Weight Loss Support - How do you tell a friend she needs to lose weight?

02-18-2009, 07:58 PM
Hi all
A little history here, I have always had weight issues and at one time I lost 98lbs but it was with pills (PHEN) once I got off the weight came back on because I did not learn to change my life.
I have changed my family's life on Nov 30 by saying no more, it is not about a # on a scale but about being healthy and active. So we are going good, the family has lost over 100 lbs altogether. We are having fun and enjoying life.

We joined a Scaleback Alabama group and ask a friend to join in. She has not lost any weight in the past 5 weeks. I am so concerned for her, she eats a lot of fried foods, has high blood pressure and her daughter will be going off to college in July leaving her by herself.

How to you tell someone that they need to lose weight? I have tried to say things and she shuts me out, she needs to have a drastic change. Any ideas?

02-18-2009, 08:03 PM
You can't tell someone to lose weight.

Well, you can, but you can't expect them losing weight to actually come from it.

My advice is if you want to keep your friend, offer your support when she asks for it and only when she asks for it. My guess is she's totally aware that she needs to lose weight. No need in you pointing it out, too.

ETA: I've had "concerned" friends and family members tell me to lose weight. I've even had "concerned" strangers tell me. All it did was make me feel like dirt, which incidentally made me hungry.

02-18-2009, 08:04 PM
I'm sure she knows she needs to lose weight, whether or not she is ready to do it is another thing. I think the best way to motivate someone is to lead by example, and if they are curious (which they probably will be) to show them how you did it and that it is not impossible.

02-18-2009, 08:06 PM
Show them through "actions" not words...

02-18-2009, 08:07 PM
I don't know, but I am sure she knows she needs to lose weight. I think she has to come to that place on her own. I had been unhappy with my weight and wanted to lose (but was not really ready to make drastic changes) for quite a while before I finally decided that *now* was the time. -Can you relate to that?

My mom is part of that challenge too! Congratulations on your weight loss so far and good luck to you and your family on your journey!

02-18-2009, 08:11 PM
Sign my name onto JuneBug's post.

Bottom line - people aren't going to change until they are ready. You may be able to offer her guidance if she asks, once she is ready. Unless you are asked, I'd steer clear of offering unsolicited advice or opinions.

RN BSN 2009
02-18-2009, 08:12 PM
The most important thing is to lead by example and be as supportive as possible. When you visit your friend don't say let's go take a walk because you need to lose weight but... something more like... It will be nice to get some fresh air - let's go for a walk.

02-18-2009, 08:15 PM
If you were my friend and you told me I need to lose weight I might just smack you... ;)

Think how it would have sounded to you if the tables were turned.

Like the other posters said, be supportive but don't state the obvious to her--she won't appreciate it.

Good luck! And congratulations on y'all losing!


02-18-2009, 08:16 PM
She knows she needs to lose weight. All you can do is be there for her when she is ready.

Lori Bell
02-18-2009, 08:34 PM
I know how you feel, really I do. When I'm losing weight and feeling good, I want everyone to feel the love...;) Sometimes it feels so great to be "in control" that I just want to be "in control" of every one around me...BUT

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Besides my father, no one has ever tried to get me to lose weight...and if they did I probably would have starting bawling like a baby...just like I did when my father would yell and scream about how fat I was. So, I try to keep the focus on myself but will gladly support anyone who wants to tag along on this life journey.

02-18-2009, 08:40 PM
Just keep inviting her to activities that promote healthy eating and exercise. If she declines, then she declines but unless she says "Stop asking me!" ask her again the next time. Hopefully she'll see your new lifestyle is centered around health and that may influence her positively.

02-18-2009, 08:42 PM
Over the decades, I've had friends who repeatedly wanted to tell me I needed to lose weight, and it wasn't pretty. It was not news to me (I'm fat, really, are you sure - You mean 350 lbs isn't "normal?" It's not pretty or healthy? You're kidding me right?).

Because their "wisdom" and advice wasn't anything I didn't know, it only acted as salt rubbed into deep and raw existing wounds. Friends who persisted after I requested it to be a non-topic didn't stay friends for very long for one of two reasons. I'd either decide to tell them equally helpful things about their own flaws and self-destructive lifestyle choices. Generally, they didn't take my advice and wisdom any better than I had taken theirs (oh, I see it's ok to talk about my fat, but not your smoking, your loser boyfriend or the fact that you can't keep a steady job). Or, I'd keep my mouth shut and think those things, and whatever I said or didn't say put a real damper on the friendship.

If she shuts you off when you try to talk to her about it, she has told you in her own way that it isn't an ok topic to discuss with her. You can't fix others anymore than you'd want other folks trying to fix you.

02-18-2009, 09:06 PM
Show them through "actions" not words...
*nods* Yes, this. I knew for years that I needed to lose lots of weight and made a couple of half-hearted efforts, but never got anywhere. I had a relative tell me a couple times that I needed to lose weight (gee, ya think? huh, that had never crossed my mind. :rolleyes: ) but just caused me to be resentful and then I didn't open up to that person anymore.

What got me motivated this time was seeing someone's weightloss ticker on another message board. I had known her previously and when I saw how much weight she had lost, I thought "hey, if she can do that then I can too!"

02-18-2009, 09:12 PM
Sounds like you might be wanting to push her harder than she's ready for. She'll never lose weight and keep it off it it's just because of something you said. Make sure she feel welcome taking part in your weight loss activities, but don't push her.

02-18-2009, 09:22 PM
proselytizing really does not work. It doesn't matter what it's about...drinking, losing weight, smoking, exercising. If someone is not actively seeking the information and advice, the result of someone trying to sell them on it, usually has just the opposite affect. It makes them even more resistant. They start to convince themselves why they don't need to change.

If you truly want your friend to change, you need to let her come to you when she's ready. And be positive with her now no matter what weight she is. If she ever does bring up the subject, then you can tell her how it affects you, but I still wouldn't tell her she needs to lose. Unless she specifically asks you "Do you think I need to lose weight?"

I think she already knows the answer to that one.

I've had discussions on weight with my little sister before, and never addressed her weight, just weight in general. When I say it isn't healthy for the human body to carry around a lot of extra weight, she starts defending being heavy as healthy as long as you stay in shape. I just don't discuss it with her any more, but it breaks my heart to see how much weight she has been packing on over the years.

02-18-2009, 09:27 PM
My advice is don't even try. She will just resent you and your friendship may be lost. Leave it alone and as has already been suggested, lead by example. If she wants your advice she will ask for it.

02-18-2009, 10:19 PM
Thanks everyone, here is a little more info on the situation

She is on blood pressure medication, insulin, and anti depresants. She has a DR that thinks that popping pills is going to fix her problem. I am on her will to care for her children and her house. She can not walk to her car without taking a break to breath. She can no longer use her seatbelt. She usually takes my youngest daughter on the weekends once a month but her bad habits have stopped that. For dinner the other night she had 1 whopper meal and 1 deluxe chicken sandwich meal. As a friend, almost a sister, I can not sit by and watch her kill herself, that is what she is doing. She has stopped coming over because of us eating healthy food and she feels pressured (so her daughter said) to not overeat.

I just wish there was a way that I could wake her up from this. Its about the weight so to speak but her health.

02-18-2009, 10:43 PM
That's very unfortunate and I can sympathize. Watching someone you love kill themself is a very hard thing to come to grips with. I have had to remove myself from relationships with immediate family members because I could not change them, nor could I continue to watch it.

If you are really struggling with being around this person, the real question is can you continue to be there for her and stand by her no matter what- not how to snap her out of it.

02-18-2009, 11:20 PM
Jen-thanks. This is something that I think I am going to have to face her with. If she does not want anything to do with me after the fact then at least I know that I did what was best for her. She does know that all these things are bad for her and she needs to lose weight but she needs to know that someone else cares about her enough to tell her. That is just the type of person she is.
So i am going to put my big girl pants on, so to speak, and have a nice chat with her. I will let yall know how it goes.

02-19-2009, 10:18 AM
How to you tell someone that they need to lose weight?

You don't. She already knows. You can add my name to Junebug's posts too....

02-19-2009, 10:36 AM
hmm...this sounds like a really difficult situation. my mother and father got on my case about my weight my senior year in hs when i first hit 140 lbs. i still remember my depression at seeing that weight on the scale, but this feeling was only compounded by the sheer embarrassment and horror of having both parents sit me down and express concern about how fat i was getting. (from where i stand today, i would be thrilled to weigh 140.) throughout the next decade, it was a constant source of strain on our relationship, particularly as i continued to gain nearly 40 pounds in that time, and every trip home was a referendum on my weight: "you're looking chunky. have you been getting enough exercise?" or "you look good. have you been dieting?" or not-so-subtly leaving diet books on the floor outside my room. their loving expressions of concern about my health and weight only led me to dig in my heels and keep eating, in a sort of stubborn defiance. so, in light of this experience, i was going to say "lead by example," as others have suggested, but it sounds like she may be slightly hostile even to that. i almost feel tempted to suggest an intervention-style heart-to-heart, even though it goes against my instincts and experience, but supposedly interventions can work.
i'm sorry i don't have a real answer except to say tread carefully and good luck!:hug:

02-19-2009, 11:16 AM
99.99+% of the advice on this thread said "ya don't", but it looks like from your last post you're going to do it anyway. Good luck.

02-19-2009, 11:37 AM
You can't tell her. It will only make her eat more out of guilt, anger, distress, etc. My only advise would be to invite her to join you in your weight loss efforts. Tell her you need someone to make you feel accountable to keep going. Ask her to go on walks with you, start a new walk DVD with you. All she can do is say no.

You can't make someone do what they aren't willing to do.

Good Luck!

Rock Chalk Chick
02-19-2009, 11:50 AM
It sounds like you're going to approach your friend on this regardless of what anyone says, but I'm going to just reiterate that you CANNOT make up someone's mind for them.

You say you changed your life on Nov 30 when you just said "no" and realized you needed to change everything. What if some "concerned friend" had cornered you in July and lectured you about everything you already know? Would you really have said "oh my goodness... I never realized I could CHANGE??? All it takes is changing every last thing about my life??? Thank you!"

Yes, your friend is unhealthy. She is sick, and her weight is going to continue to make her sicker. I can guarantee you she is aware of this.

I've been there myself. My mother is 53 years old, and 2 years ago she would have passed for 70 - severe type II diabetes that was poorly controlled, high blood pressure, poor cardiovascular health, generally on her way out. She was unable to tie her shoes without a lot of effort, and was unable to go shopping without a cart to lean on, etc. It was a battle for her to keep up with her 12-month-old granddaughter as she learned to crawl - she couldn't bend over to pick her up. She has had problems with her eyes and her feet/hands due to diabetic complications. She was on at least 6 different medications (that I'm aware of).

We had all had "interventions" and tried to "help" her - she knew she was unhealthy and unhappy, but all our lectures did was make her feel that much worse. It's not like we were telling her anything she didn't already know. She just had to figure things out for herself. I was fully braced to lose my mother before age 60 - it broke my heart to think of it, but it was just inevitable... something was going to give out sooner rather than later.

In December of 2007, she had her "enough" moment - she decided she was done being fat, and she has turned her life around. At Thanksgiving '07, she weighed approximately 340 at 5'4" and wore a size 32/34. As of Christmas, she weighed 165 (and losing), and last weekend we bought a size 8 mother's dress for my wedding in May. The damage to her eyes and feet is permanent, but all of her other health problems are gone.

Why do I tell you all this? A) everyone has to find his/her point - sometimes it's an "aha" moment, sometimes it's just waking up and deciding you don't want to get out of breath taking a shower. B) over the last 20 years, my mother has had countless people give her well-meaning lectures and "suggestions" about how she should lose weight. NONE of them every accomplished anything but make her feel awful and sometimes destroy friendships. The only thing that changed her life was HER decision to do so.

Again, you say you made your choice last November. How would you have felt if someone had taken it upon themselves to lecture you in July? Support your friend, invite her to take part in healthier options, and lead by example - but sitting down and lecturing her will be very unlikely to help and may hurt.

02-19-2009, 12:17 PM
I do see you plan on speaking to her- but be prepared to lose a friendship.

I have a friend who is 300 lbs and goes through a 6 pack of soda a day- it sucks cuz there is nothing I can do about it- she's so stubborn and says she doesn't like water- and so on. I wish her the best but I know talking to her won't help one bit. I've learned through the years there are time to just keep your mouth shut and let people make their mistakes and change on their own.

I was in the same situation as kaploids- people would talk to me about the fact I need to lose weight and what did I do? I just stopped speaking to them- I felt it really was none of their business. Now for you- you are willed to take care of her children and things when she dies- so you have more involvement- but tread with caution.

TWO meals that's crazy- just one on it's own is like 1000+ calories! I can't believe she hasn't had a heart attack yet if she eats THAT badly! Good luck with your friend- let us know how it turns out.

mountain mama
02-19-2009, 12:31 PM
Why don't you do things like invite her on activities you and your family take... or ask her to go for a wlak with on random evenings.. instead of ust telling he rto change.. show her.. and make it casual. Maybe if she does sme activities with you she will start feeling better and take it more into her own hands.
even bowling..small things.. active things... invite her to dinner.. ( a healthy one you made).. things like that.
good luck.. and like alot of people have said.. telling some they need to lose weight wont fix anything... but letting her know you are there for her.. or just helping her feel happy and loved mighthelp push her in the right direction!! its amazing what a good mood will do for your health!

02-19-2009, 01:07 PM
Everyone that needs to lose weight knows they need to lose weight. As far as I am concerened before I got things right in my head about my diet if anyone told me I needed to lose weight it would just make me feel horrible and I would deal with that by eating half the time. Just do well in your oun efforts and it may just rub off on your friend.

02-19-2009, 01:28 PM
I truly believe the talk you have in mind will do her more harm than good, so I'm going to ask - are you doing this for her, or for yourself? Assume for a moment that I am correct. Assume that the talk will do her more damage than good and will inspire her to become more self destructive. Ok, if you knew that this talk would make the situation worse, would you still want to go ahead with it (if yes, it may mean that this is something for you, not her).

If you're determined to talk to her, I have a suggestion that may work (there are no guarantees, except it would be less likely to make the situation worse).

Instead of telling her what she should be doing (believe me, she DOES know) or trying to guilt her into taking care of herself for her loved ones (she already feels immensely guilty, I really doubt she needs more guilt) why don't you consider humbly and politely asking her for her help. Tell her that you are struggling and really would like a diet and exercise buddy, to help you stay on track.

If you don't want to do it that way, I suspect that you're not willing to let her do this at her pace. I may be making a couple assumptions from your post, but I gathered from your op, that she did join in the Scaleback Alabama
group with you (otherwise, how do you know that she has not lost any weight in 5 weeks?). Did she lose any weight at all, and has she just perhaps not logged on her progress?

I strongly believe that her progress should not be accessible to you. You do not need to know the specifics of her struggles. You're too close to the situation, and it's very bad for a person to have someone in their life who wants a person to change more than the person in need of making them, or who has strong ideas about how a person needs to go about changing.

You say she needs a drastic change - that's YOUR assessment, not hers and perhaps not accurate. The way that's best for her may be gradual change, not drastic, so your expectations may be inappropriate for her. If she has joined the Scaleback group - do you realize how big that might have been for her? Have you told her how proud you are of her making that choice or have you just been trying to prod her along at your pace, not hers.

I started this current journey at 394 lbs and severe health problems (though not diabetic, but prediabetic so not on insulin, but I also had asevere allergies and asthma/COPD, sleep apnea, an autoimmune condition destroying my respirartory tract, high blood pressure, osteo-arthritis, and fibromyalgia).

For me, drastic didn't work. Drastic was far too overwhelming, but everyone kept telling me that drastic was the only way. I even had doctors and family members pressuring me toward weight loss surgery (despite the fact that I have health issues that put me in one of the highest risk categories for wls).

I had to ignore everyone else's well-meant advice and do this MY WAY, which has been gradual. Despite my slow, gradual and modest progress so far with the weight loss, I've been able to virtually eliminate the apnea, allergies and asthma/COPD. The autoimmune condition for the most part may be in remission (I had a small flare after the holidays, but didn't need to take prednisone shots or pills).

I still have people in my life pushing me. They're inpatient and despite it being out of concern, it is NOT helping me, and you're pushing her will not be helping her. She will feel as I have when people have done it to me, that the progress she is making isn't good enough for you.

You've got the concern, but I don't see the compassion. The sense I have is that you're going to steamroll her and it's only going to hurt her and the friendship.

02-19-2009, 02:04 PM
Sign my name onto Kaplods post - really. I LOVE the idea of asking for help - I've done that and it WORKS because it makes it about YOU, not about them...people respond better.

"Hey, I'm having trouble getting myself motivated to go for a walk. Want to walk and chat?"

What YOU are planning is an intervention. And no matter how good your intentions may be, doing an intervention without the appropriate skills/support staff/plan in place is always, always, always going to backfire.

02-19-2009, 02:55 PM
I'm wondering how this worked out. Did your friend take it well?

In some ways, I can understand your inclination to want to help your friend get fit, but I agree with most of the posters that it's not the greatest idea. I don't know how I would take it if a friend confronted me. I'm sure I'd be extremely hurt and it would make me feel worse about myself than I already do. I mean...you already feel like crap about it and someone you're friends with takes the time to point it out to you...that'd sting.

02-19-2009, 03:39 PM
yikes. oh I cannot imagine that this will turn out well.
Even now that I'm trying to lose weight, if anyone even off-handedly mentions anything about my extra weight, or extra weight in general, I feel mortified and sad.
Before I started this journey, it was even worse. I spent years pretending to myself that i wasn't really fat, just curvy, whatever, so that when anyone made mention of it, it was like they had suddenly stripped me naked and pushed me into a spotlight.
You're just going to devastate, embarrass and anger her if you try to give her the 'I know best' lecture. The real point is, you've gotten control of your life, and it seems your family's life too. I hate to say it this way, but you can't control everybody. You can directly influence those in your household and yourself, but its not your job to forklift every heavy friend you've got onto the weight-loss wagon. Deciding to lose weight is a very very personal journey and hopefully she will come to it in time, because she sounds very very unhealthy. But all you're gonna do is burn your bridges for when she is ready--she's not going to come to you for help and support if you've made her feel like a huge disgusting slob. Just be there for her, but don't be overbearing or holier-than-thou. I'm thrilled you've been so successful on your own weight loss journey, but be content with that and just be there for her when she finally does reach out. Set a good example.

02-19-2009, 03:58 PM
I have tried to say things and she shuts me out ...

You already have your answer in your own words ...

I agree with Kaplods and everyone else: she already knows she needs to lose weight and that's why she did join you in the Scaleback Alabama group.

She doesn't need any more of your opinions, she needs your love and support; and that's what a 'real' friend would do. I would never disown a friend or relative simply because they need to lose weight; or can't lose weight at the rate that I think they should. She must go at her own pace: look at my signature.

When someone is very heavy and has many health issues, we cannot do things at the same rate or in the same way as someone who has only 50 lbs or less to lose. If I overdo the exercise, I end up injuring myself and am in agony for days, and then I have to rest until the damage from muscle strain is repaired.

I have had many people nag me and insult me about my weight over the years and that just made me feel worse and I ended my associations with them, not because I didn't know that I needed to lose weight, but that I interpeted that as they could not love me or accept me unless I was thinner.

Critical comments have the opposite effect of what you might imagine: their remarks wounded me so much that I would not only eat more; but wouldn't even want to go outside, let alone go for a walk. What we really need is compliments and encouragement; to feel accepted and wanted, so that we can feel strong enough to take on the challenge of living healthier each day.

I agree that asking her to be YOUR support buddy would be the only thing that you should even consider (ie to go for a friendly stroll a few times a week). Keep the focus on yourself where it should be. If she declines your offer, then drop it for good, unless she brings it up sometime down the road and/or asks for your help ...

02-19-2009, 05:50 PM
As a friend, almost a sister, I can not sit by and watch her kill herself, that is what she is doing. I agree with Kaplods. It does not sound like you are doing this because you care for her (although I know you do) but because it hurts YOU to see her like this...it's your pain that you want to heal. I understand that, but if you lose your friend, or make her feel even worse about herself in the process (and possibly binge even more), what good has that done for her?

She has stopped coming over because of us eating healthy food and she feels pressured (so her daughter said) to not overeat.She is not staying away because she is afraid to overeat at your house. She could always eat normally at your house and then go to a fast food place and fill up later. That's what bingers do. She is avoiding your house because she feels you judging her.

It is not your job to fix anyone but yourself.

02-19-2009, 06:23 PM
recidivist makes an exceptional point, the pressure she reports feeling is not about pressure not to overeat, It's a self-consciousness of eating in your presence (perhaps because she is sure or afraid that you are judging her for it, and may even comment on it).

As confident as I am in most situations, I wouldn't step foot in a person's house for a meal if I suspected they were going to be watching and monitoring everything I put in my mouth (even if I was sure they wouldn't actually say anything). That kind of pressure is extremely destructive.

I'm not saying that you put that pressure on her, but if you have ever made any comments about what she was eating or how much she was eating, or even if you gave her subtle but meaningful glances, I can certainly see where her fear could be coming from. There are many overweight folks who are extremely sensitive and even paranoid - even without outside events - of being watched while eating. Some become nearly agoraphobic as a result.

02-20-2009, 03:14 AM

I belong to the don't say it group, but if you are determined I wouldn't approach her about her weight, but about her health.

" I'm really worried about your health. You are so important to me, I can't imagine my life without you, and it makes me sad to see you struggle with your health. Is there anything I can do to be supportive and help you be healthier?"

02-20-2009, 03:25 AM
I don't know if this would work, but if she has internet capability, why not encourage her to read a few of the OMG posts here (not to encourage her to join, just to laugh or be introspective with you) and maybe she will decide to join up herself and be encouraged my others.

02-20-2009, 08:34 AM
the best you can do is be a good example and an inspiration. tons of people have told me to lose weight, that never worked. what really works is seeing other people in my situation have success. im sure you are starting to motivate her just doing what you are doing already.

02-20-2009, 09:30 AM
I think you all are confused on what I was asking. Not I am going to tell her she is fat. My question is how do I help her, what can I do to motivate her. She already knows she is fat, she joined a group with me and 2 other people to lose weight as a team. She promised the group she would lose 10lbs in 10 weeks. The 10 weeks will be up on March 18 and she has gained weight in that time. I have asked her if she is still on board to do this and she says, the weigh in is not till March 18 I can just diet that week and take it off.

My question was more like how do I motivate her to get up and do something, what can I show her that would be helpful. Please understand she is like a sister to me and I am not willing to just walk up and say you are fat. I want to show her that it is easier than she thinks, that she does not have to kill herself in a gym everyday or never eat out.

BTW if someone would have told me I need to change things I would not have been happy but I would have known that they must care about me enough to see me live longer. My daughter who was 203 in Nov was told by me that she needs to change things, she needs to learn to be healthy before she gets out on her own. I never made it about weight but about the things she wants in her life. She is now 179 and works out 3 times a week without anyone telling her she has to. You have to put a spark in people by letting them know the joys that come from being healthy. If not by talking to them then by your actions.

I have not been able to chat with her yet, but I have invited her to go on a walk with me this weekend. She said she was busy.

02-20-2009, 10:17 AM
My question was more like how do I motivate her to get up and do something, what can I show her that would be helpful. Please understand she is like a sister to me and I am not willing to just walk up and say you are fat. I want to show her that it is easier than she thinks, that she does not have to kill herself in a gym everyday or never eat out.

Bottom line is you can't and you won't if she isn't ready. No one can do that for her.

I don't think anyone here misread and thought you'd walk up to her and say, 'You are fat.' But there are more ways of telling someone that they are fat. It's more complicated than that. It seems by the reactions she's given you that she already feels judged, knows you think she's fat and should remedy it.

Just keep doing your thing for you, actions speak louder than words, right?

It doesn't matter how you go about it or how great your intentions are - if she's not ready, she's not ready. From what she says, she's not ready. From what she does, she's not ready. Perhaps she'll lose the weight that last week and see it's not so bad. Perhaps she'll see everyone's great losses and find inspiration. She has to do it on her own.

My best friend is like a sister as well. We've been together for over half our lives now and know each other better than our husbands do. She needs to lose weight too - and she might someday. I do know I'd be overstepping what very little boundaries we have if I tried to 'inspire' her.

That's great you could help your daughter - but she's your daughter and she was obviously ready to listen. A friend who is not ready to listen is an entirely different matter, no matter how close you are. A mother/daughter relationship is very different from a peer relationship - it's acceptable to offer advice to a daughter, it's not acceptable to push it on a friend. The dynamics are so different.

I think that's what most people are trying to say - it's unacceptable no matter how you go about it, no matter how true your intentions are. It's insensitive and counterproductive to continue pushing. You put your relationship at risk - no matter how close you are now. Is it worth that? Every relationship has lines that should not be crossed and this is a good example.

I get really excited about my weight loss. I've lost nearly 50% of myself and want to start an evangelical church of health. Just scream about how freaking great it is from my pulpit! I want everyone I know to feel as good as I do, I am unstoppable. I keep pretty quiet about it though - most people aren't ready to hear it. I wasn't before I found it for myself.

I have invited her to go on a walk with me this weekend. She said she was busy.
She very might well be busy. But I suspect you'll hear that line more and more often in reply to all invitations if you try to push her into something she's not ready to do.

I know, because I've been in her shoes.

02-20-2009, 11:03 AM
I guess from my perspective and the way I am seeing things, she is being treated a bit like a child. No one wants to be told "you need to loose weight" which is the topic of the thread. It isn't about tough love here as that will probably push her away from you. What works for you, doesn't always work for other people, even if they are close friends or family. I'm sure the last thing you want is for her to push you away and that can happen with a conversation like this.

A few thoughts:

- Maybe the group system doesn't work for her. I know it doesn't work for me. If I promise to loose weight in a certain amount of time to a group of people, well that is going to equal disaster. It isn't entirely about "weight loss" it is about regaining your health. There are such a wide range of options for people and quite a few of them do not force people into a group situation. Think of it this way. She promises a group of people to loose a certain amount of weight, but you say she gained. Perhaps she felt under pressure or felt ashamed, whatever it is I'm sure you'll agree it is negative. To me when someone says "the weigh in is not until March and I can just diet then and take off the weight" says that she isn't keen on this group system or changing her life syle. That is what I think.

- I don't think anyone thought you were going to tell her she is "fat" but you did say you wanted to have a heart to heart with her about her weight. Instead of "tough love" why not find out what the core issues are with her? Forget motivating her to loose weight by a certain date. Why not just talk with her and support her? Why does she treat herself this way? Does she want to diet or change her lifestyle? Does she want to fixate on weight loss or making small changes in her life to better herself?

I know you want to help her and save her and clearly you do love her and view her as a sister. I do think you are being too fixated on solving her issues and solving them in your way. The group dieting is not working for her. To be honest, it probably is making her situation even more negative. Dieting isn't working for her either, clearly. You say she is starting to shut you out, she also is not coming over to your house, these are HUGE red flags that you are doing things to push her away.

I mean I'm a vegan/raw food girl. I eat at places that serve meat, dairy, cooked, and uncooked foods. I have no issues going to any place because I always bring something good to share with everyone. I also want to see the people, so it isn't about food. That is now. Way back when I was 340+ pounds I sometimes avoided situations because of food. Because of things that made me feel ASHAMED.

There are so many signals here about what is going on. She is going to keep pushing you away if you keep pushing her to loose weight. The WORST thing you can do is confront her about HER life. It isn't about you, it is about her is my point.

You can either leave her alone or you can approach her with perhaps a peaceful attitude and tell her you love her and you are here for her. That you miss her and would love to get together. That is a start to working toward something positive. Baby steps.

Just from this thread alone. Everyone is saying the same thing and you say you will have a talk with her no matter what anyone says lol. If you want some tough love then here it is. You need to sit still and listen. Really listen.

I have no doubt that you love her and I think you're a wonderful person who truly cares. However, you can not tell people what to do. She is your friend, not your daughter.

02-20-2009, 11:16 AM
Hey! Thanks for clarifying what you really meant, eviemc.

From what you've described to me about her actions, it sounds to me as though she is really sensitive right now to any sort of gesture that seems like pushing to her. So, it will be very hard, I think, to come up with a message that won't get her even more stubborn.

Just keep inviting her for walks, to come over for dinner, etc. In other words, be her friend and keep the door open. She may come around, or she may not.

I don't know whether you ever see Biggest Loser, but recently a pair of friends were contestants on the show, and they just ruined their friendship as a result. So, you have to decide whether you would be better off losing that friendship before pressing this issue.

I know you say she's like a sister, but even in families, people sometimes end up not talking to each other over issues.

I also want to add that your friend probably senses your attitude toward her without your saying anything directly. If I were in your position, I'd try to steer away from the topic altogether for awhile.


02-20-2009, 11:21 AM
I guess my biggest issue is that if she was not ready why did she want to join our team, she knew that she had to lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks (not much for her). She is letting our team down. I guess I will have to figure this out with the rest of the team.Thanks

02-20-2009, 11:26 AM
Oh, man. I'm so glad I never joined a weight loss "team".

I can tell you truly care about your friend. I agree that simply by being there for her, you will communicate to her how much you care. Hang in there. :hug:

02-20-2009, 11:28 AM
JayEll - yes I saw that, I love the Biggest Loser, but I think maybe they did not have a good relationship to begin with. We have always been open and she asked to be on our Scaleback team. So I agreed but told her there are 3 other people counting on you. Everyone on our team has lost weight. Even if she was trying and did not lose I would be ok with that but she came to the weigh in with a box of fries and a box of chicken fingers. It is almost like she dares me to say something. Should I just look the other way? The last time I was mad, but I nicely asked "Are you still going to be participating with us?" She says "The final weigh in is not til March 18th, I can just take off water weight that week" So I said "If you are ok with that then I guess you can try it"
My personal issues aside, all I can do is like you said keep the door and line of communication open. I just feel that she is starting to get depressed about her daughter leaving, she is the only person that she has cared for.

02-20-2009, 11:32 AM
midwife- it has been fun, 3 of us have walked together and swapped recipes. She just has pulled herself away from the group. We have not put any pressure on it is just a commentment to try. She has never joined us on anything and we have tried to get her involved. I think she regrets that she signed up. I signed up after losing 16 lbs so I have only lost 6 more but I am happy with that. For me it was just a chance to get together and do something different.

02-20-2009, 11:47 AM
I guess my biggest issue is that if she was not ready why did she want to join our team, she knew that she had to lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks (not much for her). She is letting our team down. I guess I will have to figure this out with the rest of the team.Thanks

To me this is negative. Saying she is letting down the team. :?: I think it is pretty obvious that she doesn't like this group dynamic. I get that it is a team effort, but she isn't letting anyone down. Also you say she has never joined anything with you/friends before and you are saying "we have tried to get her involved." To me this is pretty obvious what is going on lol.

You have put some pressure on her, but you may have done that indirectly. I really think just being there for her and talking with her will get her to stop pushing you away. Forget the team, forget the contest or whatever this is. Just be her friend. At the end of the day, does the team matter or does she matter?

02-20-2009, 11:53 AM
I agree it's messed up for her to not take it seriously- I mean someone who wants to lose weight doesn't join a team then say "well I can lose that water weight."

I don't know if your team is in competition of some sort with others- but if there is no competition involved besides just you and your team- I'd weight till after the weigh in when she will OBVIOUSLY not have lost weight and tell her that you are really disapointed that she'd let the team down and that you are there for her when she's really ready to lose weight- but for the sake of the team she can't be on it anymore.

No matter what be prepared to lose a friend though :( Because even though she should be mad at herself- we all know she'll be mad at you.

I think that saying she let you guys down is just being honest- I wouldn't join a weight loss team because I know my weightloss has been very slow!

02-20-2009, 12:44 PM
This is an excellent example of why I believe weight loss competitions can be extremely destructive, and have the potential to do far more harm than good. Weight loss is hard enough when you're doing it only for yourself, and the added pressure of "letting the team down," is seriously messed up stuff, a recipe for disaster even, for many people.

It seems very clear now that the issue isn't about her at all, it's about you. You're upset that she's letting you and the team down. "Why did she sign up?" Obviously, because she thought the added pressure would help - and she found out it didn't, it only made the situation worse for her.

I can relate, because I found out the same thing. I can't lose weight for other people. In a team situation, it stresses me out, and as a stress eater - not a good fit. I didn't know it until AFTER I joined one, so I had no idea that I was going to be dead weight to my team. Every time I thought about how I was letting my team down, I felt more guilt, shame and stress. It made me panic - I would stress eat, feel worse, decide I had to starve the weight off to "catch up" and the crash dieting only made it harder for me not to binge and repeat the cycle. I'm not exagerating when I say it was a seriously traumatic experience for me, because I am a people pleaser. It hurt me to the bone that I was betraying the team - because that's how I saw it, but the worse I felt about it, the less successful I was in my diet and exercise.

Telling her she's letting the team down may be honest, but it's just one more thing, I'm confident she already knows, and rubbing it in her face is just plain cruel.

No matter how tactful you are, pushing her in any way is going to backfire. Confrontive interventions (as has already been said), only work under very specific circumstances, with trained staff running the show (and almost always only when getting a person immediately into inpatient treatment). And because she is "like a sister," there's no way that any criticism isn't going to sound like a verbal beating to her (because she's already doing it to herself).

If you don't believe any of this, and think she's just being a selfish pig - then end the friendship. It would be the best for both of you.

02-20-2009, 12:56 PM
I was in a weight loss competition last summer and fall with my best friend, her sister and her mother. They discovered what kaplods did - that competition didn't do a thing for them. Because I was in the midst of my fast paced weight loss and didn't really care about the contest other than the cash I just applied my competitive ways to being the best in the whole entire competition. I was.

My team had terrible remorse about the competition, especially during the second round. Each time we had won as a team, but I was the only one losing weight. They didn't want to take the big prize money, but I insisted.

I had to tread lightly. On one hand I wanted to gloat and brag about my stellar losses, but on the other they didn't need that. Throughout the two competitions I lost 60 pounds. Great. They lost 12 total. It really could have been a terrible experience for us, but I worked hard to make sure it wasn't.

Despite that, both my best friend AND her sister were so turned off by the experience (negative weigh ins, other teams, the people leading the contest) that they both quit dieting immediately after the contest ended and gained more weight.

If only I would have known that it wouldn't be as great for everyone else. I wouldn't have played, forget the money or silly certificates, my friend is worth more than that. I will say though, that it wasn't my idea to do it. I was asked as a sort of 'ace in the hole' and accepted looking at bit as free money. ;)

02-20-2009, 12:56 PM
In my opinion, you don't. I'm sure she is well aware of the fact that she is overweight. My family tried to tell me for years and years, I needed to lose weight. Obviously I knew that, but I wasn't ready yet. You will never lose weight until YOUR ready. Your friend probably isn't ready yet, and telling her she needs to lose some weight could offend her.

02-20-2009, 12:59 PM
BTW, everyone always says that if they were given constructive criticism, they might be hurt, but would accept it graciously - but that's not what usually happens. They walk away thinking the person has intentionally been unsupportive and unaccepting.

If you think back, you will find examples in your own life of people "butting into your business," and you will say "but that's not constructive criticism," but from their perspective it probably was.

You don't have to be intentionally cruel, for it to feel that way. And when it comes to weight loss advice from others, it almost never feels constructive. In fact, the "nicer" the person is, the more it feels patronizing, two-faced, or worse.

I know you don't like the advice you've been given here (because you keep explaining rather than accepting), but it's been very good advice. Whether you take it or not, is completely up to you.

02-20-2009, 01:06 PM
Coming to the weigh in with a box of fries and chicken fingers is pretty much a way of giving the gruop the finger. It is obvious she doesn't want to participate. I would drop her from the group, check with the other members first.
Telling someone something for their own good seldom works , It just causes resentments.
I would forget trying to help her weight wise but try to remain friends in other areas, but weight loss should not be discussed, let her make up her own mind, I am sure she is feeling pressured and is having her own tantrum about it. Don't forget the fries and chicken fingers. No one who is serious about losing weight would bring that to a weigh in.

02-20-2009, 01:29 PM
I would agree that bringing crap to the weigh-in was quite passive-aggressive. Many otherwise wonderful people are passive aggressive. I have to fight the urge myself, because it runs rampant in my family - as does just plain agressive. Because I had so few role models that were talented in diplomacy, learning to be assertive without being nasty or passive aggressive has been a challenge. I think I'm pretty good at it, but it's a lot of work, and I understand when I fail or see others failing at it.

People who are passive-aggressive can't bring themselves to say "back off," so they do something in action (or lack of action) that they hope gets the message across.

I think in this case, the message is very obvious. The group dynamic is not working for her. She may be very sad, angry, hurt or depressed at what she perceives as too much pressure from you and the group. She may be so angry with herself that she's projecting failure in a big way so the group knows not to expect too much from her. The whys though, probably don't matter. If the competition is such that her lack of participation doesn't penalize the group, I'd let her be. If she really is pulling everyone down (and the competition is more important than her friendship) then confront her with a "put out or drop out," talk. Other options are to ask her if she would like to withdraw from the group, or to suggest that she drop out, or as a group "vote her off the island" and tell her the group has decided she should drop out.

No course of action will guarantee to preserve the friendship, or any success in inspiring her to action, either in the contest or later.

I don't know why she felt she needed to make such a BIG statement to the group as bringing fast food to the weigh-in, but if I were you, I would wonder if I had been placing too much pressure on her directly or indirectly, and I would ask her that. That may be the best way to start the dialogue with her, if the friendship is important to you. "Have I been putting too much pressure on you to lose weight for this competition," and then listen closely to what she has to say.

02-20-2009, 02:58 PM
My best friend is overweight. She is about 250lbs and 5'8. To support her I say "great job!" when she goes for a walk (she is very sedentary), and when we hang out, we either cook at home (using my clean eating recipes), or, go for something like Chinese where we can share dishes, and I usually do the ordering (and tweaking what I want it to be). I also say "let's go for a walk" instead of "let's compete about our fitness and weight!". In the beginning, she used to insult herself over her weight - but she has slowly stopped - she knows that she doesn't have to feel bad around me. I am her FRIEND.

I see this whole group as incredibly UNsupportive. I see it as a need to get AHEAD of each other rather than support each other! I wouldn't want to hang out with this group!!

02-20-2009, 03:02 PM
I think we've all known someone who quit smoking and immediately became a total *** about everyone else's cigarettes. That's kind of what ISTM is going on here.

Her body. Her life. Her choice.

OP-- You were over 100 pounds overweight. Surely someone said something to you about it at some point. And it took until now for you to deal with it, you know?

02-20-2009, 06:09 PM
That may be the best way to start the dialogue with her, if the friendship is important to you. "Have I been putting too much pressure on you to lose weight for this competition," and then listen closely to what she has to say.
I think this is the best piece of advice you have been given. Instead of projecting your anger (and you admit you've been angry, and I can assure you, she knows it) onto her for not living up to YOUR expectations of her, tell her you are sorry if you've been expecting things of her she is not able or willing to do right now.

Thighs Be Gone
02-20-2009, 06:23 PM
I am in harmony with the other posters suggesting this isn't something you can do for her. It a very personal journey.

My adoptive mother (and I love her more than my own life) is super-morbidly obese. I will not nag her or tell her anything about weight. She knows the issues and the subjects regarding weight loss better than I do. She lives in a prison of a body and she is aware of that far more than I can identify with. All I have said to her is:

"Look, I need you. My kids need you. We would be devastated if anything ever happened to you to make you leave us."

Has it worked? Probably not. At least nothing that has worked long-term. Any time SHE has brought up the topic I tell her, "I will help you and support you in any way you need." I don't take it beyond that. PERIOD.

02-21-2009, 11:16 AM
Just a little info about the competition- It is scaleback Alabama. You have 10 weeks for each team member to lose 10 lbs. If each member loses at least 10lbs you are entered into a drawing for $1000 (for each team member). It is not so much about the money but that she asked us to be in our team. We sat down and she was excited about it. I am just wondering what happened.
I am going to talk to her more about that, just supportive on if something happened that she is trying to cover up. She asked me to keep her on track and I feel like I am letting her down, I am not sure what she wants me to do but I am going to let her know I am here for her but I can not do it for her.

Thanks ladies for all the time you have taken to help me on this.

02-21-2009, 11:46 AM
Coming to the weigh in with a box of fries and chicken fingers is pretty much a way of giving the gruop the finger.

Wellllll.....I don't know about that. It's possible that, as a heavy person who has never been successful at losing weight, she sees chicken fingers and fries as "lean poultry and a vegetable." Part of the reason that many of us are heavy is because at one time we didn't truly understand the difference in calorie counts of what we were eating! It's also possible that she's just in that denial stage or was thinking, "I've been good all day but now I'm in a hurry, so I'll just stop and grab this meal on the go. It won't hurt just this once." (Who among us hasn't thought that?)

So it could be a passive-agressive way of giving the group the finger, but it could also just be another mistaken food deision in a lifetime of bad food decisions. Having said that.....there is no way that I would tell a friend or loved one that they need to lose weight. If it was a child of mine, I might mention that I am going to make changes in what I cook "so we can all get a little healthier", but that's really about as far as I would go. Making a personal comment about someone's body when they are already feeling terrible is just such dangerous, potentially hurtful ground.

02-21-2009, 06:30 PM
We sat down and she was excited about it. I am just wondering what happened.
We have all gone through attempts to start a diet and then failed right away because although we wanted to lose weight, we really weren't mentally prepared for the challenge. It sounds like she took one baby step and faltered (and the money may have been part of her motivation too)...but then came the realization that she would have to change the way she eats (the foods and quantity) and she isn't ready yet. Now is the time to support her, even if it means letting her back out of the challenge. Pushing her to do something she isn't ready for may be putting up a mental block that will keep her from trying again later on.

You said she doesn't want to eat at your house because you eat healthy now...then she brings chicken fingers and fries to a meeting. I wonder if she really just doesn't like healthy food right now, and is so filled with cravings for fat greasy food and carbs to satisfy her addictions, this is just too severe a switch for her and it frightened her off. In her case, a challenge like this was more than she was ready for. She needs to take tiny baby steps to make easy changes one at a time that she really can stick with.

02-21-2009, 08:12 PM
I once had an amazing suggestion from one of my doctors. He said he never tells people, especially if their diet is filled with fatty foods to completely change what they're eating, or to even focus on eating less. He says he tells patients to always "start with adding before you take away," because it eliminates the punishment feeling. He says if you "take away" things from your diet, feeling deprived is normal, but if you "add things" to your diet, there's no deprivation, so there's nothing to miss. He says telling someone "instead of eating fried foods, eat baked meats and veggies," they will miss what's missing. However, when he tells people "don't worry about changing or limiting what you eat, I want your first step to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables," often they lose a little weight without trying (and even if they don't it's a good first step), and it boosts their confidence in themselves in being able to make changes without being miserable.

Even if eating more veggies, initially means covering them with fatty toppings to make them palatable, the toppings can be cut back slowly.

I think the worse a person's problems are, sometimes the smaller the steps they have to take, because even a relatively small change can be quite overwhelming.

I think there have been many indicators that your friend is overwhelmed by the changes she thinks she needs to make. A lot of people think they have to make drastic changes or they don't "count," but it's so not true. I think joining the contest was just a step for her that was far too big for her to take on (especially if it's intimidating her from making small changes she feels she could manage).

02-22-2009, 07:10 AM
I believe people will have to hit a bottom and realize they need help. This person knows theyt need to lose weight they just don't want to admit they need help. It's one of the hardest things to do.

02-22-2009, 10:41 AM
Ok so she came over and I addressed the problem with the team and then said that if there is anything that I can do please let me know. I explained that was the benifit in doing this with a team. I also told her if she was not ready that was ok. She said that it comes down to time managment. She has just bought a home after living with her parents her whole life. She is having trouble learning to cook things and just knowing what to do in general. So she wants me to contact her once a weekends, she is usually over, and go over what we did for the week. I am also going to give her a copy of what we eat for the week. She is just lost, she has no idea how to do it on her own. I think this will help both of us. I knew she wanted me to say something, she is just that type that needs to be ask "Do you need help?" So I am glad I went with my gut and ask her.

02-22-2009, 04:13 PM
I'm glad it worked out well for you and hope she meets with success. If she is lost, and has a computer, maybe you could introduce her to this site for help and advice on meal planning and recipes and inspiration? She may be too shy for that, but she can always lurk and not post for awhile.

02-22-2009, 07:30 PM
eviemc, I'm glad it worked out too. That's the thing--none of us here really knows your friend the way you do.


02-22-2009, 08:09 PM
eviemc, first of all, I want to tell you that I truly appreciate the thoughtful way that you asked for feedback before moving forward. I hope that the way you and she have decided to proceed will be successful and rewarding for both of you.
I have to say that when I started going through this thread, I was on board with everyone who was suggesting that saying nothing and showing her a healthy example was the way to go. But then I really started thinking about what it means to be accountable to other folks in a weight loss group. I think an important part of the group dynamic is to develop an "action plan" at the very beginning. If possible, facilitate a discussion where the members of the group can put on the table what kind of support they need from the other members, what is okay and not okay to say and do, and what all members expect from each other in their individual quests to stay on track. For example, if your friend had said "when you see me getting off track, please invite me to exercise with you and remind me that you love and support me" or "please give me some space" or "please ask me about what is going on in my life that is detracting from my success" then you would know what is safe and appropriate.

Your caring and love for her is clear, and I just bet that she knows it!:angel: