my company’s pushy new dietician won’t leave me alone

A reader writes:

I work for a very large company which encourages healthy living in a positive manner: they have an on-campus gym, the kitchens are stocked with healthy foods, and bosses are understanding about doctor visits. I’m a competitive and successful bodybuilder, so I think this atmosphere is an amazing support for what I do. Until recently, that is.

A bit of necessary backstory on me: I know that bodybuilding is a rather extreme sport, and I know that being 6’2” and very muscular can be intimidating. I always go out of my way to be very polite and helpful to people because my appearance can be imposing. I pride myself on being approachable and kind. At the same time, I don’t ever talk about my diet or training because it is quite intense compared to most people’s lifestyles, and most people don’t care other than out of a passing curiosity.

Now for the issue: the company hired a registered dietitian to work with people who wanted some help with their diets. I politely declined the initial offer over email. Then I happened to run into the dietitian in person. She immediately insisted upon my meeting with her which I still declined. Even so, she’s taken it upon herself to stick her nose into my life and demand that she plan my diet, going so far as to email me a weekly meal plan that I didn’t ask for and demand I track my eating and progress and report to her. She’ll also find me during lunch time and examine my meal, giving off unwanted advice right then and there.

I don’t want to insult this woman, but frankly, I’m far, FAR more knowledgeable than her when it comes to my diet. While this woman is a registered dietitian, she is in no way qualified to handle an athlete’s diet, much less a professional, competitive athlete. I require a very strict, complex, and evolving diet, and the meal plan she sent me was not even close to being appropriate for me. So far, all I’ve told her is that I appreciate her input, but my diet is sound and I don’t need any help. Despite this, her harassment is getting worse and more frequent and I don’t know what I can tell her to leave me alone. HR has been of no use, and my boss is stumped, as she ignores him too. What do you suggest?

When someone doesn’t respond to a polite “no, thank you” and keeps pushing instead, the next step is to get much more direct with them. And that’s what you need to do with this deranged dietician. The next time she hassles you, say this: “I’ve told you clearly that I’m not interested in working with you. Please stop asking.” If she continues, say this: “My diet and health are private issues. Your insistence on discussing them after I’ve told you no is inappropriate and needs to stop.” You can say this in a pleasant tone if it makes you feel better, but the key is to be assertive and really direct. Repeat as needed.

And while you may feel rude saying this, she’s the rude one. You attempted to handle her politely, but she’s forcing you to be more direct because of her rudeness and boundary-crossing. And while you’re thoughtful and considerate to go out of your way not to be physically intimidating to people, that doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate boundary-violators.

However, if you really don’t want to use this approach, you can simply ignore her. She can’t make you talk with her. But I hope you’ll tell her to back off, because it’s warranted.

Frankly, you also need to go back to HR and tell them that they need to rein her in. I wonder how clear you were with them the first time — did you spell out how inappropriate she’s been or were you vague? If in the interests of being diplomatic, you weren’t fully direct, it’s time to get more explicit. Point out that having someone trying to force employees to discuss private health matters is inappropriate for the workplace and is creating an uncomfortable environment.

Also: What is wrong with people?! This is obnoxious and bizarre.

You can read an update to this post here.

{ 166 comments… read them below }

  1. Britt*

    I don’t really have a comment for this other than WTF.

    I get that you are holding back as to not appear intimidating, but clearly this woman has no perception of boundaries. It’s incredibly rude to not only insert yourself into someone’s dietary routine but to then repeatedly do it after you’ve refused her is just plain awful.

    I agree with Alison’s advice, but I would say if all of that doesn’t work, you have the option to A – ignore her, or B – make her uncomfortable.

    Every time you see her eating, make some kind of comment about what you think she should be doing instead. If she sends you another meal plan, send her one back with how you think she should be eating. When she complains (since you know she will), just simply say, “Well since you are so inclined to give out recommendations to me, I thought you could use a few of your own.” Hopefully she’ll get the hint. Otherwise, good luck.

    1. Joey*

      This is just childish. Yes the dietician is being childish but two wrongs don’t make a right.

      It’s worth noting that there’s a possibility that the dietician is an employee of the insurance carrier and not the employer. In that case whomever handles all of the wellness stuff (Wellness Manager) is probably the person who oversees them and therefor the best person to talk to.

    2. irena*

      Childish or not, sometimes you have to give them a taste of their own medicine. I get a lot of pushy sales people who don’t read the email I send them but respond with “can we get you to run blah blah blah.”
      Most of the time, saying no wasn’t enough. I got so fed up that I finally started emailing back and pushing to get free stuff and they finally backed off. Sometimes it’s the only way to deal with such people. :)
      Good luck!

      1. Katrina Prock*

        True, but after all other means are exhausted. And I’d be more tempted to ignore her than to put energy into playing a game.

        1. moe*

          And there’s a difference between acceptable responses to an external salesperson vs. a contractor or co-worker. When you need HR/supervisor backup on something, certainly you don’t want to be in a position to have to explain why you acted in exactly the same unprofessional manner they did.

          1. jmkenrick*

            Plus if he’s cowokers aren’t aware of the situation, they might witness his behavior and draw the wrong conclusions.

          2. Amina*

            If she’s standing over his meal criticizing, hows he to ignore her? He’ll have to be firm, maybe even rude, and tell her to mind her own business.

    3. EngineerGirl*

      I agree with Joey. This response is childish. Responding in kind only opens the OP up to be charged with harassment himself. Especially since he is a big strong guy.

      OP, I think you need to keep a date/time stamped journal of every incicent. Write down what happened. If this woman is as obnoxious as she sounds, you should have plenty of records by the end of the month.

      Fri, Jun 8 12:15pm – In lunchroom, eating. She walked up to me and told me I should be eating more broccoli and less cauliflower
      Mon, Jun 11 8:45 a – In hallway, she walked up to me and told me I needed to be in the SuperDiet.
      Thur, Jun 14 3:47 p – At desk, she came up and insisted I should be eating Wheaties for breakfast.

      The journal entries are a great way to show how pervasive this is. It makes management realize that it is more than annoyance.

        1. EngineerGirl*

          It is not EEOC harassment. But it is harassment, and many companies have policies against a hostile work environment and bullying. What is going on here is a strange form of bullying.

      1. Liz T*

        Make the documentation in front of her. If she hangs over your lunch, pull out the notebook and say aloud what you’re writing.

        Okay I don’t know if that’s helpful or just fun to think about.

  2. Victoria*

    Yikes. If she’s doing this with this guy, imagine how she is with folks who are actually struggling with eating disorders or their weight in general.

    1. Catherine*

      Exactly, I would hate to be someone whom she thought she needed to “fix,” like the OP. Thankfully for the OP, it sounds pretty confident and can handle her attacks (despite them being aggravating), but just imagine the harm she could do to someone who isn’t confident or sure of what they are doing.

    2. BossLady*

      This was my first thought too. This person sounds like a meanace. Talk to HR, please. Other people, potentially those with emotional issues surrounding their eating habits, are probably experiencing the same thing and may not be in the situation where they feel comfortable articulating it.

      1. Jamie*

        This. Many people you’d never suspect (and can’t tell by looking) have issues with food and this behavior could be a huge trigger for someone.

        I’m glad the OP is annoyed and not devastated…but that’s also completely unacceptable.

        I disagree with those who said he should engage in any way. This is a case where serious boundaries need to be drawn. She needs to be told it’s inappropriate and that she needs to stop – now.

    3. Wilton Businessman*

      That was my thought too. Wonder if you needed to lose a couple pounds and this lady was all over your case when you opened a bag of chips from the snack machine.

      On the other hand, the company hired her. She needs to prove her “worth” if she wants to keep her job. This is her overbearing way to do that.

      1. Under Stand*

        Yes, but the company does not have a legal right to interfere with your help. Perhaps telling HR that you really do not feel comfortable discussing your health with one of their employees rather than your personal doctor and that her comments may be contrary to your doctors may put some fire under them.

  3. fposte*

    You have a missionary determined to help you whether you need help or not. All your resisting will just make her more determined, because it just proves how much you need help. That’s the sort of person who should never been in such a profession but often is drawn to it for all the wrong reasons. (I’m curious just what help she’s trying to give you. Does she think muscle bulk is fat?)

    I’d be tempted to send her incredible food reports, or to pretend to play along and report a total conversion, but honestly, she–or somebody–needs to understand that she is doing her job badly. And she’s probably not just doing it to you.

  4. Michael*

    She could be desperately trying to justify her continued existence at the company, and the fear of losing her job may be causing her to be aggressive.

    1. DeeDee*

      I agree, my first thought was the same. Maybe she can only stay at the company if she lasso’s a certain amount of people into using her services. It’s still really bizarre to chase some down though.

      1. Catherine*

        I figure she’s bothered by the fact that OP might know more than she does and challenge her position as an expert. OP is someone who doesn’t NEED her, and she can’t stand it.

        1. Paul*

          Yeah, I really think her ego feels threatened here. Frankly, I know that I’m more knowledgeable about general dietetics than she is too, but she seems to think you need the letters RD after your name to be able to understand a healthy diet.

    2. AD*

      Agreed. This is one of those things that companies do under the guise of helping employees, but it’s really a way to keep insurance rates down. This woman probably needs to show some kind of results.

  5. Katrina Prock*

    If she were a coworker or a peer, that would be one thing. However, she’s been hired by your company to provide a service to you as an employee that you’re not interested in. Don’t feel bad or out of line by being direct.

    1. mh_76*

      Even if it were a colleague/peer, the constant harrassment (lower-case “h”) would not be any different. The possible difference is that with a c/p, you might, emphasis on might, already have been able to resolve the issue with the meaures you’ve already taken.

  6. Andrea*

    Please don’t just ignore her–please be direct with her. And when you do, remember that she is probably acting like this toward other employees, some of whom may not feel able to be as direct and may well feel bullied by this woman.

  7. K.A.T.*

    To the OP – one thought I had was that, if you’re worried about that being direct might seem intimidating, make sure to have the conversation while you’re sitting down. You’ve probably already thought about this but just in case, it really does help level the field between people of disparate heights. I am 5’2″ and in college would often forget my best friend was a whole foot taller than me, because we usually saw each other in class, sitting down. I’ve noticed the same thing with coworkers and other people in similar situations. So that might be a way to help ease your mind, if you’re concerned.

    (None of those people were body builders, admittedly, but I believe the principle would hold.)

  8. Ellie H.*

    That’s so wack! What awful and bizarre behavior. I agree that directness is the best option.

    On a much more mundane level, I HATE it when people comment on food/diet in the office. The majority of the people in my office (all young or middle-aged women) are at least a bit overweight or are trying to lose weight, and they tease me about being thin or not eating junk food which makes me feel self-conscious and guilty. I just was helping set up a grant-writing workshop at which there was breakfast – one student just got tea and not a muffin and one of the people giving the workshop was like “You have such self-control!” which also made me cringe. Why do people have to comment on what others eat? For all we know she’s training for a marathon and doesn’t want the sugar crash from cheap pastries. Perpetuating anxiety about food and diet is bad enough in life but is so inappropriate for the workplace where you can’t escape from it.

    1. Hello Vino*

      Ugh, what a bizarre and annoying situation! It’s so inappropriate when people comment on food/diet in the office, and even more so that this is coming from the dietitian. Doesn’t she have something better to do than be so pushy?

      At my last office, people who make remarks about food/diet very openly. A lot of the older women were overweight, so they started their own biggest losers contest. There was a $500 cash prize involved. Some people were very open about their weight and progress. Others wanted to participate, but wanted to be more private. Many of the participants who lost a lot of weight basically just starved themselves. It was terribly unhealthy. Our idiotic HR department actually thought it was a great office bonding activity, but in reality, it made a lot of women feel self conscious and uncomfortable.

      At this very same office, I was often ridiculed for being thin and always eating light, healthy meals. I’ve always been petite, but doctors have always said that I’m healthy. Every lunchtime, there would be comments about my food. I was once told that I needed to “go eat a f***ing bucket of KFC every single day.”

    2. Anonymous*

      Ugh, agreed, I hate the “you have such self-control!” comment. I don’t eat when I’m not hungry, if a co-workers birthday cake happens to come out after I just had lunch, I don’t want to have to explain why I don’t want a piece.

      When I worked in an office that was entirely women they seemed to assume people were constantly judging them on what they ate. Every birthday celebration turned into a competition of who could ask for the smallest piece of cake.

    3. Anonymous*

      Ugh, I hate this too. I hate it when people comment on my food. Just let me eat. No I don’t want a cookie today and I don’t want to discuss how “good” I am. Tomorrow I may want a cookie, and I don’t want to discuss how bad the cookies are and aren’t we naughty. This dietician is turning that up to 11!

      My favorite “office lunch commentary” story is one time, many workplaces ago, I was taking out some leftover rice and beans from the fridge for lunch. One of my coworkers came into the kitchen and said “Woah, are you eating ALL of that?” I put it in a bowl, microwave it and as take to my desk feeling like a big pig, someone else says to me, “Jeeze, is that all you are having for lunch?” Arg.

      1. Jess*

        I too hate this ‘good’ and ‘bad’ nonsense. I work at a magazine, and in the same building is another, fashion, publication. Our office often gets treats dropped by– different restos and venues send stuff over. And should a basket of cupcakes, an edible arrangement, a couple of pizzas from a new place, whatever turn up in OUR offices, we’re on them like ravenous wolverines and damn the caloric torpedoes. Meanwhile, the fashion folks from upstairs walk past our glass-walled offices, and their mingled looks of judgement barely mask the fact I’m fairly sure they all want to dive head first into our leftovers. Which I’ve seen them do, sneaking like mice to grab that last slice, when we dump what’s left into the communal kitchen. Seriously people, it’s none of your coworkers business what you eat and when you do it.

    4. Rana*

      I worked in an office like this for a bit, and it got old, really, really fast. It’s food, people. Let me eat in peace!

    5. Anonymous*

      This is funny, because yesterday a coworker and I had a discussion about how “high school” the cafeteria has become (everyone has their specific tables, cliques, etc) and eventually our discussion turned to inappropriate comments on dietary habits. I also hate it when coworkers comment on my food. I actually stopped eating lunch with certain people after they laughed at me because I cook my brown rice in a rice maker or on the stove, instead of just using “brown” Minute Rice like everyone else (’cause it’s the same, right??). One observant person said “wow, you’re eating cafeteria food today, you never do that” and another asked “wtf is almond butter?”. I get that people are curious, but I hate the self-conscious feeling that I get when I know my every bite is being monitored.

      1. Grace*

        I have celiac disease and a ridiculous amount of other food allergies, plus I’m naturally quite slender so I’m always accused of having an eating disorder when I turn down workplace treats. I hate having to explain that I would literally die if I had a bite of their fabulous peanut-butter fudge cookies, because invariably I get “Oh, I’m so sorry! That must be awful.” Well yeah, it kind of sucks, but explaining it every time I take my lunch out in public sucks more. Seriously? Mind your own business.

    6. KellyK*

      Perpetuating anxiety about food and diet is bad enough in life but is so inappropriate for the workplace where you can’t escape from it.

      Absolutely. I just want to enjoy my food in peace; I don’t want to discuss how “good” or “bad” I’m being by eating it.

  9. Ivy*

    I don’t know if female mentality is taking over… but the first thing that came into my mind is, “I wonder if this dietitian has a little office crush.” Sometimes goodlooking, nice, built men are slim pickings at the office. Maybe she is using your diet as an excuse to interact with you. The woman is on a mission and nothing your boss says to her is about to deter her! :P… I’m not trying to make excuses for her, and I still think you need to tell her to cut it out. BUT! I just think it sounds like she’s chasing her crush around the school yard, and it is a little amusing :).. Of course I have no idea if she is single or not, so OP feel free to let me know if she’s married and 3 times your age (though sometimes that doesn’t stop people).

    1. Alex*

      This is assuming the OP is a man. Which is likely considering the 6’2″ height mentioned but I don’t see anywhere in the letter the mention of gender. Regardless this woman is on some kind of a mission and OP is the target, unfortunately.

      1. Ivy*

        Yes, I did assume because of the height… I could be wrong (though I don’t think gender is necessarily a deterrent either)… OP care to shed any light? Am I completely off on this view?

      2. Charlie*

        Male or female, the bodybuilding OP could be considered hot by the dietitian…. ;-P

        1. Ivy*

          I’m just trying to lighten the situation. While the dietitian is out of line, I don’t think her actions are malicious. Most likely she doesn’t realize exactly how put off OP is with her actions. I’m sure if OP is firm with her, he’ll be able to get this lovestruck dietitian off his back. OP, maybe you should try letting her know that even though you are no longer going to discuss your diet with her, you can still go for coffee and talk from time to time.

          1. anonymous*

            That was my first thought too, was this woman has the hots for this guy. There’s nothing to indicate there is, but that’s what jumped into my mind. But no, don’t say you’ll go out for coffee, even if she isn’t interested; give her any leeway and she’ll run with it, and you’ll NEVER get rid of her.

            1. Raging Dragon*

              I have to agree with that sentiment, some 6’2″ well built bodybuilders have to beat woman off with a stick. Unfortunately, some bodybuilder who look great don’t actually think they’re attractive and are completely clueless about women’s attention to them.

              As for if it’s a woman… Come on. The wording is so typically male it’s hard to believe anything else. The focus of the message was on the action not on their feelings.

              1. Anonymous*

                Not every woman is a raging bucket of hormones, feelings, and butterfly wings… just like not every man is a brute machinist analyzing actions and reactions.

    2. Paul*

      I had really, honestly never considered that. I’m in a committed relationship and she’s not my type, but I guess it could make sense if she’s just really bad at flirting or whatever.

      And, for the record, I am indeed a man.

      1. Harry*

        That’s what I was thinking. I would tell her that you are already seeing someone. That should get her to back off :)

      1. jmkenrick*

        Me too! Maybe her bizarre behavior is an attempt at playful teasing? It totally reminds me of “negging” – arugably my least favorite cultural phenomenon.

  10. Ivy*

    Because if my theory stands (The Theory of the Love-struck Dietitian), then she is using OP’s diet as an excuse to talk with him. If OP makes it clear that they can talk, but not about diet, she might be more willing to agree. (Whether or not he sticks to those talks is up to him). That being said, I wouldn’t say she’s crazy. If she starts showing up at his house with a bag of carrots, then I will be more willing to agree with you. Besides, from OP’s message, I feel that he doesn’t really dislike her that much. Just that he dislikes the fact she is harassing him with diets.

    1. K.*

      But maybe he doesn’t WANT to talk with her. Just because she wants to talk with him – about anything, diet or otherwise – doesn’t mean she gets to. She’s not his colleague; he has no obligation to talk to her about anything. And if she IS lovesick, in my opinion it’s much kinder to put paid to it than to give her any kind of false hope.

      No matter what her motivation, she’s behaving completely inappropriately. I am firmly on the side of “check this, do it firmly and directly.” Don’t shout at her, obviously, but do be firm and direct and use clear, unambiguous statements like “I do not want to work with you. Don’t ask again.”

        1. Ivy*

          I have been in this kind of situation with men at the office before (not the “getting harassed about my diet” part, but the “finding excuses to talk to me because they are interested in me” part). I have taken my own advice. I set firm boundaries with them (when they can talk to me, about what, our relationship). I usually say that we can still go for coffee or lunch sometimes just to soften the blow. I find a lot of times, the other party won’t even want to go for coffee once he realizes I’ve placed him in the friend/coworker zone.

          K: I completely agree with you. I’m saying he should firmly tell her to cut it out. Her actions are inappropriate, but I think OP will be able to handle the situation better if he doesn’t go into the conversation thinking this woman is out to get him. While he doesn’t have to interact with her at work now, there’s no point in burning bridges when he doesn’t have to.

          1. K.*

            I’ve been in that situation too re: male coworkers expressing romantic interest, and I guess I just don’t agree with the softening the blow part. I don’t spit in their faces or anything, but I don’t make any false promises for coffee hangouts either, because I don’t actually want to hang out with them and don’t want any kind of ambiguity. I just decline the invitation, or steer the conversation back to work. If pressed (which is rare), I’ve said something like “I’m not interested in having anything other than a professional relationship with you, and that’s not going to change.”

            And since this woman isn’t a colleague or supervisor of the OP’s, he doesn’t really have to worry about burning bridges – from what I can tell, she’s not in any kind of position of power over him, so I honestly wouldn’t really be that concerned about how she takes the rejection. Again, he shouldn’t be outright mean to her, but if she gets butthurt over “I’m not interested. Stop asking,” well, so be it, in my opinion.

          2. moe*

            I’m completely confused by your offering to go out with men who are interested in you as a way to show them you’re not interested, and even more so by advising someone already on the receiving end of crossed professional boundaries to blur the line even further. This is bizarre, unprofessional, and sends all kinds of mixed messages.

            When (not if) some socially inept, would-be suitor takes your mixed messages the wrong way, you may find yourself in the position of having to explain to HR how *your* asking a man out was completely professional, but his behavior was not.

            1. Ivy*

              Well to be honest, I’ve never encountered a man who has expressed interest in me that I didn’t want to interact with at all. I like most people. So I guess my problem is, is that I’m approaching the situation from the stand point of “I like you as just a friend or coworker.” I suppose if you really can’t stand being with this person then it makes sense to completely cut them off. I have just never personally encountered such a situation. And added to that, I have always been really good at establishing boundaries from the beginning (naturally I suppose).

        2. K.*

          Completely agree, especially re: gender reversal. Women can and do harass men (and other women), and no matter what this dietician’s motivations are, she’s harassing the OP. Having coffee with her is positive reinforcement of negative behavior and will only encourage her. When you don’t like someone, you don’t hang out with them.

      1. Camellia*

        “check this, do it firmly and directly.”

        THIS! And do it by email so there is documentation. Then if she persists in emails, then you have concrete documentation to take to HR.

        If she stops the emails but continues to accost you in person, document each encounter with another email to her stating, “As I told you again in the cafeteria today, I do not want or need your help.”

        Then again you have documentation of her continuing actions. Then if your manager and HR can’t/won’t help, perhaps talk to the company’s lawyers.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I recommend also using the language “my health is my private business” or something similar. Because that’s a buzzword that will trigger HR along legal lines. While it’s not actually illegal to violate your employees’ dietary privacy, there are so many health things that are illegal that it’ll be a dog whistle to HR to get involved.

        2. Paul*

          The lawyer option seems the most viable if I can’t quickly end this myself. If this dietitian had paid attention in her studies, she’d know she is in no way qualified to handle my diet. As a person of supposed authority, her ordering me to eat how she thinks I should would put my in physical harm. Forget being able to train, I’d get extremely sick if I tried to eat all the soy and grains she says I should.

  11. Henning Makholm*

    Is there any way this dietitian could have access to employee’s heights and weights? It sounds like she has calculated everyone’s BMI and concluded that the OP is dangerously obese and needs immediate help. Of course, there are many problems with that, not least of which that her behavior would still have been inappropriate had the initial conclusion been right.

    1. Paul*

      OP here, I’ve gotten that with a new doctor before. Before meeting me, he saw my height and weight, and then told me to lose a few pounds between our phone call and our first appointment. Uh… no, but thanks.

      Sure, my BMI would put me right at the edge of overweight and obese, but I’m sitting at 6.5% bodyfat right now. The only time I’ll get leaner is for contest season, and not for very long!

    2. Jess*

      That is an interesting thought! BMI can be wacked out for a lot of people– for example, I’m female, but nearly 6 feet tall. I’m built ‘sturdily’, but I’m fit and healthy: I take care of my diet and I work out regularly with a personal trainer. According to my measurements, heart rate, and health I’m in great shape: but according to my BMI I’m an obese whale. BMI doesn’t take into account body type, muscle mass or anything else– just total height, weight and gender. This woman could be working on that basis alone.

      And I agree with all the other posters: the OP sounds like he’s a confident guy without major body issues. There are for sure people in the office who DO have body and food issues this woman is poking, who are uncomfortable saying no to her, or uncomfortable using her services because she’s overbearing. I think the OP should make a point of going to his bosses and getting this dealt with, not just for his own sake, but for everyone else in the office!

      1. Jamie*

        “There are for sure people in the office who DO have body and food issues this woman is poking”

        Count on it. This is a dangerous game she’s playing – at some point no matter how uncomfortable these people will band together and enough similar complaints can put her in a very precarious position if she wants to keep her job.

        And I’m not sure how many positions there are for corporate dietitians. The OP’s company sounds very progressive in this area, but while most companies have accountants and managers I’m thinking her job is niche and kind of harder to come by.

        1. your mileage may vary*

          This is a great point. In the regular world of a dietician, I assume that people make appointments and go to them. In other words, all their clients have already made the decision to be open with the dietician and to have their input on their diets. This corporate dietician sounds like she’s going about her new job the same way, not realizing that, as an employee, you’ve not opted in to her services, you’ve been trapped there.

    3. Student*

      If this workplace is relatively normal, she probably could’ve worked out his BMI from the office grape vine. Even if the OP doesn’t go out of his way to mention his height and weight at work, I’m sure he’s had co-workers ask him just because he’s an oddity. And he’s probably replied, and it’s probably circulated around the office to other curious people. I’m terribly short, and I get this kind of thing very frequently, so I’m sure it must happen to a tall bodybuilder guy too.

    4. Anon2*

      Except that she’s accosted him in the cafeteria too. Presumably this means that she was able to see for herself that he’s extremely muscular and not obese.

  12. Kelly*

    AAM, I imagine you were overwhelmed by the sheer WTF of this situation, but I do want to add — can I get an amen for the fact that this would be grossly inappropriate even if this employee wasn’t an athletic professional body builder who spends a lot of time tailoring his diet to meet his athletic goals? I understand that the reader feels particularly fed up with this dietician because she’s trying to nose in on something that he is particularly knowledgeable about, but I cringe thinking about how the dietician is treating people at this company who aren’t as concerned with their diets as the reader!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh hell yes! Totally inappropriate to have anyone in a workplace butting into other people’s eating habits and health, and far more so when it’s someone with official company sanction.

      1. Paul*

        Weirdly enough, she’s very kind and supportive to all the people in the office who are overweight, even if they don’t seek her help.

        Having read the comments and discussing it briefly with my boss, I think it’s either she’s got herself a little crush (a guy not noticing that, how unheard of) or she wants to make it official that she’s “helped” me with my diet so that she can put it on her resume.

        Nevermind that I’d probably die of starvation if I tried to eat that meal plan…

        1. Anonymous*

          Have you flat-out told her that your professional body building requires you to abide by a strict and very different diet from your co-workers? If you tell her that your diet is specifically formatted for your profession by a trainer/doctor/whoever, she shouldn’t have any reason to pester you. You could even explain to her some of the reasons why you need to consume so many more calories than the average person (as a dietician, she may be interested and may also pick up that you know very well what you’re doing and obviously don’t need any assistance).

    2. Anon*

      Speaking for myself, I don’t want someone being “kind and supportive” about my diet in the office if I haven’t asked for their help; I want them to stay out of my business.

      1. Rana*

        Agreed. It still comes across as superior and invasive, especially if such concern is unwanted.

        It’s worth noting that there are many reasons that a person may be fat, and not all of them are due to poor diet and lack of exercise. I’ve known several fat people who work out daily and eat less and better than I do (I’m thin, through no virtue of my own)… but they’re still fat. And then there are the people who are fat because of the medications they must take, or physical disability, or as a way of coping with other issues. And, fat aside, what’s healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for another; imagine a person with gluten intolerance, for example, being told to “eat more grains” or a person with low blood pressure being told to “cut back on salt” or an anorexic being told that “fat is bad for you.” Different people’s bodies deal with food and exercise in different ways, and you’d think as a dietician she’d realize that.

        I get that this person’s job in some regards requires her to think about other people’s health and what she can do to help them improve it, but viewing fat people as needing help just because they’re fat is annoying, however nicely it’s packaged.

        1. KellyK*

          I get that this person’s job in some regards requires her to think about other people’s health and what she can do to help them improve it, but viewing fat people as needing help just because they’re fat is annoying, however nicely it’s packaged.


      2. K.*

        Ditto. I’m a private person, so I’d find such behavior really invasive. (Which it is.) Same with people asking about my love life.

        Plus, it sounds like (from the cashews example) that she’s just a jerk about it – not “Hey, why don’t you try …” but “OMG cashews are soooo unhealthy, what are you doing?”

      3. KellyK*

        +A million

        It’s very invasive, disruptive to actually getting work done, and incredibly presumptuous.

  13. Paul*

    OP here. A bit more information:

    I have been really, REALLY clear with her, coming to a particular incident a couple days ago. I ate a small container of green olives and a pack of salted cashews with my lunch, and she happened to notice my doing so. She stopped in the middle of a consultation with someone else and came over to tell me how unhealthy all that salt was.

    I had to lay out a few clear points for her: 1) Sodium is necessary in a large number of metabolic processes (I even named a bunch). 2) Athletes need significantly more salt than normal people because they sweat a lot and they have increased metabolisms. 3) She has never seen my blood work, and if she did, she would know that I’m chronically low on sodium. (Normal range is 137 to 145 mmol/L, I struggle to get mine above 132).

    She seemed embarrassed, but it hasn’t slowed her down. I might just have to sit her down and be as direct as possible.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah, it sounds like you’re engaging with her, which is signaling to her that continued conversation is acceptable. Instead of engaging (tempting as it might be), tell her to stop, end of story.

      1. Jenn*

        OP, I think you’ve already been “as direct as possible.” Since that clearly hasn’t worked, for whatever reason, now it’s time to stop engaging with her get HR involved. And to document all this, if you haven’t already. Nosiness/possible crush/whatever, it’s all inappropriate.

      2. moe*

        Totally agree about engaging her–if you’re giving responses to her nutritional advice, she may well think you want to continue the discussion (clearly it is an area that interests you, and you keep responding…). And offering up your personal health info is just going to encourage her to fine-tune her little diet plan for your specific needs.

        “No” is a complete sentence. Offering up reasons for a “no” just encourages the debate. Don’t do that!

        1. Heather*

          I agree – tell her to mind her own business. don’t justify to her what you are eating and when. I know it’s tempting but just don’t. Just ask her to mind her own business.

          (and why am I craving olives and cashews now? ;) )

      3. Anon1973*

        “Thank you for your concern, but I am not interested in discussing these personal matters with you.”

        Repeat every time. Document.

    2. KayDay*

      You should email her the NY Time article about how (possibly) over-blown the whole salt thing is. It’s very interesting, and also points out how important salt is to athletes. If she doesn’t believe you, maybe she will believe the Times.

    3. khilde*

      Hey Paul – I like you so far reading all your posts and you sound like a very objective and reasonable guy. I have also noticed that you bring up your knowledge alot and I’m wondering if the RD is feeling challenged or condescended:

      “Frankly, I know that I’m more knowledgeable about general dietetics than she is too…”

      “Forget being able to train, I’d get extremely sick if I tried to eat all the soy and grains she says I should.”

      I had to lay out a few clear points for her : 1) Sodium is necessary in a large number of metabolic processes (I even named a bunch) . 2) Athletes need significantly more salt than normal people because they sweat a lot and they have increased metabolisms. 3) She has never seen my blood work, and if she did, she would know that I’m chronically low on sodium. (Normal range is 137 to 145 mmol/L, I struggle to get mine above 132).”

      (And of course, I can’t hear your tone and how you say it so it could be said very pleasantly and reasonably. And I also realize you’re giving us examples for context). But it all makes me wonder if she’s the type that just won’t let it rest if someone else has a bit more knowledge than her.

      Don’t waste time trying to explain your specific needs. If she was someone that would want to learn from your knowledge, she would be handling it differently. Instead, I agree with AAM: don’t go into specifics, just tell her that you’re not interested in discussing it anymore and move on. Keep us posted! This is the most interesting question in a while!

      1. Ellie H.*

        I agree – it sounds like she could be getting the message that you are interested in engaging in discussing this subject with her (on any level). It’s also possible that she feels threatened because she has this “official” capacity in the company of being a dietary expert and you are saying that you know more about it than she does, i.e., she’s not good at her job. Obviously, her behavior is inappropriate to begin with, but I can certainly see how if she felt as if her authority were being challenged by your disagreeing with her and refuting her statements, she would only be further inspired to try to engage with you in order to demonstrate her knowledge, win an argument, etc. It sounds like you have a dynamic between the two of you where you’re repeatedly discussing this – I agree with above posters that you should just shut the discussion down with zero engagement of any subject at all related to nutrition. Obviously, this will be difficult because you’ve engaged with her about it multiple times previously so you have a precedent of it, but better late than never.

      2. fposte*

        I totally agree with this. As AAM notes, this is tacitly accepting her right to bring the subject up with you in the first place.

        The body builders I know kind of get into geeking out about diet and fuel, so I could see them having a hard time walking past this subject if somebody throws it in their path. I don’t know if this is you as well, Paul, but if it is: for your own good, keep moving and don’t take the bait.

      3. Paul*

        Very fair point. The first time I ever gave any indication of actually challenging the dietitian was on that little exchange about salt (and that was mostly out of frustration after dealing with this for several weeks). Even then, I kept emotion out of it and explained it in a very reasonable manner, trying to soften the blow and all. Previous to that, my only interaction to anything she said was politely declining. I certainly think and hope I’ve not been a jerk but intentions and perceptions are always different.

        1. Liz T*

          Paul: be a jerk. The problem here is not that she’s punishing you for rudeness. The problem is that she’s not taking no for an answer.

          1. khilde*

            Yeah, either that or just ignore her. Since you said above she’s been really decent and normal to your coworkers makes me think that it’s something like most of the commentors here have hit on: she likes you, she’s feeling challenged, your her “special project,” she needs to justify her job, etc. Or it could be some other crazy thing. Who knows. You sound like you’ve tried the nice route – now’s the time for a degree more assertiveness or flat out ignoring (I’m the queen of ignoring, but that gets me into trouble most of the time. You’ll have to decide what you’re more comfortable doing).

    4. Nichole*

      Wow. Just wow. I was going to suggest something along the lines of “I am an athlete and being m0nitored by a doctor, so my diet is under control. You are making me uncomfortable, please stop” (not that anything but the last part is any of her business, because no means no), but after reading this, it’s clear that’s way, way too subtle and wouldn’t work, adn I’m not sure any kind of reasoning will. It might be time to start parroting “I’m not going to discuss this with you”to everything she says. Even if she still doesn’t get the hint, it gives you clearance to walk away.

      1. Jess*

        YES. I think that’s the key. ‘You are making me uncomfortable. I do not want to discuss this or any other issues with you, ever.’ This woman sounds like she’s just not getting it– she may be thinking you don’t want to talk about it because of ‘issues’ and she, as the caring professional, will draw you out and solve your issues and it will be all rainbows lollypops snuggle time.

        Blargh. SO just don’t. Be blunt. Tell her straight up you do not want her advice. You do not need her advice. She is making you uncomfortable– not the topic, HER. Most people don’t like being told they are not wanted, needed, or are making others uncomfortable. We’re not used to it. chances are, even if she doesn’t get the message? She’ll be too embarrassed to ever speak to you again.

    5. Anonymous*

      One thing I’ve learned: never defend yourself with people like this. It’s just an invitation to argue.

      Just say, “I’ve asked you to quit bothering me,” and then turn away.

  14. Diane*

    I haven’t yet seen a recommendation to go to her manager and lay out your concerns about her boundary issues and how her persistence can be a dangerous trigger for those with food or body issues. Her approach to her job is putting others in danger and undermining the company’s efforts to promote health. I don’t know if it makes more sense for you, your manager, or HR to have that talk with her manager, but somebody needs to.

  15. Anonymous*

    OP, you are a much more polite and patient individual than I am – if she’d persisted with me, I would have commenced death-ray blank stares every time she attempted to talk to me.

    My favorite way to respond to people like this is to ask who their direct supervisor is. Even the most clueless of coworkers realizes why I’m asking for that information.

    That said, I think the best way forward is to refuse to respond to her/engage with her at all, document every time she tries to talk to you, and find the person to whom she directly reports and tell them she’s WAY out of line.

    1. Nichole*

      Love it. I’m going to have to put “who’s your direct supervisor” in my things to say to nosy jerks folder.

      1. Anonymous*

        I find that it almost always successfully interrupts their train of thought, which is enough to silence them. It’s the same thing as putting a ranting/long-talking caller on hold for 10 seconds – a conversational tourniquet, if you will.

    2. saro*

      My brother handles all busy bodies with the death-ray blank stares. I am in awe. It really works too!

  16. Jen*

    I wish my company would hire her! For us “less than disciplined” people, she would be a welcome asset to the team…LOL!

  17. Heather*

    I’m planning on going back to school to become a dietician in the next year and this disturbs me greatly. This is exactly the kind of dietician I do not want to become. I think you may have been onto something when you said she could have a slight crush on you or it’s just SO tempting to continue to bombard you with unwanted advice because you physically look the way you do. Regardless, this is ridiculous and needs to stop. I’d almost say you need to be as close to the edge of rude as you can be that is still considered “assertive” and professional. What an annoying woman.

  18. Jenn*

    I got intensely annoyed just reading about this woman. Paul, you HAVE to give us an update as soon as you can!

  19. nyxalinth*

    I’m a pudgy lady in middle years, and I was really surprised to find out the person being hassled is very fit and already very aware of food and how it affects the body, because I would think that a dietician would be more apt to hassle someone like me than the OP!

    1. khilde*

      I agree. I was a little surprised that the dietician is harpooning a very fit athlete. You’d think it would be the other way around.

      Paul – is she doing this to other people in your office (people like me and nyxalinth?). Have you talked to any of your colleagues to see if they’re getting the same weird behavior? I’d be curious to hear more just cause it’s so odd.

      1. Paul*

        No, and that’s what’s so odd. She’s very kind and supportive to everyone, regardless of their weight and whether or not they seek her help.

        1. Jamie*

          I don’t understand what you mean by “kind and supportive.”

          If they aren’t seeking her help, this topic should never come up with anyone. Unless someone was offering to help me with a work related matter, I don’t need “support” from my co-workers…and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

          There is a lot of this I don’t understand – including her role there, how optional it is that people engage with her, and how she’s supportive, ostensibly about things that are none of her business.

          This is a strange situation to me, and goes to show how important a cultural fit is between an employee and the workplace. I really don’t need my employer to concern themselves with my well being, except as it directly relates to my job.

          1. jmkenrick*

            Good point. When you say supportive, what exactly do you mean? I really don’t need coworkers support on my nutrition and would consider it rude if someone gave me unsolicited feedback on my food.

          2. Kelly O*

            +∞ ∞ ∞ ^∞

            I am fat. I get it. I know it. I don’t want or need a dietician following me around “supporting” me regarding food. What I’d like is maybe some flex time so I could go to the gym or go for a walk. Or maybe stop cramming the fridge full of cokes and candy bars so those of us that want to bring a lunch can have room to put it in there.

            I would be pissed. (If you couldn’t tell.) And I’d probably let this person know in no uncertain terms that I was not interested in her professional assistance with my diet or exercise, now or ever. And if she kept on, you can bet your sweet 6.5% body fat I would be finding out who SHE reported to and letting them know exactly what was going on.

            I have food issues. I don’t want to talk about them to other people. (That’s also why I do Weight Watchers Online, not in meetings. No one else needs to know this kind of crazy.)

            1. Anonymous*

              I understand what you mean. I have food issues as well. I’m a picky eater. And there are people who don’t understand that because they like anything you put in front of them. I don’t. I have to come around on my own to try something, and even then I have to try something multiple times before I actually start to like it. But for those who don’t understand, they won’t let it go! For instance, I was on a tour overseas (tourism, not military), and the people who were in my group to this day (because most of us have kept in touch) still bring the subject up and ask me what I had eaten today. I still love to go on tours, but with each remark, I cringe with the next group.

              But like Paul, I am learning I must be direct and put them in their place by telling them to shut up, it’s not hurting you. But coming from another angle, I totally support you that this is one area people just don’t need to talk about with others unless they seek the advice.

  20. Jeff*

    How about just pointing her to this conversation? Perhaps that would drive the point home.

  21. Sean*

    I could be wrong, but if after a point she still consistently pesters, I think you can go to either the head manager who hired her or even Human Resources. After a time, it gets ridiculous, and as you said OP, it’s harassment which is NOT a good thing. I hope it works out though for you Paul.

  22. Anonymous*

    Hello Paul,
    I do not know what excatly is going on. But, as a registered dietitian she should know her limitations (even thought she should have basic knowledge about nutritional requirements and demands for different groups of people – athletes, pregnant women, vegans, etc).
    I would say this situation actually calls for an official complaint againts her. If she doesn not stop giving you dangerous advice, contact your state Board of Dietitians.

    1. mh_76*

      Good point. I also wonder what is and isn’t covered under HIPAA laws, whether your diet / dietician record is considered to be part of your medical record/history. This Anonymous is right, do contact the state licensing board about her. You might even be able to look up her license info. online and see if she’s had disciplinary action brought against her before.

      1. fposte*

        There’d be nothing violating HIPAA in the situation as described, though, even if it does come under medical info (which I doubt that it does). It prevents medical providers from sharing info with unauthorized people–it doesn’t prevent them from asking you about your own or advising you on it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          But if she’s coming up to him in the cafeteria, where there are probably other workers present, and talking about it, then undoubtedly some may hear her.

          Stop talking to her at all, OP. As AAM said, you’re engaging her by explaining. It’s the same as dealing with a stalker. You have to stop COMPLETELY. Tell her once and for all to leave you alone, that your diet and health issues are private, and if she doesn’t stop you will take action against her for harrassment. Then never speak to her again.

        2. mh_76*

          I figured that it was a long-shot but still worth asking. And OP, make sure that someone does hear you when you ask her to leave you alone, in case you need a witness later on. Might even be worth it to “plant” one nearby (if you have any willing colleagues).

  23. anon-2*

    Figure it out.

    They want to know what everyone’s eating, how everyone lives, and to figure out who are those most likely to get sick, become ill, and , heh heh, become a burden on the firm’s health care expenses.

  24. Anonymous*

    My two cents, for whatever it’s worth:

    *Disclaimer* I am female.

    I was thinking about this, and of course, like most of you, my reaction was simply WTF along with anger for Paul’s behalf against this woman. Nothing upsets me more than an annoying person. But onto what I want to say. I do agree this is harassment. And some have mentioned that this might be a result of a crush. First of all, annoying someone you have a crush on is something little boys do when they first get an interest in a girl – snap the bra strap, pull the ponytail, etc. Second, if this was the other way around – a male dietician annoying a female employee about her diet, nutrition, and weight, especially when it’s unsolicited – then wouldn’t that qualify as sexual harassment. I think the female in that case could raise hell about it and be heard about it. I can see how it could be the vice versa in this case. Even if it isn’t, he could at least make her get a little nervous about it to make her get the hint.

  25. Tekoa*

    I think its interesting that Paul takes care not to physically intimidate other people. Thank you sir. My Dad (5 11″ , overweight) uses his body posture/size to intimidate other people. He thinks its his part of his role as being a man. Uggg.

    To echo everyone else: this dietician is behaving very oddly. She needs to stop bothering you.

    1. Amina*

      I know a young woman who uses her bulk to push people. She pushed me over (you don’t expect your “friends” to batter you, so you can imagine the confusion), pushed herself on guys’ laps, into their cabs as they were leaving and into their beds. She is hefty, claims she is ‘athletic’ but er, no) and uses her weight to literally push others down, if not actually back.

  26. Kimberly Herbert*

    Just a suggestion. Maybe you can tell HR that the dietitian is trying to force you to disobey medical instructions from your (insert type of medical professionals you deal with at this level). That your (medical professionals) told you that her meal plan can do serious damage to someone at your level of competition.

  27. Charlotte*

    I knew a manager once (6 foot 3, very big guy) who was always cautious to discipline people in a manner so that they could exit his office if need be…

    Anyways, maybe this is silly, but could you get a Dr.’s note stating your diet needs are special and must not be tampered with by outsiders? You probably have a close relation with a physician who would be sympathetic. Then deliver the note to HR, and inform her you have medical restrictions?

    Also, how does everyone feel about an on site dietitian?

    1. Anon2*

      An onsite dietitian would be a nice benefit, so long as it’s 100% voluntary. Many insurance policies won’t cover the cost of seeing a dietitian until you’ve been diagnosed with a disease that could benefit from one (like diabetes). This annoying person aside, it could be a cool benefit.

    2. Marie*

      I work with a temporary manager who is 6 foot 7, he takes great care to be especially nice and soothing so even if your a foot smaller (like me) or more, you still don,t feel overlwelmed.

    3. Esra*

      Rather than an on site dietician, I’d rather my workplace grant more flexibility to leave/work from home/etc on days when I want to see the specialist of my own choosing. I have Crohn’s, and my experiences with dieticians have not been great, I can’t imagine my employer would be able to find someone that could suit the myriad needs in our office.

      1. KellyK*

        I agree with this. Having the ability to find someone you can work well with is worth more than having someone at work, who might not mesh well with every employee or have the specific expertise that individuals need. (One individual isn’t likely the best dietitian for the body builder, the person with an eating disorder, the person trying to lose weight, *and* the gluten-intolerant vegan with six allergies.)

        I’d also be concerned about confidentiality with someone located at your office. Not even that they’d inappropriately share, but cube walls are thin, papers can get left unattended, etc.

  28. What the?*

    Wow! How disruptive? And like the first post WTT?? When does the OP get a chance to work and take a break without being surveillanced?? She obviously can’t take a hint, or even being told word for word, you don’t want help. When reasonable efforts fail, tell her your “girlfriend is a dietician, you don’t need help, when she asks for a name, just say, oh I keep my private life, PRIVATE! I mean sure you shoudnt have to make up things, but honestly, this one is just a freak. When asked again, say the same thing, oh my girlfriend is dietician, so I don;t need help and just keep repeating it, You resolve the secret crush and maybe you;ll get this monkey off your back! By the way, I am a dietician, but my cognitive abilities are functioning well!And I don’t operate in this manner it’s ridiculous!

  29. Maraca*

    What an interesting stream of comments! Paul: tell her she needs to stay out of your business. Then email her a recap of your conversation where you tell her to stay out of your business. If she subsequently gets in your business, go to her boss and demand that s/he tells her to stay out of your f-ing business. There’s a lot of drama bubbling up here in this thread (bruised ego, crush, childish game-playing, etc). Put a stop to it now, or you’ll end up as crazy as she is. And do keep us posted!!

  30. Charles*

    A whole lot of comments here, all rather interesting and some amusing!

    But, I’ll add my two-cents worth anyway.

    Paul, just stop it. Period.

    When she tries to engage you about your diet (or any diet info) just tell her that you are not interested. period. You do not need to show her that you know more than her, or that she doesn’t know what she is talking about. THAT kind of conversation is engaging her – why, on earth do you not expect her to respond back?

    I may be wrong on this, but it sounds like you started it, no? How did this whole thing start? Was the email that got this ball rolling sent to you personally, or was it a mass email sent to every employee in the company? In either case, YOU choose to respond – that was you engaging her. She is simply responding.

    Lastly, there is no reason to “sit her down” and tell her this – just the next time she tries to start such a conversation, tell her you are not interested. period. Trying to explain why is YOU furthering the conversation. Just tell her you are not interested and that will stop it.

    Remember it takes two to have a conversation.

  31. Amina*

    This woman has a massive crush and is using her position and the OP’s physique/bodybuilding to engage him. He could just keep repeating, “stop. Inappropriate.” no arguments, just repeat firmly and loudly. If he gets witnesses so be t. If she complains, point out he’s tried ignoring her, but she’s come directly to him, and HR, and whatever else (just scrolled down loads of comments and can’t remember all of the details now).

  32. ST*

    1) Forward the e-mails from the dietician to your HR rep with the addition of wording like “I continue to receive these e-mails from dietician although I have repeatedly asked her to stop.”

    2) Start bringing a book or your phone or something with you when you plan to eat. When the dietician begins to talk to you, say, “Excuse me, I’m busy,” and then turn away from her and to your media and actually ignore her. Clearly and obviously tune her out.

  33. FatBigot*

    Of course, you also have the problem of the tyranny of the do-gooder, as expressed by C.S. Lewis:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals”

      1. Kelly O*

        This has long been one of my personal favorites. The proverbial road to Hell being paved with good intentions and the like…

        And Paul, seriously if you’re still reading this, she may not have a crush, she may think you’re a challenge. “Oh, here is someone who is not a registered dietician who thinks he knows more than me, let me enlighten him.” So every time you talk to her, she gets more proverbial (I am a fan of that word today it seems) ammo for her next round.

        I can’t recall where I read it, but some of the best advice I ever read about people like this is to just say “really, isn’t that interesting” and just walk away, or keep reading your book, or not engage in some other way.

        1. Jamie*

          This response comes in very handy for ITs when dealing with people who think they are technical experts because they manage to set up their Facebook page.

          If you don’t have a book, a glassy eyed stare into the distance works as well.

  34. FrancesB*

    Wow…It’s hard enough doing a good job at work without the added hassle of being stalked on your breaks. I work in a government agency, and they have contracted to have a wellness group provide services. It is completely voluntary and, if you choose to participate, confidential. You go to them, they never seek you out. Personally, I ( an overweight, middle aged woman) prefer to keep my persoanl choices just that; personal.
    That being said, I was stalked and harrassed by my insurance company trying to browbeat me into getting “case management” with them. They were calling me at home and becoming aggressive. I eventually just flat out told them, that they needed to leave me alone, and they have.
    I agree with the prior comments that suggest you simply tell this social moron to just go away and not bother you. Use those words…” Go away, and don’t bother me any more. If you don’t, I will make a formal complaint”. She obviously is too dense or thick skinned to understand your meaning when you are polite.
    I would suggest also, that you do continue to make formal reports to HR and get this all documented. I’m sure they don’t want the work environment soured by this sort of behavior. I guarantee, that you are not the only one feeling hounded and harrassed, and others may feel helpless to rid themselves of her as well.

  35. Nicola*

    I have the same problem with my work’s health insurance “wellness” program. They call me and want me to participate over the phone. I’ve said, “no thanks” and even, “please take me off your list,” but they still call. They don’t just call once every fiscal year, they’ll call and call until I answer. Every time I say “no” the person at the other end is like, “OK….” like I’m crazy for turning the opportunity down. The other thing is that my coworkers don’t have the same problem. It makes me think that the insurance company has put me on this list of high risk people or something. Either way, the constant calls are annoying and feel super invasive.

  36. Pussyfooter*

    Was referred here from “My Company Hired a Corporate Chaplain..”

    I am curious to know how things ever worked out for Paul/OP.

    There’s another reason this dietician might be all over the OP: sometimes body builders mess up their cardiovascular system with crazy workout/supplement combos. Really young, healthy guys sometimes pass out or get sent home from the gym I work in for super high blood pressure issues.
    Maybe this dietician is over compensating for a friend’s death or some such personal issue, projecting her feelings about it on the OP.

    All that aside, Elizabeth hit the nail on the head when she likened this behavior to stalking. Ignoring OP’s wishes and continuing to approach him *even though she was embarrassed by his response* is exactly the boundary ignoring behavior of a stalker. And it needs to be dealt with as such.

  37. Ali*

    It is great that you put alot of effort and energy into your appareance, diet and overall health.

    As I was reading the original post I at first laughed. However, my laughter soon became offended and frustration with your ignorance and attitude about the entire situation. I am a Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, LD) as well as a Les Mills certified fitness instructor and yoga instructor. I live a very active, competitive lifestyle. I am studying to become a CSSD, or a Board Certified Sports Dietitian.
    It’s really unfortunate that you denied what was probably great advice from the best health professionals to obtain nutrition information.

    No humans diet is perfect, especially athletes. You may have the mentally “what I am doing works so leave it alone.” Sure, it may work for now. Want to see better results? What brings about results? As a fitness enthusiast, it’s not doing the same exercises day in and day out. Nor is it eating the same foods everyday. By meeting with the RD, you could have learned ways to improve your diet or your fitness results.
    Moreover, it sounds like you are unfamiliar with what exactly a Registered Dietitian (RD) is and what their realm of practice is. I would love to inform you. As recognized by medical practioners and the government of the United States, Registered Dietitians are the nutrition and food science experts. Registered Dietitians are educated and trained to work in food service establishments, hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis center, public health, as well as in athletics, especially in the collegiate setting.

    Registered Dietitians have credientialing requirements that can be very difficult to obtain due to the national shortage of dietitic internships (essential to having an RD). Here are the educational requirements of the Registered Dietitian in a nut shell.

    To become a Registered Dietitian, one must first obtain a bachelor’s of science from a CADE accredited program. These CADE programs are most often found at large, public universities. The courses involved in the major are heavily science and chemistry focused, especially organic chemistry, biochemistry, and nutrition biochemistry to understand how the human metabolism works. Anatomy is also very important to understand how we as humans digest and absorb the food that we eat.
    Once a degree is obtained, the graduate must apply for a highly competetive dietitic internship that selects applicants through a matching process. Dietetic internships are extremely difficult these days and it is not uncommon for individuals to obtain a Master’s degree in Nutrition and still not obtain an internship.
    After the 1200 hour internship is completed, a national board exam must be passed.
    If the applicant passes, then the person officially has the Registered Dietitian title, but still must obtain state licensure. This can take weeks to months depending upon how slowly things are moving in the state licensing offices.

    So in a nut shell, if your company still has your RD, I would look at this as a blessing and not as an annoyance. I seriously hope you don’t refer to a trainer for your nutrition advice. Unless the trainer is a Registere Dietitian, then they have no business providing meal plans or nutrition advice. It is a huge potential liability if your hire someone to provide nutrition advice who is not actually a legitmate nutrition expert (ie Registered Dietitian).


    A Registered Dietitian

    1. Natalie Anne Lanoville*

      It doesn’t matter whether or not the RD in the original post is correct, or whether it’s a mistake for the OP to not take her up on her suggestions.

      He isn’t obligated to listen to her, and she should respect his wish to be left alone.

  38. Purr Purr Purr*

    I just had to come back to this post for another read since I’m now going through this same situation! I’m an endurance athlete and follow a low carb high fat diet and a woman at work is bothering me about it. I understand she’s trying to help but she needs to mind her own business. My dietary requirements aren’t the same as most ‘ordinary’ people on the street. I know what works for me (hey, I’ve had a long time to figure out what works for me) so it infuriates me that this woman has come along and is giving me duff information (“You *need* lots of carbs,” being my favourite). Obviously since she has some sort of degree in nutrition or whatever, I’m far too stupid to be trusted to eat according to my own rules and preferences! I still haven’t decided whether or not to take it further simply because I recognise she’s just trying to help and she’s just a minor annoyance to my work day.

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