Weight Loss Support - A friend told me she doesn't think she looks fat.

Autumn Night
06-27-2011, 01:25 PM
My friend and I were talking about losing weight the other day. She told me that she knows she needs to lose weight, but she doesn't think she looks all that much overweight. This left me concerned. I made no comment when she said this, because I could not think of any positive or supportive thing to say. She does look very overweight.

We go to the same doctor, and we both have appointments coming up. Would it be unethical of me to mention our conversation to the doctor, and my concern that my friend is denying the seriousness of her situation? I care for her very much. I don't want to see her missing out of the joy of being in good health. I don't want to miss out on this either! But I also want to respect her privacy. She told me that the doctor had never mentioned that she should lose weight.

What do you think?

06-27-2011, 01:28 PM
i'd leave it alone. if she wants or feels like she needs to lose weight, she will. her doctor will also know when to mention this to her.

06-27-2011, 01:29 PM
How overweight are we talking? Vanity pounds? or health issue pounds?

This would be a touchy subject. I think I would be insulted if a friend told me I looked overweight. Maybe ask her if she would like to come exercise with you? Or you could ask her to do your diet with you so you arent doing it alone?

I dont know... :^:

Lori Bell
06-27-2011, 01:34 PM
I wouldn't touch that one with a ten foot stick. She knows she should lose weight...that is good enough. Meddling will get you only in trouble...with a capital T

06-27-2011, 01:42 PM
Yes, it would be unethical.

It would be even more unethical, also illegal, for the doctor to discuss one patient with another without prior permission from the patient being discussed.


06-27-2011, 01:44 PM
I called a friends doctor (whom I had never met) once from the parking lot to say she seemed to be going through somesort of manic episode and had not slept in two weeks (amoungst other things). The office staff replied that she was "appearing irratic".

A week later my friend called me and and asked me to drive her to the hospital and sign her on for a Psychotic admission (yes she told me what to put ion the form). The lack of sleep caused her to have a Tonic Clonic (grand mal) seizure while we were waiting in the ER.

...in the end my friend never did quite forgive me for taking her to the hospital. Oh well, I know I did the right thing.

06-27-2011, 01:46 PM
I'd stay out of that situation. Firstly, because it has the possbility of turning ugly. Secondly, people have to want to change lifestyle for themselves, not because of others meddling.

06-27-2011, 01:46 PM
IMHO it is only unethical for the doctor to discuss your friend with you, and it is not unethical for him to listen, if you decide to talk to the doctor and he does not respond or responds curtly, keep this in mind.

06-27-2011, 01:59 PM
She already said she knows she needs to lose weight. I'm sure she's very aware of her image if she can admit that she has weight to lose. No body likes to admit that they don't look their best--I think you'd be adding "insult to injury" if you really did try to talk to her doctor. Not your business, even as a friend.

06-27-2011, 02:24 PM
If she is admitting she needs to lose weight, but doesn't think she looks that overweight, then maybe she just has a healthy body image. For those of us who avoid mirrors and are in agony when we do use them, I desperately wish I could look at myself and find the beauty instead of berating myself. Maybe she just has great self-esteem - and telling her that she looks overweight might start her on a dangerous path of self-consciousness and self-loathing.

06-27-2011, 02:57 PM
I once talked to a friend's doctor because I was concerned for them, and the doctor turned right around and told my friend what I had said. It just about ended our friendship--and we were never as close again. I would strongly recommend that you stay out of it.


06-27-2011, 03:35 PM
You'd be happier if she felt fatter and uglier?

She says she knows she needs to lose weight - end of story. If she chooses to lose weight or not, her business. If she decides she looks hot, but wants to be healthier, would her weight loss be any less meaningful if it's done for health instead of beauty?

I've almost never minded how I looked - even at nearly 400 lbs. For me, losing weight has always had to be about health, and strength/endurance because appearance just isn't that important to me, and hasn't been since I was a teenager.

So does my weight loss not count, because I think I look good (and think I looked pretty good even 90 lbs ago)?

06-27-2011, 03:35 PM
If you want to keep your freind don't say a word, most people know they need to lose weight and it can be a very touchy subject.

06-27-2011, 03:40 PM
Stay out of it, I say. I don't think it's anyone's business if she sees herself as a little less overweight than she is. I didn't think I looked 'that bad' myself until I really did look that bad. If anybody had told me otherwise, I would have thought it was none of their business to say that to me, much less my doctor. I know you're a concerned friend, but leave well enough alone. It would be like having a friend that smokes and calling their doctor. They already know it's bad, and they probably don't need you to tell them. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I fear you'd lose your friendship over that one.

Also, exactly what Kaplods said.

06-27-2011, 03:42 PM
I wouldn't.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's fine that you are concerned and there is NOTHING wrong with speaking to someone's doctor about your concern - if it's an immediate danger (ie. fatgyrl's friend experiencing a serious mental health episode, or like how my family has reported to my father's doctor about his seriously declining alcoholism).

If it's a lifestyle issue and not an immediate danger, then no, I think that's overstepping.

06-27-2011, 03:59 PM
Some people like the overweight look. Some people LOVE curves. If she's not unhealthy overweight, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with her having a strong body image about herself. More power to her to like how she looks.

She could also be in denial and tells herself she's good looking to help with her esteem.

Either way, I'd just leave it alone. You can't force someone to want to change, and telling them they look fat is hurtful. She knows how she looks. If you're worried about it, invite her on runs just saying you need a jogging buddy. Or say you need a gym partner. Don't bully her into going, just see if she will.

Latchkey Princess
06-27-2011, 04:11 PM
Leave it alone if you want to keep your friend. She knows she needs to lose weight, so my impression is that even tho she knows this she thinks she looks good. I gotta tell you, I have days like that too. I'm over 200 lbs, but I have days where I feel so good about myself I'd tell you I didn't look fat at all. Her confidence is great and not something you need to discuss with the doctor. And if it is denial about how she looks? That's also her business.

06-27-2011, 04:26 PM
I would definitely say to stay out of it! That is most likely a big can of worms you do not want to open.

06-27-2011, 04:27 PM
I agree with what everyone else is saying -- don't try to talk to her doctor.
If definitely would not help your friendship. Believe me, if you talked to her doctor and she found out, do you think she would throw her arms around your neck and say Thank You for agreeing I was fat!!!! We all know our own bodies - to lose weight the desire has to come from within herself. It's like cigarette smoking - people who give up cigarettes do so because they've made the decision. How many parents have stopped smoking because their child asked them to??

When the time is right, she'll make the decision.


06-27-2011, 04:28 PM
oops sorry

Autumn Night
06-27-2011, 04:32 PM
The group consensus is don't say anything. If I were her mother or sister, I would be willing to risk our relationship to express my deep concern for her health. We have been friend's for 20 years, and I don't want to lose that. My friend has been overweight for as long as I've know her, but I never cared what size she was. Now that she is 100 pounds overweight, I am scared. I don't want to lose her from either offending her or to a health related problem.

Thanks for the imput.

06-27-2011, 04:46 PM
I want to say, I understand your concern. You fear that because she doesn't see herself as overweight, she will continue doing nothing. The best thing you can do is have candid and honest discussions with your friend about how you feel and the items you and she do agree on.

1. Tell her how much you care about her and remind her how long you have been friends.
2. Tell her about your decision to be/eat healthier. The suggestions to request she go along due to you wanting company to make it nicer are great suggestions!
3. ANYTHING she says about KNOWING that she should lose weight is an opportunity you can take to discuss this with her. You definitely need to approach your friend as someone you care about and want to have around for a long time.

If someone I had been friends with for 20 years did the above for me, I would not be offended and it would not hinder our relationship.

I hate it that you have had so many seemingly negative replies. I do not understand this at all.


06-27-2011, 05:02 PM
I think your concern for your friend is admirable and your love for her is obvious. You are both lucky to have each other!

But, take this from someone who has been overweight for her whole life. She knows. She lives in that body every single day. She might currently have a good self image, and that's great for her - but on some level, she knows that she needs to lose. She just isn't ready.

For years I have dealt with this from my mother. It has never been about cheering me on because I was successful, smart, etc. It's always about that, "If only..." that ends so many of her sentences, and we both know that the sentence ends with "...you would lose weight."

No one can make another person want to lose - and if you say something, you will probably make her feel shamed and that could even trigger more eating depending on how she deals with things. She will get there on her own.

06-27-2011, 05:07 PM
I have a friend that has a very big food addiction. My brother and other friends tell me that i should be the one to say something to her. I said, first of all why would I get involved in that (she had a trainer and lost 90 lbs. for her wedding so clearly she knows she can lose). And the other night she said she could never diet, she loves food too much. She's very overweight but it's none of my business.

If i were you, and it sounds like you made the right decision, i wouldn't touch that one! If she's confident in her shape than all the better for her. I wish at 195 i could be happy, but i'm not, have the body image problems :(

06-27-2011, 05:40 PM
It is not your place to discuss her with her dr and if the dr discussed her with you I would find another dr imo.

06-27-2011, 06:05 PM
I think not talking to her Dr. is the right move. I completely agree with what LoriAS said. You guys have been friends for so long that I highly doubt she would be offended if you express concern directly to her. I've talked with a few of my long time friends about weightloss and we've been able to motivate and support each other with getting healthier.

06-27-2011, 06:31 PM
I probably wouldnt talk to the dr, mostly because he also has eyes and I would like to think he discusses important issues like weight when required.

I do think there are many ways you could continue the conversation with your friend.

In the actual moment she said it (or in similar future moments), you could ask your friend how she "feels" as opposed to looks. While we all want to think we "dont look so bad" to everyone else....asking how she feels allows the conversation to continue if she wants it to...maybe she wont.

But definitely let her know that YOU have struggled and that if she feels the same and wants a friend to discuss without judgment you are there for her.

06-27-2011, 06:34 PM
Just on a sidenote: You mentioned the DR hadn't told her she was obese; the DR has likely told her, it's just that no one want to broadcast to an audience that their DR think they need to lose weight. I certainly haven't told anyone that I was told to lose weight by my DR, because I'm too embarassed about it.

06-27-2011, 10:28 PM
Hmm meet her for lunch and bring your digital camera along. Take some pictures and post them on your facebook page and tag her in them! (assuming you have facebook, I think I'm the only person in the world who happily closed a FB acct).
But seriously PICTURES!! Umm I didn't feel too fat either, but what you see in pictures is often enough to end that "i'm not that big." fairy tale.

06-27-2011, 11:01 PM
If the subject of weight loss comes up again, I'd ask her to maybe ask her doctor if he has any advice on weight loss so that she could share it with you....sort of like you're asking for advice, but that way, it would open the door for the doctor to discuss weight loss with her. See what I mean? I've never ever had a doctor say anything to me about my weight, even though I was obese. Some doctors just don't bring it up for whatever reason.

06-28-2011, 12:39 AM
I'm going to echo what LoriAS said about the negative comments - it sounds like some people are really offended that you are even considering talking to the doctor when you are here to get advice from people about the right thing to do. I posted a thread that proved to be a bit controversial and got a lot of negative responses for merely asking for help. Luckily, there was a lot of good advice in other members' posts.

The best advice I got from someone here (whose name escapes me) was to lead by example. If she sees you losing, making healthier food choices, exercising, etc, she may be compelled to join in if she's ready to lose. If she does, that's great, and maybe it can be something you two do together. If she doesn't, just keep doing what you're doing and she might come around. A simple gesture like inviting her to a work out might go a long way, but I would try and make it more about an activity to do as friends than to do to lose weight. If a friend said to me "My runs are lonely, want to come next time?" I'd be way more like to go than if she asked "We really need to work out."

06-28-2011, 03:08 AM
I don't think it's negative to say that making her see how fat she is, isn't necessarily helpful (and probably isn't necessary at all).

If OP wants to talk to the woman or her doctor, she's free to do so, but it may backfire.

I think about how I would feel if someone said, "I know you acknowledged that you need to lose weight, but that's not enough for me. It really concerns me that you don't see yourself as being as fat as I see you, and it's so important to me that you see yourself as being as fat I see you, that I would like to talk to your doctor so that he can tell you just how fat you really are."

There is no nice way to say "you're a lot fatter than you think you are."

Mostly because I don't think it's true. The woman admitted she needs to lose weight, what else does she have to do to satisfy OP (and why does she need to do anything to satisfy OP).

I know OP's motives are probably in the right place, but they're misguided. Fat people know they're fat and that fat contributes to health problems. Smokers know that smoking is unhealthy.

OP's friend also knows that most people consider fat people unattractive, she doesn't need to hear her friend tell her so.

And feeling she looks good at her size, may give her the strength to do something about it. Dashing her delusion could actually prevent her from getting help.

We all lose weight (or choose not to) for very different, and very personal reasons. She may be trying her damnedst and failing (in which case, "hey you're a lot fatter than you think" isn't going to help). She may not be ready, or she may be ready and is already doing something about it. Either way I can't think of any way that "you look fatter than you think," would be helpful.

Would you call a smoker's doctor and say "make sure she knows that smoking is bad for her."

Over 40 years of dieting, I've been told exactly how fat I was by many people in my life. It didn't help. Let me repeat that IT DIDN'T HELP.

It only made me feel like crap. And when it came from someone who was losing weight, it felt like gloating and rubbing it in my face (and I would often do a bit of gloating myself when that person gained their weight back. And if I was losing when they were not, I wanted to rub THAT in their face too).

The idea of putting a friend's photos up on facebook without permission to SHOW her just how fat she is seems petty and cruel, and a low blow unworthy of the title friend. What is the real point, helping her or making her see herself in the same way OP does?

I've lost 90 lbs without fully grasping how large and ugly I look to most people, and I'll lose another 100 lbs the same way. Any friend who told me or my doctor behind my back that I don't realize how fat I am, I would ask them why it's important to them that I see myself the way that they do, and I'd wonder if they really were a friend or just wanted to be a "white knight." Someone I would thank for "openening my eyes," and why didn't they trust me to take care of myself. Did OP start losing weight because people told her just how fat she was? Or did she take responsibility for herself, because she's an adult (and if so, why doesn't her friend deserve the same respect).

The fact is, her eyes probably are open. If she knows she needs to lose weight, she's already where she needs to be. The "why" doesn't matter, and trying to make your why, her why is pointless.

Since the woman already acknowledged that she needs to lose weight, pointing out that her perception of her size is skewed doesn't do any good - especially since she probably already knows or she wouldn't have said "I need to lose weight."

You can't make this journey for anyone but yourself. You can talk about you, but let her take care of herself. She's probably more capable of doing so than you think.

I also think she's a big girl and can take care of herself, so if you disagree - have at it. Tell her anything you want to tell her - but be respectful enough to tell it to HER FACE not behind her back to anyone (that includes her doctor or facebook).

But if you wouldn't want your friend telling you that you might not be as smart, funny, creative, compassionate, attractive, etc. as you think you are, I wouldn't be pointing out her self-delusions either.

06-28-2011, 03:23 AM
My advice, which you can stack up with the rest of the lovely girls above, is to lead by example, compassion and love. She may not be at the same point in her journey as you are. If she sees you getting healthy and happier with your body image maybe it will motivate her to join you. Until then, I think you would be a better friend and person not to meddle in her business.

06-28-2011, 08:06 AM
I know that when you finally manage to lose weight yourself it's great and you feel evangelical about it and want to help out other people having the same problem, but as everyone else has said, the doctor can see perfectly well that she's overweight and interfering there won't help. (Meanwhile, I have the dilemma of whether or not to ring the GP of a relative who's just had a mini-stroke and tell him that I've seen serious memory problems in her for years and think she should be screened for dementia. Unlike being 100lb overweight, her memory problems aren't obvious unless you know her well, and she's always denied them.)

However, why not invite her over for a meal and make it something really great, delicious and filling but a good example of a healthy meal that can help with weight loss? Don't discuss the weight loss at all, but the good meal might help to be a subtle example of how to go about it, so that she can see that it's appealing rather than a miserable period of deprivation. And if not, well at least you've had a nice meal together.

If she does bring up the subject of weight loss, I'd suggest accepting her premise that she needs to lose weight but not that much, and talk to her on those terms. Actually, don't even mention how much much weight she should lose, and if she suggests a number, make supportive noises. Once she gets started, she'll probably revise that number as she goes along.

One of my support workers is a bit overweight and keeps on telling me how great I look and how she always has trouble because she crash diets and then puts the weight back on, so we are talking about it in a cautious sort of way and I am absolutely not telling her what to do. I suspect she may try to follow my example once she feels ready, and right now she's trying to think her way through how she could find a weight loss plan that would work for her and be effective long term.

06-28-2011, 08:33 AM
I know that when you finally manage to lose weight yourself it's great and you feel evangelical about it and want to help out other people having the same problem, but as everyone else has said, the doctor can see perfectly well that she's overweight and interfering there won't help. .

I think this is a great point and one that comes up very often on 3FC.

You'll often find that those who have been maintaining a long time do not, in general, go out of their way to help others 'find the way' in terms of weight loss. It's more often than not, those who have recently done it themselves. It's not unlike finding religion or a cool new movie - you just want everyone else to share in the 'joy' that you yourself have recently discovered. It's an excitement, or I suppose, a pride in 'finally' finding the solution.

However, it's YOUR solution, not someone else's. And sometimes in our joy, we forget that.

06-29-2011, 03:24 PM
I have two friends who are 100lbs overweight. I would never dream of contacting their doctors. I don't even talk to them about it. They know full well they are very overweight. They don't need me to point it out.

06-29-2011, 03:26 PM
I completely agree with kaplods.

06-29-2011, 07:34 PM
Hmm meet her for lunch and bring your digital camera along. Take some pictures and post them on your facebook page and tag her in them! (assuming you have facebook, I think I'm the only person in the world who happily closed a FB acct).
But seriously PICTURES!! Umm I didn't feel too fat either, but what you see in pictures is often enough to end that "i'm not that big." fairy tale.

What an odd way to treat someone you call a friend. :?:

To the OP, I wouldn't bring it up and I certainly wouldn't call her doctor. Even if she really does see herself smaller than she is (and I doubt it) her oh crap! moment will come in time. For your friendship it's probably best that it doesn't come so forcibly from you.

06-30-2011, 07:36 AM
Kaplods nailed it..i couldn't have said it better myself. the only thing that i really don't understand is what is wrong with seeing her self "smaller" than what you think she is. i think its beautiful that she holds her head up high and feels good. she knows she needs to lose weight and will do it on her own terms. im just wondering if you aren't doing a bit of projecting. like she feels good about her size whereas you don't and there maybe a tinge of jealousy in there. i dunno.. and the whole thing about going to the dr behind her back.. i think even u knew that dog wouldn't hunt. she is not a drug addict that needs rehab. i think you should really look at why it bothers you so much, cuz i really think its more than just "concern". just my two cents anyway.

06-30-2011, 09:19 AM
Seems like this is asked and answered and the OP has taken in the advice.