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lockdown weight gain and returning to diet culture talk at work

After almost 2 years of homeoffice, the company I work for are starting to asking for people to come back into the office at least 3 days a week. I don't mind this balance, as we'll be working the remaining days at home and I think this is good for motivation.

The thing is... I have always been plus size and my whole life I've been the biggest person in the room. At work, I'm the biggest on my team. Although it used to bother me at high school, i've worked on my own body acceptance and self love to the point where I do feel fine with this and it doesn't bother me.

But here's the thing. Because of self isolating for so long and not moving much I have gained a lot of weight. I'm not putting pressure on myself about this and when I am ready I'll work on it but there is something stressing me now... my coworkers.

Don't get me wrong, my coworkers are nice and all, but they tend to talk A LOT about diets, gym, exercise, etc... diet culture overall. I am not a fan of diet culture but I tolerate such topics at work as long as no one attacks me or body shames me. The thing is they keep talking about how much weight they gained with covid on Slack and are already comparing a lot between each other about who got fatter, etc... No one has asked me or directly body shamed me. They also don't force me into the conversation, but they are really talking about it a lot.

I know very well I shouldn't care about what others think but I have a feeling everyone is gonna notice my weight gain and increase the diet/gym talk around me or stare and gossip about my size when we go back to the office next week ... it's silly because I've been working so hard on my confidence and self-love and usually such things don't get to me but suddenly this thought ocurred to me... Maybe I am a bit more sensitive.

I'm just not in the mood to come back to the office and listen to skinny and "average size" people complain all the time about how fat they are now while I stand there awkwardly... makes me feel weird.

It's also made me realize how much I don't miss watercooler diet culture talk. How do I handle this?

Created: almost 3 years ago
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almost 3 years

From my experience, these types of people are either very insecure and/or completely self involved, so they don't notice how talking like this would make you feel. I doubt it's personal or them trying to make digs at you. My advice would be to bring noise cancelling head phones or move to a meeting room when this happens. Diet culture talk is exhausting - you should be proud of yourself for being ok with who you are. You're doing a lot better than they are!

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almost 3 years

OH babe!! I can SO relate. Seriously, headphones ftw!

People really make it hard sometimes. I went from hating myself to accepting myself in all sizes and I improved so much but honestly the negative diet talk can send me into a regression. Can you talk to HR and come in different days? Or are the coworkers in question on your same team?

Actually, HR should probably discoruage diet talk full stop as it's very triggering for anyone with body image issues or eating disorders. I would talk to someone at work if it becomes bad.

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almost 3 years
I do not miss skinny coworkers complaining about their weight! Literally the most annoying conversations.
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almost 3 years
Good luck with returning to the office! Totally relate to this and it’s awful, especially when you’re just trying to get on with your work and are made to feel bad about yourself but you are absolutely allowed to be a bit more sensitive. It sometimes feels like being sensitive is seen as a bad thing but it’s really not, if anything we as empaths feel more deeply, relate to what others are feeling and that’s totally a strength. My advice would be that you have a couple of options here, noise cancelling headphones (total blessing) you try and set boundaries with you coworkers but I definitely understand if that’s the more daunting option. Like @ellejaco said, if the company is big enough to have an HR department it might be worth bringing it up with them.
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sheerjuliealona OP
almost 3 years

thanks for your words, it honestly means the world to hear from you all. I will be wearing my headphones all week!!!

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