“Why well meaning comments and advice generally backfires when someone is tying to manage their weight.”
Scenarios like these play out over and over again in households across the country. Scenarios that seem innocent enough at face value, actually wreak havoc on peoples’ emotional wellbeing, damage relationships, and have the potential to make people doubt themselves and avoid all sorts of social interactions.
I am referring to the very well meaning intentions from family and loved ones, who make comments about their partners, child’s, parents or other family members weight. The types of questions that hit like an arrow to the heart. An arrow fused with accusations and insults. An arrow that feels patronizing and judgmental.
The questions are versions of a particular theme. “Should you really be eating that?” “Have you thought of exercising?” “Why did you order that?” Or comments such as: “Surely you are not hungry again”, “ No wonder you cant lose weight when you make such poor choices” “ Just don’t eat carbs after 5pm” “Have you tried that diet, that cleanse, that detox, that program and insert any other word you like here……”
Here is another part of this dilemma. When these suggestions or comments are ignored, rejected or refuted the person making the comments or asking the questions feels bewildered and hurt and angry. They might be thinking, “I was only trying to help” “It’s just that I love them and want to support them”. “Why don’t they just do what I suggest?” “Why don’t they take my advice on board?”
So, here’s the thing. A person struggling with weight issues usually is aware they are struggling. They don’t need you to reinforce it for them. They have just about always tired nearly everything you will suggest.
Usually they have tried over and over again. They have read every diet book, joined most weight loss challenges at work, at the gym at the local club, at the local park. They have tried green juice, purple juice, water instead of food, tried mixing food combos like kale ice cream, soymilk with an infusion of almond milk carobchinos, or grass fed triple cream soy brie.
There is a big reason for this. Diets do not work, never did work and never will work.
Weight loss and weight management is extremely tough for many people. Just because someone and often someone famous has succeeded on a certain meal plan or life style change, for a majority of people it is rarely easy and it doesn’t mean it will work for your loved one.
There are many factors that contribute to being overweight. There are metabolic factors, genetic factors, cultural factors, biological factors, psychological factors and emotional factors.
I have worked in this field for many years now and I can honestly say if you genuinely want to support someone you love who is battling with issues around weight its best to keep your opinions and thoughts to yourself unless they reach out to you. If they do reach out for support a question such as “How would you best like me to support you?” can make the world of difference and open up a conversation instead of shutting it down and fostering a situation where all parties are hurting and feeling misunderstood.