Recently, I ran into someone whom I haven’t seen in awhile. I was really surprised at how much weight she’d gained. This was a fairly young person. I really wanted to talk to her about her weight. I wanted to encourage her to lose weight before she wastes much of her adult life being obese.
What I said would have been from the perspective of someone who has been there and done that – the compassionate voice of experience, not the judgmental voice of someone who has never experienced obesity.
I didn’t do it, though. I just wasn’t sure that it would come across in a non-offensive way. I still remember the day that Brian talked to me about my weight from a health standpoint. I think I felt worse about that than if he’d just said that I was unattractive. To be concerned about my health meant, in my mind, that I must be really fat.
Of course, he’d never been in my shoes as an obese person. Would it have felt different if someone who had been obese and regained their health had been the one having the conversation with me?
I don’t know. I do remember talking to a friend who had lost 50 pounds when I was still obese. At the time, I didn’t care. Even though she’d had success, I just wasn’t in that place to care. I wasn’t ready to take the steps to improve my own health and I didn’t get there until nearly a year later.
It’s sometimes hard, being in this place of having come back from such an unhealthy place, to know how much I can or should say. I want to help others see their potential. I want to help other people not waste so many years of their lives like I feel that I did.
Is there a kind way to encourage someone to lose weight? Let’s talk about it.
Do or do not. There is no try.