setting boundaries
Healthy Habits

How to get Family Members to Stop Commenting on your Food or Body

May 15, 2023

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

TOp categories
Get The Free 5 Steps To Stop Binge Eating Guide
Download Now

Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 

It can be infuriating (and disheartening) to have family members or friends commenting on what you eat or what your body looks like. This is why it is SO important to be able to set boundaries with those in your life.

While it’s true that you cannot control how others treat you, you CAN control how you react—and whether you continue to give that person access to you. This is the foundation of boundary setting!

In today’s post, I will outline how to set effective boundaries with those around you so you can regain control over your interactions with these people—and stop feeling like you are their punching bag.


As I mentioned, you cannot control how others speak to you or treat you. For this reason, statements such as “You can’t speak to me that way” or “You can’t make comments about my body” are not examples of effective boundary setting. Instead, “if, then” statements are the best option, such as “If you talk to me like that, then this conversation will end” or “If you make comments about my body, then I will leave.” This focuses on what you can control—your reaction to someone’s behavior, not their behavior itself.

A boundary is defined as a self-imposed limit in relationships designed for self-protection and protection of the connection itself.

Remember: boundaries are not demands, expectations, ultimatums, or threats!

Why are boundaries important?

Boundary setting has many extremely important benefits, such as the following:

1. You no longer allow others to take advantage of you.

First and foremost, boundaries allow you to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Some people purposely test others’ boundaries to see what they can get away with or how far they can push someone—and if you don’t set boundaries with these people, they will continue to push and push.

2. You are respecting yourself and your needs.

If you don’t respect your needs, no one else will. Self-respect is a HUGE component of setting boundaries and involves realizing that you are just as important and entitled to respect as anyone else.

3. You are no longer wasting time in pointless arguments or heated debates.

Arguments and debates over things such as how someone treats you shouldn’t happen—but they do. Boundaries allow you to avoid these energy-sucking interactions altogether by laying out ground rules. You’re not negotiating with the other person—you’re telling them how you will or will not be treated, or you will walk away. End of story.

4. You no longer do things you don’t want or don’t have time to do.

Saying “no,” can be really hard, especially for people-pleasers—but you can’t pour from an empty cup. In other words, if you don’t take care of yourself and invest time and energy into things you WANT to invest time and energy into, you won’t have the bandwidth to help others. For this reason, some boundary setting can look like “If you call me late at night on a work night, I will not answer” (instead of answering the phone and having a two-hour conversation when you have to be up at six a.m.! Remember—saying “no” does not make you a bad person, family member, or friend.

Body and Food Boundary Examples

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty—setting boundaries on body and food conversations. Let’s face it—your eating habits and body shape are no one’s business but your own (and maybe a doctor’s or therapist’s!) 

If someone is making comments about your body that you don’t like, here are some examples of boundary setting you can implement:

  • “I understand that you are trying to help, but comments about my body are not helpful. Therefore, I will leave this conversation if you continue commenting on my body.”
  • “I only discuss my health with my doctor, so let’s discuss something else. If you continue to discuss my body or my health, I will walk away.”
  • “My body is not your business, and comments about it cause me anxiety. If you continue to lecture me about my body, then I will stop answering your calls.”

It’s also possible that you’re not getting comments on your body but rather on your eating habits. This is also not okay! Here are some boundaries you can use in this scenario:

  • “I understand that you are trying to help, but comments about my food are not helpful. I will leave this conversation if you continue commenting on my food or eating habits.”
  • “You can disagree with my food choices, but I deserve to be treated with respect. I am an adult and am entitled to make my own decisions. If you continue to comment on my food choices, I cannot continue being your friend.”
  • “It is not okay for you to comment on what I am eating. If you do not stop, I will no longer go out to lunch with you.”

Steps for Setting Effective Boundaries

Below are the steps to set boundaries that are actually effective with those in your life:

1. Define your needs.

This part of the process involves determining what boundaries you need, and with whom. Unclear boundaries can be just as ineffective as having none at all, so determining exactly what you need is critical.

2. Define consequences.

Consequences differentiate a boundary from a request. Before setting the boundary, determine what you will do if the person does not respect the boundary. Examples could be walking away, hanging up the phone, or even discontinuing a relationship.

3. Communicate clearly.

When setting boundaries, communicate clearly with the person to ensure they understand what behavior you will not tolerate and what action you will take if they do not respect your boundaries.

4. Hold your ground.

Be sure that you are not wishy-washy or hot-and-cold with boundary setting. If you tolerate the comments or behavior sometimes, it sends an unclear message to those in your life regarding what you will or will not tolerate.

Final Note

I hope these tips help you on your boundary-setting journey! Remember—boundary setting is a form of self-care, and can actually strengthen your relationships by ensuring everyone is respected.

Keywords: setting boundaries, boundary setting

Struggling With Body Image? Check These Out:

Grab A Free Resource

kickstart your journey to food freedom

free guide


free lesson


Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach