Body Sense
Depression/ Stress
Drugs & Alcohol
Kids & Parents
Relationships Shopping Corner
Press room
Contact Us

Here's your chance to get some new ideas on how to solve a problem. Of course, you have to weigh all suggestions against your own personal situation, knowledge and experiences. Be sure to seek additional help from a professional if you need it.  (See also our online agreement and disclaimer)

Dear  Brenda,

How do I get people to stop telling me about diets or nagging me about my weight? It makes me think there is something wrong with the way I look, that I'm too fat and that those people think I'm not aware of my weight problems. I feel awful, yet I smile and act interested. I even say thank you, when it really hurts inside!    Julie


Dear Julie,

Unfortunately, some people think nagging is a way of showing concern. It's really just annoying and doesn't show much trust or respect for the other person's abilities and insights. Sometimes these folks feel out of control about other things in their lives, so they'll focus their energy, attempts to control and even anger on you -- all in the name of love and concern. Yet, you and I know nagging can be very judgmental. It also steps over your boundaries, because you are the person in charge of your body.

You have a choice of absorbing the hurt and maybe even using food later as a way to temporarily get out of it, or being assertive.
People are often afraid of assertiveness because they are afraid someone's feelings will get hurt or they'll get mad. If you practice assertiveness using I statements, instead of  You statements, you'll find it very effective. For example, the next time someone tells you about a diet, you could say   "I'm really not interested in hearing about diets anymore. I need us to talk about something else." Then, move on.  Or, "I've learned that diets are only a piece of the puzzle with weight concerns, and I'm taking care of myself in other ways. I don't want to talk about diets anymore, its not good for me." If someone doesn't listen, keep repeating the same thing -- it's called the broken record technique. You haven't said anything negative about the other person because you have refrained from saying "you."  Just a reminder, you could also refer them to my book Body Sense because it describes in-depth the other issues that contribute to struggles with the scales, and can help build more empathy with family members and friends. There's also many other assertiveness techniques that help you maintain boundaries and give you powerful insight and techniques into why dieting doesn't work and what can. It's never been as simple as finding the "right diet," or a matter of willpower.   Let us know how you do after some practice. Best wishes. 

Brenda Crawford-Clark, LMHC, LMFT

Author: Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions

Copyright Brenda Crawford-Clark 2001


If you'd like to ask Brenda a question, submit the form below. We appreciate all your questions but due to the volume of questions, not all will be answered. Letters are chosen for their subject matter and interest to others. Look for yours online.