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Health & Spirit

Cutting off sister-in-law's weight-shaming at the pass

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My sister and her wife, "Sue," will be visiting soon. I'm looking forward to seeing my sister, but feeling anxiety about Sue's visit.

Sue has a habit of making comments about my weight and what I'm eating -- commenting on my portion size, how many helpings, my weight, how often I exercise, etc. I'm not interested in getting in a fight about it and really want to see my sister.

Any suggestions on an effective, short statement or comeback after the first comment to try to cut her off at the pass? I'm really happy with my weight but always end up feeling disappointed, fat and unhealthy by the end of a visit.

-- Weight Shaming Shutdown

 

"My weight is not interesting to me. Let's talk about something else." Repeat verbatim as needed.

I also like reflecting it back on her. "You have a lot to say about my body."

There's also liberation in the whole truth, when you're ready: "I look forward to these visits, but I also dread them because I know you're going to make comments on my weight, appearance, portion sizes and food choices. These are no one's business but my own, so please respect that by choosing a different conversation topic. Thank you."

Regardless of your approach, you might feel better about it if you talk to your sister first. Just a "Hey, she brings this up a lot and I'd appreciate it if she didn't, so any suggestions?" Sue might not realize she's pressing on a sore spot, and she might respond better to hearing it privately from her wife.

...continued

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