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

 
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October 4, 2012 8:25 AM
You are not a doctor or a therapist that can sit down and properly discuss obesity in regards to each individuals health nor discuss addictive behaviors to food therapeutically.

In all of the OP's responses you bring up how you felt in regards to your weight but how ultimately, you didn't lose the weight until you were ready. At no point is it okay for a random stranger to approach someone and think that because they've begun a health journey, they have a 'right' to let others know they're overweight. In both the situations you've presented here, especially the gym, it is not your duty/job etc to say anything.

In both cases they most likely know, even if they didn't, everyone has to come to their own aha! moment before they want to start losing the weight. Not everyone kicks in to gear because a stranger says something, in fact some people regress and put on more weight with emotional eating, such is the addiction. (There are so many threads here with people called me fat, how do I handle? name calling, and emotional binge eating in response to a strangers words. For all you know, you could push these people beyond a limit).
October 4, 2012 8:26 AM
QUOTE:

The people who claim that "everyone" who is fat is fully aware of that fact are awfully presumptuous about their opinions.


Yup, most people seem to not realize their circumstances until someone does bluntly state their concern, a doctor recommends weight loss surgery, they get diabetes, etc. Seems like 'rock bottom' must be hit in many cases before they actually realize how obese they really have become.
  25526346
October 4, 2012 8:35 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

How do they not know already?


... not owning a full length mirror...being in denial...reverse body dysmorphic disorder...it's not hard really


Aside from BDD (I'm not sure how it could be "reversed"; wouldn't that be a hyper-acute understanding of one's body?) these sound like behaviors of someone who knows full and well that they are fat and don't want to think about it. It may not be a good choice or a smart choice, but it is their choice, and they have a right to make it.
  14685751
October 4, 2012 8:38 AM
My thoughts are if you do not know this person on a personal level, you have no business telling them they are fat. You don't think that these people who are obese don't know that they are heavier?

The last thing anybody should ever be doing is commenting on somebody's weight or looks. I see it time and again how rude and hurtful people can be when I'm out to eat or at a store. We all need to have a little more empathy because the issue probably goes far deeper than they just "don't care about themselves."

If somebody close to you is making unhealthy choices, I would recommend helping them make better ones and it doesn't involve coming out and telling them to put down the cheeseburger because they are fat.

Suggest cooking for them. When out to eat, suggest a place that has healthier options. Ask if they'd like to go on a walk. Little things like make a difference. I dont think people realize it sometimes. If they decline or do not want to make their lives healthier, then telling them they are worthless to society and fat is not going to help the situation, at all.

Again, the guy in Wisconsin was extremely out of line for commenting on the news anchor's weight. It sickens me reading some of the comments some people leave on here about how people can be so rude. You don't know her. Don't judge.
October 4, 2012 8:41 AM
Never. You are not their doctor. I'm sure they know they are overweight/obese.

MYOB.
  22905968
October 4, 2012 8:45 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My sister is obese and I've often been tempted to say something to her whenever she complains about her back, knees, etc. Her blood sugar is high and I know that it's only a matter of time before something life changing happens to her because of her size. I know that her doctors have told her she has to lose, but it's always "I'm starting a diet next week" or "I'm joining the gym next month". I know I can't say anything to her without her getting all defensive, etc.


If she is openly complaining about it, I'd definitely say something to her. If you go to the gym, invite her along. Tell her that you need more friends on MFP and she should join.
I really do believe that most people are overweight because they simply don't know where to start or how to do it.


She's very opinionated, and I think suffers from some kind of depression since 9/11 and since my dad died 3 yrs. after that. She can get really nasty when confronted or has to leave her "comfort zone". She has a "boyfriend" but he has to shoot insulin 2x a day but continues to eat bread, pasta, sweets, etc. It's like they're both on a collision course.
  291552
October 4, 2012 8:47 AM
I almost sprayed water out my nose and all I read was the topic! I have never told someone he/she is obese and don't plan to... he or she already knows!
October 4, 2012 9:00 AM
QUOTE:

I almost sprayed water out my nose and all I read was the topic! I have never told someone he/she is obese and don't plan to... he or she already knows!


<3

QUOTE:

The people who claim that "everyone" who is fat is fully aware of that fact are awfully presumptuous about their opinions.


It seems to me that someone who lives in the first world with access to media and education who is obese, and doesn't realize it, is either:
. -willfully preserving his/her ignorance of the state of affairs, in which case, he/she does in fact know that he/she is obese, and is making a choice to avoid thinking about it,
or
. -not thinking about anything at all, which may not be choice. Let them watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" in peace; making them feel bad won't help.
Edited by flobeedoodle On October 4, 2012 9:08 AM
  14685751
October 4, 2012 9:13 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

How do they not know already?


... not owning a full length mirror...being in denial...reverse body dysmorphic disorder...it's not hard really


Aside from BDD (I'm not sure how it could be "reversed"; wouldn't that be a hyper-acute understanding of one's body?) these sound like behaviors of someone who knows full and well that they are fat and don't want to think about it. It may not be a good choice or a smart choice, but it is their choice, and they have a right to make it.


By reverse, I meant someone who is fat and thinks of themselves as thin. I was such a person. It took me to get to over 250 pounds before it was blatantly obvious to me. I tend to think very highly of myself and have trouble seeing my own flaws.

It's like, how can an anorexic not realize that their sickly thin? In the same regard, there are plenty of overweight people who think that their weight is just fine. Not everyone who is fat sits around contemplating their body shape/size. For me, I thought more of hubby (who has medical concerns) and my kids for many, many years and still thought of myself as being the same weight that I always was. I never worried about my own appearance or my own health. Everything I did was for my family. I also still think I'm 19 sometimes, even though I'm pushing 40.

It may seem strange, but there really are people running around out there (well sitting on the couch, not literally running) who are oblivious to their weight. Just like there are anorexic people who think they are fat.
  25631519
October 4, 2012 9:25 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My sister is obese and I've often been tempted to say something to her whenever she complains about her back, knees, etc. Her blood sugar is high and I know that it's only a matter of time before something life changing happens to her because of her size. I know that her doctors have told her she has to lose, but it's always "I'm starting a diet next week" or "I'm joining the gym next month". I know I can't say anything to her without her getting all defensive, etc.


If she is openly complaining about it, I'd definitely say something to her. If you go to the gym, invite her along. Tell her that you need more friends on MFP and she should join.
I really do believe that most people are overweight because they simply don't know where to start or how to do it.


She's very opinionated, and I think suffers from some kind of depression since 9/11 and since my dad died 3 yrs. after that. She can get really nasty when confronted or has to leave her "comfort zone". She has a "boyfriend" but he has to shoot insulin 2x a day but continues to eat bread, pasta, sweets, etc. It's like they're both on a collision course.


That's really sad :/
Did you ever try asking her to come work out with you or anything? It's like helping her without telling her that she NEEDS the help, she may be much less likely to get offended tongue
  25526346
October 4, 2012 10:21 AM
QUOTE:

The ONLY time you should ever say anything is when you're offering to do something with them, not just giving them advice to go off and do it alone.
Such as 'lets go running together on the weekends' or 'hey do you want to join a gym with me?'. Anything else is just inappropriate in my opinion unless they ask for help.


In the case of the work colleague, I would either point him to this site, help him with his meal planning, and/or ask him to come with me to the gym.
  26556981
October 4, 2012 10:24 AM
QUOTE:

You are not a doctor or a therapist that can sit down and properly discuss obesity in regards to each individuals health nor discuss addictive behaviors to food therapeutically.



Who said you need to be a doctor or therapist to discuss obesity? Doesn't a 40 plus years of wrestling with the problem count for anything?
  26556981
October 4, 2012 10:32 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

You are not a doctor or a therapist that can sit down and properly discuss obesity in regards to each individuals health nor discuss addictive behaviors to food therapeutically.



Who said you need to be a doctor or therapist to discuss obesity? Doesn't a 40 plus years of wrestling with the problem count for anything?


Everyone is different. They lose weight differently, the eat differently and they go about things differently. Just because you have battled with your own weight loss for over 40 years does not make it okay to walk up to strangers/people you hardly know and say hey, you're fat/overweight. You should work on that. My point is simply to leave people alone and let them come to their own conclusions. Like you stated previously, people have said something to you BUT you didn't do anything until you wanted to. Like the rest of my statement provided, by saying something, you could put them in a worse place then they are now.
October 4, 2012 10:33 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

You are not a doctor or a therapist that can sit down and properly discuss obesity in regards to each individuals health nor discuss addictive behaviors to food therapeutically.



Who said you need to be a doctor or therapist to discuss obesity? Doesn't a 40 plus years of wrestling with the problem count for anything?


When it comes to somebody else's body, somebody you only know casually or do not know at all, no, it doesn't. Struggling with obesity for 40 plus years and losing all of the weight and staying in shape may make you qualified to pass on your knowledge to others if they ask you for advice. That's pretty much it.
  15977085
October 4, 2012 10:36 AM
QUOTE:
How/When, if ever to tell someone he/she is obese.


You need to tell them right away because I'm sure that they don't know all ready!!! noway
  23343660
October 4, 2012 10:36 AM
QUOTE:



The last thing anybody should ever be doing is commenting on somebody's weight or looks. I see it time and again how rude and hurtful people can be when I'm out to eat or at a store. We all need to have a little more empathy because the issue probably goes far deeper than they just "don't care about themselves."



Hypothetically, would you tell a friend or family member who was color blind that his/her color combinations clashed? Or that he/she shouldn't go to work in shabby, worn out shoes? Or finally, would you tell a friend who lost a lot of weight that he or she needs to buy new, smaller clothes?
  26556981
October 4, 2012 10:41 AM
QUOTE:

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


You need to tell them right away because I'm sure that they don't know all ready!!! noway


I will take that as a no.
  26556981
October 4, 2012 10:47 AM
I never say anything. We fatties know we are fat. We don't need anyone to tell us. The few who are delusional enough to have convinced themselves otherwise need professional help that we can not provide. We have all seen the occasional extreme plus size squeezed into "hoochy momma" outfits. Almost as bad as some of those people who show up for American Idol auditions with parents that have lied to them their entire lives then have neurotic breakdowns when told the truth.
All I can do is control the urge to laugh out loud. Self delusion can be funny to observe.
  26651988
October 4, 2012 10:57 AM
This is why I love children!

I had put on 40lbs....at the time my daughter was 3, she said, "mommy you're fat" In fact once she saw me changing and looked digusted and told me that my stomach looked disgusting.

Did it hurt? Sure did.

Did I have a huge eye opener to lose weight....YEP
She said what no one else had the guts to say to me because children are honest without any regard for political correctness.

Recently I've gained about 10lbs or so back....guess what, my daughter, now 5, noticed.
She has a little more tact now and told me I'm looking less straight & more round. laugh

Kicked my arse into gear
October 4, 2012 11:03 AM
I can only speak about my situation. I have a mirror. I know and I knew I was getting out of hand. People when they would say something it was always to make me feel bad. I learned over this last year(I gained 17 lbs) it is not the food that was making me fat. It was and is my drive to eat more of the food the more I was unhappy, stressed, and in pain. I would turn to food. I ask the Lord to help me to find my own way, because others only said you have to exercise and cut back. Duh no kidding! It is easy to tell someone what to do or what they look like. It takes someone special to help you to see that the problem is deeper than food and lack of exercise. Yes there are a lot of people you have to hold their hand for awhile. I have learned when I am stressed one of the foods I love to eat is popcorn. I just started back 4 days ago trying to lose weight and it came to me the crunching is what I am enjoying. I just cut up cucumbers and have baby carrots ready to eat. I also put a 8x11 note on my fridge saying think twice make the right choice. These little things can help others without saying you fat. Especially if they are an emotional eater. My problem I was having I couldn't share with others, but friends started coming around and spending time with me to see if I needed anything. Their love and reaching out made me feel good and made me want to do better. When someone tell you about your weight it is how the person says it if it will help or harm. I say just watch how you approach them. Trust me I am living proof of going up the scale and not down. Hope this help someone good luck.
  5767849
October 4, 2012 11:08 AM
It is funny in our culture that if someone is addicted to cocaine or drinking, or is smoking two packs a day that it is fair game. Just look on this board for example. Someone says "Hey guys I am having a lot of trouble losing weight, I drink 5-8 drinks a night, but I work out a lot and I don't think I want to cut back." People jump on that in seconds.

Its odd that if you have a friend who is killing themselves/destroying their life via substance abuse its "OK" even right to confront them about it while if you have a friend who is 250 pounds overweight and has arguably a higher risk of doing harm to themselves the topic is insulting and taboo.

My in laws are doctors and the above the really frustrates them. Weight related illness and death in this country is an epidemic, but we don't have a "War on Fat"

Also in reading these posts, yes people know they are fat, just like they know drinking 40 drinks a week is a lot, but do either of those groups (and now we switch to the individuals) completely understand the health consequences.
Edited by psuskifan On October 4, 2012 11:10 AM
October 4, 2012 11:28 AM
QUOTE:

If telling people they are fat works, then why are there so many fat people?

The media bombards us with messages about this every day, either directly or indirectly. Fat-shaming is everywhere. How can anyone NOT know they are fat if they are?

I lived fat-shaming every day of my young life, and guess what: no one needed to tell me I was fat. The shaming/bullying was stressful which led me to eat more. How's that for a counterproductive effect?


I don't think the OP was talking about shaming/bullying. It's possible to talk to someone about their weight without shaming or bullying them.

And clearly not everyone knows because there are posts in this thread from those that didn't. I was never obese, but I too was in denial about just how much weight I'd put on until I saw some Christmas photots. There are also fairly frequent posts on MFP asking "Why didn't someone tell me" from those that didn't realize just how fat they'd become.

Being obese can cause as many health problems as smoking. But people rarely have a problem asking someone to stop smoking.
October 4, 2012 11:36 AM
QUOTE:

It is funny in our culture that if someone is addicted to cocaine or drinking, or is smoking two packs a day that it is fair game. Just look on this board for example. Someone says "Hey guys I am having a lot of trouble losing weight, I drink 5-8 drinks a night, but I work out a lot and I don't think I want to cut back." People jump on that in seconds.

Its odd that if you have a friend who is killing themselves/destroying their life via substance abuse its "OK" even right to confront them about it while if you have a friend who is 250 pounds overweight and has arguably a higher risk of doing harm to themselves the topic is insulting and taboo.

My in laws are doctors and the above the really frustrates them. Weight related illness and death in this country is an epidemic, but we don't have a "War on Fat"

Also in reading these posts, yes people know they are fat, just like they know drinking 40 drinks a week is a lot, but do either of those groups (and now we switch to the individuals) completely understand the health consequences.


It use to be offensive to harp on people about smoking cigarettes.....now it's the norm....only a matter of time
October 4, 2012 11:57 AM
QUOTE:

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.


^this.
  12864861
October 4, 2012 12:01 PM
If people want to talk about it, they'll start the conversation.

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