How to Talk to a Sister or Mom About Her Weight Gain

Dr. Birndorf: You’re in a really unique position—because you’re close to her, you’re one of the few people who can broach the subject. Just don’t expect a hug—it’s a very uncomfortable talk to tackle, and she may get angry or defensive. That’s OK—after all, she can’t be mad at you forever, and a few harsh words are a small price to pay if it helps her get healthy.

The most important thing is to frame the conversation around health, not attractiveness. One of my favorite lines is, “I would hope that if the shoe were on the other foot, you would say this to me.” That way, you’re leveling the playing field and acknowledging that this could potentially happen to anyone, including yourself. If she’s receptive, promise you’ll help her in any way.

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