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Old 02-24-2015, 11:36 AM   #1
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So, my coworker is totally creeping me out, and I'd love some advice on how to tactfully handle her. Yes, it's weight loss related.

A little background: She is older than me, mid 50s. While I have no idea her actual weight, I do know based on comments that she herself has made, that it's over 350 lbs. While she is not on my facebook friends list, a few other co workers are, and towards the first of the year, I posted on there about joining the local biggest loser challenge. One of them mentioned something about it in the office, so she asked me about it. Ever since then, on a regular (2 or 3 times per week) basis, she makes comments. I'm not sure if she is being sarcastic, or trying to encourage me, or being snide, or what. Started off just a week or two into my whole journey. Things like "oh Christy, I can already tell you are getting slimmer." and "you are going to waste away to nothing before we know it." At that point, even I wasn't seeing any results. Her comments haven't slowed down. Yesterday, as I stood up from my desk to go to the ladies room, she said "bathroom again? I guess you are still trying to be healthy with all that water you drink." And, just now, I grabbed a granola bar as my snack and got "oh, you didn't pull out your phone to log that....did you give up already?? you were doing so well. Too bad." I told her I am still logging everything, and that when I packed my lunch/snacks for the day this morning, I had actually already logged the snack into my program. She turned up her nose "Is it really worth all of that trouble? How do you even know you will be hungry for a snack? What if that wasn't what you wanted to eat if you were hungry?" I just explained that I'm doing what works for me, and that to me, it's really no trouble at all. I'm not sure if all her comments are jealousy, or just the fact that she is a rather ugly person in general (before my weight loss efforts, she made off the wall/borderline snide comments on other topics) or what her deal is. I'd love to be able to ignore her, but moving is not an option and her desk is 10 ft from mine. My boss won't be any help with this matter. I've tried before. So, any advice on what I can say that will get the point across without stooping to her rudeness level?
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:58 AM   #2
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How about " I appreciate your concern and support. Thanks! " followed by silence.

It's very non-specific, would probably apply to nearly anything she could say, and doesn't really set her up to continue the conversation.

I wish I could say I think this will work, but people who are determined to be a dark cloud usually continue to do so regardless of the feedback they receive.

If push comes to shove, be direct and tell her you feel her discussing your weight, your eating and drinking habits, and especially how often you hit the little girl's room is out of bounds and that you don't intend for it to continue as a topic of workplace conversation.

As an employer, I've had to tell one of my employees that another employee didn't appreciate those sorts of comments and that she needed to stop. I'm sorry that your boss doesn't understand that it is his or her job to intervene not only in the obvious cases of discrimination, but also when an employee is being a " morale suck " in the department.

Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2015, 12:01 PM   #3
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Honestly, just ignore her and don't engage/respond/justify anything. Just nod and smile and go about your day. The silence will say so much more than any words you'd come up with.

She's intimidated by your dedication to yourself, your body, your well being.

I used to be close to her size and when I started losing, there were the supporters and there were the haters. They are easy to pick out. I think you have yourself a hater. But that's not your problem. She has her own issues to work on.

People that thought I'd never lose the weight were some of my biggest motivators (I just never let them know it). I mean, I did it for myself but in the back of my head, I wanted to prove them wrong.

Keep up the good work. We are true supporters here and want to see you succeed!
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:22 PM   #4
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She's jealous and misery loves company. I'd kill that jealousy with kindness. Tell her that she's the most supportive person at work and you really appreciate the encouragement. And if you start eating something always make sure that you tell her you have logged that snack/lunch for the day. Or how delicious your 330 calorie lunch is and that it has 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber...and you would love to share the recipe with her! And that your are on your 4th glass of water for the day when you get up to go to the bathroom. If she wants to be involved, let her really get annoyed with you giving her all details that she really doesn't want to hear. I realize that it's passive-aggressive, but give her a taste of her own medicine.
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My new start date is 12/29/14...and I'll keep up this lifestyle forever, so my son will never know an obese mother and he will make healthy choices too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lookin2lose View Post
I realize that it's passive-aggressive, but give her a taste of her own medicine.
I personally think this is a terrible way to handle this situation, but to each their own.

JsMommy, I cannot imagine how annoying and yes CREEPY it must be to deal with this woman. I think rather than giving you advice on what to say, the advice should be to say LESS. What she says about what you're eating does not warrant a response. A smile, a nod maybe, but nothing more. If you don't respond and she still goes on and on and on, I think it's time to put her in her place. Tell her you are no longer comfortable discussing your eating habits with coworkers (so that means you should no longer discuss it with ANY coworkers), and that you would appreciate it if she could drop the subject. You may also need to have a discussion with your friendlier coworkers that you don't want them to bring it up at work anymore because of the effect it is having on this unruly woman.

If that doesn't work, you have an HR problem on your hands.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:58 PM   #6
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I personally think this is a terrible way to handle this situation, but to each their own.
It was a suggestion. And it is something I would have done. I would have been really nice and sincere about it. If anyone wants to get in my business, they can dive right in...I'll keep them in the loop until they stop asking about it.
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2010: Start 1/18/10 264lbs, lost 92.4 by 9/27/10 (171.6lbs)
2011: Got married, gained most of it back
2012: Birth of my son, gained the rest back plus 30lbs over the next 2 years
My new start date is 12/29/14...and I'll keep up this lifestyle forever, so my son will never know an obese mother and he will make healthy choices too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:01 PM   #7
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It was a suggestion. And it is something I would have done. I would have been really nice and sincere about it. If anyone wants to get in my business, they can dive right in...I'll keep them in the loop until they stop asking about it.
I just can't imagine a scenario where this has ever worked for anyone. Maybe it sounds good to you in theory, but I'd be interested to know if it has ever worked for anyone in practice.
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:12 PM   #8
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I'm not trying to turn this into an argument, and I do think your suggestion would work too. However, I didn't make up the phrase "kill them with kindness." It works if you are trying to keep any relationship from going sour, or making it awkward. You're taking the power that someone is trying to have over you and redirecting it in a more positive way.

Eventually her co-worker will stop asking because it's not giving her the satisfaction of getting under her skin, pissing her off, hurting her feelings, etc.
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2010: Start 1/18/10 264lbs, lost 92.4 by 9/27/10 (171.6lbs)
2011: Got married, gained most of it back
2012: Birth of my son, gained the rest back plus 30lbs over the next 2 years
My new start date is 12/29/14...and I'll keep up this lifestyle forever, so my son will never know an obese mother and he will make healthy choices too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:02 PM   #9
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You've got to have some compassion for her. She's got the longest road ahead of her and a lot more than you to go. I'd also go the route of less is more. Just smile and shrug your shoulders. She may not realize she's making you uncomfortable and she's probably struggling inside seeing you take your life into your own hands and not being in a place to do it herself. Just keep going. Maybe you'll motivate her!
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:13 PM   #10
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I won't be going that whole passive aggressive route. Sorry, but that whole approach isn't something I would feel comfortable with. I have tried ignoring the comments, and she is one who won't be ignored. lol. Seriously, she will ask the same question over and over until she gets an answer. I did say earlier to her "this is what works for me. What works great for me might not be easy or convenient for anyone else, but I know it helps me. I feel better than I have in months." I was polite, but firm. Hopefully she has the hint and will stop. If not, as much as I hate to, I will insist that my boss address the issue. Thanks for the input!
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:28 PM   #11
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Good luck JsMommy, I'm sure she will get the hint. Don't let it get you down though. Like I said earlier, misery loves company...and like Mela said...maybe you will motivate her!
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2010: Start 1/18/10 264lbs, lost 92.4 by 9/27/10 (171.6lbs)
2011: Got married, gained most of it back
2012: Birth of my son, gained the rest back plus 30lbs over the next 2 years
My new start date is 12/29/14...and I'll keep up this lifestyle forever, so my son will never know an obese mother and he will make healthy choices too.
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:20 PM   #12
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I find that people like that are just miserable themselves and they need attention SO, if I were you, I'd totally just ignore her. Whatever.
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Seriously, she will ask the same question over and over until she gets an answer.
Is she 4?
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:38 PM   #14
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"Eugenia, I'd rather not discuss my eating habits. Let's not talk about it again." It's firm and direct, and if she continues to harangue you, you should document the incidents and take it to your supervisor. It's not ok for her to make you uncomfortable. I hope she backs off and focuses on her own nutrition. I've been in a similar situation and unfortunately, some people feel that if they know someone is trying to control their weight this gives them carte blance to play lunch police.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:47 PM   #15
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While I know it may be tempting to be as snarky to her as she is to you, it will only make for a more toxic work environment. When she asks these questions about you logging your food, you don't owe her an explanation; just smile and walk away. The less information she has, the less she can say that'll actually touch a nerve, and if you walk away, she can repeat herself all she wants, but who'll be around to hear her?

Don't let her get under your skin. There's only room enough for one person under there, and that's you.
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