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Obesity And Criticism

You answered:
"My weight causes me problems with other people."
"Someone close to me criticizes me about my weight."

Here's what you should know:

hostile man pointing finger

Criticism may be very damaging to you

  • There is no other way to say it -- no one has a right to criticize you about your weight. It is especially sad when it comes from somebody close to you.
  • It's hard to handle obesity and criticism makes it worse. Who wouldn't want to be one of those naturally lean people you see? Anyone would.
  • Let's face it -- there are people who have it easier, MUCH easier, in the weight department than you do.
  • It's much harder for you to be successful with weight loss than it is for some people. That's the truth.

Nice...or not so nice?

OK. Now, let's look at this a little bit. First, dealing with obesity and criticism. There are two kinds of people that criticize you. Some people really want to help you. And some people don't.

So what about the ones that really love you and really want to help you? At least their heart is in the right place, and that counts for something.

But nagging you or pointing our your bad parts is not helpful. It can be very upsetting.

And the last thing that you need when you are trying to accomplish something -- like losing weight -- is being upset.

Your emotions

There is a very close connection between your emotions and your motivation to lose weight.

What to do about these people that want to help you, and who try to help by criticizing? Well, maybe you could get them to see that what you need is encouragement.

Losing weight is not easy; emotional upset caused by criticism makes it even more difficult. Some encouragement could make it much easier for you.

What's the difference between criticism and encouragement? Well, it would be kind of like this:

Criticism Encouragement
You've really put on a lot of weight I see you are doing your best
That dress makes you look fat I like your outfit
You'd be really pretty if you lost some weight You have a nice smile
Are you going to eat that? Would you like some of these veggies?
You're lazy Come on and take a walk with me
You know if you'd just go on a diet you could lose some of that weight I know it's hard for you, but I'll help anyway I can
I'm embarrassed to be seen with you I love you

Making bad better

It might take some time for them to come around. But if you love them, and if they are a close part of your life, it's probably worth the effort. Be kind, be gentle, but get them to understand that you want and need their help.

Now, when they offer their help, you need to take it gracefully. OK? Can you do that? This is what I mean:

When they say, "Let's take a walk," what should you do? You should say, "Good idea," and get your shoes on and go for a walk. See, you've got to reward them for trying to help you.

And when they say, "Let's have this little snack with some of this chicken breast and green peppers" what should you say?

You should say, "Thanks, that's very sweet of you." And then you have your chicken breast and green peppers.

What you need to do

So it's a two step process. One, try to get them to be more positive. And two, when they are more positive you accept it.

And -- now look at this -- when you are trying to get them to encourage you, you have to be nice about it. It might be hard if you are already upset, but it's important.

You have to be nice about it. Otherwise you are just doing what they're doing. If you respond in anger you will just make things worse. Do you see that?

You also have to be nice to yourself. It's OK to like yourself, you know. So stop being mean to yourself.

It might take some work to. And you might need to practice. But work on it and you can get better at it. Be nice.

Sad to say, but everyone is not nice

Now, how about the second kind of people -- the ones that are not trying to help you. The ones that are only trying to tear you down.

There are such people, you know. They criticize you to make you feel weak and small and feel like a loser. They might say they are just trying to help. But they're not really.

Well, look. Do they say they're just trying to help? You can give them a chance to come around. Talk to them. Try to get them to encourage you.

It may take going over it a few times. But if they really love you, and if they are not just one of these hard core critics, they should get better.

If you are doing your part -- meaning being patient and loving and kind to them -- they should come around and start being more encouraging.

But what if they never come around? What if they're just mean? What if they just continue to criticize and nag and belittle you? Then what are you going to do?

Out with the bad

Well, definitely, absolutely and for sure if they are not really important in your life -- see, if they're not your sister or wife or husband or mother -- if they keep making you feel bad about yourself, you just get them out of your life.

You don't need people in your life who tear you down. If you do you'll never succeed. You'll never have an effective weight loss plan.

Don't have anything to do with people like that. Don't call. Don't write. Just take them off your list. You'll feel better.

Don't let them drag you down

But what if they are your sister or mother or someone very close? Then how do you keep them from tearing you down?

Keep any contact with them to a minimum. Don't put yourself in a position to be a target. Do they nag you on the telephone? Then don't call so much.

When you do call, keep the time short. And stay on positive subjects.

And when the conversation gets negative you just politely end off. As soon as you hear, "Are you still putting on weight?" you say, "I'm sorry, I have to go now. Goodbye."

Don't let yourself be a target. Don't be a punching bag.

Make these positive changes

But what if you live with them. There they are in the same house with you all the time. Then what?

Can you get your own place? Somewhere they won't be able to get to you so easily? That would make your life better. Life is sometimes difficult with obesity and criticism just makes it worse.

But what if you can't move out. It's your wife. Or your husband. Then what?

If you have to live with them -- then do what you can to minimize how harmful they are.

Do things to help yourself

One thing you can do is to find other people that are more positive, that are more encouraging and spend more time with them. There are people like that. You just have to find them.

And you should find activities that lead you to your goal and do those things. Here's what I mean:

Worst case is you sitting around in front of the TV night after night eating corn chips and banana splits listening you someone tell you how fat you are. That's a recipe for disaster.

Best case is you, at the first sound of criticism, saying "I'll be working in the garden" or "I'll be taking a walk" or "I'll be at the gym" or something, anything rather than sit and be abused. Life can be hard with obesity and criticism makes it harder.

This does two things. It gets you away from something that is tearing you down. And it gets you closer to your goal of being healthier, happier and stronger.

Work to make things better

So what should you do now? You should read this over again. You might need to print it out and keep it somewhere you can refer to it.

If you really have someone pressuring you in your life it may be very hard for you to think clearly. It can get quite bad. It's difficult controlling obesity and criticism makes it worse.

But you can improve things. Work on this. Practice your part in it.

Encourage others to give you the encouragement that you need. Find positive people in your life. Find positive activities in your life. Make a goal and stick with it.

And if you do you will have a much easier time getting fit and healthy and happy about yourself and about the way you look.

These questions will guide you to personalized help with your weight. Click here to return to the beginning of the questions to start over.

Where to start:

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