How to talk to a loved one about their weight
Ashley May | 10.15.13
Photo by AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
If you think you need to talk to a loved one about his/her weight, make sure you do it sensitively.
Talking about our own weight is difficult. Talking to someone else about their weight can be even more uncomfortable.
But, if you notice a loved one who has reached an unhealthy weight and has shown negative changes in behavior (withdrawn, depressed), it might be important for you to speak with them about it.
Dr. Polly Rost of Rost and Associates said if you are going to approach a loved one about their weight, allow time to talk. Don’t “just drop a concern or worry and close the door,” Rost said. You should speak privately and express genuine concern.
Describe the concern “as an observation, devoid of judgement,” she said. You shouldn’t reference their “self-discipline or the common belief that people should be able to control eating habits on their own.”
Eating disorders are complex and “there is no one singular answer” to curb an individual’s obesity; so, you should not assume you have the answers. “Don’t offer a solution. Just offer concern,” Rost said.
Also, don’t expect the individual to welcome this conversation with a smile. Even if they do take the news politely, it’s improbable that they will suddenly change in eating habits after your conversation.