Tips with Trish: She’s not fat

Dear Trish,

My roommate is constantly asking me if I think she’s fat. She even asks her boyfriend what he thinks of her weight. She isn’t overweight at all, and when I tell her, she doesn’t believe me and continues to obsess about it. Is there anything that I can do to convince her she isn’t fat?

Signed,
Want to help

Trish says,

I’m sure it is difficult to hear someone you care about constantly putting herself down, and although she may need some validation to feel better about her body, the truth is, no matter how many times you tell her she looks good, it will likely never be enough. Her issues likely go much deeper than the surface. Your roommate’s constant remarks about her weight indicate that she is insecure about herself. You can provide some support in other ways, however.

Start by telling your friend how her constant worrying impacts you. Maybe it makes you sad or stressed out or create doubts about your own body. Consider talking to her about how her preoccupation with her weight may be impacting other parts of her life like her relationship with her boyfriend, her health, or her ability to do well in school. Letting her know these things may motivate her to look at how her behavior affects her overall well-being and that of others.

Focus on what you like about her and role model a healthy self-image yourself. Don’t spend too much time talking about imperfect body parts and needing to diet. The media does that enough for all of us. Challenge the things you see on social media and television that portray men and women in an unrealistic way.

Encourage your friend to seek support through talking to a counselor or consider attending the body image support group that meets on campus every other week on the second and fourth Monday of the month during common time. The group meets in a conference room next to the Health Center, and the main goal of the group is to bring students together who struggle with body image and are working towards a more positive self-image.

Good luck and thanks for being a good friend.

Signed,
Trish

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