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Overweight colleague - how should I intervene more?

(291 Posts)
chompychompychompchomp Wed 28-Jun-17 10:52:38

I work closely with someone who in very overweight. She's a lovely colleague to have, works well and is friendly but is very unhappy at being so overweight. She's constantly trying out new diets to help her loose weight and has my full support. However, she has some ingrained misconceptions about food and drink which are inhibiting her ability to eat and drink more healthily.

For example, she raves about drinks like Oasis saying how drinking them is just like drinking water despite me showing her the ingredients and bringing her attention to how much sugar there is. I've explained that excess sugar will not help her to loose weight but she says it's nonsense.

She'll snack throughout the day on nuts saying that constant eating is helping to keep her metabolism up thinking that if she's not eating, her body's not metabolising food.

For lunch, she'll eat a salad laden with mayo and cheese saying that it's healthy as it's just eggs and dairy, ie.natural food.

We went out for a Chinese lunch last week as a team and she ate huge amounts as well as other people's leftovers. Other colleagues are getting fed up with her saying how she doesn't understand why she's so overweight and she doesn't listen to anyone's advice.

It's been left me (decided by team), as I get on best with her, to ask her to either stop talking about her weight or to eat more healthily. I'm not sure what to say to her without offending her. Help!

BurntBum Wed 28-Jun-17 10:55:41

I think that you need to say nothing. Just don't engagement discussion about diets or change the subject. She knows full well why she is fat but is in denial. Until her head is in the right space there is nothing that you can say or do that will help. Upsetting her by asking her to stop talking will probably lead to her going home and comfort eating.

MrsJayy Wed 28-Jun-17 10:55:44

It is none of your bussiness how much she weighs or what she eats if she says stuff like oasis is great then all you can do is say not really and leave it people talking about food and diets is dull just don't engage

BurntBum Wed 28-Jun-17 10:56:31

engage in not engagement!

MrsQuim Wed 28-Jun-17 10:56:59

Smile and nod!

PortiaCastis Wed 28-Jun-17 10:57:39

Do not engage as it's none of your business

doowapwap Wed 28-Jun-17 10:57:40

You simply cannot say anything to her about her weight. If she starts talking about it, change the subject or don't engage.

She's an adult, if she wants to do something about then she will. She knows why she's overweigh

Groupie123 Wed 28-Jun-17 10:57:54

Wow it's really not appropriate for you to say anything. At my workplace you could be hauled over the coals for discrimination/bullying. Next time she makes a comment about her diet or weight, just tell her firmly that it's not appropriate workplace conversation

monkeywithacowface Wed 28-Jun-17 10:57:56

I don't think it's up to your team to decide that you need to approach her with this. It is not a work issue.

Stop offering any advice at all, don't entertain the conversation. If she brings it up give a non committal "hmm" and change the subject.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Wed 28-Jun-17 10:58:04

Have you got a healthy book you could 'lend' her so she can read for herself? In black and white it won't be so easy to push the facts aside. .

MissionItsPossible Wed 28-Jun-17 10:58:07

It's really none of your business. If she specifically asks you for advice then fine, but don't impose anything on her.

Coddiwomple Wed 28-Jun-17 10:58:57

so tricky, at work she can get really offended and make a formal complaint against you, be careful!

I am not even sure how to ask her gently to stop going on about her diets, but apart from referring her to the "magic nutritionist who helped your friend lose 5 stones" - any nutritionist will do, there's not much you can do.

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Wed 28-Jun-17 10:59:24

Don't say anything! She's obviously aware she's not eating healthily, but is trying to justify her unhealthy choices to herself and others. You'd have to be an imbecile in this day and age not to know that sugary drinks and tons of mayo are not going to help you lose weight.

AlmostAJillSandwich Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:03

If she's in denial there's nothing you can do. Tell her if she's so worried, see her GP, get referred to a dietician, maybe hearing it from someone with a degree whose specifically studied it will make her less selectively deaf.
Other than that, i'd honestly just have to tell her straight that hearing her complain repeatedly about her weight is becoming tedious and annoying for everyone else, since they can do nothing to change it for her and she's dismissive of people trying to help. If she's going to shoot down other people trying to help her, she doesn't get to sit moaning about it.

Peckwater Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:32

Completely inappropriate for you to intervene. In the nicest possible way, it's none of the team's business, and no one can police what she talks about, unless her conversation is distracting other people from their work, in which case your line manager probably needs to have a word about not turning the office into a gabfest.

chompychompychompchomp Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:33

I don't want to talk to her about her diet any more, nor do I want to be the person who tells her to stop talking about it but I know that other people I work with will take it upon themselves to tell her and I'm thinking they won't be as sympathetic. She's sensitive, will no doubt get upset and the atmosphere will be terrible, Manager isn't too sympathetic about it all either.

ThymeLord Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:33

Unless she specifically says to you "Please help me with my diet" then absolutely 100% keep out of it.

BreezyBreeze Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:48

Its a personal issue and not for work to sort out.

You all probably have habits that irritate her too.

monkeywithacowface Wed 28-Jun-17 11:00:53

I also agree that she knows she is overweight and knows why. I would guess the constant justification she gives for eating crap is a defense mechanism because she knows she is judged. Losing weight in theory is simple; eat less, move more. But often people's emotional relationship with food is generally complex and fucked up.

Madbum Wed 28-Jun-17 11:01:05

Back off ffs! It's nothing to do with any of you! It's not your job to police her diet or save her from herself, just ignore annoying conversations about her weight or change the subject.
This is ridiculous.

VladmirsPoutine Wed 28-Jun-17 11:01:23

It's really not your duty. The idea that the team have nominated you to be spokesperson for her weight-related issues is incredulous. Just say nothing.

PinkHeart5911 Wed 28-Jun-17 11:01:41

Well you can't go up to her and say " stop talking about your weight or go on a diet" There is no way to say that without being rude and it's really not yours or anyone else place to say that.

You just have to either smile & nod and try and move the conversation on I'm afraid and for crying out loud your office need to stop with the "advice"

FlyingElbows Wed 28-Jun-17 11:02:26

There's nothing you can do, op. Overeating like that is like alcoholism, she has to be ready to stop. She's not and no amount of "encouragement" from you or anyone else will change that. She's fat not stupid. She knows very well why she's fat but it takes huge bravery and commitment to face the reasons why (which are deep rooted and often the same as the reasons why people are alcoholics, drug addicts, anorexic, bulimic or any other sort of addict). Just be nice to her, like you hopefully would be to someone who wasn't fat.

monkeywithacowface Wed 28-Jun-17 11:02:34

It will go down badly if you do and it will be you she is upset with. Don't let your colleagues throw you under the bus here. If they want to say something and be harsh about it that's on them. Honestly, not your circus not your monkeys

Birdsgottaf1y Wed 28-Jun-17 11:03:00

If a constant conversation is annoying others, then it's far to bring it up.

Don't mention her changing anything. Just gently ask her if she realises how often she is talking about food and swerve the conversation around to asking her to cut it down. This will depend on her reaction.

You might end up the fall guy, so be careful because she may have grounds to complain.

Stop giving her advice or engaging in food conversations.

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