Health Bullies – The other side of Healthy Living

Last year I wrote about being health bullied at work, and decided it needed a bit of updating.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had more than one friend be questioned for doing the 3-Day Refresh. The reason? The people questioning it thought they were “skinny” enough. It killed me. Neither was trying to lose weight, but instead wanted to kick start the new year with healthy eating and lose cravings.

It bothers me that there are people who judge others for making healthy choices. Whether it’s the Zelle contributor who uses incorrect information to explain why running a marathon isn’t a good idea, or the people who leave vicious comments for elite runner Steph Rothstein Bruce for being too skinny after posting a pic of herself in her Oiselle kit post-baby, it’s not okay.

It’s also not okay to judge someone who’s working hard to get healthy and live a healthy life but they don’t live in a size zero, or 6 or 8 or 10. There is a good chance they eat healthier, and work harder at the gym, on the road, or even at home, than most of us. Their commitment isn’t any different than anyone else’s, they deserve respect.

So, how do you know if you’ve been health bullied? And how do you deal with it?

– You hate eating lunch with others at work because you know they’ll comment on your kale salad, or the fact that you brought it instead of picking up a sandwich and chips like everyone else. Response: Don’t hide! Say you’re trying to eat healthier and it also saves money. Both are true, and there’s no reason to lie. It’s a salad not a tupperware container of crickets (which are actually really healthy if you’re into that).

– Someone comments on your healthier eating habits, and notes you’re too skinny already. Response: Remind them that being healthy isn’t about losing weight, it’s about eating fresh, healthy foods that give you energy to do what you love (running, hiking, spinning, walking your dog, playing with your kids, etc).

– Friends give you a hard time about not drinking late into the night every weekend because you’ve got long runs planned for marathon training. Response: As them the last time they ran 20 miles on 3 hours of sleep still smelling like tequila? Then seriously say it’s one night a weekend, you’ll live.

– Someone makes a snide comment to you at the gym or as you’re running/walking down the street. Response: Use it to remind yourself you’re doing this for you, and no one else. Then push just a little bit harder for a silent “F you”.


Health bullies are everywhere. They’re the family members who know you don’t want a huge fried dinner when you’re home, but don’t make an effort to provide something healthier. They’re the people who comment on your early bedtimes because you get up to workout well before dawn every day. They’re the people who make fun of your FitBit (and clearly don’t realize 3/4 of the people in the same meeting are wearing them). Don’t give in. Educate them, ignore them, or provide a smart ass response, but don’t let them keep you from being happy and healthy.

Have you been health bullied?

What’s your typical response when someone says or does something like this?

Who else has noticed the rise in fitness trackers in the workplace?


One thought on “Health Bullies – The other side of Healthy Living

  1. Alla

    I don’t eat sugar and eat quite strictly, I get it all the time. I just put it down to people being jealous about my figure and having the energy to run rings around them. Only this evening I was accused for being ‘bulimic’, when I’ve never even been suspected or thought of throwing up. Nutrients are too valuable to waste. You’re right, people are uneducated, but they should still encourage you to pursue healthy living rather than bringing us down to their level…

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