Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    How do we stop rude comments about weight?
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD posted:
    Why do people feel they have the right to make hurtful remarks about other people's size? And how do we stop them from doing this?

    Think about it. You are waiting in line to board a plane for example and there are two people ahead of you. One has a birthmark covering half her face and the other is obese. Who will be the recipient of stares and rude comments? Or three women meet who have not seen each other for several months., One woman has a disastrous hair cut and the other has gained 20 pounds. No one would say to the bad hair cut lady, " what happened to your head?" but it is likely that someone will ask the one who gained weight what happened to her.

    And people who have lost weight are not immune to invasive comments either. I have heard colleagues speculate as to when someone they work with will start gaining back the weight that has been lost especially if that individual has gained back weight in the past.

    Dealing with offensive remarks about one's body by making equally rude remarks back ( tell me who your hairdresser is so I won't go to her/him or have you seen a dentists about your bad breath? ) is hard if you have been brought up to be courteous and respectful . But sometimes it is necessary to tell someone, usually a relative, that you simply will not put up with comments about your weight or what you are eating .

    Here are some other suggestions that may work to halt or deflect disrespectful and discourteous comments:

    1. When starting a diet, tell those whom you see frequently that you are doing so and ask them to refrain from talking about your progress or its absence. And why should they comment about your weight loss? They would never say anything about someone whose bad haircut was growing out ( you can see by my references to haircuts that I have been in that position.)
    When you feel that you would like to talk about your success, then it is your choice to do so, not someone else's.

    2. Bring in a support team to buffer you from unwanted comments. Your family or friends can tell others that you do not want to hear any remarks, flattering or unwise about your size. This is useful at family gatherings.

    3. Work on yourself to strenthen your conviction about your self-worth. You are the same person, regardless of size .
    I have a relative by marriage who gained over 125 pounds because of the medication she was taking for an emotional disorder. She became a recluse because she thought people would be disgusted by her appearance.Yet she was the same kind, caring, altruistic person she was when she was thin. Don't let this happen to you.

    4 . All of us, regardless of our weight have to work together to put an end to the verbal abuse now being thrown at those who are obese. We must not be silent.
    RachaelK01 responded:
    You really have an interesting perspective. I am been pretty lucky not directly hearing a lot of the rude comments due to my obesity Behind my back, "I feel sorry for you" looks? Yeah that happens. Probably more than I am aware of. With that I kind of get a cocky attitude...I tell myself that I can lose weight and look awesome, but they will always be a...well, fill in the blank.

    When someone tells me I can't do something or can't keep the weight off. I really do view it as a challenge. I can't help it. Kind of a "I'll show you" thing. Immature? I guess. I do it anyway.

    In regard to real friends and family mentioning diet and weight, I have been viewing their lack of comments as lack of support. I mean no one is force feeding me brownies but I kind of like to hear "how is it going with the diet" or "do you have a game plan for keeping it off?" It's such a dramatic change that I still like to talk about it.I guess people not saying anything are really being polite. I never thought of it that way. :)
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to RachaelK01's response:
    Dear Rachael, You also have an interesting perspective on the absence of comments. Perhaps the answer is to tell those who you want to support you about your achievements. This is what a friend did who has lost over 140 pounds. He told us that he was losing weight and welcomed our support. But one problem with saying to someone" Wow you look great ; you lost a lot of weight" is that some of us think" So did I look like chopped liver when I was heavier?" I am kidding of course but you can see that even a compliment can indirectly by hurtful. If you mention to a friend or family that you are really excited about fitting into a smaller size or shopping for clothes or whatever, then you will get lots of compliments. They are waiting for you to give them the go-ahead to say nice things about you.
    larsstarscanary responded:
    Once when I lost 43 pounds, a hefty woman I know said, "You're really gaining weight". I was sick of her mean comments and actions (She had a photo of me when I was overweight and she showed it to everyone we knew in common)--This wasn't her first or her second nasty remark, so I let her have it, telling her, You're talking about yourself! I never had trouble with her again about my weight!
    fedupagain replied to larsstarscanary's response:
    I never heard any remark directly at me but when i came across people that i did not see for a while -I remember that horrified look in their eyes! Like-what in the hell happened to you?! Usually they were those who did not see me since i was size 6/8 untill i got to be 22/24. Comments were kinda polite like-oh dont worry its just a baby weight,etc. So i guess i was lucky,no one had really hurt my feelings
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to larsstarscanary's response:
    Dear Larsstarscanary, Good for you. You had both insight into her problem and the guts to confront her. What is so astonishing is that we would never go up to someone who has purple and green hair and body piercings in weird places and same something about his or her appearance. So why do people feel at liberty to remark on weight?If there were more people like you, then maybe the remarks will stop.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to fedupagain's response:
    Dear Fedupagain, The problem with ' the look' as I mentioned in my post is that there is really no response except to give it back. But I guess we have to allow for surprise when our appearance changes over many years. I know when I saw an old boyfriend at a school reunion, I must have given him' the look' because instead of his curly thick hair, he was completely bald. The real problem comes when people are afraid to be seen because they gained a great deal of weight. My cousin-in-law who had gained so much weight always apologized for it when she had to go to family events. She should not have felt she had to say anything; she was still the same talented, good-hearted person she had always been.
    fedupagain replied to Judith J Wurtman, PhD's response:
    I am so ashamed and sorry to say but unfortunatelly i do that too........I do have that horrified look in my eyes as well when i see someone so drasticly changed in any way-fat or skinny ,bald, breast implants you name it...could it be that it is just a human nature???
    larsstarscanary replied to Judith J Wurtman, PhD's response:
    I've seen so many unusual-looking people, some with severe birth defects here in NYC, so I've kind of trained myself not to respond to anyone out of the ordinary. I did some customer service/receptionist work years ago, and was prepared to look people in the eye, no matter what I might see.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to fedupagain's response:
    Der Fedupagain, Perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves when we stare at someone who looks different because it might be a protective response. Animals must have an innate sense of the familiar and unfamiliar to protect themselves from being eaten. But I find that if I am near enough to an individual to speak to him or her, say on a trolley ( I live in a city with lots of public transportation) I try to start a conversation , even it it is about how crowded it is. That way, the person immediately stops being an object and becomes an individual. And having spent decades doing weight loss counseling, I focus on the individual , not the weight.
    Judith J Wurtman, PhD replied to larsstarscanary's response:
    Dear Larstarscanary, That is good advice. Thank you.

    Helpful Tips

    Me too!
    I just signed up to! First thing I need to do I figure out how to get back here if I sign off! I look so forward to learning this wealth of ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    0 of 0 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    Everyday Fitness - Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

    Achieve a better mind-body balance and live a healthier life with tips from wellness expert Dr. Pamela Peeke...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.