1. Just exercise and diet.
Perhaps this is a point of contention—allow me to lay it to rest:
It is now 2013 and we all know that exercise and diets are effect ways to lose weight. No overweight person in the era of Google is overweight because they are ignorant of this effective weight loss method. It is entirely likely that the person you are talking to is having a hard time following this advice, and stating the path they are struggling to take as if you were dispensing Enlightenment itself on them is really obnoxious of you.
2. You’re not fat, you’re just healthy!
Probably telling someone they’re “just [adjective]” will never pass for a sincere compliment. Aim higher.
3. Have you tried Weight Watchers?
I always hear my pregnant friends complain that the minute they start showing they are inundated with unsolicited advice on pregnancy, giving birth and parenting. Everyone has struggles in life but most do not have to carry a physical sign of what they are struggling with.
If someone asks for your personal experience, or your advice, have at it! Until then, imagine if your biggest struggle in life was shown to everyone on a placard you wore at all times around your neck. Would you get sick of being offered unsolicited (and uninformed) advice?
I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life and I get enough offensive advice from the people I choose to tell (“Just relax!” “Have you tried yoga?” “You’re making too big of a deal out of little stuff!”) that I just can’t imagine how horrible it would be for people to know just by looking at me that they can tell me what their Great Aunt Sally does with her anxiety. Not helpful, not relevant.
4. I don’t like skinny people anyways!
No. This doesn’t work. Further objectifying people by their appearance doesn’t help an overweight person feel better about theirs. If this is your genuine preference, that’s fine, but the person you are talking to is smart enough to know the inverse is also true.
5. My friend’s friend does six small meals a day, you should try that!
Everyone is a nutritionist, huh?
If someone asks you your own weight loss method, and you’d like to share, great! But doling out third-fourth-fifth hand gossip about other people’s eating methods just adds to all the misinformation out there. Eating many small meals through the day isn’t universally effective, btw.
6. You’ll find a guy/girl who loves you just the way you are!
This statement implies that:
- Most people wouldn’t like your friend they way they are now
- If you truly love someone, you wouldn’t want them to improve
- They are not complete until they have a significant other
7. You don’t need to lose weight, you look great!
This is nice of you, and great to encourage your friend. I do think people can look beautiful at all sizes but it is up to your friend and his/her doctor to determine if they need to lose weight, not you.