So you’re NEVER going to have cake again?

As nutrition clients make progress with their eating and weight loss inevitably people start to notice. At times, these clients come in delighted with the changes in their bodies and the feedback they are getting. Occasionally, remarks by others can sting or leave them puzzled.
A classic careless comment is “you look soooooo much better”. The subtext here is you really looked like crap before. This type of statement results in people feeling “I must’ve looked worse than I thought.” There’s no need to feel poorly when you’re making positive changes.
Motivation: Nasty
If you want to know which friend is not really your friend, lose some weight. When you really start to look fit and feel fantastic the “friend” who utters, “you better not lose any more weight” is completely jealous, cannot be happy for you and secretly hopes you’ll gain it back. These faux friends can also say things like “how are you going to keep the weight off?”
Motivation: Jealous
And just because someone has lost weight doesn’t make their food choices open for evaluation. If someone is having success, chances are they have some system they are using to assure sound selections. “Are you allowed to have that” never leads to the person saying, “oh you’re right I am going to throw it out.”  Instead, it makes them feel scrutinized and sometimes guilt-ridden. Well-meaning mothers voice their opinions in this manner. It’s far better to ask about food choices when someone isn’t eating their meal. As annoying as food policing is, enticing is just as bad. “Don’t be so rigid, just have a little” (insert treat food of choice) insinuates that the person is overly rigid. The last time I checked, skipping cake or pizza isn’t all that rigid.
Motivation: Controlling
Finally, there are the amount observations. You know, “I didn’t realize you had than much weight to lose.” Or, you’ve lost a lot of weight, how much 30, 40 pounds?”
Motivation: Clueless or Insensitive
As tempting as it is to match thoughtless comments with a snide comeback, there’s another option. There’s a chance, with some of these examples, that the person making the remark has no idea it’s hurtful. If you can say “asking if I’m allowed to eat that makes me uncomfortable when I’m trying to enjoy a meal.” Or, “when you tell me I look better it seems to suggest I didn’t look well before” you then have the opportunity to explain yourself. This may prevent the person from saying such things in the future.
If you have a friend, coworker or family member who’s losing weight and want to encourage them “you look great” always works.
What’s the most upsetting thing anyone has said to you about your weight? Any classic “what not to say” comments I omitted? Do you think the motivation is jealousy, malice or ignorance here?
PS Did you see Xbox’s childhood obesity commercial during the Super Bowl, that made me almost as excited as the Giant’s exciting WIN!


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