What Do You Want Your Friends To Tell You When You Announce, “I’m Fat!”?

You Tell Your Friend, “I’m Fat!” Now What?

If your goal is to get back to the “real you,” the person you were before you gained all this weight, you have to find people to support your way back to “you!” Whenever we weigh much more than we should and the scale and the mirror support are reality, it’s so easy to announce to everyone, ”I’m fat!” Sometimes we think it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell the world what’s really there so we don’t want our friends to think we’re living in denial. We know the truth. Having said that, however, would you rather your friend tell you, “Yes, you’re right, you need to lose weight!” or would you prefer that person to say, “No! You look great. I think you look fine.”?  Which would motivate you more?

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When a friend complains about her weight, what do you say? Do you go the supportive route and encourage her to start dieting? Or do you follow the unspoken rule of female friendship and tell her that she looks great just as she is?

New research suggests that the latter option is actually the most effective way to make your friend not only feel better, but potentially help her stop stressing out about her body and, in turn, lose weight.

“If we think that what’s best for our loved ones’ health is to lose weight, then of course we want to support that,” Christine Logel, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo and co-author of the study, told The Huffington Post. “But the reality is, if our loved ones were going to be able to lose weight, they would’ve already.”

If the growing body of research suggesting that diets don’t work is any indication, Logel has a point. Feeling bad about the size of their bodies doesn’t make people lose weight — it only puts them at greater risk of gaining. The stress from all of that weight preoccupation can cause people to lose control, and eat more or even binge eat. Social approval, on the other hand, has been shown to support physical health.

The results suggest that agreeing with a friend that she needs to lose weight or avoiding talking about her weight concerns aren’t helpful reactions when she says, “I’m so fat.” The only messages that actually had positive effects on participants’ well-being and BMI were weight-acceptance messages.

Offering reassurance, rather than pressure, can make a woman less stressed and cause her to lose weight without wasting mental real estate on body insecurities.

At the end of the day, if you care about the health and well-being of a friend who feels she needs to lose weight, accepting her and enjoying your time together is the way to go, whether or not she needs to lose weight for health reasons. Remember: Contributing to a friend’s weight preoccupation will likely only stress her out and set her up for diet failure.

If you’re concerned about your own weight, surround yourself with compassionate people who accept you the way you are. Unlike low self-esteem and crash diets, spending time with people who love you is good for your health and well-being.

Written by Rebecca Adams of The Huffington Post. Click here for the full article.

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