THE BLOG

Should You Tell Someone They're Fat?

10/15/2012 05:41 pm ET | Updated Dec 14, 2012

Where I work, there is a Weight Watchers craze going on. The meeting is in-house and people are losing pounds by the handful. A lot of pounds.

One woman I know told me she lost more than 40 pounds which was a shocker because a) she didn't look like she needed to lose 40 pounds and b) that's an awful lot of weight to lose. I asked her what was the impetus for her weight loss. "[So-and-So] told me I was getting really big." Once this woman was told she needed to lose weight, she attacked her weight loss plan with the gusto she once reserved for a double-cheeseburger from Wendy's.

I was discussing this with a friend the other day when he told me about a good buddy of his who he saw occasionally. The buddy's weight had ballooned and my friend bluntly told him: "You're getting to be a big fat pig. You're not going to live long enough to see your daughters grow up."

The guy has four daughters. How did he react to this rude awakening? He promptly lost 50 pounds, thanks to my friend's less-than-tactful suggestion.

I've been thinking about this a lot because I know that this approach totally works with me. I have joined Weight Watchers also, and have lost 10 pounds or so. No one told me I needed to lose weight, at least not this time. But a few years ago, when my kids were young and I was eating every half-slice of pizza and glob of mac and cheese they left on their plates, I distinctly remember this guy looking and me and saying, "Jeez, man, why don't you do a little exercise. Look at you."

It stung, but I went right out and lost 15 pounds. He was right and I knew it!

I'm of the mind that telling someone they need to lose weight is a gift of sorts. Yes, they surely know they are fat but many people are not going to do anything about it until they are told to their face that everyone else knows they are fat and it's, well, unattractive. Denial and rationalization are a powerful thing. I've heard people who are 50 pounds overweight say, "Yeah, I know I need to lose 10 pounds." The truth is, few people can see themselves as others see us. I was going bald for years and trying to hide it until I just gave up and shaved my head. Now I feel great! Who needs hair?

I've been debating telling someone I know that he/she is fat. They've been ballooning for some time and now it's at alarming proportions. I'm on the verge of doing it but it takes nerve. I'm going to wait for the right opening and just blurt it out. What do you think? Good idea or I'm a fat-head myself?