Weight loss is a touchy subject. It’s not exactly something you want to bring up in the company of, say, a friend who could stand to lose a little weight- especially if that conversation is directly geared at them. Although you may have good intentions, it’s not always easy to show concern for your friend’s weight without insulting them, but it is one worth having if you do so in a sensitive, non-judgmental way.
In fact, discussing the critical health risks that could be avoided by losing weight can be a very thoughtful thing to do, especially if you offer to change your way of eating, too. After all, there is always room for improvement in any meal plan you might follow.
Because of the difficulty of conversations like this, people may opt to avoid the topic all together. However, according to a recent UK poll, most individuals attempt the conversation anyway, the likelihood of which was related to the type of relationship. The UK poll results showed that men were more likely than women to talk about weight with their friends while women were more likely to talk about it with their spouses. People were also more likely to talk about the subject as their age increased.
Although it’s not the most pleasant conversation to have, it could possibly be the best gift you could give a friend. By encouraging small, achievable lifestyle changes and joining them in the process, you could find yourself at the beginnings of an even stronger and more meaningful friendship.
Focus on Health, Not Weight
Let your friend know you are concerned about their health, not their weight. After all, that’s what you are truly concerned about. Let them know that you want them to live their healthiest and happiest so that you can enjoy their company for a long time. Sometimes weight can impede this and make quality of life less than ideal. By focusing on health instead of weight, you are saying that you care about who they are, not what they look like.
Often when individuals start to talk about losing weight, it’s easy to focus on what you have to give up instead of what you have to gain. Avoid focusing on the negatives and instead focus on the positives. Talk about how much fun it will be to try new recipes and to spend time together working out. In addition, avoid using words like “fat”, “diet”, and “skinny.” Words with negative connotations can hurt when you mean to help. Avoid using them and you will let your friend know you care without making them feel bad for a part of who they are.
Learn About Their Current Eating Plan
Don’t assume that your friend isn’t already doing something to improve their health. Weight loss is slow sometimes, and it is very possible that your friend has already started making healthy changes. If you don’t already know what your friend is doing for their health, ask. This may actually be a great way to get the entire conversation started.
Suggest You Approach a Healthy Lifestyle Together
Friends who workout together, stick together! They also lose weight faster and keep it off longer, according to research. In addition, individuals who follow programs like Weight Watchers have been shown to be much more likely to succeed in fighting the battle of the bulge and a large part is due to the social support members receive. Either way, doing it alone seems a lot harder than doing it with someone else. Let your friend know that they aren’t in this alone and that you will be there with them every step of the way. Have fun and get healthier together.
Encourage Healthy Choices
When discussing the importance of achieving a healthy weight, be sure to emphasize the importance of healthy choices. From eating more vegetables to getting in a little exercise each day, keep the emphasis on tried and true aspects of a healthy life. Fad diets, quick weight loss plans, and too-good-to-be true notions should not be encouraged.
Let Them Make Their Own Decision
Ultimately, the decision to eat healthier and lose weight is up to your friend. After you gently bring up the topic, let them make the decision to listen, implement, and act. No matter their decision, respect it and let your friend know that you are there for them if indeed they ever do need your support as they embark on a new eating plan.