Whether you’re on a journey to find the love for your body or feel completely confident in the body you’re currently in, the topic of weight is something that should always be handled with care.
Weight and body image is an extremely sensitive subject that is deeply personal to each individual person. Whether you’re on a journey to find the love for your body or feel completely confident in the body you’re currently in, the topic of weight is something that should always be handled with care. And by care, I mean that it should not be openly commented on or be a topic of discussion.
As someone who has struggled with body image and disordered eating, I can confidently say that when it comes to commenting on someone’s appearance that any comments pertaining to weight, regardless of how well-intentioned you may think they are, can be damaging.
While most of us were raised not to comment on topics like weight gain, it was normalized by the media, with magazine covers showing a celeb talking about their curvier body and the diet industry, that gaining weight was not desirable. But on the other hand, losing weight was something that was celebrated and prized by the media, diet industry, and in discussion.
Things like “You look so great, how’d you lose the weight?” were compliments that were and still are acceptable. Despite these comments meant to be compliments, weight loss should not be the center of discussion or a topic, period. You never know why someone lost weight, whether it is from a lifestyle change, stress, or an eating disorder, and by complimenting you could be signaling to the person that their body looks “better” now that it is a smaller size.
While this simply just isn’t true, with enough positive reinforcement, such as saying “You look great!”, someone is bound to feel like they want to or need to keep doing what they are doing. Someone who previously may not have thought anything about their weight loss suddenly may feel like they should maintain it or keep it up in order to be celebrated. Weight is the least interesting thing about someone but making conversational topics around it sets this harmful idea that it is important and it is something to aspire to lose.
In addition to it being harmful to the person receiving it, it is harmful as a society to accept this as a normal conversation topic. Why? Because normalizing and celebrating weight loss just further plays into the toxic diet culture and media standards that women in a certain smaller body shape are to be most celebrated.
Every body type is different and every body type will have a different shape, weight, and size, and we have zero idea of what their health is nor is it our place to judge. Plus, by normalizing this idea that weight loss is a conversation topic, you are letting those around you hear that the best body to have is one that is smaller. This is not healthy and it will further perpetuate the toxicity of the diet culture that preys on young girls and women to constantly judge and manipulate their bodies.