how can I tell my boss to stop commenting on my food and my weight?

A reader writes:

I recently got a new job in a new city and I love what I do.

Recently I have lost a bit of weight. My boss has made several comments about how I’m so skinny and how she wishes she could diet like me. Really all I have done is started running again, because my schedule finally affords it. We ran into each other one morning while I had a coffee in one hand and a brownie in the other, and it was, “Look at you and your diet!”

Long ago I had some serious body issues and never really felt comfortable in my skin until a few years ago. These comments, whether about my weight or diet, have really started to affect me. I’m tracking my weight and I’m constantly thinking about how to cut calories. Luckily, I can recognize the slippery slope I’m headed towards, but I don’t know how to address it with her. I’m uncomfortable going directly to her, but our office is so small, we have no HR person and the next higher up is our executive director.

How do I go about asking her to please keep comments about my weight to herself without admitting to serious problems in my past AND keeping our relationship professional? Our one office space is entirely women, and it is becoming apparent that it is a frequent conversation.

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • How to follow up up on a promised raise
  • Shouldn’t this recruiter be … recruiting me?
  • Managing someone who doesn’t want to move up
  • I’m getting conflicting instructions at work

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