Q: I have a very lovely and very sweet co-worker who struggles with her weight, and talks to me about it. She wants to lose weight and is frustrated that her efforts to exercise aren't affecting the scale all that much.
It's easy to see why she's not having success. She eats large amounts of fast food on a regular basis. She also doesn't restrict her snacking between meals.
I am not judgmental, just practical, when I say that she clearly overeats, and that's just during the workday. What, if anything, can I say to her about it? I feel like her discussing her weight constantly at work opens the door for me to offer her feedback. I am slim and she seems to think that's mostly luck (it's not; I have to work really hard to keep my weight down), so I worry that she would reject anything I say as smug or impractical advice.
A: Don't say anything unless you are explicitly asked a question. And if and when you are asked a specific question, say that the only thing that has ever worked for you is healthy food and strict portion control (that's your message, right?). Meaning, don't comment on her choices, stick to your own.
If she presses further, or challenges what you say, or dismisses it with some reference to how easy things must be for you, then don't take the bait — go vague. "Weight control is such an individual thing."
Why? Because someone who complains about her weight while regularly eating fast food is nowhere near ready to be serious about weight loss. Anything you say about the mechanics of weight problems will get tangled into her emotional problem, and that won't serve either of you well.