General chatter - Worried about a friend :(
02-15-2012, 08:11 AM
I'm worried about a very close friend of mine.
She's been gaining weight for a while, and now she's about 400 lbs. I'm not worried about the number on the scale. I'm worried about how she's treated because of it and her emotional reactions to it. I'm worried because her parents berate her for her weight and eating habits while enabling those same habits and I see how she feels about this. I'm worried because she seems afraid to look for love outside of internet relationships because of her weight. I'm worried because of her reactions of longing when she sees pictures of herself when she was younger and weighed a lot less.
I don't know how to help her. I care for her very much, and I want to be there for her whatever route she wants to go. If she had great self-esteem I wouldn't be worried (unless she told me she had any health problems, which she hasn't). Frankly, before my diet my eating habits and activity level were about the same as hers; I've just been really lucky and have a faster metabolism.
She's the sweetest person I know.
I'm also worried about how I act towards her, in that I'm not sure whether to just ignore everything or to be like "let's be healthy together!" and possibly seem like I'm judging her >__<. I'm also worried that she might resent my weight loss regime, since I don't need to lose weight for health reasons or anything.
Any advice would be appreciated, thanks :(
02-15-2012, 08:17 AM
It's wonderful that she has you in her life. As you know we can't really change people; I think it's great that you want to be there for her. I guess if it were me, and I was that concerned, I would try to carve out some time to spend with her alone and do something healthy, like taking a walk (or stroll if that is what she is capable of doing - baby steps).
I have found that when you walk along side someone, both literally and figuratively, there is a level of communication that can happen that doesn't happen over a cup of coffee. I wouldn't necessarily offer advice, but you may find she opens a window for you.
I wish you the best in your concern for your friend.
02-15-2012, 09:04 AM
That's a very difficult situation. I completely understand your empathy but I do agree with Italiannie that we can't change people. All we can do is be there and gently nudge in the right direction.
02-15-2012, 09:22 AM
Your friend is lucky to have you in her life. I wish I knew the answer to this because I also have a friend that is over 400lbs and she does have health issues. I have tried talking to her about losing some with, asking if she has considered surgery, etc but she always has an excause, life is too stressful, insurance does not cover the surgery (it does) but as much as I want her to, I cannot make her work on the weight loss. I have let her know that I will help her in any way I can but I cannot do it for her.
Encourage her to get healthy, show her the way and hope she follows.
02-15-2012, 09:35 AM
I think being there has got to be a huge support for her in and of itself. Since you are concerned, maybe do like others suggest and plan healthy activities with her like going for a walk or having her over for dinner where you cook a healthy meal? Also, maybe you could have a heart to hear with her how she shouldn't let her parents words get to her. Clearly she is a wonderful enough human being regardless of her weight for you to care for her so remind her of that and tell her that her parents words are just that... words.
Does she live with her parents? If so maybe help her look for her own place or help her to get out on her own.
Personally, I'd probably approach the other issues head on (like the cruel words from her parents, her self esteem etc ) instead of the weight itself because my suspicion from the way you describe the situation is that her weight is more of a symptom of what is going on in her life rather than the cause. Maybe if she is able to overcome the difficulties with her parents and her self-esteem issues she'll eventually be able to deal with the weight.
02-15-2012, 09:38 AM
I can see you are worried and want to affirm that you are there for her should she want to talk or need you.
So.... call her up and say "Hey, I've been worried about you. I wanted to affirm that I am here if you want to talk or need me."
Then let her take the conversational ball if she wants to and is ready to talk about it. She might not be ready to talk. But letting her know you are there can't hurt. And hopefully when she IS ready she'll know she has your support.
02-15-2012, 01:09 PM
JoJo, I think simply by being healthy and making good choices, you will inspire her in some way or another. It's ultimately her choice but in being a good example, when she decides to lose weight, she'll have a great confidant and supporter in you! You sound like a very caring and sweet friend and she's lucky to have you!
02-15-2012, 01:19 PM
You guys are so sweet! ;__; *hugs you all* Seriously, I've never been on a forum with such caring people!
I'm lucky to have this girl as a friend, and I hope to spend more time with her and hopefully lift her spirits and maybe inspire her if I can do it without her feeling bad about herself.
02-15-2012, 02:06 PM
I wonder if you could randomly mention 3fc, would it work? Though I don't know how you could work it into a conversation without it being too obvious.
02-15-2012, 09:56 PM
That is a hard situation to be in. On one hand you don't want to upset her more, but on the other, I would say, let her know that you're concerned.
I honestly wish someone would have looked at me when I was at 275 and said, "Tess, you have a serious eating problem and we need to get you on the right track." Obviously you wouldn't want to put it like that, but let her know you're there for her. It could end up saving her life. I completely agree with Kitcherella, tell her you found this great website that you really love and think she may like to, or find a subtle way to show her.
You do have to be gentle, especially with talking about her parents, she could end up just getting defensive. I was a size 6/8 and my father told me I was fat and I drilled it into my head and then I actually gained all the weight. Parents can be very judgmental even when THEY are the enablers. I think the idea of helping her find a way to get out on her own would be great.
Try to boost her self-esteem. Compliment her on the little things, this could help, however little it may be. Everyone loves to feel good about themselves.
Be empathetic with her. She is very lucky to have such a wonderful friend in you!
Hope this helps. <3
02-16-2012, 01:49 AM
It's hard to find a good way to help someone who hasn't asked for it. I love recommending 3FC and TOPS to anyone who ever complains or comments about their own weight to me. And I mention it to people I don't even think want or need help to lose weight, because they might be able to pass on the recommendations to people in their lives who might ask that person for help. In that case, I just tell people how much I've gotten out of the group (and try not to spend too much time on the topic).
It is unfortunate that it's taboo to mention weight issues, but it is. So any attempt to do so, can seriously damage a friendship, and worse it doesn't usually do any good at all.
A support system really is key, where ever the person can find it, and the more people who can help the better, but ironically it's rarely the friends and family who can help. Strangers are better at it, frankly because there's so much less pressure and less fear of "letting people down."
Since you're not at your goal yet, you could try something like telling her that you'ld like to try out a TOPS group (or any local weight loss group that is in your area) but that you don't want to go alone, and ask if she'd be interested in going with her to check the meeting out. If you and she both like it, you could both go, and she would meet a lot more people to become potential allies and support. Even if you don't like it and don't want to keep going, she might.
But if your heart isn't in it for yourself, and you're just trying to manipulate her into doing it for her own good, I wouldn't recommend it. People tend to sense that type of manipulation and it usually backfires and feels like judgement rather than help.
I've been working at weight loss since I was 5 years old, and I always found strangers much more helpful than close friends and family members (because they have a "stake" in my success and if I fail, I feel like I'm failing not only myself but them as well. Even when I succeed, I often feel like I'm failing because I want to not just succeed, I want to impress and make my family members and friends proud. The pressure ends up making the process harder rather than easier).
"Support-groups for weight loss," are statistically much more effective than solo efforts - and yet participating in such groups is not nearly as socially acceptable as it should be. That's too bad. It sure would be nice if inviting someone to a weight loss meeting wasn't any more "weird" or "embarassing" than inviting someone to a gourmet gadget or tupperware party. It's sad and funny that we live in a culture in which inviting someone to a weight loss group would be seen as more offensive than inviting someone to a lingerie and sex toy party.
02-19-2012, 01:30 PM
You should suggest this site to her...when i found it and i found it by mistake- probably typing how grossly fat I am on the google search bar...- i felt inspired. I felt no longer alone. My family did...does the same thing. Would only cook greasy food, but make fat jokes, fat comments, anything even gave me fat nicknames. I was so down. I wish I had a friend that cared like you do. Talk to her, tell her u are on her side and want to see her succeed for herself so no one can put her down.
You are her friend and you care- that means the world...im sure that whatever you do, you will do it in a way that initiates change for her current situation.
02-19-2012, 01:57 PM
I'll add too that she's very lucky to have you as a friend.
Friends have said things to me, told me their weight loss stories, and how I needed to lose weight. I mostly felt self conscious and embarrassed in those moments, and it did not spur me on to get healthy or lose weight.
When I did start eating healthier and exercising, my bf encouraged and helped me (though sometimes we have conflicting ideas on how to get to the same goal!). Having someone there was I was ready really helped (like kaplods says, a support). Good luck!!!