Things you never say to an overweight person

'How much do you weigh?' Why not just ask us our PIN codes and other bank account information?

Faraz Talat April 18, 2012
We’re everywhere. Your odds of having to interact with us are increasing with every fast food "temple" that is erected in your city. A conversation with an overweight person can be a faux pas minefield, so here are a few tips to help you out.

Have you lost weight?

Never say that unless it’s an honest compliment and not an actual inquiry. Remember, someone who is overweight knows very well whether his physical dimensions have changed recently. If he hasn’t lost any weight, your statement will come off sounding shamelessly specious. Nobody likes a boot-licker, especially one lying so transparently that it feels like he’s mocking. You’ll end up making the plus-sized individual hate you almost as much as he hates his metabolism.

You should do something about your weight problem

Oh, I didn’t realise I had a weight problem. You see, my mirror is of poor quality, a Chinese knock-off of the original thing, so it doesn’t reflect light as well as the others. Also, my family and friends have repeatedly assured me that I’m Ryan Gosling’s doppelgänger, so your observation comes as quite a shock. A veritable lol-fest, if I may!

Thank you random shopkeeper that I just bought oranges from - it never occurred to me that I have to do something about my weight problem… until now.

I used to be just like you

Really? You used to be just like me, with my exact work schedule, metabolism, social environment, financial and time constraints, and inherited precisely the same set of genes from your parents as I did from mine? Uncanny! Are you sure you weren’t separated from me at the Lucky Irani circus 1996, and raised in a family just like mine?

No. I don’t think you were ever “just like me”. You may have weighed roughly the same as I do, but that’s not all that matters.

I tried routine X and lost Y pounds. You can too!

If we want condescending advice, we’ll ask for it. I can notice a few rectifiable physical and behavioural flaws in you too (47 and counting), but I’m just trying not to overstep my boundaries. Perhaps you shouldn’t either.

You must be hungry. Let’s go get you some pizza

I would electrocute a baby seal for some pizza right now, but that’s not the point. I'm still slightly offended by your assumption that all adipose-redundant individuals (I’m seriously running out of euphemisms for “fat” at this point) are always lazy, hungry, and looking for junk food to devour. Of course, if your reasoning is based on something other than my appearance, that’s fine.

How much do you weigh?

Why not just ask us our PIN codes, and other bank account information?

Okay, maybe not all guys are as secretive or sensitive about their biometric data as I am, but it’s still personal information. Having been bullied for many years about my waist line, frequently referred to as “equatorial distance”, this information has now been reserved only for my tailor who is contractually bound to take this knowledge to his grave.

I exaggerate, but yes, there has been a verbal agreement.

Read more by Faraz here.
Faraz Talat

The writer is a doctor based in Rawalpindi and writes about current affairs and societal issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.