'Do I Look Fat?’: 9 Women Share How They Want Their BFFs to Answer

friends grocery shopping with baby

As women, we've all been on one side or the other of a familiar uncomfortable exchange with a friend. One of you says something to the effect of, "OMG, I just know I've gained weight!" or "I feel so fat!" potentially busting open a whole can of worms. What in the world is the friend on the receiving end of a loaded statement like that supposed to do?

Lie

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New research finds that women who received fewer messages of acceptance (like, "You look beautiful just as you are!") and were told by loved ones to lose weight, actually gained an average of four pounds over nine months.

Meanwhile, women who got more positive support were less stressed and ended up maintaining or even losing weight.

That said, we set out to talk to nine women to find out how they really feel about tough love from friends -- and if they think it helps or hinders their weight loss success. Turns out, they were almost evenly divided on what they'd rather hear.

Camp 'Kid Gloves'

"I don't make those comments about my weight to other people, because I do want a friend that lies and says I look great. It doesn't make sense to stand there and have a 50 percent chance to be insulted. It also isn't fair to want a friend to lie to me, or to have hard feelings against someone who is only trying to help. So, I just keep those weight comments to myself." -- Tiffany R., Charlotte, NC

"I think positivity is essential. Women tend to criticize themselves enough. Being hurtful or untactfully honest adds to the low self-esteem." -- Michaela S., Dallas, TX

"I have expressed concern to my best friend, but I guess I've never been expecting an answer. I feel like I'm just telling her how I feel, not looking for her to argue or corrobate it. I own a mirror. I know when my pants don't fit right. I'm my own tough love." -- Natalia Y., Chicago, IL

"I generally don't share my frustration about weight to friends, because I feel like it's a personal health challenge I'm aware of and on top of. But if I do get into it, I would much prefer positive reinforcement or a self-esteem boost, which I find far more empowering. Being told in a blunt, insensitive way what I already know will only stress me out more. And stress is what makes us all emotionally and physically imbalanced in the first place!" -- Esther L., NYC

"I usually say, 'I have to start exercising!' Admitting the truth and hearing it confirmed is devastating. After having a baby, I told a friend that I wanted to lose the extra weight and her response was, "Maybe you should try Weight Watchers!' I didn't appreciate it, because it's not like Weight Watchers is a secret organization! Ha! I guess I wanted her to say, 'Give yourself time, it's okay, everyone feels that way after a baby!'" -- Liz A., NJ

Team 'Tough Love'

"My friends are honest and blunt. So if I told them I felt fat, they'd slap the Doritos out of my hand and show me a picture of a treadmill, like 'Do you know what this is? Well, use it!' Actually, one of my friends did do that to me. But she also helped me work on an exercise regimen that would help me get the body I wanted. I didn't know that simply running would make me lose my butt, but squats and kicks would enhance it. I don't want to be ultra-skinny or ultra-muscular. I just want to be healthy." -- Anonymous

"My best friend is overweight. I am not, but she isn't dismissive when I voice concerns over my weight. She understands my hang-ups when it comes to my body. When I say something about it, she says, 'Let's go for a hike then!' She gives me a little time to wallow, then tells me to get off my ass and do something about it! She never complains about her own weight. She isn't in denial or anything, but she's not obsessed. She likes to say that the world wouldn't be able to handle her being that pretty and thin!" -- Shelley, CT

"I expect honesty from my friends. If I'm saying that I've gained weight, it's because I have. Don't lie to me. If you do, you have no business being my friend." -- Anonymous

" In my early 20s, I weighed 250 pounds. I was frustrated, embarrassed, and disgusted with myself. I said I would never meet anyone, and my life was ruined. My roommate at the time gave me support and said she would help me in my quest to lose the weight. I did, and lost 100 pounds with my roommate cheering me on. There's nothing better than honesty from a real friend." -- Linda L., FL

Ultimately, there's no one size fits all (no pun intended!) way of talking about unwanted pounds with your friends. But if there is one sweeping conclusion when it comes to lamenting weight gain to our besties, it's that we all expect our nearest and dearest to simply support us -- even if we, clearly, have varied definitions of what that means.

What team are you on, and why?

 

Image via iStock.com/leaf

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