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Have a question for all of you, How do you approach someone, nicely, they need to loose weight? Or even better, How could someone approach you that you have gained weight? This could possibly be related or even unrelated to WLS surgery.

I am asking this because, apparently, most if us are upset that someone mentions to us that we or a person have gained weight. Could it possibly be that we might care about this person, and do not want them to have the health issues which go along with weight gain. So we try to say something, yet when we say something they are hurt and eat to sooth themselves?

I've noticed that many of us do not like to hear that we have gained weight. So how does one approach us, without us being offended?

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Yikes. I really feel like unless you are a doctor or somehow being asked, you should not insert yourself. We get excited about the weight loss and some of us have a need or desire to evangelize about it, but we have to get here on our own steam.

I have two examples of help that worked with me. A friend approached me last year with a Nike Fuel band last year before I even considered surgery. She was changing to a Jawbone, and offered me the band, talking about how much fun and addictive it was to her to watch her steps every day. Then, I also have a friend who was sleeved in June of last year, who started talking to me about her plans in August of 2012 and suggested that I look into it too. I was even a little offended with her; surely I wasn't as bad off as she was, right? But I was, and she knew it. Amazing now that I sometimes thought my weight gain was invisible to others. These are two very close friends and the subject was approached very carefully.

On one hand, people say rude stuff all the time to overweight and obese people; I'm sure each of us has a list in our heads of the things that have been said to us over the years. But unless you would be in the right position to stage an intervention for drugs or alcohol, another person's weight is not something I'd comment on.

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The only person who could say something like that to me without being offensive is my doctor.

Trust me, I've lived my life somewhere between the overweight and super morbidly obese range . . . I am not an idiot, was painfully aware of my weight, and didn't need "helpful" friends or family pointing it out to me.

Now if someone had invited me out to go hiking for the day, to go for a walk, for lunch at a new vegan cafe or something . . . I would have liked that a lot.

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I agree with the above comments. If someone has gained weight trust me they know. My nutritionist and I had a conversation about weight discussions. If there is one thing heavy people know - it is the fact that they are heavy. They (we) know they would feel better if they did something about it. They (we) know how they look, how others see them - they already know.

Once they (we) have decided to make a change - then step in and support them. If they bring it up and want to talk - support them. Outside of that - I wouldn't bring it up. I know all too well how it feels and until I was ready it wasn't time.

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Couldn't have said it any better than the above poster. No matter your good intentions, no one who is fat wants to be reminded of this. Believe me, they already know.

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They know where they are with their weight, just as I did. I always dreaded going to the dr because he would tell me I really needed to get some of the weight off and I just wanted to say really?? I hadn't noticed I have trouble fitting in a chair! It's such a personal struggle and issue. I think people can tell you over and over but until you are ready nothing will happen. Just be supportive and encouraging. If they bring it up then go for it

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I wouldn't say anything to them. Love them the way they are. When ever I've gained weight it was quite obvious to me that I had gained weight. I don't need someone telling me I'm getting fatter. That seems quite rude.

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my father died very young from being overweight and having high blood pressure and heart disease. if it was someone in my life i loved very much and would be devastated of they died, i would have a serious heart to heart with them . i did this with a friend who my kids love very much and consider their auntie. they would be destroyed if she dropped dead.

she is now in the pipeline for wls (this is her 3rd try. the first 2 times she just couldnt do it). i give her as much support as possible, and confront her gently when i see her drifting off course (like drinking with dinner last night).

as a former chemical dependency counselor, i believe that all information is acceptable depending on how its presented. but a lot of times, we just dont know how to present it.

even though i struggled with my weight my whole life since age 10, it wasnt a serious problem until 1.) i was getting married to a very unhealthy man that i should have been running away from as fast as possible. (i lost the weight after i left him) and 2.) after my son was born and my whole life changed and i was seriously depressed. so for me, its always been a symptom of something really bad going on in my life. in neither of these cases did anyone come to me and tell me they were concerned about me. if they had, it might have made a difference in my life. i dont know. i think it would have depended on what they said. if they focused on my weight, i might not have been open. if they focused on their concern for my wellbeing, i might have been more receptive. having suggestions for something concrete i could do would have been helpful too. not just concern.

for me, food and weight has always been a symptom. a very visible symptom. but i havent always had someone in my life that recognized that. and i havent always had anyone in my life that cared enough to risk my possible upset. and for me, thats probably a piece of the larger problem with me and food.

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Moonlitestarbrite, I definitely see where you're coming from, and clearly your actions come from a place of deep concern. But my response to you and to the OP, Shazam, is that this is just none of your business, even if you mean well.

With a very limited number of exceptions (i.e., minor children who need their parents' guidance and who should be encouraged by all means available to avoid a lifetime of obesity; close intimates who have expressed a willingness to confront their weight problem and asked for your help), it is no one's place to confront, intervene on or otherwise evangalize fat people, and just because we've lost weight post-WLS doesn't give us a license to insinuate ourselves into other people's struggles. This is true even if they'd be better off making the same choice we did.

For one thing, these "interventions" almost never benefit the person being targeted; they tend to be more about the person initiating the conversation's feelings (which have apparently been hurt by the target's weight gain), rather than offering concrete help. Are you prepared to go to this person's house every week and help him/her cook healthful foods? Are you offering him/her a gym membership? Even if you are, obesity is a terrible disease with all sorts of underpinnings, and I think you'd be better off dealing with your feelings of disgust and alarm over other people's weight choices. Not all fat people are going to die this month or this year or this decade, and people can choose to be fat in this life.

Also, I can tell you from my experience that conversations about my weight were deeply, deeply embarrassing to me for most of the time I was morbidly obese. This was a combination of 1.) yes I know I've gained weight, thank you and 2.) my feelings of total helplessness over how to change. These things were solved only when I made the conscious adult decision to change my life and pursue WLS, and the four or five "interventions" that various people in my life tried before then probably delayed this decision by an entire year or two. These discussions were never effective, served only to plunge me deeper into denial, and were among the most offensive and traumatic experiences of my life.

I would look at this situation as a chance to continue healing by repairing your own interpersonal boundaries, which are askew if another person's weight gain is having this kind of impact on you.

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I understand where you are coming from, but I ask you this question..if you saw someone coughing their lungs out light up a cigarette would you ask them not to smoke or to consider stopping or cutting down?

Why is that when it comes to “certain” behaviors we feel entitled to say something and do something but when it comes to other behaviors that are just as harmful we feel we can’t or shouldn’t say anything?

I am obese, I am still losing weight. I would not like to hear someone say “hey Lisa looks like you are putting on a bit of weight” or for someone to ask me “what are you eating these days, cause I see a bit of gain not so much loss”

Sure those types of blunt comments never feel good, but what makes it better when the Dr. tells you? Do they have some super power that your friend or your sister doesn’t have?

We “know” your right we do know it and no one knows more than that person does, but you know what sometimes we need that reality check to snap us out of whatever blinder we have or blocking our view that moment. Sometimes it’s our very own scale that snaps us out of it and ‘nough said there, but sometimes it’s my husband who will say are you really hungry for another bite of…. And sometimes it’s me who has to stop my 21 year old step son from making a third Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich because it’s like watching the asthma patient light up a cigarette. I can’t and I won’t just sit there and watch you continue to hurt yourself.

If it’s a matter of life and death and you feel compelled to help someone by telling them about WLS then you should do it. You could be saving a life; you could be saving knees, hips, diabetic conditions, sleep apnea, heart attacks and strokes.

You would help someone who was having a heart attack and give them mouth to mouth wouldn’t you? So why wouldn’t you open your mouth and help guide them in the direction of health before it comes to that?

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Lisacaron, I think the comparisons in your post fail. Gaining weight is not the same as needing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, for instance; the first is a personal choice (and that person's responsibility, not yours), while the latter is a medical emergency.

I don't know where this tendency to equate fatness with imminent death comes from, but I view it as pretty harmful... the vast majority of fat people won't die in this decade or the next (hence my point that it's NOT a medical emergency, though lord knows being fat can feel that way), though their lives will be diminished by their disease. But your conviction that other people shouldn't make your mistakes (and your urgent, self-righteous need to share it with them) it about you, not them. The best thing to do in these situations is look inside yourself and ask what kinds of emotions you're projecting onto the other person.

Most likely it's displaced regret that you didn't have surgery sooner, or that someone didn't "save" you by having one of these conversations much earlier in your life. But part of recovering from obesity is learning some personal humility and how to set appropriate interpersonal boundaries, and these threads always make me think that the desire to "intervene" has so much more to do with the posters' need for everyone to be onboard with their new lifestyle than with actual concern for the person gaining weight. I can see how the two emotions could become conflated, but I'm encouraging you to dig deep within yourself here.

Lisacaron, I'd like to answer two of your points specifically: I allow my doctor to talk with me about these things because I've entrusted her with my health, and because it would be unprofessional for her not to note the damage I'm doing to my body by being obese. I know going into an office visit that I've given implicit consent for thse types of issues to be broached, and I'm prepared for it. But I accept this kind of imposition from no one else unless I solicit it because it's none of their business and because there's such a narrow margin of error for these conversations if they're going to be done right. What makes you think that you'll fall within that margin, as opposed to alienating the person further?

To answer a specific comparison you made, about a coughing person putting a cigarette to his lips, no I wouldn't say something to that individual. Smoking is a disgusting, detestable habit, and if it were up to me it would be banned both in public and in private homes. My father is a heavy smoker, and at 80 it's hard for him to finish a sentence without coughing. But years of me haranguing him, begging him, bribing him to quit, flushing his cigarettes down the toilet, etc. have done nothing for his habit, and they've only damaged our relationship. Also, it's not like he doesn't know he should quit; what good would it do to point his out? I now approach him with a renewed sense of appropriate boundaries, and I understand that he has the personal right to make poor choices, even when I'm making better ones. I can love the things I love about him while also understanding that his smoking isn't about me, and it can't effect me unless I let it. I can, however, ask that he not smoke in my home or car (which I pay for), and enjoy the look of irritation that comes across his face every time he can't light up in my kitchen.

No one owes you healthy choices, and no one deserves to have your judgment subsituted for theirs.

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Moonlitestarbrite, I definitely see where you're coming from, and clearly your actions come from a place of deep concern. But my response to you and to the OP, Shazam, is that this is just none of your business, even if you mean well.

actually my friend told me the other night that my "steadfast support" of her in her journey has meant the world to her and she isn't sure she would have made it as far as she has without it. her last 2 attempts at wls were secret with no support and she feels like that is why she failed.

substitute food with alcohol or drugs. would we all be singing the same song? why is it good to express concern, intervene and not enable when it's alcohol or drugs, but not food? one is surely as deadly as the other. maybe more. we know when an addict or alcoholic doesn't get outside help, they will eventually die. the same is true for morbid obesity. knowing this, i wonder why so many of us say we should never ever say anything to anyone about it, ever.

is our resistance to outside concern/intervention about privacy? or a desire to continue in our addiction to food? do any of us, deep down, truly want to suffer alone anymore? unflinching self honestly is usually required for true recovery.

Edited by moonlitestarbrite

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I’m sorry but I beg to disagree with you here. Being obese while it is not happening in a heartbeat is very much a medical emergency and the cause of death for many. Equate it with slow moving cancer if that makes you feel any better about the severity if not the emergency of the obesity epidemic..

I am not the judge or the jury; it is a personal choice to be overweight? Really? Think about self righteousness and judgmental thinking here and how that reflects upon you. You have not changed your tune on your judgment of the disgusting nature of smokers, (which I am not, nor have I ever been just FYI) and that could apply to the overweight in your statement as well. If it was my “personal” choice I would choose to not be overweight ever or at all.

I don't have regret about not having my surgery sooner, or not having someone "save" me because no one could do that for me. It was a choice I made for myself.

I can tell you that doctors have told me time and time again to lose weight though none have helped facilitate that until I sought out WLS. Saying and helping a person to reach that goal is vastly different. I don’t sign up for a Dr. to be allowed to tell me I’m fat any more then I would sign up for the neighborhood kids to make fun of me for being fat. (not that they have or do) They have an obligation as Dr.’s to tell me how my weight is affecting my health end of story. As a parent and a person I have the same obligations to tell someone their health is in danger.

Now mind you I don’t walk around shouting "hey fatty put the cheese burger down slowly and step away". Or post the hotline to the local fat camp or WLS center on the bumper of my car. I am still overweight myself, and in kind I think that when a person is struggling it is easier to hear from and talk to someone like me who understands where they are and where they are coming from then it is to hear it from the 5 foot 6 120 pound Dr. that sees me for 30 minutes as needed or yearly for annual checkups. (Who by the way is actually a close personal friend, but I still would rather hear from you who has walked a mile in a fat ladies shoes then I want to hear it from her.)

I pose the questions because I don’t think we need to be silent even if we choose to be silent. I am not ashamed of my WLS or my weight. I had to lose weight, I couldn’t any other way try though I might I was doing more harm than good by going down and up and down and up to my body.

I am not insecure or self righteous I do think when someone needs a loving nudge in the right direction it says more about the person who wouldn’t give it then it does about the person who is willing to put themselves out there and speak up.

It is true we can’t “save” anyone they have to want to do that for themselves.

Everyone has to make choices, and we can choose to sit in silence and thinking that it’s all their problem not ours or we can speak up when opportunity avails itself, share experience, offer insight and education where perhaps none may have existed before.

Judge not lest ye be judged be the saying…. @Skinny_Krissy and I personally found your post very judgmental of me.

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I personally wouldn't say anything to anyone that has a weight issue that they have a weight issue unless they approached me first. I just had someone approach me the other day about my surgery and is interested in getting lap band or WLS of some sort. I explained what I have experienced and explained we all are different and our doctors are all different as well so that would be the only time I would say anything, if someone came up to me about it. I so know that folks looked/look at me being overweight (not as bad now-but still have a way to go), but I know it hurt when folks would say things behind my back or looked at me wrong. so I have to agree with the folks on here...leave it up to them to make their decisions on their own. you might just be an example to them and they might approach you!!!

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Have a question for all of you, How do you approach someone, nicely, they need to loose weight?

Easy. You don't. ;)

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