Ten Things You Should Avoid Saying to Someone Losing Weight
Trying to shed off some extra weight is not easy, but it is possible. The process itself calls for a great deal of self-effort and motivation. However, there is one thing that involves the process of weight loss, yet many do not realize it.
When an individual decides to lose weight, he or she needs 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 actually doing more harm than good.
Some people prefer any type feedback, whether positive or negative. While on the other hand, other people prefer no type of recognition for their weight loss. This can be challenging to those who would like to offer support.
That being said, when it comes to 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 that people say (but shouldn’t) to someone who is losing weight.
“You Look Better Than Before!”
This comparison comment could make someone wonder how “bad” they looked before. Other than making them 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?”
There are some individuals who like to talk about their weight loss accomplishments, including the number of pounds they lost. Yet, there are others who 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, you might cause them to give up.
“Are You Pregnant?”
There are people who make comments like this out of spite. For some, hearing a comment like this can be the motivation they need to lose weight, while for others, it can make them feel worse. Never assume pregnancy based on how someone is shaped, especially since all body types are different and specific to a person.
“You Looked Better with Weight on.”
This is one way of planting seeds of doubt in someone, which can bring a halt to one’s efforts. Weight loss programs are supposed to focus on more than just looks; they should be more about improving one’s health and well-being.
“Hope You Do Not Become Anorexic!”
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.”
There are individuals who tend to push their food agendas on others, especially those who are making positive health and lifestyle changes. Those who like to push their food agendas onto others are often referred to as ‘Food Pushers.’
This comment not only demoralizes one’s efforts, but could also challenge their willpower. It is not always easy to stay away from certain foods; studies show that we tend to crave food more when we’re on a diet. Instead of being a ‘food pusher,’ you can order the same type of food, or just avoid pushing food on that person altogether.
Let them have their “cheat meals” or “a little piece of cake” when they choose to have them.
“That’s All You’ve Lost?”
It goes without saying that this comment can be very discouraging. This comment could damage one’s willpower and motivation. To you, maybe the amount of weight lost does not seem like much, but to the individual, those lost pounds may have marked a major milestone in their lives.
“You’re Probably Going to Have Salad.”
Individuals trying to lose weight have probably heard this more times than they can count. To you, it may just be a simple comment, but to them, it may come off as an insult.
Avoid commenting on a person’s food choices. A person trying to lose weight is very calorie conscious and is mindful of what they eat. So, if you are going to eat out together, try and order something similar. This is 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 difficult and challenging one. It often requires a person to give up certain foods and work out even more, which can be a daily struggle for them.
Thus, they might need someone to talk and vent to. If they do come to you, just listen to them. Allow them to talk about their struggles, challenges, and fears with losing weight. Sometimes, having someone that can just 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. This 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 them on 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, just order the same thing as them. This 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. This is a great way to support and empathize with them.
We are often unaware of the comments we make to family members and friends who are on a weight loss journey. We do not realize that these seemingly rather ‘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 trying to offer 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 being taken seriously.
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