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  #1   ^
Old Fri, Jul-24-15, 12:38
MPrufrock MPrufrock is offline
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Posts: 100
 
Plan: Low carb, low gi
Stats: 210/152/154 Female 68.5 inches
BF:35%/22%/22%
Progress: 104%
Location: FL
Default A note about "I'm concerned about your health"

I'm writing this because all of us here have been subjected to it and have perhaps unintentionally said this to someone. Hopefully everyone knows not to tell someone who is heavier that they should lose weight or not eat something. This is especially pertinent if the person one is addressing is a stranger or simply an acquaintance. However, I want to talk about some situations where this issue may be different but the approach ought to be the same.

1) You have been low-carbing and feel great. You have lost weight or even hit your goal. If someone asks you about it, you may want to share your success. However, please don't give advice to someone who doesn't ask. I understand the urge to give the advice, when I see people at grocery stores buying sugar and "healthy" low fat foods. But please, leave it alone. All you'll achieve is guilt for them and probably have them dislike you. People need to come to terms with their choices on their own and will seek out information when needed.


2) Someone you know has lost a lot of weight. Don't tell them, "you are so skinny" or especially "you're losing too much weight". You have no idea what is going on with their bodies.

I have been getting a lot of this second type of concern from friends who have known me at a heavier weight. One even suggested he was worried I had cancer (!). Meanwhile I'm at an extremely healthy weight for my height, exercise 4x a week and doctors are ecstatic with my bloodwork. But every time someone says I'm too thin, I wonder if I'm slipping back into an eating disorder and begin to scrutinize my body again.

Ironically, when I was 18 and at this weight or lower, people fat shamed me mercilessly because I was bigger than everyone else around me. So as you can see, aesthetics are relevant and widely varied.

All of us know healthy choices are better than carelessness, though willpower and intention differs across the board. It is concerning when a family member is making themselves unwell with their diet--in this case, think of a productive and sensitive way to approach them about it. But shame and "concern" doesn't do much to help people you don't know well, it only embarrasses and hurts them.

Food and health is personal. Just take care of your own and that's really enough for now.
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, Jul-24-15, 23:03
Whited Whited is offline
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Plan: Very Low Carb
Stats: 312/235/185 Male 66 inches
BF:
Progress: 61%
Location: Missouri
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This is true -- A few years ago I ran into an old acquaintance several times, seeing him where we both worked (a college). I had known him back in the 80s and I had gained a lot of weight while he is one of those genetically skinny guys so no weight gain. Anyway I was in an antique mall and the owner and I both knew this guy and I was mentioning him. The owner (another really skinny guy) said (of my aquaintance) "he's really concerned about your health." That bothered me as I knew the translation "Wow you're really fat." Also I thought it was rude telling the antique mall guy that. I answered that I was puzzled becuase I felt fine. But I knew why he said it and I didn't appreciate it. Plus both the aquaintance and the antique mall owner both smoke so maybe I had better have worried about their health.

The point I'm making is it can be real rude just to go up to someone and say that. It's different if the subject comes up in a conversation and the person is curous about healthy eating plans.

Last edited by Whited : Fri, Jul-24-15 at 23:10.
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  #3   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 07:33
inflammabl's Avatar
inflammabl inflammabl is offline
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Posts: 1,825
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 296/220/205 Male 71 inches
BF:25%?
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Location: Upstate South Carolina
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Wisdom.

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  #4   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 08:40
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Just Jo Just Jo is offline
A'72 Lifer Hard Core
Posts: 13,525
 
Plan: A'72 Induction Lifer + IF
Stats: 265/114/130 Female 5'4"
BF:Not so much now!
Progress: 112%
Location: South Central New Mexico
Default

Wow what a wonderful post! Thanks for that MPrufrock!

At my age, I've had the "must be ill = cancer" thing because I lost so much weight in a relatively short period of time.

It wasn't quite as noticeable if you saw me day in and day out, but at school concert in 2014 some of the parents were concerned. One of my friends, also a parent, assured them that there was NOTHING wrong with me that I was losing weight on purpose!

(You can see the difference in my gallery photo: March 13, 2013 compared to the same concert in 2014!)
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  #5   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 09:47
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
Stats: 285/191/195 Female 5 feet 5 inches
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Progress: 104%
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Yes, all very true. And it can get complicated. I am losing and want to lose, but I am also having a hard time getting enough food and I'm losing a little too quickly for my taste due to problems I am having with my food allergies becoming more sensitive. I have to eat everything fresh right now - no prepared food like sausage because of the spices. So, yes, it's fine for me to be losing but I'm also struggling medically in a real way. Not looking forward to comments at all, though none have happened yet even though I've lost about 30 pounds since the start of the year.

Nobody should ever mention another person's weight ever.
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  #6   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 10:14
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leemack leemack is offline
NEVER GIVING UP!
Posts: 5,030
 
Plan: no sugar/grains LCHF IF
Stats: 478/354/200 Female 5' 9"
BF:excessive!!
Progress: 45%
Location: UK
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I had a horrible time but going the other way, gaining weight. When I was in nursing school we all went off to our ward rotations for 9 months where we didn't see most of the other students, and then we were back in class for a final four weeks. The ward rotation with awful shifts, sleep deprivation, stress, severe stomach bug contracted just prior to the ward rotation, added to pcos, insulin resistance and severe reactive hypoglycemia, meant in 9 months I put on a huge amount of weight - not sure exactly how much but around 140 lbs (no I hadn't been stuffing my face, and I had been really active).

To say the other students were shocked when we returned to classes is an understatement, and I got constant stares, comments, and yes, people pulling me aside and telling me how worried they were about my health. Also the 'do you realise you've put on weight' (of course not, I just thought my clothes had shrunk and all reflective surfaces had turned into fun house mirrors /sarcasm).

People are really weird about weight loss and gain, and often speak to the person like somehow they might be unaware that they had lost or gained weight. If someone looks like a skeleton and never eats in front of anyone, or has other signs of a possibly life threatening eating disorder, then by all means an intervention may be appropriate, but otherwise it helps no one to point out the blindingly obvious.

Also I wonder if, with weight loss, the person saying 'I'm concerned for your health' or 'you've lost enough now', is actually them meaning 'I'm uncomfortable with the changes you're making, it makes me feel worse about myself'.
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  #7   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 10:48
MPrufrock MPrufrock is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 100
 
Plan: Low carb, low gi
Stats: 210/152/154 Female 68.5 inches
BF:35%/22%/22%
Progress: 104%
Location: FL
Default

Thank you for your support. I have been thinking about these ideas for a long time now and I wanted to a forum of like minded persons to share it with.

I wanted to add that the concern about "health" itself is very often a misrepresentation. No one knows about someone's health by simply looking at them. Otherwise studying for nearly a decade for medical degrees would be redundant.

Maybe it's time to admit that when you're saying you're concerned about someone's "health" you're more likely just making an aesthetic evaluation--that someone doesn't look the way you would like them to look. The need to tell people about how they look is more about you than them. I am certainly guilty of this and hope to remain self-aware and circumspect.

Last edited by MPrufrock : Sat, Jul-25-15 at 10:57.
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  #8   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 10:54
MPrufrock MPrufrock is offline
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Posts: 100
 
Plan: Low carb, low gi
Stats: 210/152/154 Female 68.5 inches
BF:35%/22%/22%
Progress: 104%
Location: FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whited
But I knew why he said it and I didn't appreciate it. Plus both the aquaintance and the antique mall owner both smoke so maybe I had better have worried about their health.


True. Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're healthy. That's a rather harmful assumption.
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  #9   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 10:55
MPrufrock MPrufrock is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 100
 
Plan: Low carb, low gi
Stats: 210/152/154 Female 68.5 inches
BF:35%/22%/22%
Progress: 104%
Location: FL
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jo
Wow what a wonderful post! Thanks for that MPrufrock!

At my age, I've had the "must be ill = cancer" thing because I lost so much weight in a relatively short period of time.

It wasn't quite as noticeable if you saw me day in and day out, but at school concert in 2014 some of the parents were concerned. One of my friends, also a parent, assured them that there was NOTHING wrong with me that I was losing weight on purpose!

(You can see the difference in my gallery photo: March 13, 2013 compared to the same concert in 2014!)


But in any case, when you ask someone if they have cancer there's a distinct possibility that someone will say yes. What will you do then? Why start a conversation that can easily have a horrible outcome?
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  #10   ^
Old Sat, Jul-25-15, 11:08
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
Stats: 285/191/195 Female 5 feet 5 inches
BF:
Progress: 104%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPrufrock

Maybe it's time to admit that when you're saying you're concerned about someone's "health" you're more likely just making an aesthetic evaluation--that someone doesn't look the way you would like them to look. The need to tell people about how they look is more about you than them. I am certainly guilty of this and hope to remain self-aware and circumspect.


Yes, exactly this. My husband is thin and can't get his AIC down from being borderline abnormal and has all kinds of crappy health stuff going on. But I'm sure everyone a lot of people think I'm the unhealthy one.
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, Apr-27-16, 16:52
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Mousesmom Mousesmom is offline
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Plan: Atkins
Stats: 156/146.8/139 Female 69 inches
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Progress: 54%
Location: Victoria, BC
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I've had a number of people "concerned about my health" over time.... An old family friend who I hadn't seen in years since getting to a normal size asked if I was "sick". I assured her at the time that the weight loss was on purpose and I was finally at a normal weight, not obese any more as she had always known me (since I was 12). Her husband told me later that she was worried I had cancer!

I've been called "eating disordered" by my (all fat and sick) family. And I've been told I'm "too vain" and that I was "attention seeking" by my jealous now-ex who thought other guys were looking at me too much .

Fact is, I'd rather have people comment that they like the colour I am wearing or the style or colour of my hair than comment on my weight at all . If you want to know what's different about me, comment that I am smiling more or something simple like that..... and if I feel like it, I will tell you how much better I feel and why.+
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, Apr-27-16, 17:08
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HappyLC HappyLC is offline
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Plan: Atkins
Stats: 212/164.4/135 Female 66.75
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Progress: 62%
Location: Long Island, NY
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As far as I'm concerned, you can't win in this situation.

Five years ago I had cancer. I was reading everything I could find about it online. One of the things I read was by a woman who had lost a lot of weight because she had terminal cancer. She said several people told her how great she looked. When they asked what she was doing, she replied, "I'm dying of cancer."

Around that time I went to a party with some friends I hadn't seen in a few months. One of them appeared to be thinner than the last time I saw her. I honestly didn't know what to do. Tell her she looked good? Ask her what she'd been doing? I know it sounds stupid, and I'm pretty sure that if she had cancer I would know, but nonetheless I was stymied. I said nothing.

A few days later she called me, very hurt that she had worked hard to lose weight and "nobody said anything!"
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  #13   ^
Old Wed, Apr-27-16, 20:40
MickiSue MickiSue is offline
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Posts: 8,006
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 189/148.6/145 Female 5' 5"
BF:36%/28%/25%
Progress: 92%
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Default

I agree that the best thing to do is to compliment something about them that is NOT weight related.

A few years ago, I helped out in a friend's nutrition club, working behind the counter. I made a point of smiling at everyone as they entered, and, as I got to know them better, I would look for something to compliment.

This was in our WAYYYY northern suburbs, more like the rural parts of MN than the Twin Cities that they are actually part of. And people who give compliments are under suspicion, because they MUST have a nefarious intent.

But, after a while, they knew that I meant it, and it was fun, whether a member was overweight and losing, overweight and gaining, or had lost down to goal, to be able to get a smile by complimenting their hair, or their sexy lipstick or that blouse that looked so nice with their eyes. (Different types of compliments for the guys, of course!)

Laura, I'll bet if you told your friend that her outfit looked cute on her, she'd have happily talked about her weight loss, and assumed you were complimenting her on her weight!
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, Apr-27-16, 21:47
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GreekRibs GreekRibs is offline
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Posts: 2,637
 
Plan: LCHF
Stats: 188/139/138 Female 5'9"
BF:
Progress: 98%
Location: Saskatchewan
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I have only one word for anyone who tells me I'm too skinny (when I've lost weight). Jealousy.

If I can be polite enough to NEVER mention someone's weight, if they're clearly overweight, I expect the same in return about my body size. It's such a basic social skill that I just smile at people if they say goofy things. Because we both know what's really going on.
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  #15   ^
Old Thu, Apr-28-16, 12:52
HappyLC's Avatar
HappyLC HappyLC is offline
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Posts: 1,786
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 212/164.4/135 Female 66.75
BF:
Progress: 62%
Location: Long Island, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickiSue
Laura, I'll bet if you told your friend that her outfit looked cute on her, she'd have happily talked about her weight loss, and assumed you were complimenting her on her weight!


You're so right. Where were you when I needed you? I will try to remember from now on to compliment people sincerely on something other than body size. Thanks for a good idea!
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