LOSING weight is a hard task, hard enough without having to hear about it from seemingly well-intentioned people every step of the way. Nutritionist Patricia Fletcher said one of the most common offences is to tell a dieter, "You're fat" or "Good job, you need to lose weight".
"An aspect of coaching reveals that people tend to have the solution to their problems and it's their choice if they want to lose weight or not, so you should not put your expectations on them," Fletcher said.
Moreover, Fletcher said weight is a sensitive issue and people who wish to encourage dieters should do so with caution.
"You need to be mindful of how an individual feels about their weight and tread carefully, as what you say can send them into a different direction," she said.
Additionally, she said though persons may generally want to help, dieting is not a 'one size fits all' plan.
"People will say, 'Have you ever tried this diet, that diet', and you end up becoming a yo-yo dieter and what they fail to realise is everyone's metabolism is different," Fletcher said.
Don't say these things to people trying to lose weight:
1. 'Don't eat that'
Playing food police with individuals is controlling, and dieters will become annoyed and possibly frustrated. The desire to lose weight has to come from the person and not you.
2. 'Taste this'
When you urge others to eat what you know will counteract their weight loss goal, that's selfish as you're doing the individual a great disservice. Offer food without expressing your opinions. If the dieter refuses, leave it at that.
3. 'You look fine'
Their decision to lose weight is simply that --their decision. Being the judge and adjudicator of someone's body size is not your business. It's fine to admire someone and be concerned about his or her health, but never tell someone what to eat, especially if you are not their nutritionist.
4. 'You're not making progress'
Such criticisms, even if meant constructively, tend to be destructive. Try to help them find the issue and suggest ways they can meet their goals faster, such as inviting them to an evening walk or politely extending an invitation to an exercise group.
5. 'Don't become anorexic'
Dieting properly should not lead to an eating disorder or mental condition. Instead, help them by preparing healthy meals and giving them tips on how to prepare delicious meals that won't pack on the pounds.
Remember, helping and being supportive to a dieter is very important and according to Fletcher, even if it means walking alongside the individual or initiating a fun game, this will make the individual's journey fun and remove the focus from weight loss, though that's the whole point.