Do You Judge Other Women's Eating Habits?

What does your inner voice say about this woman?

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “She probably shouldn’t be eating that,” or, “Does she know how many calories are in that thing?”

I hate to admit it, but once in a while, I do. (Ugh!) Logically, I know it is 100 percent zero business of mine what any other person on this planet puts into her mouth (and why should it be unless she’s my kid?). But sometimes Judge Sunny raises her gavel deep in the recesses of my mind. Usually when I’m at Starbucks.

The other day, the woman in front of me picked up her big, dessert-like drink (a venti white chocolate mocha with whip cream maybe?) from the barista and my  inner voice was like, “She must not know what’s in that thing—if she did, there’s no way she would order it. Insane!” My eyes flicked up to the menu board (here in NYC, chain restaurants have to post calories) to see just how big of an indulgence she was making.

What the hell did I care?! I realize, of course, that my reaction had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me. Wanting and having treats is perfectly normal and healthy. But some part of me still associates certain sweets and junk foods with “bad behavior” like bingeing. I still struggle against that part of me that labels some foods as “bad” and others as “good.”

(There may have also been a twinge of jealousy wrapped up in there. I mean, after seeing her drink, my skinny vanilla latte looked kinda…blah. :))

Am I the only one who finds herself doing this once in a while? Do you ever judge what other people eat?

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[pic: Pink Sherbet Photography]

11 Responses to Do You Judge Other Women's Eating Habits?

  1. Tara says:

    Yes! I totally do that too. My coworker is constantly complaining about how starving she is in the morning, because she never eats breakfast. Then she’ll go eat a Wendy’s Baconator for lunch! And then talk about how she wants to lose weight! I’m like, so confused as to why she isn’t being like me, and taking control of what food she eats and when!

    • Trish says:

      Tara, it’s not as easy as you make it sound to “be like you” and “take control of what you eat”. I understand your confusion at your coworker’s behavior, and I commend you on being able to control your cravings and food intake. I am just asking you to realize that while you may have your eating under control, not everyone does, and it isn’t as easy as flipping a light switch to go from less-than-healthy choices to eating perfectly.

      • hlthygrl says:

        It’s true: We’re all so different about food. That was the point of my post-it’s tempting to judge others. It can make us feel better and it’s even kind of fun sometimes, but we never know what a person’s motivations or other issues are. Plus, we should just focus on our own lives, right? Keep our own side of the street clean, I’ve heard people say. :)

  2. Heather says:

    I always judge what people are eating. My friends, my family, and most certainly strangers. I find myself judging them for ordering what they want, and then trying to make my order look “better” than theirs. On the flipside, I am constantly certain that people are doing the same to me…probably why I eat nothing around people and everything when I am alone.

    • hlthygrl says:

      Hey Heather,
      I’d love to do a post about not eating in front of other people. It’s a really common thing and I think other readers would like to hear/talk about it. I’d love to have you write it or do a Q&A with you. If you’re interested, drop me an email at [email protected].

  3. Nikki says:

    I do this, but not as often as I used to. I know I shouldn’t judge others or what they’re eating, but I can’t help it! Every so often I will catch myself thinking, ‘she does not need to eat that!’ or ‘That’s so bad. I would never eat that.’ But I just remind myself that there are no ‘bad’ foods, just ones you shouldn’t eat as often as others.

    And yes, the calorie postings! I love to know how many calories are in certain items. But then again sometimes I get carried away with obsessing over numbers. Just have to remember- I can’t judge a person by her starbucks!

  4. Veronica says:

    I completely agree with Heather. I judge what everyone else is eating even though I could care less. And I know people judge my foods choices too, so that why when I first meet a person, I don’t eat in front of them no matter how hungry I could be. There are times when I don’t eat in front of my family ’cause I really don’t like people watching me eat.

  5. Tamara says:

    I don’t judge what people eat, but sometimes my eyes pop at how much. I think it’s fine (and psychologically healthy) to order a sugary drink once in a while or grab a big cookie at the holiday party, but it’s hard to ignore them when they grab five.

    I mean, it’s stupid to judge someone for eating a hamburger when they’re hungry, because even if it has a few extra grams of fat there’s satiating protein in there. But when I see someone scarfing down two burgers with super-sized fries and a coke, I wonder if they’re actually hungry or just eating compulsively.

    • Katie says:

      They may, indeed, be eating compulsively. Does that change how you’re judging them? Does it increase or decrease your compassion?

  6. katrina m says:

    i think when you are SO conscious of what YOU’RE eating and not eating, it’s pretty hard not to judge other people, even if it’s just in your head. it’s part of human nature i think to measure yourself up against other people…. how fast you run, how well you do at work/school, how pretty you are, how skinny you are…. it’s just another one of those things!

    i wish it was a NATIONAL rule that all restaurants post nutrition facts!!!

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.