How to Manage Weight Comments From Family Members

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Whether you are recovering from an eating disorder or not, you can likely recall the times that a family member, relative, or even friend has mentioned a comment that had something to do about your weight. In some instances, these comments may be harmful, playful, or intended as well-meaning.

However, in other situations, these types of comments about weight can be triggering, especially for someone who may be in recovery from an eating disorder or perhaps susceptible to having an eating disorder.

When these comments come your way unexpectedly, what are ways that you can appropriately cope with the potential trigger that might also be involved?

Tips and Suggestions

  1. Ignore: In some situations, you may find it easiest to block and/or attempt to ignore a comment that was expressed about your weight. This can be easier said than done, as these types of comments often have a lingering power that stays in your head. Trying to transition your mind and thoughts immediately to something else can be a helpful means of negating what may have just been said.
  2. Deflect: This can be defined as turning away either an internal or external emotional trigger in order to prevent full recognition or awareness of associated material, such as a hurtful comment about your weight, body shape and/or size [1]. Examples of this might include changing the subject quickly or turning back the point of the conversation to the individual with whom you are speaking.
  3. Assertiveness: Being assertive means being able to speak up for yourself and your needs in a relationship, including being able to express opinions and needs in a respectful yet firm manner. In this type of situation about weight comments, this might be the most ideal way for handling something that is damaging and potentially recurring. By being able to respectfully assert your needs and feelings, saying expressions like, “I enjoy conversing with you and would appreciate if we could keep our conversation focused on things not related to my weight or appearance.”  Assertiveness in eating disorder recovery is important to establish and may require some work with your counselor or therapist to feel confident in this area. By asserting your needs and feelings in a situation like this, you are able to voice your concerns rather than internalize your feelings or strive to compensatory mechanisms to cope with how you feel.

Family supportYou will likely find that comments about your weight can stir and/or trigger a variety of emotions, some that want to send you crawling back to the comfort of your eating disorder as a means of coping with what you are feeling.

Avoid the tendencies to repress your emotions, try to rationalize how you are feeling, act out or regress. Process what that comment triggered for you and use your resources and tools for healthy coping to work through this situation in a way that protects your recovery.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

How do you work through triggering comments about weight and your body?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


[1]:  Gestalt Psychology and Theory, Accessed 7 March 2017

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 9, 2017
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