Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Losing Weight
Demotivational Sayings for Dieters
Losing weight is hard enough, without having to deal with insensitive comments from friends and family. If you're trying to be supportive of someone you know that's making healthier changes, here are nine things you should probably avoid saying.
"You're on a diet? Here's what worked for me."
Unless they asked your advice, keep it to yourself. If someone tells you've they've started a diet, that generally means they've committed to a program. They didn't ask for your opinion. You should only intervene if you suspect their program may cause them harm. If that's the case, suggest they meet with a licensed dietitian or nutritionist to make sure their diet is appropriate.
"You look so much better now."
Some people will interpret it to mean, "you looked awful before, congratulations on no longer being so ugly." Don't judge how someone looked before and compare it to today.
"How much more weight do you have to lose?"
Imagine you've lost 70 pounds. You're justifiably excited and proud about making such a monumental achievement. Then someone asks you how much more work you have left. Instead of focusing on the accomplishment, it highlights the struggle that may still remain. Besides, what if they're at their ideal weight and they just need to move it around a little?
"So what size pants/dress/bra/etc. do you wear now?"
That question should be reserved for people who share clothing with you or the store clerk that's getting you something to try on. If you don't fall into one of those two categories, it's none of your business.
"Do you have stretch marks?"
Put this question in the same category as the previous one. It's not your concern. If you're curious, people who are 100 pounds or more overweight, often do develop stretch marks. However, they diminish significantly 1-2 years after the weight is lost. Quit drawing attention to the negatives.
"Are you sick or dying?"
When the only change you see in a person is weight loss, don't automatically assume it's because of health problems. You can certainly ask someone who's coughing, bleeding, limping or showing obvious signs of distress if they're OK. It's also appropriate to have someone you work with stay home if they have something contagious. But anything beyond what directly affects your health or work isn't your concern. If you have to say something, ask simply, "How are things going?" Then let them share as much or as little as they feel comfortable with.
"Should you be eating that?"
Don't act like the food police unless that's your actual job. Often when people lose weight, their diet plan includes treats and indulgences along the way. Going off a plan briefly can help reduce cravings and keep people on track. Pay attention to the food in front of you and not what's on someone else's plate.
"No more food for you."
Successful weight loss programs almost always involve eating fewer calories. Hiding food or shaming someone by taking food away doesn't help. It just drives excess behavior underground. Ask how much someone wants before you put it on their plate. If they take more than you think is appropriate, that's their issue not yours. Offer to help if they ask.
"I liked you better when you were bigger."
When someone loses a lot of weight, they often change their routines. They may no longer order a dessert that you can split. They might spend more time in the gym. The way they interact with you will probably be different. If you want to keep a healthy relationship, you may need to alter your behavior as well. That's your issue, not theirs.
It's appropriate to say something if weight loss goes beyond what's healthy, but not if you're just uncomfortable with change.
There's nothing magical about losing weight, it's a lot of hard work. If you want to help, think twice before you say something.
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