When you feel you have weight loss advice worth sharing, it can feel difficult to do anything but say your piece. After all, you feel like you have the answer to a problem. You might even have benefitted from this particular nugget of wisdom yourself. You’re speaking from personal experience. However, you might also have noticed that when you put the well-intentioned info out there, you’re met with irritation. How can you help?
Weight Loss Advice is a Sensitive Issue
Weight loss advice, like many other types of personal life recommendations, must be considered very carefully before it is shared. Not everyone has the same beliefs about diet, exercise, stress control, and even sleep needs. Even within a family, where members tend to eat the same things and in similar portion sizes, beliefs aren’t always identical. They might be similar, but not mirror images of each other.
By offering weight loss advice to a friend or even a family member, you may not realize that you are overstepping. You may be entering into an area where the person you are advising already feels vulnerable, ugly, low in confidence, or like a failure. Broadly speaking, our society is not kind to even the slightest deviation from the unattainable image of perfection. This makes the subject of body image – even when it comes to overall health – a touchy one for most people.
As a result, even weight loss advice meant with the kindest intentions can be received as criticism on several possible levels. This is particularly true when it is dispensed without having been asked for it.
It’s Natural to Want to Help
This helps to explain why your weight loss advice isn’t always well received. Frustration and irritation are a reflection of the hurt and possibly insult people feel when you tap into that sensitive, vulnerable subject without their having invited you in.
If this is the case, how can you help? You’ve got these great tips that you’ve experienced for yourself as highly valuable. All you want to do is share them with others so they can benefit from them too. You really aren’t intending to criticize. You want them to feel as victorious as you do over the challenge you’ve both faced.
This is a very normal feeling. Of course, you want to share your successes with friends and family. And of course, you want to help them to be successful too. The thing is that weight loss advice isn’t the same as giving great tips for how to choose the right shoes for an outfit. Yes, they both have to do with outward appearance, but body image is far more delicate than fashion for most people.
How to Share Weight Loss Advice Without Insulting Everyone and Alienating Yourself
Even when your desire to help comes from a good place, dishing out unsolicited weight loss advice is rarely appropriate or well received. If you want people to know how you were successful, share (without overdoing it) what has helped you and made you happy. Do so in the same way you’d share other parts of your life. Talk about it in the same way you’d talk about other challenges you’ve overcome.
Don’t advise. Don’t suggest that it would be appropriate for them too. Talk about what a difference it has made for you, that it has made you happy and proud of yourself. Don’t project your life on them but share it in your own context. If they are looking for weight loss advice and feel that strategy or tip would work for them too, and if they are ready to change, they will do so of their own accord. Leave the lectures alone. Just be you, share your progress, and be the supportive friend or family member they need you to be.