We've all got one. That family member, friend, or work colleague. Sometimes it's a complete stranger. The thing they all have in common?
They are worried about you.
I mean they act like they are concerned...
“I’m just concerned about your health.”
“I’m body-positive and all that, but I don’t believe in glorifying obesity by showing pictures of fat women in a bikini.”
“I think fat people deserve respect, but I think they’d find it easier if they were thin.”
“Studies have shown that obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death, so I can’t support that lifestyle.”
I see this all the time, especially on social media and it can be like a slap in the face.
No real thought about the impact of the words said and so often the insulting statement is quickly followed by unsolicited advice.
Now there can be good reasons for people trying to help, particularly if you are airing a problem. People can have a genuine desire to help; to want to make you feel better, their motives can be be selfless.
The problem is, despite you just wanting some validation or someone to listen, some people (it's a human thing) may assume you are looking to them for answers. Enter the empaths who might be feeling pressure (applied purely by themselves) to supply those answers.
Some people are only too happy and excited to help! This is a common scenario when it comes to the early days of a new weight loss plan. You know what I mean – the ‘it’s so easy, I've lost a stone in a week and have soooooo much energy!’ or ‘the shakes taste amazing, you won’t want to eat anything else!’ It’s basically a bloody miracle so everyone apparently needs to try it too!
But what about the less helpful stuff?
When someone has a theory. That they like to shove in your face.
And boy do they like to be right.
This could come from someone who is just plain needy. People who offer unsolicited advice may have a lot of knowledge in a certain area that pertains to your situation and they feel the need to share it with you in order to feel valued, powerful, and important.
Then there are the drama queens and the judgers. Those that love a good argument, just for the sake of it. They get a feeling of personal power from telling others how wrong they are or they simply don't like what you’ve said, so they will go on and on and on and on, telling you about the papers they've read (ones that are way better than any you’ve ever read), trying to convince you to change your opinion.
And then there are the people really struggling themselves and their only coping mechanism is to project all their 'issues' onto you.
This type of advice has everything to do with the advice-giver than with you, but it can sometimes leave you feeling insulted, upset or angry. Especially if it gets personal.
So what options have you got here to deal with this?
You take control: you don’t have to justify any of your actions and you can give yourself unconditional permission to leave the conversation, leave the page or group, unfollow, unfriend or block said advice-giver.
If you feel you want to, you can provide a suitable retort:
I don’t believe in making judgments about other people’s bodies, bye!
I definitely know my body best, thanks.
[I read these on a blog about fat phobia] -
Hold on, my thighs and I are going to clap for you as we walk away from your stunning display of fat phobia!
Maybe you should stop embarrassing yourself by exposing how ignorant you are.
And it IS likely they will deny this and try continue to try to help you see their way of thinking because (meant in the nicest possible way), they will be completely ignorant and may never have heard of fat phobia.
Perhaps you have some tried and tested ways that work for you, in which case, please feel free to share!
If you've ever been at the receiving end of fat phobia, you might find a previous blog I've written helpful. It gives 26 ways to deal with diet talk so check that out too!
p.s. you can watch me and my wonderful friend Dale Darley putting the World to rights over this topic too: