Navigating body image and diet conversations can be difficult around peers,

But know that you are equipped to sidestep them.

Adapted from the original article.

Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN is a Charlotte, NC-based private practice dietitian on a mission to empower others to live a healthier, happier life.  By emphasizing a non-diet approach to eating, Emily helps individuals form a better relationship with food by focusing on why there’s room for every food in moderation. Find out more about about Emily at EmPowered Nutrition.