Weight Loss
Moderators: coach_k, Mollybygolly, spoiled_candy, devilish_patsy, nycgirl


How do you tell someone they are overweight?


Quote  |  Reply
No one likes to hear "wow, you've let yourself go, you're fat!" or any variation of that. Some friends and family members are rude and some are kind and concerned.

So if a loved one was truely concerned about your weight gain, and wanted to express that to you, what should they say? What's the best way for them to say they're concerned you're becoming more unhealthy and they are worried?
25 Replies (last)
Hmm, I don't think that there is a way.  Most people know they're overweight so I don't see how telling them will help.  I'd just be supportive and help in any way that seems needed.
You don't! People KNOW they are overweight -- they DON'T need to be told. Who doesn't have a mirror in this the 2000s?
just to be clear, I'm not trying to tell someone they are fat. I'm just wondering if there is a "good" way for a concerned loved one to say so. I don't think there is, you're right.
i don't think it's possible.  the closest you could get would be to make the changes yourself and invite them to join- but even that can hurt feelings.
If the person is mild to moderately overweight, then don't say ANYTHING. It will hurt them deeply. They 99% know that they are overweight. It is not news to them.

HOWEVER, if the person is obese or morbid obese, then yes, say something. But say it in a kind, caring way..tell them that you want them around for a long, long time and you are worried about their health. Don't mention their weight, say they are "fat", or even overweight/obese. These are all scary/hurtful words. Tell them that you would like to help them change their eating and exercising habits for the better, in order to improve their quality of life and their length of life..and that you want to do it WITH them. It always helps to have a partner, someone who is there with you and feeling your struggles.
If you are not close to this person, then I'd stay clear. As much as I respect freedom of speech, a lesson in politeness still counts in society.

With family, I tell him/her straight up, no pretense. But tht's our relationship dynamic. To friends that I am closer or almost as close as family, I would begin by relating to them my current "Interest" and "Satisfaction/Achievement". Then invite them to do it together.
It is easier actually if we both girls, I mean, what girl doesn't wanna loose weight? (even the skinniest of the skinny complains about their weight). Of course, to put it "Smoothly" I would ask the friend to join me in "Getting Fitter". And once you open the gate, they will usually flood the conversation. You will start hearing them saying 'yeah i need to loose weight, i cant stop eating, how do you do ... and so on and so on.' Some times what they need is an opening. An invitation to talk about it.
i wouldn't say anything. as mentioned before - ppl know they are overweight/obese. no matter how nice you are, it will hurt. just my opinion...
yeah, the person knows they are overweight

what they might not know is how much you love them and care about their well being

I wonder what would happen if you just told the person how much he or she means to you and leave it at that.  Reinforce this positive caring on your part and see if that helps him or her care more about  him/herself.

Do you realize how many negative messages that overweight people get in a day?  It's very easy to fall into a self-loathing spiral...

Try some positive love and energy.
*blush* I gave my husband a talking-to last night about his weight.

It's affecting his breathing at night, and he's missing out on doing stuff with the kids because he won't DO anything. So I gave him proper crap-and yep, I told him it was pretty darn inconsiderate to remove himself from the family that way.

Probably not the most tactful approach, yes. But I grow very weary of hearing him complain about his weight without doing anything to make a difference in his health. And there was always the pause, like he was waiting for me to jump in with, 'Oh no, honey. You aren't that big at all'. Fact is, he is that big. And I'm too darn young to be a widow.

Sometimes you just gotta call a spade a shovel.
My mom is pretty overweight, and when I gained all the weight I gained, I think it made her feel good that she had someone else who was overweight with her, and she didn't feel as bad about herself. She started passing down clothes to me (that were several sizes to big!). Well, my grandfather (her dad) just had triple bypass surgery last Spring, and my mom is on all sorts of meds (if she'd lose some weight, she wouldn't have to be on half of them), so that was one of my motivations to losing weight. I didn't want to have to take a bunch of meds (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) and I certainly didn't want to end up having a heart attack someday! I really don't want my mom to have to be overweight, she has always been "heavy" but not as heavy as she is now. I am concerned about her, but she is the kind of person that wants fast results (of course, who doesn't want fast results??!!). If she doesn't see an improvement, she gives up. She LOVES her sweets (She wants to eat healthy, so she spends a lot of money on health food, but it doesn't do much good when you eat a whole sheet cake for your 50th b-day!) and has no self control (not just with food either! She has OCD) but anyway, her attitude is "I am already this heavy, there's no way I can lose it now". That is her attitude on other subjects too. I did approach her and tell her that I was concerned, I didn't want her to die young, and that I wanted her around for her grandchildren. I was not insensitive, because I KNOW it is a sensitive subject, but I didn't care if she got mad at me for bringing it up. I really am concerned about her, and I am afraid that it is going to take a heart attack for her to make some changes. I was hoping that maybe if I showed some concern for her, that maybe she would start making changes. It's always, "well, I'll start on the 1st of the month", and that NEVER happens. She has done Richard Simmons Deal a Meal in the past and it has worked for her, but like I said, she is at her heaviest and she has a negative attitude. It kinda makes me mad because she said that her doctor is so sweet and doesn't make her feel bad for her weight (I guess he doesn't tell her she needs to lose weight). If he is a good doctor, IMO, he should really be encouraging her. Anyway, I was hoping that by me getting as far as I have, that I could inspire her, but I don't think it's making much difference. She doesn't like to "talk" about losing weight (which I can udnerstand), so I try not to bring it up too much, but I do want to encourage her. She just doesn't want to hear it. I tell her "If I can do it, you can do it". But she is just not as motivated as me. Sorry, didn't mean to go in to all of that. But I guess my point was, that maybe it's not such a bad thing to express concern (and not flat out tell someone that they should lose weight!) for a loved one's health. I would feel like a bad daugther if I didn't express concern. Whether it makes a difference or not, I want her to know that I am worried about her, and I hope that she will make better choices.
I take care of my 85 year old dad who was diabetes. I brought him and my mom home to take care of them about 5 years ago. He weighed around 220 when he first moved in. Ideally, he should be around 185. Whenever we come home from the doctor, we always discuss the status of his diabetes and I always tell him he will feel better if he can continue to eat healthy and stay active. He weighs around 210 now. Losing two pounds a year is ok with me, LOL. He was very sedentary when he came to live with me. Now, he walks everyday, works in the yard, and takes the bus everywhere. I always leave exercise and health articles by my chair that he reads and discusses with me. He sees me exercising and preparing the healthy meals - I guess what I am saying is I try to be a good example to him - and show enthusiasm for the healthy eating and exercising lifestyle.

He eats everything I prepare, so that's a good thing. The one thing I don't have any control over is what he eats when he goes on his bus rides, LOL. But, I have discussed with him the better food choices at McDonald's and Taco Bell. For instance, I tell him to avoid foods that have sauces on them, like the Big Mac. I tell him, if he is gonna eat fast food, try to stick with a simple hamburger with catsup and mustard on it, and only order the small serving of french fries. I tell him how bad salt is for him (he has high blood pressure) and I try to be realistic. On one hand I try to explain the importance of diet, on the other I remember it's hard to teach an old horse new tricks!!!

Good luck to you folks with overweight loved ones. My dad's father lived to be 98 - I hope I have those genes in my body. My dad has the potential of living a lot longer - except for being overweight. I always try to be hopeful and encouraging around him - that's the best I can do, I guess.

Chocorific - some people do well with having cold water splashed in their face, which is what you did, LOL. Now, follow that up with your good example and encouragement and it will be up to him. Us guys are competitive, but we are not gonna participate in anything that makes us feel like a loser. One thing is spouses can tell their mates things in a way that others cannot - so don't feel bad. My mom could talk to my dad like that, but I don't have the same relationship with him, so I have to choose my words very carefully.

This is a good thread!!!!
Just a thought, but I'm kind of wondering if it wouldn't be better approach the conversation by talking about yourself, your weight issues (presuming you have any), body image concerns and invite that person to open up and add their own comments. Ease into the topic casually. This way it's not a "I've been meaning to talk to you about your weight" but more participatory and sharing.

Even better, invite them to go for a long walk and then talk.
Since I've had loved ones telling me to lose weight for years, I can tell you that not one thing they ever said to me did any good.  I had to come to the decision myself. 

So, looking at my dearest friend, very overweight and getting fatter, I try to say nothing except that I'm losing weight.  If she asks me how I'm doing it, then I'll tell her.  Now if she would just stop asking me to go out for pizza.....
Just poking my head back in, because on rereading my first post, it sounds like I attacked the poor guy out of nowhere. It really wasn't an ambush or anything like that-I lost 60lbs last year through sensible diet and exercise. I do all the cooking in the house, so what's up for offer is more healthful. The problem is that you can still gain weight eating healthy foods if you're eating two or three servings at a sitting. He has no concept of portion control, and frequently eats past full, simply because it tastes good. (I suspect there may also be an element of childishness, he often pigs out and eats ALL of a snack item I've bought or made for the whole family to share over several days.)

Fact is that he is well aware of what is necessary to be more healthy. There is no junk in the house, and the kids and I are quite active. He's watched me work at weight loss and addressing my disordered eating habits.

I guess I just finally snapped. I'm just soooo tired of hearing about how fat he is while he sits on the couch with his family sized bag of chips and his belly fighting to escape an  XL shirt that doesn't fit anymore, giving excuse as to why it's much more important to be watching fishing on TV than going for a walk with me and the kids.

I am sorry I wasn't more tactful though.
my boyfriend and i try to be honest with each other about this stuff. 

i need to exercise because i get bad cranky moods when i don't. he'll gently remind me that i'll feel better emotionally if i work out.

when he asks if he looks thicker around the middle, i tell him truthfully. (though i confess i never ask if i look bigger or not. i KNOW when i am gaining weight)

we encourage each other to eat well and help keep each other's "splurges" in control.

he is much more fit than i am - an exercise junkie, really - so i try to take inspiration from that. and i know a lot more about nutrition (calories, portions, nutrients, etc.) so i am teaching him that stuff.
eh the way how people got it through to me that I'm fat was simply they'd comment on their own weight and people would immediately disagree that they're over weight/fat but for me they wouldnt say anything...just kind of lok around untill a new conversation came up...it made me feel really bad so i started my diet.

Maybe you could try something like that...but dont be even less than blunt about it.

I agree, no one likes to hear it...and besides, it's very dobtful that you would be the first person telling them that they are overweight.  An overweight person knows that they are overweight and when they make the personal decision to do whatever it will take to lose the weight..it will happen...but NOT by someone reminding them how much weight they've gained.

 

Dr D

25 Replies (last)
Advertisement
Advertisement