Responding To Unsolicited Weight Gain Comments This Holiday Season

If you’ve gained a significant amount of weight this year like I did, brace yourself this alco-holiday season.

Prepare your heart and mind because you will hear these words from friends and family — mostly from family — over and over and over again at gatherings:

“Ang taba mo na! Anong nangyari sayo?!”
You’ve gained so much weight! What happened?

Your arms will get squeezed a lot. Your belly, love handles, and double chin will get pinched or poked.

Despite how rude this seems, many Filipinos actually consider this a sign of affection aka lambing. If you belong to most typical Filipino families, expect that you will get teased a lot.

Aside from it being lambing, this is many people’s ice breaker too — an alternative to Hey, Rae! How have you been?!

It could also be a genuine expression of concern. They call you out for gaining so much weight with the intention of getting you to have an epiphany and decide to start changing your lifestyle.

I consider myself expected to be able to take it like a champ and brush it off.

Only because I pick my fights and I decided that this is not one of them.

If you have not sufficiently prepared yourself to hear weight-related comments, you might get caught off-guard and run to a dimly lit corner and cry. If it were me though, I could snap at the perpetrator or I might stare at the person with a WTF?!-face.

But me being the understanding person that I am #notreally, should do EVERYTHING in my power not to make them uncomfortable for realizing that hearing the same thing over and over again could hurt. Because if I decide to pick a fight, it could ruin the festivities for everybody and innocent people will get caught in the drama. Worse, I will be known as pikon and overly-sensitive — not the traits I’m known for but this is what brute force attack does to you.

I know it’s not fair but that’s how I choose to handle it. I’m sorry body image advocates.

If you want to do the same thing too, here are my suggested responses when someone tells you, “You’ve gained weight.”:

  1. Pansin mo? Pansin ko din nga e!
    Oh! You noticed! I did too! :)
    This is a nice way of saying that there’s no need to state the obvious.
  2. I know, right?! (in a very enthusiastic manner)
    This is to say that you acknowledge the weight gain.
  3. Believe it or not, I’ve already lost 3kgs the past month. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it continues.
    This assures them that you are doing something about it. I used this just a few weekends ago and I actually did lose 3kgs. If you didn’t, you can always say that you’re planning on doing something about it — that is, if you truly are.

The wittier the response is, the better. But it doesn’t end there. Segue to a different topic or focus the conversation on them ASAP.

For example, you can follow up # 2 with: But look at you, you’re looking good. How do you keep yourself in that weight range?

Most people love talking about themselves.

Think of what they’re interested in or ask what happened since the last time you saw each other and talk about that.

If you’re starting to lose your cool remember that the main objective is to keep it together. Once you lose it, they will have power over you and the battle is lost.

As Viktor Frankle said in Man’s Search For Meaning*,

“The one thing you can’t take away from me
is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.
The last of ones freedoms is to choose ones attitude
in any given circumstance.”

When worse comes to worst, if the comments don’t come from a good place and are deliberately said to truly cause pain, I limit my stay or leave asap after making an excuse and saying goodbye. I don’t need to deal with too much crap.

If you have time, read Man’s Search for Meaning. It’s a good book.

23 thoughts on “Responding To Unsolicited Weight Gain Comments This Holiday Season

  1. Good for you! Ako pikon when someone tells me I gained weight and I make it known, to hell with ruining the festive season. But the funny thing is, those who usually make those comments in my family are also very thick-skinned so they don’t get my snarky comeback. Oh well:p

  2. it’s weird that people will notice weight gain and I’m like sige diet ako and when I loose weight they will ask annong nangyari sa kin in a very concern manner ahahaha. I dread question like “ilang taon ka? bat wala ka pa boyfriend? kelan ka ikakasal from my mom and relatives during the holidays and all I answer is my big fat and nervous laugh :P

  3. Around Sept. my tito told me I looked like my husband tied me to the ref (tinali sa refrigerator). I just smiled and told him marami kaseng masarap na pagkain sa bahay namin. But I was fuming the whole time! Buti when we got home my hubby made a joke about the incident and we just ended up laughing about it. I’m preparing myself for more comments like that this holiday season and I like your suggestions here! My fave is deflecting the topic back to the person. People do like to talk about themselves!

  4. ay this happens to me a lot bec i gain and loose weight really fast. pinaka memorable moment ko was when a sales person handed me pillow and said ” maam this is good for pregnancy too cause it can support your back” omg! nashock ako sa kanya ^^

  5. Ako naman baliktad. Sometimes I don’t know na how to react when they say “Ang payat mo, kumain ka naman”. Grave na for me ata ung parang “nag aaddict ka ba?” I was like, OA makareact? LOL I remember pa, there’s a photo of me I posted on my personal acct, then almost everybody said, “oh you’re blooming blah2x” then here comes my great cousin saying “Sobrang payat mo! Kumakain ka pa ba?” hahaha I really don’t understand some people nowadays..

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