From the archives. In 2013 the blog wasn’t even a year old and we were pretty focused at that time on getting our core themes out there. One of them that we have sustained throughout is the the theme of encouraging everyone not to preoccupy themselves with weight loss (their own or others).
This was not just for friviolous reasons. Fixating on weight loss as a thing that is assumed to be positive, policing others’ bodies in a way that makes it normal and natural to “compliment” someone when they’ve lost weight (even if you don’t know whether they wanted to–see our cautionary tale), and externalizing your fitness efforts so that your “success” is measured by the number on the scale, are just some of the ways we miss the mark when it comes to fitness.
Our aspirations for ourselves and hopes for others can come from a more loving place. One way to start on that new road is to refrain from offering “you look great, you’ve lost weight!” as a compliment.
Last week, a friend reported how horrible she felt when someone in her workplace whom she didn’t know very well complimented her on her recent weight loss. As it happens, my friend is losing weight to prepare for a figure competition. But this remark made her question her “before” look. In her case, her “before” body is the one she has whenever she’s not prepping for a competition because the competition body isn’t sustainable. (see here for why that’s the case)
Implicit in the so-called compliment about weight loss is the assumption that you really didn’t look so great before. But now! Wowza! Looking good!
There are lots of reasons to think that you’re not doing anyone any favors by trying to give them the “look at you! You’ve lost weight!” compliment.
1. When we think of it in that way, it’s not such a great compliment. It’s a set-up…
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