Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Confronting The Obese About Their Weight

Now that my weight is no longer a prevailing "problem" in my life that needs to be dealt with because I have thankfully overcome my obesity as a result of livin' la vida low-carb, I think it is worthy of discussion to talk about how you confront the obese about their weight. If you have friends or family members who are overweight or obese that you love and care about very much, then you owe it to them to do everything you can to help them overcome this obstacle in their life.

Let me get one thing out of the way about what I mean by "confronting the obese." No, I don't mean walking up to that person and bluntly telling them, "You know, you're pretty fat and should go on a diet or something!" Besides lacking any tact or taste, that's just plain rude. And you're basically making a bad situation even worse by degrading that person to the point that they feel even worse than they already do about themselves while angering them to the point that they give up even trying to lose weight. Not good.

Can you tell I've experienced those feelings a time or two in my life?

As tempting as it is to just tell it to them straight up like that, there are much better ways to get the message across. And, no, nagging or whining is not one of them. My dear wife Christine used to shed tears over my weight problem. She would cry and cry until her eyes got all puffy telling me with a quivering voice, "But honey, I don't want you to die of a heart attack! Please lose some weight!" While I could see how hurt she was and I believe she was sincere in her reasons for wanting me to lose weight, I felt like I was being guilt-tripped into losing weight just to make her stop crying. Again, not good.

It wasn't until Christine stopped the "nagging" about my weight and just kept on loving me for who I was -- all 410 pounds of me! -- that I eventually determined on my own that weight loss is what I needed to do. It wasn't an overnight decision, but there were the small events that made me decide that it was time to lose the weight.

The comment from the kid.

The ripped pants.

The inability to breathe comfortably.

The three prescription drugs I was taking.

All of these things brought me to my breaking point and led me to begin the low-carb lifestyle via the Atkins diet beginning on January 1, 2004. The rest, they say, is history now -- 180 pounds lost in one year and kept off ever since, over 20 inches lost from my waist, a brand new wardrobe, breathing clearly and exercising daily, as well as medication-free! However, I would have NEVER made it to where I am today without the gentle show of love and support that I received when I was an obese man.


Don't try to be too overbearing about your "concern" over their "problem." Trust me, obese people are not stupid! An overweight or obese person KNOWS when you are trying to lecture them about their weight and their brain shuts you down before you even get started talking. They need someone to tell them they are fat. DUH! I can look in the mirror you idiot. Tell me something I DON'T know.

There are ways to get your message to these people without offending them or ticking them off. For example, today I was talking with this very nice lady who I see almost every single day and most people would say she has a fairly serious weight problem. I guesstimate that she weighs at least 150 pounds over her ideal weight and that's probably on the low side. Every single time I see her, my heart aches for what she is going through because I am reminded of what I felt like not that long ago. You don't know how tempting it has been to blurt something out to her about her weight, but I have held my tongue in check.

Today we were talking about this and that and I brought up my visit with the governor on Thursday. When she asked what that was all about, that opened the door for me to talk about my weight loss success and how the governor is honoring people who are exemplifying healthy living choices across the state. I didn't push anything on her, never mentioned that I wrote a book about my weight loss (yet!), nary a discussion further about it. I just left it at that for her to ponder further if she so desires.

But, but, but...shouldn't you have pursued that further when you had the opportunity? Nope! Incrementally, we'll make a mention here and there on my weight loss and just allow her to approach me about the subject if she desires to talk about it more.

Being fat is embarassing enough and the last thing you want to do is open yourself up for more ridicule and scorn. But perhaps knowing that there is someone who has not only been where you are and has been able to overcome it gives me a little bit of an advantage over most people when it comes to confronting the obese about their weight.

That's undoubtedly why this lady felt like she could come to me after reading about my story in this article. Being available with a listening ear is an invaluable asset to helping the obese when they are ready to do something about their weight. Having a shoulder to cry on and someone they can trust and look to for support when they make the effort is YOUR job as the loved one of these precious individuals.

It all starts with building those relationships with people and, more than anything, acknowledging that they are human by befriending them and showing them that you consider them your equal. Unfortunately, whether we will admit it or not, the overweight and obese are looked down upon by our society as a whole. There must be something WRONG with you if you allow yourself to get so fat! Don't you even care enough about yourself to control your weight?! The blatant discrimination that fat people must endure sickens me to no end and I'm not even obese anymore!

If only it was as easy as snapping your fingers and making the weight disappear. Ha! Don't we wish! In reality, it takes some effort on the part of the person who needs to lose weight to make it happen for themselves. Although it isn't easy, it can and will happen if you commit to it 100%, find the support of people who will be there for you, implement a sound strategy that includes a healthy diet (livin' la vida low-carb is one healthy approach!) and exercise, and then keep doing that lifestyle change forever.

Don't make it rocket science people! Weight loss is not THAT complex, but it does take time. They didn't build Rome in a day and I didn't lose 180 pounds in a week. Slow, methodical, day-by-day living and you'll get there. If you lose one pound per week for the next two years, that's OVER 100 pounds lost FOREVER! It doesn't look so hard when you think of it that way now, does it? Can you just lose one measly pound per week, which amounts to a teeny tiny 4 pounds per month? OF COURSE YOU CAN! Now, GO DO IT!

So how do you approach the obese about their weight? In a nutshell, you befriend them, you love them, you prove you can be trusted, you share openly and honestly without casting judgment, and then you wait for them to come back to you. When that happens, will you be ready to help? You better be because their life may literally depend on it!


Blogger C. said...

My grandmother is always talking about me being overweight. I guess she thinks she's motivating me to do something about it, but she's just making me feel worse about myself. I understand.

5/18/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

For Christmas 2003 my mom got together a bunch of stuff she'd got from Weight Watchers for free and sent it in Christmas wrapping. I was disgusted that she gave me a present that she 1) didn't pay anything for, and 2) was basically telling me on Christmas Day that "You're fat and need to lose weight." Gee, thanks Mom! Like I didn't know that.

Nothing could motivate me before I was ready and I wasn't ready then. I was ready when I was weighed the following February and freaked out that I was over 200. I signed up with Curves that very day. Once I was ready nothing could stop me!

(Six weeks later after getting disappointing results with just exercise, I started Atkins.)

5/18/2006 12:36 AM  
Blogger diet4free said...

I just came across your blog about weight loss and wanted to say how fascinating your information is. I have my own weight loss blog –, about my experiences. Know a good site when I see one. Keep up the good work.

5/18/2006 7:23 AM  
Blogger flashbna said...

As someone who needs to lose a great deal of weight and I have made the lifestyle change to livin' la vida lo carb don't need someone stating the obvious to you, I know I need to lose weight. What is need is your love and support especially on the really bad days. I make myself climb those stairs to the gym every day at lunch even when I don’t want to, and when I do, I pat myself on the back. You are right, about having to be the one to make the decision to do the HARD work of losing weight. Thankfully I am with a man who loves me as I am and is supportive in what I do and that makes for a huge difference in my success.
Thanks for having such a great blog. I start my day every day reading what you write and I know I can do this

5/18/2006 8:21 AM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


One of your best posts ever!


5/19/2006 1:53 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

Very good advice about the subject. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful husband that loves me no matter what I weigh. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes 3 years ago. I lost 85 pounds eating low carb.....I have kept 66 pounds off over the last 2 years. After getting over a knee injury I'm back on track now with low carb lifestyle and exercise. I want to lose 74 more pounds. From experience.....nagging, rude remarks, giving a person diet recipes or foods does not help. Keep up the great articles, Jimmy.

5/19/2006 11:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home