Weight Loss Support - How do you tactfully tell a family member they should lose weight??




StringBean
05-28-2009, 03:38 PM
So, I love my sister to bits, but in the last couple of years she's really gained weight. I would say she's near or at 200lbs on a light build. She's 5'7, 23 years old, and was very slender for ages and has just gotten into bad eating habits. She loves bread and butter and beer...need I say more? Everytime I bring up my diet and the weight I've lost she tells me she finds the conversation boring and then says the only people who lose weight are the ones who don't talk about it. She is such a pretty girl and I know she would love to be more popular with the guys, and if she could just trim down a little, I know she would be so much happier and more confident. I should know!! Any suggestions on how the brotch the subject without her having a fit? Thanks for any help!


kiramira
05-28-2009, 03:43 PM
Wish I knew. My sister is 5 ft 4 and around 260lbs; my brother is 6ft 2 and around 360lbs...we have a history of heart disease and diabetes...I don't know if there is anything I can do because it isn't like they don't know about the risks. They are choosing to ignore them, until they become slaves to the medical establishment...sigh...it really stresses me out, and I don't know how to help them.
I'm interested to know what others say...
Kira

JulieJ08
05-28-2009, 03:45 PM
In a word, no. There is no way to tell people they're fat and need to lose weight without upsetting them. She already knows. All you accomplish is making her feel worse. If you're doing your thing, and it's making you healthy and happy, and you stick with it, that will speak louder than anything you can say.


beerab
05-28-2009, 03:58 PM
Unfortunately there is no way- and she's probably at the stage where she is in denial about her weight gain and thinks she "looks fine" like most if not all of us go through.

When she decides to do something about it just be there for her :)

Delphi
05-28-2009, 04:01 PM
Well I don't know. But I had a family member bring it up to me and here I am well on my way. It was my grandmother. See her son, my uncle, died in a house fire last June. He was found right by the back door when he had a heart attack and died in the fire. To this day she feels like if he wouldn't have been 300lbs, he wouldn't have had that heart attack and he would still be with us.

So one day she sits down with me, with tears in her eyes and her hands trembling and she told me she loved me, but she feared I was headed in the same direction as my uncle. She begged and pleaded with me to start living a healthy lifestyle and to lose the weight. There was no part of me, that got angry at her. My eyes welled up and I wept with her. It was the most touching moment I had ever had with my grandmother. I could see all that pain in her eyes and how fear gripped her so.

Needless to say, that day I told her I would in fact get the weight off and that's what I've been doing ever since. I know my anecdote doesn't really help your situation but just know not everyone gets mad when someone addresses their weight. I sure as heck didn't. That conversation changed my life. :)

LandonsBaby
05-28-2009, 04:05 PM
She's 23 years old, she's an adult. She knows she's fat. When she's ready to do something about it she will figure it out. When she's ready, help her out but until they it really is none of your business. Just be a good example.

MariaMaria
05-28-2009, 04:05 PM
She's 23 years old, she's an adult. She knows she's fat. When she's ready to do something about it she will figure it out. When she's ready, help her out but until they it really is none of your business.

This.

utgirl09
05-28-2009, 04:06 PM
There is no way. Chances are, she probably already knows. The step toward losing weight needs to be a decision she makes on her own.

LandonsBaby
05-28-2009, 04:07 PM
You could point out to her that those who have a support system do better than those who do not. So talking about it with others DOES help though that can be a place like this or with people IRL. Just in case she's under the impression she doesn't need any help or shouldn't need help. But don't push her...just causally mentioned it if she says that again.

rockinrobin
05-28-2009, 04:14 PM
She's 23 years old, she's an adult. She knows she's fat. When she's ready to do something about it she will figure it out. When she's ready, help her out but until they it really is none of your business. Just be a good example.

Yup - this. Landonsbaby, nailed it on the head.

I know for me, until I was READY and WILLING to lose the weight - there would have been no convincing me of it. It's something you must decide for yourself. Having someone tell me, would have not helped one iota. Would have only made me feel worse about myself and probably made me eat more (if that was possible).

I know how painful it is to watch someone you love be needlessly overweight. . You are just so dying to help the other person, you just want to shake some sense into them - but you can't. It can't be done.

Hopefully, one day - and soon, she will decide for herself. And at that point, you can step in - if she asks.

StringBean
05-28-2009, 04:16 PM
Thank you for everyone's input. I know she needs to make the first step, but it pains me to see her stubbornly try to fit into size 14 jeans and refuse to buy a bigger size or acknowledge her expanding waist. I do believe she doesn't realise how big she has gotten, because she was so slim for so long, but I also know she's not happy with herself because she covers herself up with big, baggy tops, which she never used to do.

zinkemomx2
05-28-2009, 04:18 PM
I wouldn't say a word like others suggested. She knows. You could try and get her more active in a round about way. Maybe you could ask her to take a new class at the gym or just try a new activity and suggest you could learn together so you have someone to enjoy it with. Couples tennis, training for a 5k, or something similar. Make it about YOU and how she would be doing you a favor by keeping you company.

sprklemajik
05-28-2009, 04:21 PM
I know in a lot of cases you can't do anything to encourage someone. And you've probably already done all that you can by trying to gauge her interest.

My cousin sat me aside and told me he was worried about my health, he didn't push it anymore than that. I knew I was fat before he said anything, and it hurt my feelings, but I realized he was right. It took me a couple of days to get over it, but then I started.

Jennelle
05-28-2009, 04:25 PM
You don't. She knows she's overweight. She's either going to deal with it or not deal with it, but it needs to be on HER terms, not yours. I know you're concerned for her health, but don't make it worse by possibly causing a passive-aggressive struggle with her.

littlelion
05-28-2009, 04:30 PM
You could try making it more about you than her...say something like, "I could really use a workout buddy to keep me on track," or a similar phrase. Emphasize that exercising can be fun, especially with other people.

Other than that, there's not much you can do without offending her (unless she is an EXTREMELY easygoing type of girl).

Tomato
05-28-2009, 04:30 PM
I tend to agree with everybody who said no.
A coworker of mine, whom I have known for 13 years, kept steadily gaining weight. I often wanted to drop a hint that he should start doing something about it, but I didn't. I knew I would feel really hurt if somebody said that to me. Then, he had a heart attack. He quickly realized that he will HAVE TO do something about it. He has now lost 40 lbs and still keeps working on it.

Your sister will need to want to lose weight - only then it can happen.

lilybelle
05-28-2009, 04:34 PM
My doctor was the one that motivated me by telling me exactly how fat I was. I was hurt, I cried. It did work though. But, I've had the same struggle with my own DD. For her, it had to come from within. She knew how overweight she was. Nothing I said or did mattered. She finally took the initiative to lose the weight. I told her I would do all that is possible to make sure that only healthy food was in the house. I also made myself completely available to get physical exercise with her. It is working and I'm very proud of her.

Jinksie
05-28-2009, 04:35 PM
You can't tell her. Not directly. What i mean is you can be subtle about it. Like some suggested, tell her you need a workout buddy, and ask if she wants to join. She says no, try again another week, maybe ask her to come along for a walk and a chat.

Be a good example, maybe she'll see how well you're doing and ask you what you did. Maybe she wont. Shes you're sister, and only you or your family know her personality and what you can and cat say to her.

Ellie R
05-28-2009, 04:37 PM
So, I do agree with most of the posters, that she does already know, and that there is not so much point in causing tension between you both, this being the case. Especially true if she is having to squeeze in to a size 14, as she has the physical evidence in that alone! This being said, sometimes you really need to get a shock to see how big you've become... and I know you think that she really isn't seeing it...

With this in mind, I know it sounds a bit mean, but why don't you engineer to get her in some photos, and then look at them together when you get them printed, this might cause her to bring up the subject first - and then you will be there to help...

StringBean
05-28-2009, 04:38 PM
Whenever we're together I do drag her out to exercise, saying I need the company etc., but we live over an hour apart and she has a really busy job so we don't see each other as often as I would like. What makes the situation worse is when my parents see us and say how well I'm doing and then tell my sis that she should take note which drives her crazy and upsets her. Ugh.

BeautyandtheBeast
05-28-2009, 04:40 PM
I wouldn't say a word like others suggested. She knows. You could try and get her more active in a round about way. Maybe you could ask her to take a new class at the gym or just try a new activity and suggest you could learn together so you have someone to enjoy it with. Couples tennis, training for a 5k, or something similar. Make it about YOU and how she would be doing you a favor by keeping you company.

I completely agree with this post. There is no such thing as a tactful way to tell someone they need to lose weight. No matter how nice you are or how much you sugar coat it, the only thing she will hear you saying is that she is fat - it will hurt her and it will put her on the defensive. In short it will have the opposite effect of what you want.

If you want to broach the subject you must be sure that you do not make this about her. The best way to do it is by asking her to come out walking with you occasionally (start off light - don't suggest anything too big) and tell her you really feel like you need her support and it would mean so much to you if she helped you out and supported you etc etc. Hopefully if you can coax her on going walking with you maybe once or twice a week then she will be more keen to go out more often.

But remember, ask her to go out walking with you just once - don't make it sound like a long term thing - and just take it one step at a time.

Good luck. :)

MariaMaria
05-28-2009, 04:45 PM
What makes the situation worse is when my parents see us and say how well I'm doing and then tell my sis that she should take note which drives her crazy and upsets her.

So you already know that she's not into being told what the rest of the family has decided is wrong with her, and you're still, repeatedly, asking how to make her to fix herself. She's not the only one with issues here.

Phyxius79
05-28-2009, 05:10 PM
My Mom gave me hints and tips for years. I just didn't want to do it. I knew I was fat. I hated it. I shrudged off what she said. I feel like I can compare to your sister - she will have to do it on her own terms. But if you can get past her anger towards you - tell her, if she comes around she will thank you in the end. Or it could go a complete different way and your relationship could be forever altered. It is risky.

I also feel I can compare to you. My sister is very overweight too. I feel bad for her because she has five kids and a very useless husband who stays home all day and does nothing (injury related). But I inspired my sister and she now looks to me for advice and support. I get mad at her a lot because she does stuff so stupid (and eats a lot of bad stuff) sometimes but I bite my tongue. I just say my prayers and hope that she will change despite all the obsticales she has in front of her.

Ija
05-28-2009, 05:46 PM
In a word, no. There is no way to tell people they're fat and need to lose weight without upsetting them. She already knows. All you accomplish is making her feel worse. If you're doing your thing, and it's making you healthy and happy, and you stick with it, that will speak louder than anything you can say.

Second this.

TakingCharge
05-28-2009, 06:07 PM
So you already know that she's not into being told what the rest of the family has decided is wrong with her, and you're still, repeatedly, asking how to make her to fix herself. She's not the only one with issues here.

I completely disagree. It's a little rude to imply the OP has "issues" just because she's a loving sister. I'm in the exact same situation with my sister and it's heartbreaking. She's unhappy and she's killing herself and no, I don't have "issues" because I'm constantly trying to figure out the best way to help her and save her life, because I care and I don't want to just wait around until she one day maybe gets the motivation to turn her life around, or worse, develops a medical problem.

OP - Unfortunately, I haven't found any good ways to approach the subject but I'll definitely let you know if I do. I know how sad it is so I sympathize and wish you the best of luck on your journey!

ennay
05-28-2009, 06:16 PM
She's 23 years old, she's an adult. She knows she's fat. When she's ready to do something about it she will figure it out. When she's ready, help her out but until they it really is none of your business. Just be a good example.

+40

Seriously. No one ever replies "really? I didnt know that" unless they are being sarcastic.

Unless you are from certain countries in Europe where apparently it is not only acceptable to say that, it is down right encouraged. And by "Need to lose weight" they mean "ooops you are no longer a size 2 you may have creeped up to size 4" Swear to god my Hungarian friend does not comprehend WHY anyone would NOT want to be told if it looks like you gained a pound. To her its like spinach in the teeth, a friend would say something.


MTA: and on the second part where it drives her crazy. EXACTLY. Jeezow Nobody wants to have it rubbed in their face that someone else is succeeding where they are not. I had a friends mom ask me once "what kind of exercise do YOU think my daughter should do" Poor girl wanted to crawl in a hole and beat the crap out of her mother. When she is ready, she'll come to YOU for advice if she needs it.

In the meantime I would say dont ever mention her weight EVER and try not to talk about your own and instead spend time finding ways to show her that you love her and respect her as the fabulous person she is right now. Be her SISTER. Not her parent, not her diet coach, not her judge, not the reinforcer of the voices that are already in her head.

kaplods
05-28-2009, 06:22 PM
As everyone has said, she knows and has already told you that she doesn't want to hear it (calling it boring is a pretty courteous response). My mother has struggled with her weight most of her adult life, and I have since kindergarten. I've always known I was fat, and I was trying to do something about it, more often than not, and still failing. Having my nose rubbed in it, didn't help.

The problem with getting advice from a family member who has or is losing weight, is that it often can be or can seem to be quite hyprocritical. Intellectually, I know that my mother wants what is best for me, and whether she's currently losing, maintaining or gaining, it shouldn't matter if she expresses her concern - but it does. If she's losing or maintaining, I feel like she's forgotten how hard this is, and if she's gaining or struggling to lose, it feels like she's being a hypocrite. And right now, the shoe is on the other foot. My mom is smaller than me (but also 7" shorter than me), and proportionally somewhat less overweight. She's regained some of the 60 lbs she's lost, and when we were visiting, she complained most of the visit that she's hardly eating anything (which is somewhat true, her calorie intake is pretty low, though higher than she realizes, and she's eating way too high carb for her diabetes). I see what she's doing wrong, but I can't tell her - because what right do I have to (and besides how well could it be taken) when I outweigh her by nearly 100 lbs, and am losing very slowly myself.

If you talk only about yourself, you may have some luck. "Wow, I can't believe how hard it is to lose this weight, I'm really struggling and not seeing the progress I'd like to, but I found that ______ is really helping me, I hope I can keep it up."

However, if you're not an excellent actress, she's going to recognize it for the buttinski advise that it is - or worse such a comment is an invitation for her to give YOU advice on the subject, and how well would you take THAT!

Also, there's a very big sign that your sister IS working on it, or at least intending to, that you've completely overlooked - her refusing to buy a larger size. If she was truly complacent about her weight, she'd buy clothing in the appropriate size that fit and flattered her body. Struggling to squeeze into too small jeans and refusing to buy a larger size is not a sign that she isn't acknowledging her gain - it's an indication that she's just not willing to see it as a permanent condition.

zinkemomx2
05-28-2009, 06:50 PM
You mentioned distance being a problem. How about asking if she can give you some friendly long distance competition? My friend lives in GA and I live in MI but we are still training together for a fall race. Or if you both have two story houses you could see how can climb the stairs most in one day. Again, it's all about YOU.

JayEll
05-28-2009, 09:52 PM
Well, if you want to alienate your sister even further, just go right ahead and bring it up. I wonder how you can think that this is a good idea...

My sister started talking up Sugar Busters to me once. She even sent me the book. Good program, good ideas. Only, my sister has never had more than 10 pounds to lose in her entire life, and I weighed close to 200 at the time. Now, I do love my sister and I know she "meant well," but she has no idea what it's like to face having to lose 30, 40, 50 pounds or more--so WTF was she talking to me about? For some time after that I felt, well, odd.

Oh, and she has been so proud of my losing weight. But you know, it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth anyway. Does she like me more now because I fit her idea of acceptable?

As you can see, this is a really delicate issue, and I would recommend that you not say anything about it unless she asks you for input.

Jay

MariaMaria
05-29-2009, 01:29 AM
Oh, and she has been so proud of my losing weight. But you know, it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth anyway. Does she like me more now because I fit her idea of acceptable?

Does she think it's partly her victory, since she sent the book?

srmb60
05-29-2009, 06:27 AM
In Response to JayElll .... hi Jay!

I find that if I meet someone who is interested in weight loss or healthy eating or fitness ... we have something in common and sort of cozy up. I don't think it has anything to do with the outcome. It's more about having something in common.

JayEll
05-29-2009, 07:31 AM
MariaMaria--I don't think she did, because I didn't follow SugarBusters and I told her so.

Hi SusanB! :wave: :)

Jay

StringBean
05-29-2009, 01:51 PM
Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions. After reading all your thoughts, I think I will say nothing to my sister for now and just be there for her when/if she asks for my help or advice. I love her and I wouldn't want anything at all to ruin the bond we have. Whenever we're together she really enjoys going out and exercising with me and we have such a laugh together, so I think I won't do anything different. I think I may also tell my parents to be a little less blunt with her, because obviously it is not helping. Thank you all again for replying.

x0me880x
05-29-2009, 02:02 PM
She knows that she is fat, and she knows that she needs to lose weight. Having someone tell her, is only going to make her worse. Chances are she has tried in the past, and for whatever reason thinks she "failed" at it. No one can make a person lose weight, as well as no one can make a person WANT to. That person has to discover it on there own, and has to want it for themself, and no one but themself. She has to realize that on her own, or it will never work.

I would be so angry (and it has happened), if someone came up to me and was like "Im worried about you lose weight". Even trying to say it "politely", I've been there, done that, and it's not fun. It just brings on so much anger at that person.

PinkVS
05-29-2009, 08:33 PM
Can you tell her you need a rollerblading buddy?Even if you half to buy her rollerblades...I have been thinking about buying rollerblades lately thought it might be something you to could enjoy together

healthfreak
05-29-2009, 11:12 PM
It's a very tricky subject but can be achieved maybe through your own successful example without blowing your own horn in her face any more.

I would suggest first doing a great job at losing weight, wearing all the wonderful clothes you love to wear, and always showing that you are happy and content with your current weight. Show it, don't tell it--is a great way to motivate and inspire others to follow your lead. You want to inspire, not discourage your sister from losing weight.

kelly315
05-31-2009, 04:39 PM
stringbean- I think your sister probably already knows she has a weight problem. To be honest, if someone your size told me that I need to lose weight, I would be very offended, family or not, and angry. I'm not sure there is a way you can tell her to lose weight without it being offensive, because you are so much smaller than her, it will always come off as condescending.

I think you should trust your sister to fix her own life. Most weight gain is a symptom of a larger problem, so maybe she needs time to deal with what that problem is.

Sophia Elise
05-31-2009, 07:16 PM
It's a good thing all the members in my family are healthy. Truly, health is wealth.

Tiffany529
05-31-2009, 07:28 PM
She's 23 years old, she's an adult. She knows she's fat. When she's ready to do something about it she will figure it out. When she's ready, help her out but until they it really is none of your business. Just be a good example.

Totally agree with above! Just like you had your lightbulb moment she will have hers and want to lose weight.

lifechange
05-31-2009, 08:59 PM
One question: Do you think she doesn't know? This is only something she can do for herself when she is completely ready and committed