April 18, 2011

If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s having the boundary between my personal life and my work life blurred. There are all sorts of situations where this might happen. And sometimes, its unavoidable and you just have to go with the flow. But there are other times when work should be work and the rest of my life should be mine. My specific situation in this case is getting unsolicited health advice – in other words, being forced (or guilted) into healthy habits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being healthy and promoting healthy lifestyles. If companies want to make smoking counseling and Weight Watchers programs available to their employees, that’s fantastic. If you want to put healthy food options in the cafeteria or display nutrition information, that’s also great. But I don’t need to be told in a company meeting that milk is better for me than soda, that I shouldn’t eat cookies every day, that I can save X calories if I don’t get a bun with my cheeseburger. And I don’t want large signs to indicate which is the healthy lunch option versus the less than ideal (but you know more delicious) option. It creates a terrible, unnecessary judgement (and I judge everyone).

See, we’re all adults. If I choose to eat something unhealthy and I’ve got the nutrition information right there for me to look at, then I’m making that choice. If I’m a smoker and I’ve heard all the facts, it’s my choice to keep smoking. Personally, I love french fries, and cream soups, and fried anything, and cheese. But I am well aware of what some people think when I want to go to McDonald’s to get chicken nuggets. Just as I’m aware those people don’t know I go to the gym 5 times a week, or that I take multi-vitamins (kinda), or that I rarely have dessert or sweets in general. Because all they’ll see is that I eat terribly.

It is not my company’s job to convince me to be healthier. Even worse, any discussion of healthy options and weight usually leans toward the “don’t be overweight” line. Which quite often comes across as “lose weight”. It never just focuses on “be healthy”. It will never target other unhealthy habits. Well, I don’t need to be told to lose weight and I don’t need to give up my hamburgers.



  1. Personally, I think it borderlines harassment if the advice came from skinny triathlon athletes; and outright laughable if it came from obese middle managers who circle the office parking lot after lunch and consider it a great work-out.

    • Unfortunately, it came from a normal-sized girl, so it was really just annoying.

  2. […] taking significant steps to tell the public what to eat. It’s a similar feeling to when work would tell me to be healthier (when I’m already healthy). That being said – with the corn subsidies, etc, the […]

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