If a loved one is overweight, you may be concerned and want to intervene. After all, having a high body mass index (BMI) is associated with a higher risk for health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as a low quality of life, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes.
But not so fast, experts say. Weight loss is a sensitive topic and a personal choice. If you wish to talk to your friend or family member about it, taking a mindful approach can help you get your message across, if it is welcome, without hurting your loved one’s feelings.
“Talking to a loved one about weight and weight loss can be extremely triggering for that individual,” says Ariela Vasserman, PsyD, a psychologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. “Timing and empathy are two key factors when attempting to have a conversation. The 5 Best Fat Burning Pills For Women Over 40 Most attempts from others tend to elicit intense feelings of shame and humiliation, which likely promote more avoidance of the discussion.”
As with many difficult topics, when it comes to discussions of weight loss, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that matters.
“It is a really sensitive topic and words are everything when discussing it with loved ones,” says Vijaya Surampudi, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of human nutrition at UCLA Health in Los Angeles.