Ten Things You Should Avoid Saying to Someone Losing Weight
Trying to shed some extra weight is not easy, but it is possible. The process itself calls for a great deal of self-effort and motivation.
When a person decides to lose weight, they may need continual support.
More specifically, they need positive support from family and friends.
Sometimes we think that when we make negative comments, we are helping the person.
However, we do not realize those negative comments are doing more harm than good.
Some people prefer any type of feedback, whether positive or negative. While on the other hand, other people prefer no recognition for their weight loss. It can be challenging for those who would like to offer support.
When supporting someone on a weight loss journey, we should be very mindful of what we say to them.
Below is a list of common phrases people say (but shouldn’t) to someone losing weight.
“You Look Better Than Before!”
This comparison comment could make someone wonder how “bad” they looked before. Other than making the person feel bad, it could damage their self-worth and self-esteem.
It’s always best to steer away from making comparison-type comments such as this.
“How Much Did You Lose?”
Some individuals like to talk about their weight loss accomplishments, including the number of pounds they lost. Yet, others prefer to keep their weight loss achievements private. Instead of asking, wait for them to mention their success with you.
If they do talk about it, don’t ask (or tread lightly).
“Hope You Don’t Gain It All Back Again!”
The individual who just lost weight is most likely worried (and terrified) about weight maintenance already. Losing weight is one thing but keeping it off is something entirely different.
Many people who lose weight fail to keep it off long-term. Making such a statement could make things worse. Moreover, it can be disheartening.
It might make them think that all their efforts won’t matter in the end. Instead of encouraging them, it might add to their possible anxiety of gaining the weight back.
“Are You Pregnant?”
While most people naively ask this question, other people ask questions like this out of spite. For some people, a statement like this can be the motivation they need to lose weight. However, for others, it can make them feel worse.
If a woman gains most of her weight around her stomach, it could give a false impression of pregnancy.
Never assume pregnancy is based on how someone is shaped, especially since all body types are different and specific.
“You Looked Better with Weight on.”
This comment is one way to plant seeds of doubt, which can halt weight loss efforts. Weight loss programs are supposed to focus on more than just looks; they should be more about improving health and well-being.
“I Hope You Do Not Become Too Skinny!”
It’s understandable to have some concern about the amount of weight being lost, but making such a comment is considered rude and inappropriate.
“A Little Won’t Hurt or Won’t Make A Difference.”
This comment not only demoralizes weight-loss efforts but could also challenge willpower.
Some individuals tend to push their food agendas on others, especially those who make positive health and lifestyle changes. People who like to push their food agendas onto others are often referred to as ‘Food Pushers.’
It is not always easy to stay away from certain foods; studies show that we crave food more when on a diet. Instead of being a “food pusher,” you can order the same type of food they are eating or avoid pushing food on that person.
Let them have their cheat meals or a little piece of cake when they choose to have them.
“That’s All You’ve Lost?”
This comment can be very discouraging. This comment could damage willpower and motivation. To you, maybe the amount of weight loss does not seem like much, but to the individual, those lost pounds may have marked a significant milestone in their lives.
“You’re Probably Going to Have Salad.”
This comment may seem innocent, but to that person, it could come off as insulting. Individuals trying to lose weight have probably heard this more times than they can count.
Avoid commenting on a person’s food choices. A person trying to lose weight could be very calorie-conscious and mindful of what they eat.
So, if you are going to eat out together, try and order something similar. It could be a great way of supporting and encouraging them. Remember, it’s more about enjoying their company rather than the “salad” on their plate.
“You shouldn’t eat that!”
People who make comments like this are often referred to as the “diet police.” Admittedly, you might just be trying to help that person out. However, such a comment may not sit well with the person trying to lose weight.
Tips on How to Be More Supportive
Now that we know things to avoid saying, what should we say to someone on a journey to weight loss? Better yet, how can we be the support pillar that our family member/friend needs?
We’ll address a few tips on how to be more supportive in these instances.
Lend a Listening Ear
The weight loss journey is often a challenging one. It requires a person to give up or limit certain foods and work out more, which can be a daily struggle.
Thus, they might need someone to talk to and vent. If they come to you, have a listening ear. Allow that person to talk about their struggles, challenges, and fears with losing weight. Sometimes, having someone that can listen to them helps them a great deal.
Work Out Together
Be their accountability partner and offer to work with that person and towards a common goal. It can be a great source of encouragement to your loved one.
Also, you can help keep them motivated if discouragement kicks in. Additionally, you can join their quest to live a healthier life.
Be Mindful of What You Eat Around Them
Whether you’re going out or eating together at home, watch what you eat around them. Do not order food that you know might tempt them. Moreover, try and avoid eating food that they are trying to avoid.
Order and eat foods that are healthier as well. If you are not sure what to order, order the same thing as them. It will not only be supportive but also help make social events easier for them.
If you’re a family member, prepare and cook healthier food choices. It is a great way to support and empathize with them.
Sometimes, we are unaware of the comments we make to those who are trying to lose weight.
We do not realize that these seemingly ‘small’ comments can have huge and lasting effects on the person receiving them.
Losing weight can be complicated, lonely, frustrating, and rewarding at the same time. Learning how to be more mindful when offering words of support and encouragement can make the difference between someone feeling like they’re being supported or feeling like they’re being mocked or not taken seriously.
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