What is it with losing weight that suddenly makes your body weight open to discussion… with pretty much anyone!
Let me run you through a little conversation I had with a Dad of a a party. I had meant this dad once before, the day before I gave birth to my youngest.
Him: Wow! I didn’t recognize you.
Him: Yeah you’ve changed loads.
Me: Kids tend to have that side effect.
Him: No, you’ve lost a lot of weight haven’t you?
Me: <thinking I’d hope so since you last saw me, I was 9 months preggo> Well yeah I guess so.
Him: You were a lot … er… bigger … weren’t you?
Me: (A little uncomfortable) Yes. I s’pose.
Him: Well done you.
Me: Er Thanks… (and for the double edge too, that was especially nice).
So that was a conversation with someone, practically a stranger, who last saw me at the hospital when I was full term. Great small talk huh?
But these conversations, mostly with mere acquaintances, come around often when you have lost weight? People want to know how much you’ve lost (the mathematicians), how you’ve done it (the scientists) and what motivated you (the psychologists). And when you give them the answers they are always disappointed, “so it wasn’t a magic chocolate bar that turns calories into toned muscle and all you have to do is eat 5 a day, which is easy as it tastes just like Cadbury’s?” No, it wasn’t.
And there’s nothing wrong with complimenting someone on losing weight, but just remember you are still commenting on somebody’s body. It’s personal. And there are ways of doing it without insinuating “you were a right porker before weren’t you?”
Last week I was at playgroup when this conversation took place.
Random Grandparent: My daughter asked me to ask how long it took you to lose 3 stone.
Me: A stone and a half?
Me: I’ve only lost a stone and half.
RG: ARE you sure? My daughter was sure it was 3 stone.
Me: Pretty sure it’s only a stone and half.
RG: Well, someones told her it’s 3 stone.
The someone was obviously not me, as I’ve never spoken to her daughter. But nice to know me and my body image is being talked about.
Over the last 6 years (since having my first baby till last summer) I have yo-yoed between a size 14 and a 16. In November my Mum decided to join WW for medical reasons and I joined too to give her support and finally get back down to a size 12!
I am pleased with my DRAMATIC weight loss (1 dress size people but lets not get carried away). But I’m still the same person, just now I can never buy the clothes I want because no one stocks enough size 12’s right? And with “that tonne of weight” was how I looked like for 6 years. I’d rather not think that it was that ghastly.
So how do you avoid the double edged compliment?
Well firstly avoid these…
“By ‘eck you’ve shifted some weight”
“Bloody hell you’ve lost a tonne!”
and maybe opt fo a simple…
“You look good/great/fantastic/happy”
Still not sure on what to say when someone’s lost weight? Just say nothing at all. That’s perfectly acceptable too!