by Amelia Harray, LiveLighter dietitian

Having a difficult conversation with a loved one

Chatting to someone you care for about carrying excess weight can be a sensitive subject. LiveLighter’s resident Dietitian Amelia Harray puts on her mother, wife, daughter and friend hat with her top tips when considering a conversation.

  • It's important to remember that any change to improve diet and increase physical activity will benefit health, regardless of changes in body weight.

  • When chatting to loved ones relate the conversation to feelings and health, not appearance or weight specifically;

    • Talk about the health risks associated with unhealthy habits, such as physical inactivity or not eating enough fruit or vegetables.
    • Relate to how you are feeling e.g. “I’ve been reading more about health risks of not eating enough fruit and veg, I feel concerned that we aren’t eating enough. What do you think?”
  • Externalise it

    • It can help to relate to what you’ve heard or seen. At the moment, LiveLighter is running ads on TV, the radio and in the paper so there are plenty of opportunities to introduce the conversation.
    • Encourage your loved one to visit the LiveLighter website to assess their risk or chat to their doctor or a dietitian.
  • Make changes easier

    • If you live with the person you want to help and have some influence over what food is in the fridge or pantry choose healthier options when you go shopping. Everyone will benefit from not having foods high in kilojoules and low in nutrients (junk foods) present. It reduces temptation.
    • Making changes together will encourage and support your loved one to make healthier choices, for example, go for walks together or give up soft drink together.
  • Do not force the issue

    • If your loved one is resistant or doesn’t feel like talking about the issue at a certain time, don’t push it.
    • An option could be to write down your thoughts and worries. Make sure that these are your concerns and not a demand of your loved one.

Find out more about the health risks of overweight and obesity here.