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Here’s Why I’ll Never Compliment Someone’s Weight Loss

Shira Rosenbluth

Let me start off by saying that I genuinely love giving people compliments. I love spreading kindness and when it comes to compliments, I don’t hold back. With that being said, I will not compliment someone’s weight loss and I don’t think you should either for the following reasons:

1. Complimenting weight loss reinforces the myth that being smaller is better. It also places the value of who you are as a human being on your body size. I would hope that we wouldn’t define ourselves by the clothing size we wear but instead by who we are as people and how we choose to live our lives. We live in a world where we’re constantly told that being fat is the worst thing you can be.

People come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I will not participate in reinforcing the idea that you are now more worthy of acceptance and love because you lost weight.

2. Someone’s weight loss can be from a sickness, severe stress, or an eating disorder. I have two recent examples that happened in my life. I posted a picture of my grandmother and me at my cousin’s wedding. Someone sent me a message saying that they were jealous of my grandmother’s size. Well, the truth is my grandmother recently lost too much weight and could not eat because my grandfather has been in a coma for the last two months.

The other example is a friend of mine who recently relapsed with anorexia. She went from being considered “overweight” to a more average weight and of course no one suspects an eating disorder in people in higher weight bodies. Well, every time she gets a compliment from an acquaintance telling her to keep it up, it’s reinforcing her eating disorder behaviors. She’s being praised for starving herself and no one knows!

The problem is that people suffer from eating disorders in ALL body sizes so you truly cannot tell when someone is suffering. You never know why someone lost weight so it’s better not to comment on it.

3. Diets typically fail long-term. Research shows that dieting doesn't work for most people and can lead to shame and dissatisfaction. There are so many ways to enjoy nourishing and moving your body without turning to dieting. Encouraging weight loss as a goal overlooks the negative impact of dieting.

Here are examples of compliments you can give that are NOT body or weight related:

  • You're intelligent.
  • You matter a lot to me.
  • I love your creativity.
  • You have amazing taste in ________.
  • You are so kind hearted.
  • I wish more people were like you.

Shira Rosenbluth is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals with eating disorders in NYC and runs a body positive style blog at asequinloveaffair.com. You can find her on Instagram @asequinloveaffair.

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