Words Are Weapons

*The title of this post is taken from the Eminem/D12 song of the same name*

There is a lot to admire when someone takes it upon themselves to improve.

It takes admitting that you’re in a place where things need to be better than they are currently.

More often than not, it takes the help, advice and support of others to see those improvements take place.

But when it comes to weight loss and physique improvements, there is a high degree of sensitivity that many forget about.

For instance, it’s safe to say that most people who need/want to lose weight know for a fact that it would behoove them to do so.

In other words, the likelihood that an overweight individual knows they are overweight is pretty good (and they sure as hell don’t need you reminding them.)

Taken a step further, there are many people in a position of influence who forget themselves. They want what’s best for their overweight child/spouse/loved one and don’t know an effective way to express it.

Here’s my first tip: Don’t.

Allow me to share some examples.

“Wow, you really gained some weight.” (the mother of one of my clients said this)

“You were doing so good, I hate to see you putting the weight back on.” (a friend of one of my clients said this)

“Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat.” (the mother of another client said this)

Client: “How does this outfit look on me?” Parent: “You have a really long way to go.”

Do some of these things sound appalling to you?

What about the things clients say to themselves?

“Look how you have let yourself go.”

“You’ll never fit into those clothes again.”

“Why are you even trying to lose weight? You know you’ll just screw it up.”

When you compound the effects of negative self-talk with what others may say about you, you’ve bred an environment that has no hope for success.

It’s a rare person who can hear: “Wow, you really gained some weight.” from their mother who can say:

“Wow, I guess I have. Maybe I should do something about that. Thanks Mom! That’s exactly what I needed to hear to turn my life around!”

For those of you readers in supporting roles, while you may have good intentions, reminding someone of things like their weight isn’t showing your ability to be helpful or supportive.

It just makes you an asshole.

Taking inspiration from a podcast I did with Kelly Coffey of Strong Coffey Personal Training (which will be released this week), if you want to see change in others, be the role model for change.

If you want others to eat well, then be the one who models that behavior. Not from a holier than thou perspective but from a place of health. No amount of shame or finger wagging needs to be involved.

If you think others need to move more, ask if they want to go on a walk and enjoy the weather. Invite them on a hike. Do things that spark teamwork and participation with low barriers to entry.

Just remember that everyone on a weight loss journey has triggers.

I recently sat down with a client who said that congratulating him on the 10lbs he just lost is the surest way to get him to regain the weight. It’s not the 10lbs he’s lost that motivates him. It’s the other 50-60lbs he still has left to go.

Your words (fairly or not) are weapons.

Use them wisely.

*Special thanks to our clients who gave their personal stories to contribute to this article*