5 Tips: How To Tell Someone They Need To Lose Weight

Sharing a healthy lifestyle can hep someone lose weight.


By Margot Rutigliano | Updated January 2019

If you know someone who needs to lose weight, it’s important to approach the situation gingerly. No one wants to be singled out when it comes to a weight loss conversation. A person who is overweight knows it and they probably don’t feel great about themselves. They’re aware and don’t necessarily need you to point it out to be honest.

It’s a tricky situation to try to help someone lose weight because of the number of emotions involved. Someone who is overweight may be feeling bad about their self image already. They might feel embarrassed, ashamed and have lower self esteem to top off not feeling well from carrying around extra pounds. Should you decide to want to help them in their weight loss journey, it’s important to come from a place of true love and caring rather than anger, or disgust.

I don’t recommend telling someone that they need to lose weight outright. For the emotional reasons listed above, it’s a complex situation and needs to be handled with care and empathy. The bottom line is that if someone is overweight, they’re most likely not healthy. It’s fantastic that you want to help but you also need to consider if this person wants to lose weight or is ready to lose weight. Trying to help someone who isn’t ready can be a dead end road. Showing, inviting and encouraging are generally better tactics to help someone get healthy.

It’s also important to consider where you’re coming from. Where are your emotions at and what are your motives? Are you worried about physical appearance or about health and well being? I’m hoping it’s the latter. In this case, there are many ways to help someone in a quest for weight loss and better health and none of them require actually telling the person that they need to lose weight.


  1. Be an example – Without ever saying a word, you can lead by example. If you haven’t already, you can adopt healthy eating and get into a regular fitness routine. Through your choices and your actions, showing this person that healthy living isn’t hard can go a long way. Life is about balance and healthy changes mean you can still include some of your favorite things (like dessert and wine). Demonstrating that this way of life is about moderation, not deprivation, can help make someone feel more comfortable and understand they won’t have to give up everything they love to get fit. In addition, many times your happiness in health and wellness shows just by the life you’re living. A healthy, glowing person (who isn’t gloating about it) is usually happy and attractive just in the way they live. This kind of positivity is contagious!

  2. Be a partner – Ask your friend or family member if they want to join you for gym workouts, outdoor hikes or yoga in the evening. Invite them to meal prep with you. Ask her or him if they’d like to go to a healthy restaurant for a meal out. Share your healthy journey and include them (if they’re interested) in the process. Often times you can offer support just by being a partner and including them in healthy activities.

  3. Talk about health – This communication should come from an “I” point of view rather than a “you” standpoint. Discussing your concerns for better health or to maintain your health is a great way to share information, state facts and ignite possible intrigue from the other person. Share your health marker improvements. For example, if your blood pressure has improved or you no longer have to take your cholesterol medication, it’s a great idea for you to celebrate your success and share it. Reaching your health goals could influence your friend to go for theirs too!

  4. Encourage positive behavior – If your friend is exhibiting any type of interest in losing weight, making any positive changes toward losing weight or showing improvements, it’s important to acknowledge and encourage that positive behavior to continue. For example, if your friend has been working on adding in extra vegetables and they are starting to look healthier, say it! “You look healthy! Have you changed anything lately because it’s working.” What a fantastic way to celebrate small successes. And we should definitely celebrate ALL of the success – no matter how big or small. You don’t need to overdo it. Don’t embarrass the person but a small positive comment can go a long way.

  5. Don’t talk about weight loss – When complementing someone on weight loss or new healthy behaviors, try to leave weight loss out of it. You’re concerned for their health and well being. So focus on those things. How they look (health related), how they move and their mood/attitude are great examples. Here are some ways to compliment people without talking about losing weight:

    • You look healthy.

    • Your skin is glowing.

    • It seems like you’re moving around much easier!

    • You seem really happy lately.

    • Wow, you eyes look so bright!

    • Those jeans look great on you.

    • You have so much energy lately!

    • I love your energy!

    • Your lunch looked so healthy, can I get the recipe?

By now, I think you get the point. Be an advocate, be a partner and be an example for the person in your life who needs or wants to lose weight. In addition, be a listening ear. Sometimes weight loss is hard. If your friend is already engaged in a weight loss plan, be the light and the support they need in their journey. Keep it positive and focus on the goal. If they’re not yet open to losing weight, be the example and the encouragement (in a quiet way) that they need.

If you’ve never struggled with weight loss, you may not understand some of the odd emotions that surround it. You may not be able to relate to food issues, disordered eating and some of the behaviors that surround overeating and/or not exercising. That’s totally ok! You can still be a fantastic support system. I suggest doing research or speaking to someone who has struggled with weight loss so you can better understand.

In short, a direct conversation with a person who needs to lose weight isn’t necessary. It can do a lot more harm than good. What that person needs is inspiration, motivation and maybe even some accountability. Be a friend, an advocate and a partner and you’re way ahead of the game.



If your friend needs a professional for help with weight loss, our Health & Wellness Coaching can help. We offer appointments online via Skype or FaceTime or in person locally. Coaching is a great way to get the right guidance, motivation to reach goals and accountability.

Learn More: Health & Wellness Coaching

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below. We hope to see all of you at our weight loss retreat soon to jumpstart your healthy habits and weight loss goals! Come experience beachside workouts, healthy fare and relaxing mind body sessions.

Healthy Wishes,

Margot + The Vita Vie Retreat Team