They may be the ones on a diet, but what you say matters. In fact, people who had supportive family, friends, and coworkers were more likely to be successful in losing weight over a two-year period compared to those who had more of a toxic social circle, according to a 2014 study in the journal Obesity. “Weight is so tied to our sense of self-worth, so when people make comments about it, they can do a lot of damage,” Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness, told Fox News. Here are six times your lips should stay sealed:
“Good for you! You really need to lose weight.”
Excuse me, what? There’s a difference between being supportive and passive aggressive. This one falls square into the latter territory. “Anyone trying to lose weight knows they need to and don’t need to be reminded by anyone else,” Keri Gans, M.S., R.D.N., author of "The Small Change Diet," told Fox News.
“Oh. That’s all you’ve lost?”
Truth: Weight loss is incredibly hard. Hearing your disappointment will only make someone feel frustrated, Gans said. “No matter how many pounds a person has lost — even one pound — it’s a success.” Her tip: even if you can’t see it, congratulate them when they tell you about their efforts to get healthy.
“Just try xyz — it worked for me/my sister/my coworker/my second cousin’s wife …”
You may just be trying to help, but even the best intentions can backfire. Rumsey suggested staying away from doling out weight loss advice. You don’t know what they’ve tried, or what may or may not work for their personality and lifestyle. And if there’s one thing that’s apparent about weight loss, it’s that it’s not a one-size-fits-all journey.
“You’re on a diet, remember?”
“All food decisions are theirs alone,” Gans said. If your partner is the one trying to lose weight, it may be difficult not to get involved, but stop being the food police. “The best thing you can do for your partner is be supportive,” she pointed out. And that might mean simply keeping desserts, chips or other junk food out of the house. You might not be on a diet, but letting them know that you’re in this together can go a long way toward increasing their chances of success.
“I bet you’re going to order the salad.”
Never comment on someone’s food — especially if they’re a coworker and you’re going to lunch. “Otherwise, you may end up inadvertently hurting their feelings, or make them feel like you are always paying attention to what they are eating or not eating,” Rumsey said.
“It’s OK — have a cookie.”
There’s a term for this — and it’s called being a food pusher. Whether it’s because their healthy eating commitment makes you feel insecure or you just want them to enjoy a cookie like you do, this undermines their efforts. In the aforementioned Obesity study, people who got these types of non-supportive comments were more likely to be heavier at the end of the study. So (kindly) back off, please.