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Responding to Comments About Weight Loss

How Should You Respond To Someone Who Remarks About Your Weight Loss From IBD?

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Updated June 28, 2012

When you have a digestive disease like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), even casual conversation can sometimes become a minefield. It's not (necessarily) that the people you interact with want to hurt your feelings or be insensitive, but often people are not aware of how their offhand comment can affect you. One of the more common complaints from people with IBD is that their friends, family, and coworkers comment on their weight.

Some Comments You May Have Heard

I asked my Twitter followers about the insensitive comments they've heard about their weight over the years. Here are a few of them:

@loubylou07: "Have you lost weight?"

@SemiColonGirl: "I wish I could borrow your disease so I could lose a few pounds."

@rodneyzayas: "You look great and slim, it may be the Crohn's."

Weight loss is a common problem for people who have IBD. People with IBD tend to lose weight during a flare-up because of diarrhea, not eating enough, and malabsorption. While IBD can cause weight loss, not everyone who has IBD is thin, and for some people, the weight loss is a very serious problem. Losing too much weight can result in a host of other health problems that can complicate the IBD.

What Should You Do?

How should you respond to someone who comments on your weight? Your initial response might be to ignore the comment or to make a sarcastic or unkind comment in response. I wouldn't blame you if you decided not to engage someone who makes a crack about your weight, but believe it or not, this is an opportunity to educate this person about IBD. You can tell them that you have a digestive disorder which causes you to lose weight. Where you go from there is up to you -- you can continue to provide more information about IBD, or you can just leave it with the short and sweet explanation. If you do decide to help this person understand your health challenges, the bonus is that you both might come away from the conversation with a positive feeling.

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