Office Politics 101: A weighty issue

There’s a woman in our office who is obviously getting heavier. I’ve also struggled with weight and would like to speak with her.

Q: There’s a woman in our office who is obviously getting heavier. I’ve also struggled with weight and would like to speak with her. I’m not sure how to start the conversation without offending her. Your thoughts?

A: She is well aware she is gaining pounds and almost certainly it is difficult for her to acknowledge. In general, the allure of food is considerably more beguiling for women.  (Men tend to be tempted by sex.)

Many women, therefore, face the daily struggle of eating too much and feeling guilty or frustrated. Our society — in particular the images presented on television and in movies —  tends to value women who are extremely slender. These standards are virtually unattainable for most women and this adds to the anguish.

According to one report, about half of North American women are on a diet. There is considerable pressure for women to lose weight and, no doubt, your co-worker is living under its influence.

(It is possible, although unlikely, she is completely at ease with her current weight and it is of little concern. The fact she is getter heavier would make this assumption doubtful.)

We can all enjoy “comfort food” and certain meals or snacks may relax us and serve as a treat at the end of the day. In her case, the situation may be similar, although there could be issues outside the workplace that are negatively affecting her emotionally.

She may be finding solace in food to the degree that is she eating to excess to “escape” from a difficult situation, such as a troubled marriage, wayward children or the need to care for an aging parent.

You may be aware of some of her circumstances although, based on your query, I would sense you are not close.

Your interest in sharing diet successes with her is laudable and I’m sure your motivations are good, but, as you imply, she could be offended if you are not careful.

Could you imagine being friends with her? She will be more open to your counsel — and respect you as an individual — if she sees you as someone who genuinely cares.

I’d recommend you allow a friendship to grow and introduce the subject of her weight, and your experience, as a natural part of a conversation.

I believe you empathize with her and would like to help her lose weight.

First, earn the right to speak through a friendship with appropriate levels of trust and confidentiality. She will appreciate you when she knows you have her best interests in mind.

 

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simon@officepolitics101.com.

 

 

 

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni ponders future of uptown train station

Developer interest in heritage building prompts discussion on uptown revitalization

Join a food asset mapping focus group in Port Alberni

Learn about food mapping heritage in Port Alberni and Clayoquot Sound

Somass River sockeye fishery estimates cut in half

Local fisheries closed; poor ocean survival a prime suspect

‘Lightning’ hits Sproat Lake for annual regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

Port Alberni track and field athletes excel at BC championships

Pair brings home titles in javelin, hammer throw

VIDEO: Plant-based burgers may not be as healthy as they seem

Both the Impossible and Beyond Burger have more saturated fat than beef burgers

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Lower gas prices slow annual inflation rate to Bank of Canada’s 2% bull’s-eye

Prices showed strength in other areas — led by a 17.3 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

B.C. moves to preserve 54 of its biggest, oldest trees

Fir, cedar, spruce, pine, yew set aside from logging

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Most Read