Today’s society sees weight loss as this wonderful, magical thing that will make all your dreams come true, take away all your problems and bring world peace. In reality it usually makes you miserable from chasing unrealistic expectations, exhausted from the extremes we take to shift those last few digits and hungry.
We seem obsessed with weight, whose losings it, whose gaining it and the who’s where’s, what’s and how’s in size and numbers. It’s unhealthy in many ways and causes issues even when not intended. Discussing people’s bodies, especially things they may already be very worried or self-conscious about is never helpful and can fuel a person’s self hatred.
Although you may mean it with great care and love, comments on the bodies of others is never really needed or wanted in most cases.
Things not to say to people:
Wow have you lost weight? – So what if they have. For all you know it’s due to health, don’t be another person getting on at them or another person making a person feel like they matter more because of their size.
Maybe you should watch what you’re eating. – Maybe you should watch what you say, don’t judge a person for what they consume, it’s not your body so you don’t get to decide how it’s fueled. Yes aid someone struggling, but don’t bring guilt to food.
I wish I was your size. – This can sound like a compliment but can spark triggers in a person, you have no idea what’s caused a person to be the size they are.
Have you seen how much weight has xyz lost/ gained? – Again not your body not your concern.
How do you stay so small? – This could again be due to illness, mental health, a strict diet or simply a person’s genetics.
That’s not really made for your size though is it? – If it’s made in my size, then it’s made for my size.
I wish my xyz was as small as yours/ as big as yours. – Again this can be very triggering and gives the mindset we should all fit a mould. You are perfect as you are.
How much more do you need to lose? – Not everyone wants to discuss their weight. And again, it’s not your business unless the person outright tells you. Stop bringing number’s into conversation unless you work in a bank or as a math teacher.
You look so much better now. – This almost implies there was something wrong with the person before. That they had to change and everyone else thought so too.
You really need to put more ‘meat’ on your bones. – If you have a concern offer support not unsolicited advice. Some people are fighting hard to gain weight but it’s not an easy battle, don’t make it harder.
What about the stretch marks/extra skin? – This is a concern for so many people on both weight loss and weight gain journeys, they don’t need reminders of the implications to finding their natural body size.
I prefer the way you used to look. – Well Babs, I prefer when you keep your mouth shut. This will always be a crappy thing to say, people change all the time and often for the better. Don’t turn what could be healthy growth into a bad thing.
You’re too skinny – For some weight gain is a real struggle. It doesn’t happen naturally for everyone, this can again be because of illness or genetics. Calling someone out on what’s already a fight doesn’t help anyone.
You’re bound to be that big after four kids. – It’s just really a pretty crappy thing to say. Body’s change all the time despite children. Degrading someone who’s body has done amazing things to bring life to the world is never called for.
I’d kill for your figure – Some people are killing themselves for their figure, just think about that.
Look at your body! I’d never tell you had a kid. – May sound like a compliment, but it can again be very triggering. It also fuels the ‘snap back’ mentality.
How will you keep the weight off? – People don’t need reminders of the hard work they face every day.
That’s really bad for you. – Again Babs with the unsolicited advice! No matter what behaviour or things you think are bad for you, don’t push them onto other people. They also probably already know the implications.
You should probably eat more/less. – Its not your concern. That person knows the situation, they are trying, let them work it out. Also people like to enjoy things in their own way, let them.
You’ll be even bigger when you start eating properly if you keep this up. – Ah yes, thanks for that. The one thing that’s become a great fear being used against you. For some it’s been a tough journey to a healthy lifestyle and you are just relighting all those toxic thoughts from before.
You just need to lose the baby weight. – Babs, just do one! The last thing any new mother needs is to be judged for is her size after the amazing things her body had just done. Give it a rest, let them enjoy that bundle of joy and any snack you can get when your not feeding, cleaning, changing, tidying, soothing, doing laundry, shopping, cooking, sorting milk, nappies and the 1000 other tasks you have to do in a day with a baby whilst still trying to hold your shit together!
Try instead complimenting real things you love about a person. Tell them how amazing their hair is, how you love that shirt, shoes, how they sparkle when they talk about something they are passionate about. Compliment their smarts, their kindness and the way they make you feel. Remind that person you are there should they need you for anything, let them know you love them and that to you, they are perfect!
Remember that there is so much more to a person than their size and shape.
Love and hugs,