Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

It's OK to Talk to Friend About Weight Gain

DEAR HARRIETTE: I ran into an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years when she came home to visit her family. She is doing well at her job and was telling me all about it, but I am worried about her. She is still in her early 20s, and she has gained like 50 pounds. I am sure that she would be considered obese by her doctor. I am worried that she is headed in the wrong direction healthwise just as her career is taking off. This is such an uncomfortable situation. I don’t know what to say to her. She is an adult, but I am worried about her. I know how weird people can be talking about weight, but I think I would feel worse if I said nothing and something terrible happened to her. Can I say anything? -- Has an Obese Friend

DEAR HAS AN OBESE FRIEND: Sadly, almost 40 percent of the American populace suffers from obesity. This is a staggering percentage in a country that has so much information and awareness to help people manage their weight. Still, obesity is a health crisis that many are not successfully managing. Your friend is among them.

Should you say something? For starters, it is likely that your friend knows that she has gained a lot of weight. People don’t generally gain 50 pounds without noticing. What is common, especially for overachievers with desk jobs, is that in their effort to do well at work, they often neglect their health. You might try having a heart-to-heart with your friend. Ask her about the job, her new responsibilities and life in general. Ask her what she does for fun and if she gets to exercise at all. Ease into a conversation about lifestyle. Tell her that as happy as you are for her success, you are worried about her health. Tell her how much you care about her and that you hope she will pay attention to her health as she continues to pursue her career. For strategies to help that conversation, go to: