We’ve heard it a thousand times, tacked at the end of unsolicited diet advice, justifying rude comments, and sending us into a spiral of self-hate. There sure are a lot of people who want to help their Fat friend lose weight, but it’s shocking how little their advice actually works. “I care about you!” you say, “I just want you to be healthy!” These phrases have the best of intentions and yield the worst of results.
What if I were to tell you there is a foolproof way you can help your Fat friend lose weight without being the bad guy? We hear you; you care about our wellbeing! Don’t you hate having to backpedal from an awkward conversation because your Fat friend gets upset when you “care” your way into helping them lose weight? Well, buckle up because the secret to helping your Fat friend lose weight is:
Before you get mad because you think I’m telling you that Fat people are too hopeless to help, try again and let the following statements seep into your subconscious:
It is not your responsibility to help people lose weight.
Some people have made it their responsibility to help their Fat friends lose weight and, usually, it is because they’ve decided to inherit the “shame” of being overweight. It’s a White Knight syndrome. You want to help your friend from their Fat, abominable life and show them how much better their life could be. You know what I call that? Smug. Once again, we go back to the ideology that Fat people are miserable because they’re Fat. Here’s the shocker: they’re miserable because they’re treated like sh*t. Because people keep telling them that their Fat bodies are not good enough. Because you keep trying to White Knight your way into changing them. Stop trying to help your Fat friend lose weight because it’s not your responsibility. If you have a problem with their Fatness, maybe you shouldn’t be friends.
Stop giving unsolicited advice.
There is a LOT of information on how to lose weight. We have an entire Diet Culture industry that bombards us with information at all times. By no means do I want to belittle your thoughts and opinions but, chances are, your Fat friend has heard it before. You’re not saying anything revolutionary. You’re just repeating the same information they already know and having a one-sided conversation, painting yourself as a helpful Know-It-All while your subject tries to think of ways to leave the conversation. Funny, I thought that was the definition of mansplaining. Oh, wait – that’s exactly what you’re doing: mansplaining weight loss advice. Why don’t you try giving advice when explicitly asked? Not only will you have a more engaging conversation, but you’ll also garner respect.
If they want to lose weight, they need to decide for themselves.
You may be absolutely appalled to find that some Fat people don’t want to lose weight – that is their decision. If your Fat friend does want to lose weight – that is also their decision. It is not up to you to decide how they shoould live their life. Does this mean you shouldn’t be supportive? No, you should absolutely be supportive of their goals – that’s what friends do. Your role in helping your Fat friend lose weight is to be a good friend. Listen to them, care for them, and support them. Do all the sh*t a good friend does.
Instead of trying to help your Fat friend lose weight, just try to be a better friend. Each Fat person has their own boundaries for how they want their body to be talked about. If you’re close enough with someone to intimately ask how comfortable they are talking about their weight, then you should do so. If you’re not close enough, let them live their life and be as Fat as they want to be. It’s none of your f*cking business. If you can’t let your Fat friend live their damn life, maybe you shouldn’t have a Fat friend.
And for some bonus content…
6 Commandments to be a Good Friend to a Fat Person:
I. Let them decide for themselves
II. Let them learn for themselves
III. Do not offer advice unless explicitly asked
IV. Be supportive
V. Be understanding
VI. Do not pressure them