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.”:
- 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.
- I know, right?! (in a very enthusiastic manner)
This is to say that you acknowledge the weight gain.
- 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.