Unhelpful Advice: What Not to Say to a Friend Who’s Trying to Lose Weight

Dieting is hard enough without having to wade your way through “helpful” advice from others. If you’ve ever tried to take off a few pounds then you know that everyone has an opinion on what you should do or tales of what worked for them.

Of course, while we all hate unsolicited advice, we’re all positive that our advice is different. After all, if it worked for us, why wouldn’t someone want to hear about it? I’m not a fan of unsolicited advice in any capacity, but if you must offer up your opinion, at least steer clear of comments like these:

  • “Losing weight is easy; all you have to do is…” Stop right there. If losing weight was that easy, it wouldn’t be an industry that takes in billions of dollars every single year. Besides, what’s simple for you may not work for others.
  • Stop sign fever“You just need to learn to accept yourself.” Being comfortable in your own skin is important, but a healthy self-esteem won’t reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that being just 10 pounds overweight can have a detrimental effect on your health.
  • “You just need to stop eating carbs.” High-protein and low-carbohydrate diets can have an unhealthy effect on the body. Instead of shilling the latest diet craze, it’s better to make lifestyle changes that will have long-term consequences.
  • “You’re not going to eat that, are you?” No, I frequently prepare food and then place it on a plate so I can throw it in the garbage can. It’s surprising how many people say this to dieters who are trying to expand their palate.
  • “Just one won’t hurt.” Some people seem to get pleasure by sabotaging the plans of others. They could be jealous or just seeking out a way to maintain the status quo. However, no matter what the reason, there’s no excuse for trying to derail someone’s diet.
  • “Are you pregnant?” Unless you’re actually in the middle of witnessing the birth, it’s best to not ask any woman this question. There’s no benefit in knowing and so much that can go wrong if the answer is “no.”

While we all hate these questions, they’re probably not going to go away anytime soon. If you’re trying to drop some weight, you’re eventually going to run into someone who just has to share their diet tips with you. When it happens, the best way to react is by smiling graciously and thanking them for their concern. After all, in most cases advice givers really do want to be helpful.


Video credit, Photo credit: Stop sign fever by Wootpeanuts. Used under a Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.