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What I Need My Family to Know Before Pointing Out My Weight Gain at the Holidays

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When you have a chronic illness, sometimes you’re not always in control of what happens to your body. One of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease is unexplained weight gain, which is something (for me) that’s pretty noticeable. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, this topic is usually the first thing brought up by visiting family members. Honestly, whether or not I had gained weight is really none of anybody’s business, but they always felt the need to point it out to me as if I didn’t already know.

“You’ve gained weight since I last saw you.”

“I see that you’ve finally put on some weight.”

“I thought you were trying to lose weight?”

“You were so tiny freshman year.”

These comments can be hurtful, especially from family members or “friends.” Eventually, I got tired of hearing them, so I started responding with the truth.

“Yeah I know, and it’s because weight gain is a symptom of my thyroid disease.”

This always comes as a surprise to them. A lot of times the response was not, “Are you OK?” or “How are you coping?” but “Oh. I never knew you were sick.”

You’re right. You didn’t know. But I don’t think that excuses the things you said. In fact, it’s the reason why you shouldn’t have been so judgmental. You have no idea what I’ve dealt with, what contributes to this disease, how it makes me feel, or what it does to my body. Yet, you still felt you had the right to call me out on something I can’t control.

So the next time you want to express disapproval over my body, please do me a favor: Don’t.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 23, 2016
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