Being a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing serious health problems. In saying that, despite all of the obvious benefits to being within a health weight rang, for a lot of people, managing their weight is extremely challenging. Weight management is often a complex puzzle of emotional factors, understanding of food and nutrition and deeply engrained habits and ways of viewing food. So how do you talk to a loved about their weight? It is a sensitive topic and you may feel that if you don't approach it in the 'right way' you risk damaging your relationship.

University, work and life stress influence weight. Parents often find it difficult to address their children’s weight, in fear that it may add to their stress. However, as a relative, you want what is best for your loved one and you want them to understand the consequences of not looking after their health. Obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, thus it is important that family members, like yourself, are committed to making changes and are seeking ways to encourage your loved one to adopt a healthy lifestyle. However, it is often difficult to find the correct way to address this without hurting your loved one’s feelings.

You naturally want to help a loved one when their weight is headed in a physically dangerous direction. Enmeshed with weight is the idea of self-worth. Therefore, it is often tricky to address this. In trying to broach the subject of weight with a family member, it is not uncommon for the person to express they are feeling judged. Consequently communication can breakdown when feelings of frustration or resentment arise. Sometimes raising concerns about a family member's weight requires the expertise and sensitivity of a psychologist.

It is imperative that as a family member, you do not judge, use shame, or frame the discussion around weight and food. As a family member, visiting a psychologist will allow you to gain insight as to what you can to support your loved one.

Our Psychologists may:

  • Discuss the ways in which you can assist your family member without hurting their feelings
  • Provide you with tips and strategies on how to keep the discussion focused on health, as opposed to weight
  • Help you understand the importance of encouraging your loved one to maintain a positive social support network
  • Ways in which you can encourage your family member to set goals and keep a food diary
  • Teach you about the benefits of adequate nutrition, which you can them teach your loved one
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