Weight loss is often a hush-hush topic, but when your loved one loses their confidence or becomes unhealthy, you need to step in. Talk to your loved one in a non-judgmental and respectful way.
Weight loss is often a hush-hush topic, but when your loved one loses their confidence or becomes unhealthy, you need to step in. Often, though, it becomes hard to have a conversation surrounding weight loss since the other person may get defensive, or worse, offended.
Therefore, you need to tread lightly and make sure you are not insulting or degrading your loved one. Remember, it is about helping the other person and not about feeding your personal urge to be their savior.
Here are 10 ways to help a loved one lose weight.
How do you tell someone they need to lose weight?
Nearly 70% of adults in the U.S. are overweight, putting themselves at a higher risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
In contrast, exercising and eating right to reach a healthy weight boosts confidence and keeps you healthy. However, bringing this topic up in a conversation can quickly go wrong if you do not use the right tone and words.
Talk to your loved one in a non-judgmental and respectful way. Instead of making snide remarks about their appearance, tell them that you are worried about the possible risks they are exposing themselves to.
Most importantly, ask them if they would like to talk about the topic at the moment. If not, do not push them, and resume the conversation at a later time
10 ways to help a loved one lose weight
If someone close to you is trying to lose weight, help them in the following ways:
The simplest way to be a part of their weight loss journey is just to ask them what they need you to do. Help them in whatever way they require.
Cheer them on
Yes, you might have read your fair share of articles online about losing weight, but that should not make you a coach to your loved one. Instead, be their cheerleader and encourage them when they start losing sight of their goal.
Applaud them for even the smallest goals, and do not mention the goals they have been unable to meet yet.
If possible, be a companion on their journey. If they are starting a healthy eating program, incorporate the same foods into your meal plan too. Likewise, if they have started jogging every morning, ask them if they would like you to join in.
Let them know you care
Never make your loved ones feel that you are only supporting their weight loss journey because of how they look or because of problems their weight is causing. Let them know you care about them as a person and want to be an active part of their lives regardless of their size.
Let go of junk food
If you live in the same house, put away the junk food. Cravings can make even the most determined people stray from their goals. By keeping unhealthy foods out of sight, you are making the process easier for them.
Be a good listener
Anyone trying to lose weight has bad days where they just do not feel as optimistic as they did the day they started. On such days, do not judge them. Instead, be there to listen to their problems and understand. Do not try to “fix” anything unless they ask you for solutions.
The star quality of a great listener is that they do not talk while the other person is speaking.
Just because you are close friends with someone or they are your family does not mean you can tease them about their weight. It’s always unpleasant, no matter how close you are to the person.
Avoid making snide remarks about anything, whether it is their appearance or their efforts to lose weight.
Clear the obstacles for them
If you know them closely and are familiar with the things they struggle with the most, remove those obstacles for them. For example, instead of going to fast food places, opt for restaurants that offer healthy food options when dining out.
Don’t be the food police
While grammar police might be doing someone some good, the food police are never a pleasant sight. Don’t say things like “Are you sure you should be eating that?” or “Did you read the label before eating it?”
You are not doing them any service by pointing out their faults. Instead, help them look for healthier alternatives.
Don’t give “you should” advice
“You should” feels a lot like you are pushing or compelling someone to do a certain thing. “You should join the gym” or “You should try the keto diet” are likely to make your loved one feel like you are forcing them into doing something.
They may perceive this as criticism or even judgment.
Instead, ask them if they are open to the idea of a keto diet or if they think a gym may be less distracting than working out at home. Offer to join them if you think they would like your company.
Long story short: Give them advice they will be delighted to take.
The Best Diet Tips: How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
Medically Reviewed on 11/3/2021
Harvard Business Review: “What Great Listeners Actually Do.”
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Talking With Patients About Weight Loss: Tips for Primary Care Providers.”
The New York Times: “How to Give People Advice They’ll Be Delighted to Take.”