In 2001, I attended a weekend seminar at Canyon Ranch in Arizona. That weekend changed my life. It was over that weekend that I realized I wanted to leave consulting and become a dietitian. I was there with an amazing group of women. The group of us spent just about all day together from morning workouts, to classes and meals. One in particular has stayed with me to this day; let’s call her Mandy. One day, a couple of ladies and I were questioning Mandy about her food choices. I don’t remember why, but she didn’t like us talking about and questioning her about what she had chosen to eat. She looked at us and said her rule was for people to stay out of her plate. She doesn’t get in other people’s plates, so they (and us) need to stay out of hers.
The “stay out of my plate” phrase has stayed with me. I use it all the time with friends, family, and clients. Whenever I eat with others who don’t know me very well, I can tell they’re watching what I’m eating. If they bring it up, I tell them, “I stay out of your plate unless you invite me in. I appreciate you staying out of my plate unless I invite you in.” This tends to stop people in their tracks. I don’t judge people by what is on their plates. I don’t want others to judge me by what’s on my plate.
What’s the point of judging people by what’s on their plate? Unless you follow them around all the time and know what they eat at every single meal how can you make a judgement about what they’re eating at any given time in isolation? It’s like saying “Wow! She has such a great life!” based on everything that that person posts on Facebook. You can’t and shouldn’t do it.
Next time someone tries to get in your plate, politely ask them to stay out of your plate and tell them you’ll do the same for them.