What Would Debbie Do
My Sister is Obese
I have a sister who currently lives with me. She is in her mid-20s. She is very pretty but extremely overweight, and I know that as much as she jokes around about it and says big is beautiful, she still feels bad. She has a hard time finding dates, and she’s lonely and would like to be in a serious relationship. I try to be sensitive to her issues and tell her things like, “Oh, that guy wasn’t good for you, anyway,” or say that he was ugly. I don’t know what else to do. Can you help me find something else to say to her, so I don’t say the same thing constantly?
Sometimes it’s very difficult to point out the obvious when it comes to someone’s appearance. I’m sure on some level your sister knows that her obesity must play a role in how she’s perceived by men. They are visual creatures, and in a world where beauty and appearance are valued, it’s hard to get around that, no matter how unfair it may be.
Unfortunately, though, the only one who can make a change is your sister. I’m sure you’ve said things over the years that have made sense, but unless your sister decides for herself to deal with her overall well-being, nothing you say will make a difference.
I say the best you can do is to lead by example. If your sister is living with you, invite her to take a walk with you. Go to the gym. Take a yoga class. Perhaps she’ll find a routine that will benefit her in ways that your words can’t. And who knows, maybe there’ll be a handsome young man she meets who will give her the motivation to change her life for the better.