The Diet Dilemma: Should You Encourage Your Girlfriends to Eat Better?

GIRLS’ Hannah having dinner at home. Credit: HBO

Before we get started, the “Diet Dilemma” here isn’t about telling a girlfriend to shed pounds for the sake of it. Real friends don’t care how much their girlfriends weigh or what dress size they are. It’s about nutrition and whether it’s right or wrong to point out to a close friend they make poor dietary choices that impact not only their physical health but mental health too.

After all, friends don’t normally hold back from telling a BFF they’re smoking too much, drinking too much, or spending too much, right?

We all know a friend, or several, who suffer from poor body image which has a harmful effect on their overall well-being. They may constantly make self-deprecating jokes about the way they look, talk about how unattractive they think their body might be, and openly compare their appearance to others’. Often, they’ll make remarks such as “Why make an effort? I don’t care what I look anymore” or  “I’ve given up on how I look.”

Some people suffer from poor body image no matter how healthy or balanced their lifestyle already is; taking it to extremes and subsequently developing eating disorders. Body dysmorphic disorder is not uncommon among girls and women of all ages and shouldn’t be discounted as a serious issue.

But what about those who, instead of succumbing to dangerous and extreme measures such as a crash/starvation diet, or continuing to wallow in despair following a comfort food binge, could simply do with a dose of tough love? Of course, this would need to be followed by practical and emotional support to set them on the straight and narrow when it comes to diet and exercise.

No-one wants to hear their lifestyle choices are poor, even from those who care about them the most. There’s often an element of shame and embarrassment that instigates a defensive reaction. After all, it’s hard to hear that poor eating habits that have gone on for far too long can make you feel worse about the way you look. There’s also something TOO personal about having your dietary choices scrutinised, even if it is by a close friend or family member.

So in this case, where is The Line? When can one woman tell another they need to cut down on the junk? And more importantly, SHOULD they be told in the first place?

Let us know your thoughts!

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