If someone in your life is struggling with a weight issue, discussing it with them can be one of the most challenging conversations you’ll have. A majority of people ultimately shy away from approaching this tricky social encounter. However, confronting a loved one about their weight can be one of the best gifts you can give as a friend, partner or family member.
Discussing the Difficult
In figuring out how to tell someone you love they need to lose weight, it’s important to take a non-threatening approach with the person. Many people hold onto extra weight because of emotional eating. Confronting them in a harsh manner will cause them to go into a defensive, self-protection mode. This might only further serve to enable their poor eating choices.
Instead, confront your loved one in a supportive one-on-one setting where they are most likely to let their guard down. Confronting them in a group can make them feel at risk of being ganged up on or like they are being told “you’re fat and worthless”.
You can start by casually inquiring with the person if they have ever considered losing weight. This is a soft approach to introducing the discussion. By gently and privately asking if they have thought about losing weight, you have the opportunity to show your support and encouragement.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
Confronting a loved one about weight loss has a higher likelihood of resulting in success when the person feels that their greater needs are being looked after. By showing your loved one that you care about them overall as a person and not just a number on a scale, the dieting issue quickly dissolves into a small matter. They need to know that they can count on your love and support no matter their size.
For some people, food is a source of emotional comfort. When things go wrong, they turn to overeating as a source of comforting their pain. In demonstrating that you care about the person’s overall well-being, make yourself available to them if they ever need someone to listen. You can directly impact their weight loss efforts by being a source of friendship so they can turn to you to chat about problems they’re facing rather than a box of doughnuts.
Participate and Lead by Example
Sometimes people just need a role model to help show them the way. People don’t like to go through challenges alone. Suggest to your loved one they try a new diet or exercise program with you. This could be a morning routine of drinking vegetable juice for weight loss and trying new recipes or participating in an exercise program together.
If your friend is already on a diet, find out everything you can about their diet. You may find an opportunity to participate by attending their weekly support group meeting or help by putting together a grocery list that conforms to the perimeters of the diet.
Above all else, be positive and supportive. Don’t overwhelm your loved one by taking over too much control of their own lives. Losing weight has to be their decision and a commitment they make to themselves. Ultimately, reaching a weight loss goal is the responsibility of only one person. Others can be supportive and accommodating, but you can’t intervene as the food police who tells them what they can and cannot eat. That will only foster “secret eating” and build up contempt towards the new authority figure in their life.
With your support, your friend can beat their food addiction and enjoy the better lifestyle of a person at a normal body weight. Be consistent and thoughtful in your support and you can impact positive change towards your loved one’s body weight.