Plate Comparison




“Eyes on your own plate”. Did you ever hear this growing up as a kid? Well it’s still an important way of thinking even as an adolescent or adult. Falling into comparison with our eating around others is far too common and entirely unhelpful! (Disclaimer: if there is someone in your life who models a healthy relationship to food and mimicking their eating is a helpful starting point for you when relearning how to trust your body, this is different and can be a good resource).


When you look around and see what others are or are not eating, it is very hard to be neutral around your own food choices at that moment and in general. If someone is eating less than you, you may feel like you don’t have permission to honor your hunger and take a portion that is more suited for you (and would naturally look different than someone else’s needs). If you see someone eating more than you, you may look to make a judgement about them as to why they should or should not be eating that amount of food. That doesn’t foster positive relationships with those around us if we are making judgements about them as individuals based on their food choices. We also may rationalize in unhealthy ways such as “well I know my cousin works as a personal trainer so it’s okay for her to eat that way, but not me”. Either way - unhelpful for fostering a more positive relationship to food and others around you!


Also keep in mind that many individuals have their own personal and complicated relationships to food, which we may never know anything about. In that regard, comparison is yet again not helpful.


If this is something that you feel that you struggle with, could you try to figure out what purpose comparison is serving you? If the answer is that you do not feel confident in knowing what foods to eat together for a filling/satisfying experience or how to build a plate with variety, that would be a great thing to discuss with a Registered Dietitian (RD) who can help support your own individual needs. If it’s something else, you may still want to discuss that with your RD and/or therapist to try to see if there is a more suitable way to get those needs met versus comparing your food choices to others.