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These Obnoxious Dining Habits Will End Any Relationship

These Obnoxious Dining Habits Will End Any Relationship

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There are a few dinnertime faux pas that I can understand. Maybe you’re not the best with chopsticks, or maybe you have the palate of a 2-year-old and just can’t stand to eat broccoli. But when it comes to eating with others, there a few deal-breakers.

Complicated or Tedious Orders

I understand dietary restrictions, but if at the end of your order you’ve created a new menu item, then I don’t want to really dine out with you often.

Drowning Your Food

You order a salad and then drown it in dressing — or you paint your French fries with ketchup. This behavior is disgusting and annoying.

Fingers as Forks

Some dishes are created to eat with your fingers, like French fries and Buffalo wings. However, using your hands to eat steak and potatoes is not only is it messy, it’s also embarrassing. How old are you, 2?


Some foods are finger-licking good, but not literally. Restaurants give you napkins for a reason. Use them, because licking your fingers is not an option. Whether you’re at a fine-dining establishment or McDonald’s, it’s never appropriate.

Messy Eating

At the end of your meal, you’re covered in crumbs or stains from condiments. Did you forget to use the napkin or do you need a bib?


Some foods are truly delicious, but it’s not everyone’s business. Smacking is something you learn at an early age. If you’re still doing it past 21, then teaching you not to would be a challenging task.

Sucking Your Teeth

Dental floss was created for a reason. Sucking your teeth is sure to annoy your dining companion.

Social Addiction

If you can’t get through appetizers without having to check your phone for an Instagram update, then that’s a problem.

Talking with a Mouthful

The food may be good and the conversation may be even better, but please take smaller bites and chew your food before speaking.

Share with us the dining habits you hate by mentioning us @thedailymeal and tagging it #TDMBadDiningHabits.

Overeaters Anonymous Review

When starting with these support groups, you will hear all about their 12 step process, which I will explain below as claimed by the site.

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” [2]

So how does this program work if you do not believe in God at all?

This was asked, and the company answered “Working the OA program of recovery is a highly individual process. We don’t all think alike. As stated in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, page ix, “Our common bonds are two: the disease of compulsive eating from which we all have suffered, and the solution that we all are finding as we live by the principles embodied in these Steps.” This is what unites us in OA. Differences regarding a spiritual concept, or lack thereof, need not keep us from working the program.” [3]

They also talk about the different tools to recovery that are used by people attending these meetings, whether they believe in God or not. Some of the tools are simply getting a plan of eating together so that you can be clear on what you should eat and when to eat. The second tool is sponsorship, otherwise known as support.

They state, “We ask a sponsor to help us through our program of recovery on all three levels, physical, emotional, and spiritual.” [4] Other ways are through service of other people, writing, phone conversations, and reading different literature.

As you can tell, the Overeaters Anonymous meetings are more than just meetings, and there is action required. For those who have a compulsive overeating problem, the Overeaters Anonymous app is also a great way to stay connected even when your group is not around and you are on the go. If you eat foods just because they are in front of you and others are eating, you can open this app and get support. These small behaviors will help to get you back on the right track, and keep you away from the problem of compulsive overeating.

14 Habits Of People With A Healthy Relationship To Food

There's a fine line between thinking carefully about what we put into our bodies and obsessing over it or restricting it dangerously.

Whether our particular issue is emotional eating, binge eating, disordered eating or we just can't seem to get a handle on the whole nutrition thing, we can all stand to learn a few things from the people for whom healthy eating just comes easily. Here are a few of the things they do differently.

1. People with a healthy relationship to food eat mindfully.
Our body has some pretty significant built-in cues to tell us when to eat -- and when to stop eating. But we're not always listening. The practice of engaging all of our senses to guide our eating-related decisions is called mindful eating, explains Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD, CDE, co-founder and current president of the Center for Mindful Eating. Mindful eating can help us "acknowledge our response to food without getting into judgement," she says.

2. They swear by everything -- yes, everything -- in moderation.

"No food is forbidden," says Edward Abramson, Ph.D. a clinical psychologist and author of Emotional Eating. "Foods are not intrinsically 'good' or 'bad.'" He tells an anecdote of a client who once told him French fries were the work of the devil -- and it was not a joke. "French fries are just French fries," he says.

Morality attached to food may stem from the fact that some religions do have prohibitions when it comes to food, he says. Take, for example, how "some foods are described as sinfully delicious," he says.

"It isn't food that's good or bad, it's our experience," says Fletcher. "And that's not judging, it's categorizing." Recognizing foods and eating situations that you find pleasant can help inform your future choices, she says. People with a healthy relationship to food tell themselves, "'Eating is a chance for me to nourish and nurture my being,'" she says, "as opposed to, 'I have to eat this way or those foods.'"

3. But they know the timing has to be right.
However, if you do decide you're in the mood for fries or pizza or chocolate, says Abramson, enjoy your pick at a time when you're not hungry for a full meal, so you don't overdo it. "If you're starving and then you're confronted with a favorite food, you'll consume a lot more of it," he says. "Let's say, if you have it for dessert, you already had your meal, your tummy is full, you can really appreciate the sensations that chocolate provides."

4. They eat when they're physically hungry.
"Emotional eating is typically to soothe unpleasant emotional arousal," says Abramson. Unfortunately, stress and anxiety often cause us to crave higher-calorie, fattier foods and "most of us don't need additional caloric intake," he says.

When we use food to try to soothe an emotion, he adds, we mask what that emotion is trying to teach us, and instead replace it with regret or guilt for eating whatever we grabbed.

5. And they stop eating when they're comfortably full.
Hunger and satiety both start off small and grow bigger and louder, says Fletcher. "Some of us don't hear hunger or fullness until it's screaming in our ears," she says. But being more tuned-in while eating can help us "hear" better as well. "Mindfulness is saying, 'I'm going to listen harder to my hunger and hear it when it's not yelling at me, and I'm going to listen harder to my fullness so it's not yelling at me [either].'" Both hunger and fullness change after every bite, so listening in can help you find the level of fullness where it's comfortable for you to stop eating, she says.

6. They eat breakfast.

Regular breakfast eaters have more energy, better memories and lower cholesterol. They also feel healthier overall and are typically leaner than their peers who don't eat a morning meal. "Starting your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast with proteins, fats and carbs and not high in sugar is the key to healthy eating," says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the co-author of Overcoming Binge Eating For Dummies.

7. They don't keep problematic foods in the house.
Once you know your specific patterns of emotional eating, says Abramson, you can take small steps to redirect them. One strategy he recommends is no longer keeping a particularly tempting food in the house, so you'd have to leave home after dinner to get a taste. If, for example, you really love ice cream, "rather than having it sitting in the freezer calling your name," he says, a couple of times a week, go out for ice cream.

8. They don't sit down with the whole bag.
Hitting up your local ice cream shop also has the benefit of providing your treat in a single serving size. "If you have a cup or a cone you know when you're finished, as opposed to sitting there having one spoonful after another" straight out of the carton, says Abramson. Buying single-serving packages of your favorite chips or cookies can also help, he says, as can simply serving yourself in a cup or bowl rather than sitting down with a whole family-size bag of chips.

9. They know the difference between a snack and a treat.
Letting yourself get too hungry is a recipe for overeating -- especially those foods you most want to keep to smaller portions. Snacking is a smart way to make sure you're not ravenous come dinnertime. But snack choice is crucial to both keeping you full and keeping your healthy eating plans on track, says Abramson. "A treat is purely for enjoyment, while a snack is something you eat between meals to stave off hunger," he says. "Nuts or fruit or cheese could be a good snack," he says, but chocolate? A treat.

10. They give themselves permission to enjoy eating.

These tips aren't plausible if we don't make time to value our relationships with food. "So many times we forget to take the time to eat, and eating does take time," says Fletcher. She suggests looking ahead at your day and making sure you have enough time carved out to eat, rather than planning to scarf something down in the three minutes you have between afternoon meetings. "We make it three minutes, and that may feed you, but does it nourish you?" she asks. And it's not about feeling guilty for missing something else by making time to eat, she says. It's about truly believing we are "worth sitting down and eating food."

11. They don't "make up" for a meal.
When we find ourselves feeling guilty about a food choice, "there's this instinct to make up for it by either overdoing it at the gym or being very restrictive at the next meal," says Cohn. Instead, she suggests thinking of this process as a more subtle "balancing out". People with healthy relationships to food will have a lighter meal later in the day if they decide to indulge at brunch, for example, but they won't restrict that later meal so much so that they end up binging later because they've made themselves excessively hungry. "You can balance out slowly over the course of a week, but you can't make up within the same day," says Cohn.

12. They don't eat to see the scale shift.
Ideally, we'd all eat what makes us feel good, says Cohn. We'd pick the foods that gave us energy to fuel our daily activity, and we'd avoid foods that, say, gave us indigestion, regardless of how good they tasted, rather than restructuring our eating plans to make the number on the scale change.

13. They're not afraid of feeling hungry.
One of the most restrictive patterns of thought that Cohn sees among clients is a fear of eating too much and consequently gaining weight. "People who have a sense of what their body needs and eat mindfully and intuitively when they can, they're not as afraid of their hunger," she says. "What's there to be afraid of? If you get hungry, you just eat something!"

14. Their concerns for food don't interfere with daily life.

After a long list of rules and habits like the above, even the healthiest eaters might feel a little overwhelmed. The key to taking in all this advice healthfully is remaining balanced. Being too rigid, restrictive or strict about nutritious eating can also cause problems, including disordered thoughts or behavior that could be classified as orthorexia, says Cohn. Scheduling a date with the gym is one thing scheduling a date three evenings in a row when your best friend is visiting from out of town and you don't make any time to see her may raise red flags, she says. "If you're missing out on normal social engagements or sleep in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, that's definitely crossing the line."

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Embrace Fiber

Fiber, found in all plants, is beneficial for gut health, blood sugar regulation, and cardiovascular health. Foods like dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, and chickpeas are rich in prebiotic fibers that pass through the GI tract undigested and ferment to act as nutrition for the good bacteria. The end result is supportive of a healthy microbiome.

One of the easy ways I add fiber to family meals is with Banza Plant-Based Mac & Cheese. It’s made from chickpeas and is a great source of plant-based protein and fiber—two times the protein and three times the fiber of conventional pasta. Yolélé Fonio is another great option: This quick-cooking ancient grain from West Africa cooks similarly to couscous. And it has triple the iron, protein, and fiber of brown rice.

Food Fundamentals

Get a strong foundation in nutrition, so you can figure out what works for you

Many people will eat a doughnut and then think, "Well, since I already ate junk I may as well just keep going for the whole [day, weekend, etc.]." Thinking like this can lead to a food binge that ends in guilt and shame. Remember that one food choice does not need to dictate the next.

The sauces and spices are absolutely key for this dish otherwise, you’ll just end up with flavorless chicken and rice. Here’s what to have on hand: garlic, Thai red chilis, onion, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and Thai basil. Once you have your ingredients ready to go, the dish comes together really quickly.

Photo: Veena Azmanov

"Whether you're at your desk or in the break room, being known as the office slob is never a compliment," said Randall.

When you clog the office kitchen sink and leave your garbage around, who exactly are you expecting to clean up after you?

"Leaving your mess behind shows lack of responsibility or consideration, arrogance, and immaturity," Randall said.

Similarly, your workspace can be a reflection of you, she said.

"If you're like me, who works well in a semi-messy environment, it can be inhibiting to be clutter-free. But with open cubicles or workspaces, the professional thing to do is to make some compromises," Randall said. "It would be disrespectful and inconsiderate to expect your coworkers to deal with your mess."

According to Haefner, employees who don't clean up after themselves can hurt their chances for a promotion in the eyes of 36% of employers.

Accept yourself

While it may seem contradictory to the goal of changing your behavior, practicing acceptance is an important part of making any healthy habit stick. That doesn’t mean resigning yourself to never feeling in charge of your eating but it does mean accepting yourself, as you are, so that you can be a good coach to yourself as you tackle new behaviors.

Changing habits can be difficult—two steps forward, one step back. Understanding that can help you to stay on track with your goals and prevent backsliding into a “what the hell, I may as well give up” attitude at the first slipup. Interestingly, when we accept our feelings and urges, they have less power over us, Farkas writes. So, learning to be patient with the process and acknowledge urges we have to overeat or binge is an important part of becoming more autonomous.

Mistake #7: Not realizing how much of my life revolved around food

RSVPing "no" to happy hours wasn't the only thing that was hard. One of my favorite things to do with my boyfriend is walk over the Williamsburg bridge on a Sunday and try a new restaurant for lunch or dinner. We also essentially plan our vacations around where we want to eat. It's not as though we don't enjoy other hobbies, but sharing the cultural experience around food is one of the aspects of our relationship I treasure most, and it was hard to suddenly cut it out entirely. (Try these 10 things connected couples do.)

The good news is that trying Whole30 gave us more of an opportunity to develop healthier habits together. We started taking long walks with the dog after dinner that didn't end at Oddfellows or Milk bar for dessert, and we'd walk into the city and see a movie or go to the bookstore instead of grabbing lunch. And now that the Whole30 is over, I've realized that the times when we do occasionally try a new restaurant or bar together are more meaningful&mdashand the food is much tastier&mdashthan ever before.

Helping someone with anorexia

While there are ways you can help someone with an eating disorder, you can’t force the person to get better. Having anorexia can distort the way your loved one thinks—about their body, the world around them, even your motivations for trying to help. Add to that the defensiveness and denial involved in anorexia and you’ll need to tread lightly.

Waving around articles about the dire effects of anorexia or declaring, “you’ll die if you don’t eat!” probably won’t work. A better approach is to gently express your concerns and let the person know that you’re available to listen. If your loved one is willing to talk, listen without judgment, no matter how out of touch the person sounds.

Think of yourself as an “outsider.” As someone not suffering from anorexia, there isn’t a lot you can do to “solve” your loved one’s condition. It is ultimately their choice to decide when they are ready.

Encourage your loved one to get help. The longer an eating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated, the harder it is on the body and the more difficult it is to overcome, so urge your loved one to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Seek advice from a health professional, even if your friend or family member won’t. And you can bring others—from peers to parents—into the circle of support.

Be a role model for healthy eating, exercising, and body image. Don’t make negative comments about your own body or anyone else’s.

Don’t act like the food police. A person with anorexia needs compassion and support, not an authority figure standing over the table with a calorie counter.

Avoid threats, scare tactics, angry outbursts, and put-downs. Bear in mind that anorexia is often a symptom of extreme emotional distress and develops out of an attempt to manage emotional pain, stress, and/or self-hate. Negative communication will only make it worse.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

Last updated: September 2020

Get more help

Almost Anorexic – Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? (Harvard Health Books)

Treatment – Tips on eating disorder treatment. (National Eating Disorders Association)

Anorexia nervosa – FAQs on anorexia and its treatment. (Office on Women’s Health)

Anorexia Nervosa – Includes risk factors such as body image, self esteem, and perfectionism. (Eating Disorders Victoria)

Hotlines and support

In the U.S.: National Eating Disorders Association or call 1-800-931-2237 (National Eating Disorders Association)

UK: Beat Eating Disorders or call 0345 643 1414 (Helpfinder)

Australia: Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders or call 1800 33 4673 (National Eating Disorders Collaboration)

Canada: Service Provider Directory or call 1-866-633-4220 (NEDIC)