'My friend is gaining weight fast. Do I tell her?'

Weight gain. It’s the sensitive issue to beat all sensitive issues. It’s the awkward conversation that laughs at all other awkward conversations. Especially when you’re not referring to yourself – but a friend.

We received this email from a reader who would like to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons). She’s opening up a huge can of worms (literally, there are earthy little holes everywhere at her place right now) and asking whether it is ever okay to tell someone you love that they’ve gained weight. And if you do – how the hell do you do it?

Have a read and then be prepared to offer your advice…

I’ve had this on my mind for some time but have been figuring out the best way to approach it, or if I should approach it at all…

Basically I have this friend who has been steadily putting on weight for a few months now, I see her pretty regularly and she has probably put on about 10 – 15 kg in the last couple of months alone. Her weight has never fluctuated so much before and on her small frame the extra kilos are very noticeable.

The main problem is that she seems to be completely unaware of her weight gain, she definitely is not doing anything to change it or slow it down. She eats huge portions, a lot of foods that are very processed and high in fat, there are not many fruits or veggies that feature in her diet, she used to be more active and fit but now her interests have sort of shifted and there’s not a lot of exercise in her life anymore.

She has not said anything to me or our other girlfriends and I feel like that if someone puts on weight, they are usually the first person to mention it to you. I cannot count the amount of times I have heard a girlfriend complain about the size of her thighs or stomach flab when nobody else has even noticed a difference.

So that has me thinking that she has no idea about it and that I need to say something. And I’d like to say something to her about it for two reasons…

1. I’m worried about her… I’m worried about her lifestyle and her health, both physical and mental. I’m worried that if she gets into a downward spiral of weight gain then she might find it really hard to get back to her normal weight. I’ve seen what her natural fit and healthy body is supposed to look like and she is not meant to look like how she looks now, she is not built to have those extra kilos on her… I feel like we need to take the best possible care of ourselves and our bodies and she isn’t doing it…

2. I would want a close friend to tell me if they were worried about me and my weight/health… some of my girlfriends and I actually have a pact to tell each other if we have put on a considerable amount of weight (not in a mean way, just an FYI way so we can do something about it…).

I know about other interventions, my partner once did an intervention with me when he thought I was eating too much sugar, at the time I was pissed off but now I look back and I’m grateful because I was on the fast-track to diabetes.

And I know another girl who lost a lot of weight and her friends staged an intervention because she looked so unhealthy and so tired and sick all the time… she thought she looked great being so skinny and was shocked but grateful to her friends for saying something.

So… should I say something to my friend… or should I try and disguise the conversation so it gets her thinking about her weight and health but with no direct accusations? Or maybe I could just start taking her running and walking with me and taking her to lots of healthy cafes where you can’t get hot chips… it’s not like there is a shortage of them in the city!

Or should I wait and see if she puts on more weight or just loses it herself… I just have no idea…

Any advice for anonymous? Have you ever staged an intervention with a friend?