Verbal Abuse Affected My Diet and Food Choices

January 18, 2024 Cheryl Wozny

Verbal abuse can affect many areas of life, including your view of body image and diet. Because this abusive tactic targets your self-esteem, experiencing negative comments about your weight can directly impact how you manage food consumption. In short, verbal abuse can affect your diet choices.

Although I've managed to maintain an average size most of my life, there were times when I was overweight. During these periods, I was vulnerable to remarks I received about my body.

Verbal Abuse Can Alter Your Self-Image and Diet Choices

Some comments were purposely hurtful, while others came from individuals who were not verbally abusive and had good intentions. However, my heightened anxiety made me more sensitive to any mention of my size or food. They included ones like these:

  • Are you still running every day? (I thought they were saying I looked like I had stopped exercising and was out of shape.)
  • There's only enough food for everyone to have one plate. (I thought they were saying I would eat too much.)
  • Are you having chips for lunch? (I thought they were judging my food choices.)
  • Do you know how many calories are in that? (I thought they were saying I looked like I should have restricted my calorie intake.)
  • I could never eat that stuff. It's too sweet for me. (I thought they were saying my food choices were not healthy.)

Although these individuals may have just been trying to strike up a conversation, my history of verbal abuse continued to affect my reactions. The way my brain processes comments can be exaggerated, creating more anxiety and a lower sense of self-worth

Healing from Verbal Abuse Changes Dietary Choices

It can be challenging to move on from verbal abuse when you're sensitive to topics like your weight or food choices. I've realized that I can control what I eat, even if I can't control someone's behavior. For some individuals, developing an eating disorder might be one way to combat the verbal abuse they've received regarding their size. 

Unfortunately, I've taken drastic measures in the past to try and lose weight and limit my diet when I thought I was too heavy. After years of therapy and proper dietary coaching, I've realized that there are healthier ways to manage my food consumption without beating myself up about it. 

A few strategies I've used to keep those negative feelings at bay while struggling with my weight were: 

  • Drinking a full glass of water before every meal
  • Putting my fork down between bites
  • Increasing my fruit and vegetable intake
  • Monitoring my daily activity
  • Allowing myself to enjoy small treats in moderation

I still struggle with that voice in my head that mimics the verbal abuse around diet I had received. When I overindulge in unhealthy foods, I have to push away thoughts surrounding my lack of self-control. I can hear my abusers from the past mocking me for taking another piece of cake, but I'm slowly getting better. 

If you find it challenging to follow a healthy diet because of sustained verbal abuse, you aren't alone. Getting the support you need is vital to building better habits and improved self-worth. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2024, January 18). Verbal Abuse Affected My Diet and Food Choices, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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