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Dear Cassey,

I work in a male-dominated field. Long story short, I was away from my normal assignment for the past 12 months so I hadn’t seen a lot of my coworkers in a while. A male coworker recently decided to point out that I’ve gained weight since the last time he saw me. Then a few days later, he said I should really get new pants before they split. I know you had some trouble with internet trolls saying bad stuff about your body (which btw you look awesome). How do you recommend I talk to this person?

I normally get all kinds of bad comments from the public because of my field (law enforcement) but it never gets to me. The only reason this is getting to me is because it’s coming from a middle aged guy that I’m cordial with but not friends with and don’t normally joke around with.

Sincerely,

Trolled IRL

Dear Trolled IRL,

First of all – thank you for your service.

Secondly, UGH. This makes me SO ANGRY!!!! I’m sorry this happened. It is SO WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS.

I remember the very first time someone called me fat. I was in elementary school. I never thought there was anything wrong with my body until that exact moment when a girl pointed at me while I was eating and asked me “Why are you so fat?” I ran into the bathroom and cried so hard. That moment shaped the rest of my life.

Now, back to your colleague. He is being so rude, so inappropriate, and so unprofessional. Just from hearing your story, I know exactly the type of person he is, and honestly, I’d try to get as far away from him as possible. He seems like a horrible human with no manners and no regard for other’s feelings. I wonder how he was raised.

In my opinion, negatively commenting on anyone’s body (especially your co-workers’) is never appropriate, EVER!!!! Is it possible for you to contact HR and/or your boss and tell them about this? Especially since it has happened twice?

I however, totally understand that there are 2 different social consequences for dealing with this via upper management versus dealing with this directly.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to HR right away, or think they won’t do anything about it anyway, here’s what I would do if I had to deal with him – adult to adult.

I’d ask to take him aside and talk to him. Say “Hey, mind if we chat about something that’s been on my mind?” Remind him about those 2 incidents that happened and tell him how uncomfortable and harassed it made you feel. Then ask him why he felt like he needed to tell you that.

After he gives you whatever B.S. answer he decides to make up, tell him that your body is none of his business and that the way your pants fit has nothing to do with the work that both of you do. Tell him that you wanted to give him an opportunity to explain himself so that you two could deal with this privately, before it was going to get out of hand, potentially requiring you to involve other people. (Maybe that will scare him.)

If he’s a logical person who genuinely wasn’t aware of his rudeness, then he should apologize and say he won’t do it again.

If he’s a total a-hole (which it sounds like he might be), he might respond by making you feel bad for standing up for yourself. Be prepared. He might say that you’re too sensitive, that you’re insecure, that you’re making a big deal out of nothing, that you actually do need new pants, or maybe he’ll even give you a fake apology, roll his eyes, and then gossip about you with fellow co-workers about this private matter.

If this happens – you need to tell your boss or HR. If his presence makes you uncomfortable and it negatively affects the quality of your work, that is something your manager needs to deal with immediately! I don’t know how the Law Enforcement field works, but maybe he can get transferred or maybe you can request to never have the same shift as him. Whatever happens, I want to see this male colleague out of your life. He seems like a total jerk who is degrading the quality of your work experience.

Good luck Trolled IRL! You’ve got this.

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

The Conversation (41)

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  • stressed out eater says:

    dear cassey

    i really really want to eat healthier and buy more healthy foods and eat more of what you eat but it’s just so expensive, maybe it’s especially more expensive where i live (south africa) and my mother who buys all of our groceries doesn’t earn a really large salary and it always pains me to see how hurt she is after buying something so i never want to force her into buying healthier things. but i always feel like i’ll never see the results i want without eating healthier. what can i do?

  • Anne says:

    Dear Cassey, Is it okay if I ask my question here?

    My best friend has been fat shaming me for quite a while, and while I love her a lot her remarks have been getting on my confidence lately. She isn’t stopping even though I’ve told her it bothers me. What do I do?

  • Lina Hansley says:

    WOW!!! Ive never ever been called fat by anyone even though I was fat once when i was like 5. Im sooo sorry for YOU.. MAYBE EXCERCISE MORE!!! BAHAHHAHAHHAHHAH

  • angellynn says:

    Trolled IRL – You handled that brilliantly, in my opinion. I’m glad that you still had support from your partner and they respected your wishes in how you wanted to handle the situation. I hope that person remembers to use the filter in their brain before thinking of speaking to someone else in that manner again. Excellent job :o)

  • Anniebelle says:

    Girl, I am so sorry that your co-worker is being so mean to you. You are amazing and I really respect your job and the courage you show every day. You do an amazing service for our country and I thank you so much.

  • StefanieSchoeman says:

    Dear Cassey

    I live in South Africa and so I can’t ask you a question by texting you. So please mind me leaving a comment on here. Your energy and motivation has always been an inspiration. I strive to be as goal-driven as you are. I want to ask for your advice on a matter that I am struggling with. I am a high school English teacher and my days are filled with preparing for my next lessons, grading papers and getting ahead with my administrative tasks. On top of that I coach athletics after school as well as netball and in the evenings I fulfill my role as a drama teacher as well. On top of that I am busy with my postgraduate degree in Educational Management and Leadership AND I am planning and preparing for my wedding in June. How do you do it? How do you manage everthing that you need to do AND do it with a smile on your face? Sometimes it feels like I can barely keep my head above water. What can I do to get the needed energy to pack on a busy day and to stay motivated? I have no idea. Please can you help me in this regard.

    Thank you for being such an amazing role model!

  • Sharon says:

    It makes me so angry when people resort to negative comments about a person’s physical appearance. It often shows that the person making said comments feels inferior or insecure and needs to bring someone else down to feel “powerful.” And yes, it’s super important to talk to the person face-to-face and make them have to explain themselves (and hopefully apologize), but after that, the best thing to do is to keep being AMAZING at what you do. Just to remind everyone that we are so much more than our bodies!

  • Sasha says:

    Hi Cassey! I’ve been following blogilates for a long time. And trust me when i say, nothing helps me more than your channel! Thank you for always motivating us! You rock, girl❤️

    By the way, i have a question. This is kind of complicated, because this is about my boyfriend. We’ve been together for more than 7 years, and he’s a wonderful person. The only problem for me is that sometimes when i’m insecure with my body, what he does is to make me more insecure. He says things like “you need to workout” “don’t eat too much at night” “i told you to eat healthy and you didn’t listen to me” Something like that, yeah. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship before, so i don’t know if this kind of behavior is acceptable or not. Sometimes he says that i look fatter, or i get chubbier, or my stomach is bigger, but only when we’re alone. When we’re with other people, or he’s with other people and someone says i’m fat, he’ll defend me.

    He’s confusing me, if you can’t tell. But yeah, he makes me uncomfortable and insecure sometimes, but i know that he loves me. What should i do in this kind of situation?
    Thank you so much, you’re the best! We love you!

  • Isabella says:

    Ugh, I know how you feel. I had a Patient recently, Who told me I should lose weight, because it’s not healthy, and then he continued to give me advice on how to lose the weight. I thought that that was super rude, but I couldn’t hell him off, because as said, he was a patient of mine. Furthemore it was completely mansplaining, because duh, I know you lose weight if you don’t eat. But the worst thing is, that he’s been on my mind ever since. It’s really bugging me, that every time I go to get a piece of chocolate or something, I hear his voice, even though I actually am quite comfortable in my body.

  • I. Love how FIERY you are in your response, Cassey! I couldn’t agree with you more. :) Overall I just don’t make any comments about someone’s body, not even neutral ones, UNLESS IT IS SOMETHING POSITIVE!(“Your eyes are beautiful!” Instead of “your eyes are big!”)

  • Sabrinah says:

    I’ve definitely been in these shoes before, being in a male dominated field. I’ve gotten very close to quitting because of it. But thank you for this advice. ♥️ Don’t be afraid to set boundaries!

  • Silly Girlie says:

    Dear Cassie

    I’m 21 year old just about to start my career after graduation. It’s the prime time of my life, but I feel like it’s the worst one too. You see, I’ve never been diagnosed because I hide it to the best of my ability, but I feel like I have an eating disorder. I blame childhood bullying (because I was overweight) and the constant criticism of my body that others still keep shoving at my face. I’m a healthy BMI but I still feel insecure and fat in my own skin.

    Sometimes I starve myself, and after a period of that, I’ll lose control and end up bingeing and purging, do that for a few days, and go back to starving again. This cycle continues, just like it has been for almost two years. I am truly inspired by your 90 day journey and how you came to love your body as is. I really want to get there, to love myself regardless of my size, and be healthy and happy. How can I be more body positive and escape the clutches of this horrible cycle?

    • Margaret says:

      Hey! As someone who has struggled with disordered eating and has a family member who had to be hospitalized from anorexia my advice is this: please please please get professional help. Talk to a counselor who can help sort through what you are going through and feeling.

      It can be hard to find the right therapist and I know money can stand in the way but there are lots of clinics or pay what you can if you don’t have insurance or your insurance won’t cover it.

      Sending you love. I am so sorry you’ve been struggling with this! You’re not alone!

  • Amena says:

    Hey there. I’m 15 and I have body dysmorphia and bulimia, and it all started when my parents pointed out that I gained weight. Dad said my butt became so big and Mom said that my thighs became as big as hers and that she was thinner when she was my age. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself anymore. Although my parents know about my eating disorder, they still think it’s my fault and that I’m being too sensitive.

    • Isabella says:

      I am so terribly sorry to hear that. Parents shouldn’t talk that way to their kid. It makes weight just a bigger thing that it is. I know that I Probably can’t help you, because the only one being able to help you is yourself, but maybe you some day will be able to realize, that weight is just one of many factors that define us. And wether that is classified underweight, healthy weight or overweight, is neither bad nor good. Its just a neutral number on a scale, that does not define you. And having an eating disorder is never ever your fault. Maybe you can talk to your parents about that issue? Or do you have friends who can comfort you?

      Lots of love ♡

    • Eve ! says:

      hey amena!
      im 15 too:) I just wanted to thank you for sharing- and eating disorder (from experience) can be triggered a lot from people who we love and trust. I hope your journey to recovery is quick and painless. XXXXXXX

    • Anniebelle says:

      Dear Amena,
      I’m sorry your getting these comments. I too have had comments like these from people I loved and it super hard to deal with and can cause a lot of friction. Please remember you are special and cared for. Al so your not alone. I am 15 as well and struggle with self image. But you are special don’t forget it.

  • Akshita says:

    Dear cassey,
    I was a pretty slim kid from the very beginning. But at aged 17 i started having painful periods with a lot of bleeding. This went on for quite a while before i was diagnosed with PCOD. I gained a lot of weight and became a center of jokes for everyone. Even my parents made rude comments and i was depressed to the point that i started wearing oversized clothes and eventually became depressed. Although I’m trying to lose weight right now and may have lost some kilos but it still doesn’t make me feel good. Everytime i look at mirror i see a ugly individual staring back. The rude comments have settled in my conscience and i can not seem to evict them out. This makes me miserable and vulnerable all the time. Please can u help me? I’ll be grateful
    P.s I’m 19 now.

    • Anniebelle says:

      Dear Ashkita,
      I’m sorry you’ve had this health problem. You are special no matter what your weight. I am super tall and am really curvy and get teased about this even though I have a healthy weight. it’s sad that people say these things to you. I had to learn to do healthy things for me. It was sooo hard but I had to say, I’m going to be healthy for me not my parents or friends or boyfriend. If you want to loose weight all the more power to you but only do it for you. I wish you luck

  • rvjewel77 says:

    1) For a weight gain comment like his, don’t worry much. You can turn it around and say, “I am quite well, thank you.” Looks can be deceiving, so shifting the conversation to you feeling healthy will force him to rethink anything he says about body image.
    2) The trousers comment: You can say, “Thank you for your concern, I can manage my own clothing.”
    3) If he asks genuinely if you are doing okay because he thinks your weight change may be indicating something larger, take the benefit of the doubt that he is concerned to reassure him that you are doing fine. Sometimes the best help comes from the most unassuming of places, and it’s sometimes the help we don’t solicit that can bring about the best in ourselves. Weight change in either direction is not always linked to virtue or vice. Loss can be linked to the lack of eating from stress, and gain can be linked to finally eating properly and the body adjusting to a different eating pattern.
    4) If any more comments pop up from the same person in a creepy vein, take the HR advice from Cassey. The continual preoccupation with your physical appearance is not professional behavior from him because it distracts from the more important work you and your firm do.

  • Ella says:

    Hi, thank for making this series. I was wondering what you would tell someone, who has a negative self image. When it’s not someone else calling you fat, but youeself? Even thogh your brain knows your not fat. How can one break that cycle of bad thinking?

  • Ganna says:

    Being called fat or gaining weight isn’t such a negative and rude comment unless you take it that way, I think you should show him that it isn’t the worst thing in the world when someone gains weight. Don’t ignore him but don’t worry yourself over it too much, I would give a flippant response! Good luck!

    • Kait says:

      If she didn’t ask for advice on her weight herself, it’s an unnecessary comment that no guy in his right mind would ever make on a woman’s weight. She doesn’t want to know your opinion that could be taken as rude because weight is a sore subject for most people. People are over getting unwanted rude opinions that they didn’t ask for especially when they barely know that person.

  • Katie says:

    What do you do if someone tells you that you need to lose 10kg when your at a healthy weight?

    I’m 5”3 and 59kg. I know that I’m not at the bottom end of the BMI scale, but I don’t want to lose weight. (I have issues with food when I diet, ie not eating) I was happy with they way that I looked before my Aunty kept on telling me that I was overweight. I’m supper stressed now and the food that I eat is supper unhealthy…

    I don’t want to let it get to me, but she got under my skin.

    • Katie says:

      I before her comment, I was eating the healthiest, I’d ever eaten in my life

    • Irene says:

      Maybe she shows off her own insecurities. Her words don’t define who you are, it says a lot about herself. That she might be unhappy, doesn’t mean that you have to feel unhappy with yourself because of that. If you were eating healthy and where feeling good in your own body before her unwanted comment, you should keep doing what you did before that happened! I know it’s hard to turn that button to the other side, but your not helping yourself to start stressing over someone’s rude words. (there’s always going to be that one person who does something like that. If it isn’t about weight, it could be something else..) focus on the good, be thankful for all the good things in your life. Write them down, even if they are just little things. Be thankful that your feet and legs are able to take you to places! Be happy that you’re able to taste all the delicious foods in this world, be thankful to have eyes to see everything clearly and that you’re one healthy person! Just name it! If you have such a big list with everything you’re thankful for, you’ll find out that you don’t want to be dealing with those negative people and situations anymore. Let it go into one ear, but let is slip out of your other ear immediately :) hope this helps you a bit. Lots of love

  • anonymous says:

    How do I gain more self confidence???

  • anonymous says:

    How do I gain more self confidence?

  • LeahDW says:

    Hey Cassey! Adding to this question, how do I handle it when my mother calls me fat? It happens every time I see her and it has been happening since I was 10 (when she forced me to do Weighless). She bullies me and these days I don’t want to see my mother anymore, which sucks because she is my mother and I do love her.

  • chand.shreya says:

    What if it’s a woman?

    • chand.shreya says:

      Btw, really proud of the step you took

  • Trolled IRL says:

    Thanks Cassey!! I did end up talking to him with another coworker present. My partner had offered to talk to him for me but I asked him not to because then it would turn into “you had to have your man speak for you” kind of thing. He said he was just joking and I told him we’re not friends so he shouldn’t be joking around like that with anyone. I also warned him that if he does it again, I’m filing a complaint. Thank you for your support! <3

  • Jess says:

    Hey Cassey,

    I have this friend who is constantly degrading themselves and their body. Saying things like “I’m fat” and “my thighs are so big”. When she starts complaining and fishing for compliments I usually handle the situation by telling her that she’s being crazy and that I think she’s beautiful. Now I know that everyone can be insecure (I myself struggle with it, as I’m sure everyone) but it’s getting to the point where she’s making not only me but our other friends feel bad. I just don’t know how to tell her that it’s starting to make us all feel really uncomfortable without the situation escalating.

    Would really appreciate some advice.

    Thanks!

  • Stephany M. says:

    Cassey.
    I’m a big fan of yours and I think you’re the one who can actually understand what I’m going through.
    I’m sixteen years old, and I have gained weight since I’m struggling with binge eating disorder.
    I was really fat when I was a kid, and as soon as I started middle school I suddenly lost weight. I never felt bad about my body untill now, and I don’t know what to do.
    I want to lose weight and love the way I look. I work out really hard, but I just cannot see any results.
    I really need your advice. My family is not willing to support me, because they don’t want to eat healthy and neither believe that I actually have an eating disorder.
    I want to lose weight and overcome binge eating.
    What can I do?

  • Kristia says:

    I work in the fire service and in an administrative role, while I’m lucky to not get these kind of direct comments and have a great working relationship with most of my colleagues one thing I’ve found that helps is in the moment to say “well tht was inappropriate” or something similar. I personally feel a lot of guys are still getting out of the “boys club” mentality and they also don’t realize that just because iay be okay with some of the comments they make doesn’t mean I’m okay with evei. I’ve also used this one people who I’m not as friendly with when they make a comment that I find bothersome even though if a coworker-friend said it is be okay with (hope that makes sense).
    One last thing I wanna add, if there’s someone you feel comfortable talking to who isn’t HR (assuming you don’t want to go that route yet) I’ve found telling them really helpful. In my experience when they call that person out it’s more impactful and I’ve never had anything come back on me or had the original person treat me any different (thankfully)

    Good luck to you!

  • Diana MTM says:

    How did you react to being called fat in school, Cassey? You said it was the moment that shaped the rest of your life. My daughter is the target of mean things in school because of that. It’s so sad..

  • Joyce says:

    Hi I’m a fan of your from Vietnam and sorry for my English cause it not perfect
    I’m 16 and I used to be obese are I still think I’m obese now,My family have a high obesity genetic so that lead to one of the reason for my anxiety now.Most of my asian friend are skinny and cute but I’m not I’m much taller so I don’t look small like them and my bone structure is big so no matter how I still look fat and big.I train hard and eat so little and finally lost 15kg.Much of my old friend call me pig hey fatty girl and other mean names,now I change and I’m in highschool now but still I don’t look “perfect” some comment from my male classmates like oh could you fit in that cause you know your body are so big oh your arm leg are so huge but…I train everyday and I have anxiety when I gain weight if I eat something I feel terrible,now it harder to lose weight and I don’t know how? And theirs comments just borke my heart.I’m scare that they’ll judged me if I say something or I dress up.My diet and workout don’t give me any result that causes me enough stress and now this..I just can’t stop thinking about how to hate myself more
    And again sorry my English so bad…

    • BluBlu says:

      Hey! I’m not Cassie, but maybe I can help :) If your friends are mean to you, I don’t think they are good friends. Friends are supposed to be supportive and helpfull. Maybe you can try to meet new people and distance yourself from your old friends. But maybe it’s not possible. In that case, for every mean thing they say to you, say something really good and really nice about yourself (I know it sounds silly, but don’t let their negativity affect you, because in the long term it will cause more stress and anxiety). Every time they say something mean, remember that it’s only their opinion, and it reflects the fact that THEY have an ugly personnality and THEY are insecure if they feel the need to bring down other people. So you have the right to be good to yourself, you have the right to stand up for yourself, you have the right to feel beautiful. Tell yourself that you are smart, that you are a good friend, that you are resilient, that you are motivated and dedicated (it takes a lot of strength and motivation to do what you do), tell yourself that you are beautiful, because you are.
      I think most of the time, when people make negative comments about others, it’s because they themselves feel bad (maybe they don’t get attention from friends or parents, maybe they feel ugly physically (yes, even people you think are beautiful and fit the standard of beauty can feel ugly), maybe they are bullied by other people, maybe their parents don’t love them…). They feel bad about themselves and they try to put the spotlight on someone else, so others don’t see how miserable they are. In that case I think it may be good to look at anti-bullying techniques so they leave you alone and treat you with respect (because you deserve to be treated respectfully). Like, maybe when they say mean things to you, tell them in a really sincere way “Hey, why are you trying to make me feel bad today? Are you feeling bad yourself?” or “Hey, you are always so mean and negative lately, is everything all right? You can talk to me if you want” (I know, it seems ridiculous, but chances are they will feel unsettled by the naivety of your question so they won’t know how to answer, and you will also bring the spotlight back on them. Plus, you should not try to insult them back or whatever, because it could easily escalate in violence. Try to stay confident, down to earth, and positive). Maybe right after they will try to regain “control” over the situation and insult you again, or say something even meaner than before or say that you are not fun, that’s because they are panicking and trying to put the spotlight back onto you. Stay calm. Say something like “hey I was just worried about you, if you need a friend I am here”. Before they looked like the “funny” guys, but now they will look like the bad guys because they were mean to someone who was really kind to them. And also you showed them that you were not affected by their comments. Chances are, they will not insult you anymore (maybe they will still try once or twice, just to make sure they really can not get to you, but if you keep being nice and showing that their opinion does not affect you, they should leave you alone). We don’t control what others think of us, but we control what we think about ourselves. Thinking negatively about you will not help, but being kind to yourself will make a huge difference. Aknowledge your progress everyday, no matter how much weight you lose, no matter how “imperfect” you think you look. Tell yourself that you are proud of you for getting up, for exercising, for taking care of you, for being nice, for being smart, for all the little steps you take in trying to be a better version of yourself. Be proud for not giving up when you face obstacles. Be proud of yourself even if it takes a long time to surpass a specific obstacle. Not everyday is a good day, but you are still trying everiday and you should be proud of yourself for that. You have to teach your brain to be kind to you, and you have to learn to be your own best friend.
      Concerning your weight loss, I’m not a doctor, but I think maybe all the stress, the negativity, the fact that you don’t eat a lot and the fact you train everyday may put your body in “survival” mode. Which means it will store everything you eat because it thinks you are in danger and need a lot of provisions to survive. So diminishing your level of anxiety could help, as well as eating enough to sustain the level of exercising you do and making sure you have a day or two of rest (meaning no exercise) every week. Since you are a teenager and your body is still developping, over exercising and not getting enough rest can be dangerous for your health and cause exhaustion (which could cause more anxiety and also prevent you from losing weight). Exercise should not feel like torture, It should be fun, and make you feel good about yourself. And eating should not feel like torture either. Try to find people who will be supportive. I don’t know your economic situation, but if you have the budget for it, you can maybe join a sports club (You’ll know it’s a good club if you feel welcomed in it and if people are more interested in sharing their passion, rather than making comments about other people appearance or gossiping). Maybe also join a cooking class, so you can have a healthy relationship with food and perfect your cooking skills. But if you don’t have the money for that, well at least there is youtube :)
      Finally, you said there was a genetic condition regarding weight gain in your family, so maybe go see a doctor to make sure you’re doing the right things for you (maybe some foods are causing allergies, or are not absorbed well by your body, maybe you have a deficit in some nutrients or vitamins… all of this could interfere with your metabolism).
      I hope this helps a little bit :) remember that you are not alone, and you deserve to be treated kindly by others and by yourself.

  • believedreamachieve1 says:

    I love this post so much. Thank you for being a huge inspiration <3

  • Chanee says:

    I’m sorry that happened to you. Since I’m not in the situation it’s easy to come up with a retort along the lines of what makes you think you are THE person who needs to say that to me? Who do you think you are? I read somewhere that ppl commenting on someone else’s body are insecure with their own. I hope Cassys advice helps you and this person leaves you alone

    • Kbean says:

      Law enforcement is a toughie. The comments about the pants, I’ve personally dealt with. I work in a very male dominated field and this commenter was “the class clown” so to speak. When he made his comment, I lost exclaimed ” why the h-e- double hockey sticks are you looking at my arse when you’ve got you’re own work to do!”. It emasculated him, but the point was made and he later asked me why I called him out. I just let him know that my body changes are none of his business even if it’s from a place of concern.
      I was called many derogatory names behind my back, but the co-workers that I respect and likewise did not participate. The opinions of those others do not matter.
      I like your response Cassey and I hope this person can take it and make it work for them.

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