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TOPIC: How/When, if ever to tell someone he/she is obese.

 
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October 4, 2012 7:05 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

If you think that person doesn't know they're obese, you're oblivious imo. They know. They will deal with it when/if they are ready. Being pushed into it by a force outside themselves, either positive or negative, will not work and will only be upsetting. Change has to come from within. I find this true even for family members - say something only if you want to hurt their feelings, because even if you motivate them to try now until THEY want to make the change - truly want it - it won't work. We know this all the time from MFP, that it's a lifestyle change that has to happen, so it always makes me shake my head when people are like "How do I tell someone they're obese?" They know they're obese. What are you going to accomplish by saying something?


I generally agree, except that in my case, I think I was deluding myself about my obesity for the last couple of years. Though I had gained over 60 lbs, in my mind, I was still the guy who lost 60 lbs 8 years ago, not the guy who gained it all back (and then some) over the last 4.



And if someone had told you you were obese, would you have changed because they told you?
  25000768
October 4, 2012 7:05 AM
They answer is NEVER. They already know, so there is no good way to say that.
October 4, 2012 7:06 AM
QUOTE:

I don't think you should say anything to these people. I know your intentilons are good, but chances are, they ALREADY know they're overweight. By you telling them, what is that going to solve? People take action when they're ready to do so. No amount of coercing will EVER help


this! totally - all people telling me ever did was make me mad at them. Like she said & the anchor said " Do you think they do not know?" I even had a stroke & I still was not ready until I was ready. My weight has always been an issue but steroids for a medical condition really did a number on me.
  16126140
October 4, 2012 7:06 AM
I don't say anything. I have enough crap in my own life before dealing with someone I barely know.
  18511156
October 4, 2012 7:07 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:
when, if ever, is it appropriate to tell someone he or she needs to lose weight?


In your examples, you don't tell those people. Not your place.

I think if a parent of a child or a spouse who has concerns about the health implications of the weight gain, then it is okay to bring up the subject. I'd focus more on health than telling them they need to lose weight though.

Other than that, mind your bidness.


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October 4, 2012 7:08 AM
There are three things that I avoid discussing with people:

- their weight - skinny or obese, nobody likes to be criticized,
- their religion - we are all grown ups and make our own choices,
- their political affiliation - same reason as above.

All of the above are unnecessary conflict and allienation creating discussions, so I try to avoid them as much as possible.
October 4, 2012 7:08 AM
QUOTE:

The question I would ask is this:

Do you think the obese person is not aware that they are obese? I would think that the vast majority are well aware of it.


Yes, most are aware at some level. But for myself, I was in denial. It never would have crossed my mind had hubby never said anything. I remember the last time we went to the movie theater and sitting in the seats was tight. Honestly, my first reaction was to blame the seat.

Point being, when you get comfortable in your own skin, you *don't* see it. You simply avoid mirrors and buy baggy clothes, then forget about it. I was quite comfortable weighing upwards of 200 pounds. It really took me to get past 250 before I started becoming uncomfortable. But I was obese at 200. Wearing baggy clothes made me feel comfy and allowed me to ignore the truth.
  25631519
October 4, 2012 7:08 AM
QUOTE:

Discussions about the Wisconsin newscaster got me thinking about this. Most discussions of that story have focused on whether the guy who wrote her is a bully.

If the guy in Wisconsin was rude when, if ever, is it appropriate to tell someone he or she needs to lose weight? And how should the topic be brought up? Most of us have had our struggles and have, no doubt, gotten our share of unsoliicited advice. Last year, my mother gave me a hard tiime about gaining weight. Now, that strikes me as fair as I consider it a given that my mother has my best iinterests at heart. On the other hand, a guy I slightly know professionally said something sort of rude to me last spring. (and he hiimself is overweight so go figure) So, how and when to bring things up?

If I take as a given that close friends and (immediate) family are fair game as the relationships are clear, who else to discuss it with. Here are a couple of examples where I have thought about it but, so far, have thought better of bringing it up.

A guy I know who is a professional colleague, even shared office space with him for a year. And, I see him and his family from time to time at social occasions. When I first met him some 15 years ago, he was a normal weight, and even somewhat good looking. But, I would say that over the years, he has gained over 100 lbs, maybe 150 lbs and is now morbiidly obese. In a nutshell, this guy looks terrible. And, he has two young children so one would think that he at least owes it to them to take better care of himself. I don't think he has an illness. I have seen the guy eat (remember we shared office space), so I know why he is so biig. Having been through the exact same thing myself, I think I know what this guy's problem is, but do I dare bring iit up?

Second example. At my gym, there is a woman who works in membership who has gone from slightly overweight to obese in the last few years. IMO, the gym is one of the few jobs where I think the employees need to walk the walk and look at least somewhat fit. (maybe unfair but if I am thinking about joining a gym, want the employees to at least pretend they care about working out.) On the other hand, she is a total stranger to me so my inclination is to just keep my mouth shut.

Any thoughts?



My 2 cents:

Two completely different cases!
The gym lady? Keep your mouth shut, her own decision entirely. She probably gets enough looks in that working position if she's fat. How depressing in that environment, I can see how that could sort of send you into hibernation mode...


Your colleague? Yeah, very carefully, but you could - and maybe should. But in a "been there, done it, got the XXXL T-Shirt" sort of way, if you get what I mean. Something like at the next social occasion you see him, grab a couple of beers and start a chat. I'd mention how it sucks foodwise being an attorney and having always so much to do you can't make time for proper food during the day and your bad habits. You could tell him what you are doing to change things and ask him if he feels like joining in to keep each other motivated (and I actually think it is a big help for you too, to have someone right there who is on the wagon and not only loads of strangers online!), "'cause you aren't as skinny as you used to be, either, mate!" With a guy-voice-and-laugh.

Just don't do the Jehovah's Witnesses, "Hey I've reformed my life now I wanna reform yours 'cause I love it and can't help trying to force other people in with me" type of thing and I think, you might be appreciated. You never know, it could just be the íncentive he needs.

Good luck! And let us know if you did do something and how he responded, please!


P.S.: That was assuming you like the guy. If you are just a concerned onlooker, leave him be. If he's an aquaintance who might turn into a friend with intensified contact, I'd make the effort!
  19399133
October 4, 2012 7:09 AM
It is a difficult thing... when I was at my heaviest my parents had said things to me, it did not sink in. I stumbled on some conversations where people I would not expect to bad mouth me were... still it did not get me to change.

One day a co-worker. Not really a close friend or even an more then occasional passing hello, saw me at a meeting. He wrote the name of this website down and handed it to me on a small slip of note paper and told me to see him after the meeting. He said he found this site and it had helped him and he made some comment about how much weight I had gained... At that moment I was on the edge and really looking for something to change... after two days of having that paper in my desk drawer I signed up for this site and got my $hit back together.

So in my case, a relative stranger's encouragement at the right time put me on the path to improving myself...

After I lost about 50lbs I went to see him.... I tried to thank him...but he forgot all about our conversation and then bad mouthed this site because he put 20lbs back on! LOL
  2493402
October 4, 2012 7:09 AM
Its doesnt matter if you say anything or not, but its really not your place. People are only going to change if they want to. You can't change that.
Just like people that smoke, they know its bad, there are warning on the pack, commercials etc... But they continue to smoke until they are ready to stop, if ever....
  24440551
October 4, 2012 7:10 AM
QUOTE:


It sounds silly, but to me weight is the same. It's a personal choice. If they want to talk about losing weight or their plans, then great, offer insight, tips, and ideas. Never assume that because YOU think they need to lose weight that THEY have or should have any plans to do so.


I think of it a little differently. My view of weight (at least for me) is more like it is a consequence of addiction to too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Sometimes I get control over the addiction, and sometimes the addiction takes control over me.
  26556981
October 4, 2012 7:10 AM
I think the consensus the OP recieved here is that its not appropriate to call out strangers on their weight...which makes sense to me. I am curious though...if you were going to do it...how would you say it? That would be a more interesting thread. Obviously we are going to get some jokers responding...but seriously...how would you even go about bringing it up? lol
  19292682
October 4, 2012 7:11 AM
instead of telling them (or wanting to tell them) they are obese, how about just inviting them to walk (or any other exercise) with you every day. They may appreciate the gesture and the newfound friendship (as would you).

That being said, I am an introvert in the fullest sense, but I HATE the "look the other way" approach to bad things. There are ways to handle things that address your concerns, makes the obese one happy, and satisfies those who chose to ignore it.
October 4, 2012 7:11 AM
Mirrors exist. Clothes shops exist. Seats they cannot get into exist. Turnstiles that they cannot get through exist. Small cruel kids exist. Tactless adults exist. Endless TV shows with impossibly skinny actresses exist. The biggest loser exists. The Internet exists.

You do not have to add to their unhappiness by mentioning it. Believe me, they already know.
October 4, 2012 7:12 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:
when, if ever, is it appropriate to tell someone he or she needs to lose weight?


In your examples, you don't tell those people. Not your place.

I think if a parent of a child or a spouse who has concerns about the health implications of the weight gain, then it is okay to bring up the subject. I'd focus more on health than telling them they need to lose weight though.

Other than that, mind your bidness.


This, exactly. I'd add that one might tell a close friend if the subject came up naturally. Health, sports and fitness are topics that I'd discuss easily and weight might come up in regards to that. I've certainly told someone that a bike seat was not appropriate for them given their weight.

My brother once placed his hand on my stomach (he can be quite rude with a lot of people) and said "that's a lot of good eating" in a joking manner, he's quite overweight himself and almost weighs twice as much as I do. Coming from him, not an issue - I recently asked him "twins or triplets". His answer? What restaurant did we want to go to? But any comment, any, from a work colleague would have been blasted at. Reasonably so - a doctor, a coach, family, have prerogatives that the general public does not.
  26854327
October 4, 2012 7:12 AM
QUOTE:

I don't think you say anything. I have trouble believing most people aren't aware they've gained weight.

The only way I could see bringing it up is as a discussion about healthy habits. I wouldn't mention weight though unless they ask you for help.


this^^ chances are, they know.
October 4, 2012 7:12 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

If you think that person doesn't know they're obese, you're oblivious imo. They know. They will deal with it when/if they are ready. Being pushed into it by a force outside themselves, either positive or negative, will not work and will only be upsetting. Change has to come from within. I find this true even for family members - say something only if you want to hurt their feelings, because even if you motivate them to try now until THEY want to make the change - truly want it - it won't work. We know this all the time from MFP, that it's a lifestyle change that has to happen, so it always makes me shake my head when people are like "How do I tell someone they're obese?" They know they're obese. What are you going to accomplish by saying something?


I generally agree, except that in my case, I think I was deluding myself about my obesity for the last couple of years. Though I had gained over 60 lbs, in my mind, I was still the guy who lost 60 lbs 8 years ago, not the guy who gained it all back (and then some) over the last 4.



And if someone had told you you were obese, would you have changed because they told you?


People have. The answer is, sometimes, but only when I was ready.
  26556981
October 4, 2012 7:21 AM
I think if the message is coming from a good place (i.e.: you are concerned for the health and well-being of the individual) and it is coming from a trusted friend, family member, or medical professional then having a discussion about weight might be appropriate.

Strangers fat-shaming news anchors is downright ridiculous, disrespectful, and (in my opinion) none of their concern.

I understand that we want healthy media figures as role models for youth today, but shaming someone for their weight is not a message you want to send either. This news anchor had it right when she said : "You don't know me, you are not a friend of mine...you know nothing about me." This "concerned citizen" has no right to criticize someone he/she does not know. He/she does not know anything about this woman or the reasons behind her weight. Consequently, he/she should have kept mum on the issue.

And there is my morning rant for the day... smile
  14948418
October 4, 2012 7:22 AM
It doesn't matter how overweight you are, in order to lose it, you have to want to do it - if not you really aren't going to succeed. My boyfriend has made comments about my weight in the past, but I was not in the right frame of mind and ignored him(plus he is overweight too) I would not approach someone I did not know, or only knew slightly to tell them they need to lose - I do not feel that is my business.If someone approaches me and asks what I am doing to lose, then I am only too happy to share. Lets face it, losing weight is hard work, really no magic pill but in the end it will all be worth it when we reach our goals
  28829422
October 4, 2012 7:24 AM
Never.
October 4, 2012 7:25 AM
QUOTE:

There are three things that I avoid discussing with people:

- their weight - skinny or obese, nobody likes to be criticized,
- their religion - we are all grown ups and make our own choices,
- their political affiliation - same reason as above.

All of the above are unnecessary conflict and allienation creating discussions, so I try to avoid them as much as possible.


What the hell do you talk about then? laugh

Politics and religion are my favorite discussions with my friends. But then, I'm a political activist and a Christian. tongue
  25631519
October 4, 2012 7:26 AM
Obese people know they are obese they need not be told. now ugly people thats a different story…

also everyone has their time, its not your place to tell them when that should be.
Edited by belladonna786 On October 4, 2012 7:27 AM
October 4, 2012 7:26 AM
my immediate family can tell me I need to lose weight. Theyre my blood and as such can have a say in these matters.

I personally think that outside immediate family, the only time you should tell people flat out that they need to lose weight is when they ask 'do I need to lose weight?'. even if it's my best friend, as much as I love her, I don't get to tell her what to do! it's not like she wouldn't know she's fat!

in the media or not, I don't think the weight or shape of a stranger is ever any of my business. I might have thoughts about other people's size, but I keep them to myself. someone wise once said 'opinions are like a*** holes. everyone has one and nobody's interested in yours' :)
  1188178
October 4, 2012 7:29 AM
The only thing you really would do is cause hurt and upset,the only time you get a positive response is if they were already thinking about trying to change, then they might be open to a discussion, to be honest, anyone mentioning my weight when I was over 315lbs, got told in no uncertain terms to go forth and multiply... it took a series of things, for me to decide, for myself that I was going to change...and even after losing 100lbs + and keeping it off for a long time, 5yrs later I started to gain again, (hence back here) ... and again it took ME deciding to cap it and get back on the wagon, not something someone said...

At best you are going to cause someone to feel bad, at worst you going to punched in the gob! Stay away from the fat chat! They know, and they live with comments, looks, judgement every single day.
  13823998
October 4, 2012 7:29 AM
QUOTE:

The question I would ask is this:

Do you think the obese person is not aware that they are obese? I would think that the vast majority are well aware of it.


^ I posted something on my wall about this, after I posted this here. It turns out that in at least some cases, I'm wrong about the above.

I'm still not sure where I stand on the "should you tell them" and "in what context", but as it seems per my wall conversation, there are a number of people who either were told, or wish they were told, and found it beneficial.

Just additional food for thought.

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