Weight comments can throw a wrench in your day. And if you've ever struggled with your weight, you probably have family/friends that make comments. And, well, when we sum it up, these comments usually come in 5 flavors…
- The Direct Commenter: “Wow, you look like you have put on a few.”
- The Passive-Aggressive Commenter: “Are you sure you want to eat that?”
- The I-Have-Your-Best-Interest-At-Heart Commenter: “Hunny, I am just worried about your health.”
- The Trying-To-Be-Supportive Commenter: “What can I do to help you with your weight?”
- The Non-Verbal Commenter: *not commenting, but watching EVERYTHING you eat*
I'll never forget when I used to get a comment about my weight every single time I went home to see family. And to be expected, as every time I went home, I was a significantly different weight. It was hard because it wasn’t always negative comments. And honestly, the positive comments about my weight made things worse. But I knew that even though I secretly loved getting these positive comments about my weight, they were still harmful. So I had to set a boundary with family members. A boundary that it does not matter if I have gained or lost weight; my body is no longer a topic of discussion.
I’m so glad I did because not only did it take the anxiety away – thinking of whether I would get a positive or negative comment about my weight, it also provided space for us to have different conversations. And I learned that telling my family not to comment on my weight didn’t upset them or create all this confrontation I believed it would.
It is also important to recognize that despite their type of commenter, they typically comment out of pure love and support – or, well, thinking it is pure love and support. Therefore, they will never know if you do not tell them the effects these comments have on you! It is so tough – I get it! Here is the formula I use to set boundaries with family members: Define, Communicate, Stand, and React.
01. Define your need
You must know exactly what you need so that you can be specific. Often, when we do not know what we need, it causes us to set unclear boundaries, which are just as ineffective as not setting boundaries.
Your need: Your family members to stop commenting on your weight
02. Communicate your boundary
Once you define your boundary, you must communicate these boundaries to the person. This is probably the hardest part about setting a boundary. It feels confrontational, but it does not have to be. Remind yourself that setting a boundary does not make you a bad person, a mean person, or a needy person. Setting a boundary is taking care of yourself so that others no longer treat you in a way you do not want to be treated.
This can sound like:
- “I appreciate your support, but I am not seeking weight loss advice right now.”
- “I hear your concern about your weight, but I would appreciate it if you kept that to yourself.”
- “Regardless of if it is positive or negative, I need you to stop commenting on my weight.”
03. Stand Your ground
Act confident and do not budge. Remind yourself that this family member is likely making these comments to try to “help you.” They might think what they know is best. It is your responsibility to teach them otherwise. Remember why this boundary is important and necessary for your health and happiness.
04. React if boundaries are broken with consequences
What happens if this person breaks the boundary? They must know.
This can sound like:
- “If you continue to comment about my weight, this conversation will end.”
- “I will no longer answer your phone calls if you continue to comment about my weight.”
- “If you continue to comment about my weight, I will no longer spend time with you.”
Remember, it is not your responsibility to make others feel good about your weight. All that matters is YOU feeling good about your weight.