How to Help an Obese Person
Compassion, Not Advice
By Freeman Michaels
When I was obese I saw myself in the mirror – I knew what was going on. I didn’t need people reminding me by putting diet books or nutrition articles in front of me – it wasn’t helpful. In fact, it really upset me. I felt fat and helpless – and I didn’t enjoy being constantly reminded of it. My wife was truly brilliant in the way that she approached the issue. Her empathy and compassion were what helped me through my fears and self-doubt to be able to truly address my weight. Now I have written a book, based on my own experience and process of releasing weight, called Weight Release: A Liberating Journey. My work is really helping people. But I am still often asked how a non-overweight person can broach this subject with family and friends who struggle with their weight. My short answer is “I don’t exactly know”. Obviously this is a very trick subject, so each person and situation is quite different. However, here are five things to keep in mind when guiding an overweight person towards material that might help them:
It is hard to approach this topic with a friend or family member without offending them. This is a very complicated subject. Much of what lies beneath weight issues relates to "self-judgment", so any attempt to help can be perceived as criticism. However, when someone is really ready for this material they tend to welcome it - if they are not interested or resistant than they will usually dodge the conversation. Always allow people the dignity of their own life journey, including the mistakes and challenges that each of us is bond to face. If you lead with love and compassion you will be offering a gift, even if the other person doesn’t recognize it.