I recently experienced something and while this person meant to pay me a compliment on my weight loss, what they actually said was pretty hurtful. And it made me realize that sometimes people just don't know what to say when someone you know has lost a lot of weight. Like, what are you supposed to say "Wow you look so much better now?" "Wow you're a different person?" "It must feel nice to be thin, eh?"
I've heard all of these and while every single one was meant as a compliment, every single one stung a little bit.
So what does one say to someone who's lost a lot of weight? Let's talk about it:
First of all, positivity and genuineness is essentially to any compliment. But, instead of saying "Wow you look so good now!" Try something else, like, "You look so healthy! What have you been doing?" Give your friend or coworker a chance to open up about their journey, they're probably pretty excited about it.
Instead of saying: "Wow you're a different person!" Try saying something like: "You know I think I like you even more today. You look great."
Instead of saying: "It must feel nice to be thin, eh?" Try saying: "I love that top/those pants/etc, do you think they have it in my size?" This compliment is a zinger on so many levels. First of all, the person who has lost tons of weight is probably estatic that they can fit into non-plus sized clothing (don't get me started on that) and is waiting to gush about their latest shopping trip. Plus, you've acknowledged the weight loss without actually acknowledging the weight loss. It's my favorite type of compliment.
This kind of goes for the friends you know who are struggling with weight gain or loss as well. Sometimes they might need a little healthy encouragement and that does not mean you start quoting the diabetic handbook to them or repeat the Nike slogan "Just do it!" 100 times. Instead try these:
"You know, if you feel like you need to lose weight, your body is probably telling you you're right. Why not try cutting out one non-healthy food item, and adding 10 minutes of exercise to start?"
It's simple, it's easy, and you can do it with them.
Another could be, "Changing your habits can be really hard and it takes time. Don't forget to be patient and when you're ready you'll get there."
And my personal favorite is this, "I know you want to lose weight, and I know it's tough to change, but in one years time you're going to look back at today and wonder why you didn't start then."
This is a little more tough love, but honestly it's exactly what prompted me to begin getting fit again. And it's not my quote, it's someone else's (I can't find it).
My hope with this post is not to say "all individuals who are overweight need to lose weight" and it's not to say "you must compliment everyone" it's more of a guide for human nature.
I recently texted Brian this exact thing: "My favorite part about weight loss is learning what people really thought of you when you were fat. I'm being sarcastic. It's awful and hurtful."
Offering up some unwarranted and free advice is what this post is about. And really, that's what a blog is, right?