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View Poll Results: What to do
Say nothing 24 33.80%
Say something 32 45.07%
lol fats 15 21.13%
jfc chop 0 0%
Voters: 71. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-11-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
chopstick
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What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Cliffs:
- Been friends with someone 20 years
- He has always been moderately overweight
- He went well into morbidly obese last year or two
- I don't want him to die early
- What (if anything) do I say/do?


A friend who is part of a group of 7-8 friends that have all been friends for 20 years has put on a lot of weight over the last couple of years. He's in his early 40s, almost always been moderately overweight, and has sometimes veered into this territory before, but never anywhere near this far. He's a little over 6ft/183cm, and I'd guess closing in on 400lb/181kg, if not already over that. Definitely over 350lb/159kg. All fat, no muscle. I'm worried about him.

I'm not in the area much anymore, but come thru once or twice a year to visit and hang out with everyone. We all got together this weekend and I was surprised to see how far he's gone this time. This guy is an old friend and while I don't see him much these days, he's still a friend and I don't want him to fall over dead in the next few years.

Dude is highly intelligent, and obviously knows he's at an unhealthy weight. About 10 years back when he was heading down a similar path, he went carb-free and managed to get into a very healthy weight for a year, so I know he can reverse things, and so does he. However, he is also a lazy gamer type with a cushy desk job who loves food.

What's the play here?

Do I just stfu since he clearly knows what's happening and it's none of my business?

Do I say something? If so, what? He may be embarrassed but we've known each other long enough that I can speak openly with him. Even if he gets mad at me, that's fine as long as it achieves something productive. I'd rather him be angry with me and healthier than happy with me and dying early.

If I say something, what do I say?
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:38 PM   #2
Didace
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

All you can do is ask him once - and tell him this is the only time - if there is anything you can do to help him with his weight. If he really is smart and knows how fat he is there are no magic words you can say to get him eating right.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:46 PM   #3
gregorio
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

As you say, it's none of your business and clearly he knows he's obese and that's not healthy. What sort of outcome are you hoping for?

If you think you have a close enough relationship with him, and good enough social skills* to bring it up in a way that can come across as supportive vs insulting and smooth over any defensive/angry reaction he might have, I guess there's a slight chance he'll be happy to have someone with whom to talk to about it. Just don't expect much to come from it.

*Obviously most guys posting on the internet don't possess the required level of social graces, but you seem like you get along with people pretty well irl.

And like Didace says, if he isn't receptive, you can't ever bring it up again.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:49 PM   #4
Tom Ames
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

If you bring up the subject, it is almost guaranteed to go nowhere for reasons mentioned already.

It is very possible that he may bring it up or at least give you an opening for discussion. Be prepared to offer whatever advice, support, etc if that happens.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:09 PM   #5
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

"Is everything OK? I haven't seen you in a while, you've put on a ton more weight, I'm worried."

There might be an actual reason he'll open up about, there might not be. Either way you've broached the subject and can offer to help. Make it clear the offer is without an expiration and then leave it.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:10 PM   #6
pokeraz
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Personally, I wouldn't say anything. But I like to avoid awkward moments when truth is involved.

He is quite aware of the issue. You don't get to be 4 bills without feeling like **** physically and emotionally.

On the other hand, if more family and close friends spoke up, and did it out of love and compassion, perhaps that would motivate people to make changes.

I say you do it. Like posted above, frame it as an offer to help. Perhaps awkward at first, but real friends get over **** quickly.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:19 PM   #7
businessdude
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

I wouldn't have an issue just bringing it up directly, some people, even smart ones, can get delusional about their situation. It's like a free roll that it might spur him into action. He's not going to end your friendship is he if you mention the truth? If it was a female in question, it could be trickier, but a close male buddy shouldn't be very hard.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
El Diablo
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

chop,

How often do you talk to him? (via phone/text/FB/whatever)
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:35 PM   #9
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Have you talked to anyone else in the friend group about him?
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
Very Josie
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

I've been that person. I put on a lot of weight in my forties so I understand getting caught in the vicious cycle of feeling too ****ty to move and then gaining more weight. Rinse and repeat. He may have health issues, I know I did/do.

I vote for no, don't say anything because I don't really know that there's anything you CAN say that will improve his situation.

If you feel you do have to say something you could always say 'Hey I know someone on the interwebz who gained and lost a ****-ton of weight in her forties. If you want to talk to someone who's in your boat you can email or call her any time.'

I do think it's easier to talk to a stranger.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

My best friend from childhood is in the same situation - you could have been describing him. Has always been big, but over the last several years became just absolutely huge.

I have spoken to him multiple times about it, but it's important to note this is my best friend, like on a brother level. There's nothing I wouldn't say to him. If I were not this close to him I doubt I could speak up as I have.

My situation is also a little unique because I also personally used to be very overweight and am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. So, I can relate directly to the challenges he's facing and share my experience in struggling with the same/similar challenges. So when we talk about it, that's basically what I do - just explain what my experience has been. It's not judgment or advice at all, just hopefully a beacon of hope that things can change for him too someday.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:04 PM   #12
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

I started putting on some lbs a few years back. Nothing crazy but I went from 180lbs to 200lb of pure fat. I knew i had gained, but I was a bit delusional about how it had really affected my appearance. I saw a friend of mine I hadn't seen in awhile and he just kinda mentioned "jeez man, you are getting pretty chubby". It honestly was enough for me to take a look at myself and go wow what has happened and get on a diet and exercise routine. A light comment can sometimes be enough to make a person take a real look at their situation.

Someone who is very obese might be different, but sometimes people really dont have anyone in their life who mentions it.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:10 PM   #13
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

I wouldn't say anything but I would try to do something.

I know one guy who payed fees for another (the overweight one) to participate in a bike race that was in 6 month from then. Both are my friends. I saw how the overweight started to bike on the regular. He couldn't just not show-up. The fees were not refundable and he knew that. And it was just psychologically easier for him to train a little bit and participate somehow than just to say "no". He didn't become a super duper sporty and didn't train 3 times a week, but he did more than he would without this knowledge that he has to show-up and ride a bike for 80 km on a certain date. And although it was not big money, something like 40~50 Euros, it was enough to make him get his weight under control for those 6 month.

May be you can plan a bike trip together or a training session in a gym together? In HF you can see that few people do something like this and it has this positive social component: "Doing things together" and health benefit: "actually working out".

I think what you can do is to apply a gentle and non-judgmental social pressure. And don't expect miracles.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:39 PM   #14
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

poll needs a dids reference
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:40 PM   #15
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

RANGS!
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:59 PM   #16
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Ask them to post in the steak thread.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:14 PM   #17
Didace
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapka View Post
I wouldn't say anything but I would try to do something.

I know one guy who payed fees for another (the overweight one) to participate in a bike race that was in 6 month from then.
This is a great strategy - Hey fatty. I just spent money entering you in a bike race. Better get to work!
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:01 PM   #18
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

The vast majority of people who are morbidly obese know they're morbidly obese. I have pretty good social skills and had a really close friend in my 20s who I spoke to about their weight and she ended up in tears and I felt really bad because I loved her regardless of her size. I was just really worried about her.

Ultimately weight loss is totally up to the person, nothing anyone can say will have a real impact.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:04 PM   #19
Booker Wolfbox
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

I would PM youtalkfunny for advice, reference his fat friend back home.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:16 PM   #20
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Didace View Post
This is a great strategy - Hey fatty. I just spent money entering you in a bike race. Better get to work!
more subtle.

It clearly depends on the person, if this might work. The both are good friends and the guy who paid is insistent enough to ask why not and expect an explanation. He participates himself on the regular in this race and it was kind of how that started. They talked about it and the sporty guy was pestering the fat one to join him. Not a word was said about fat. It was more kind of "let us make this fun stuff together". The fat was clearly "meeehhhh. don't want. ".....
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:20 PM   #21
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

He know his poor situation and 99 percent chance saying something wont help

But I say something for these reasons
1. It may work
2. If he dies w/o you saying something, you will always be tormented wondering "why didnt i say something".
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:27 PM   #22
Rexx14
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by magking1 View Post
He know his poor situation and 99 percent chance saying something wont help

But I say something for these reasons
1. It may work
2. If he dies w/o you saying something, you will always be tormented wondering "why didnt i say something".
The third scenario is he takes it really badly, stays fat and thinks you're an interfering judgmental prick.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:29 PM   #23
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

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Old 09-11-2017, 07:50 PM   #24
Didace
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapka View Post
more subtle.

It clearly depends on the person, if this might work. The both are good friends and the guy who paid is insistent enough to ask why not and expect an explanation. He participates himself on the regular in this race and it was kind of how that started. They talked about it and the sporty guy was pestering the fat one to join him. Not a word was said about fat. It was more kind of "let us make this fun stuff together". The fat was clearly "meeehhhh. don't want. ".....
This dude is 4 bills. Everyone would knows why he wouldn't want to get his fat ass on a bike. Nothing subtle about it at all.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:54 PM   #25
chopstick
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Re: What (if anything) do you say to your morbidly obese friend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
As you say, it's none of your business and clearly he knows he's obese and that's not healthy. What sort of outcome are you hoping for?

*Obviously most guys posting on the internet don't possess the required level of social graces, but you seem like you get along with people pretty well irl.
The outcome I hope for is that he will actively start losing weight and get to a healthier weight so he doesn't die 20-30 years sooner than he needs to.

Social skills are a non issue. I'm a solid 7/10 wrt social skills, probably a 12/10 on the 2p2 scale. I have post-grad training in both basic therapy skills and interpersonal conflict resolution. Can get along with anyone. Haven't been in this spot before, tho. Also things are obv different with a long time friend as opposed to with a random or someone you don't know well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by goofball View Post
"Is everything OK? I haven't seen you in a while, you've put on a ton more weight, I'm worried.".
I like this approach quite a bit. The concern I have with it is that he'll just nod and agree with me and say he needs to lose weight, then not actually do anything about it. Guess there's not much I can do if it plays out that way.

Knowing I'll only have one shot at this is why I'm trying to figure out the optimal approach that maximizes the chance that I'll be able to impact his behavior.


Quote:
Originally Posted by El Diablo View Post
How often do you talk to him? (via phone/text/FB/whatever)
phone: no one talks on the phone, c'mon son
text: few times a year
FB: standard commenting / liking behavior, maybe twice a month or so
in person: 1-2 times a year


Quote:
Originally Posted by eyebooger View Post
Have you talked to anyone else in the friend group about him?
Not yet but I'm going to.



I'll see him in person again in a few weeks at a mutual friend's wedding, then not again for over a year or so. Minor (20-25%) possibility of seeing him once before the wedding in a lower key casual social setting. Currently thinking of going with goofball's approach if that lower key timing works. Saying something at our friend's wedding seems like 100% the wrong place.

I should also mention that it's much more likely that he'll just get embarrassed rather than mad. We've been friends for a long time, and he'll know that I'm only saying something because I'm concerned for his health. I'd say <1% that he actually gets mad.
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