Why I Won’t Compliment Your Weight Loss

I won't compliment your weight loss

It’s the time of year when a lot of folks are trying really hard to be “their best selves” and get the body they’ve “always dreamed of.” For a lot of people that means ramping up their exercise and changing up their diet (two things that I think can be awesome!). Unfortunately, more often than not, the new diet and exercise come with shame, guilt, and the message that your body is only “good” if it looks a particular way.

That’s bullshit. Culturally conditioned bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless.

All bodies are beautiful, including yours, whether you lose or gain weight. Fat, skinny, in between, able-bodied, with disabilities, hairy, hairless, with or without makeup, cis, trans*, and anything else I may have left out. Your body is beautiful, and it’s beautiful that you feel good, but I’m not going to reinforce that you should only feel good about weight loss. So I’m sorry, but I’m not going to compliment your weight loss.

Weight loss isn’t always a good thing. People with terminal illnesses get reallllll skinny, but you wouldn’t compliment them on that fact. Did you lose weight because you frantically counted calories and let your diet dictate your social life? I don’t think that’s so great, and you shouldn’t either. Did you food-shame other folks because they were eating something you have identified as “bad?” I’m not going to give you a gold star for value judgments.

I know, I know, you’ve worked hard. You look good! But you’ve always looked good. Seriously. In spite of what our culture tells us, you looked good ten pounds ago.

What I will compliment:

1. Your ability to stick with goals that make you happy

2. Your willingness to try new and exciting  things

3. Your increased energy and positive attitude (a natural byproduct of healthy diet and exercise)

4. Your performance-related goals (Did you back squat more than ever before? Bitchin’!)

So, dear friends. I won’t compliment your weight-loss, but it’s not because I don’t notice. It’s because I’m sick of one indicator being used to make us chase our tails and feel bad about ourselves when we don’t measure up.

How do you give compliments that aren’t related to weight?

Share Your Thoughts