Why "you've lost weight!" is not a compliment to me

In the last few days, several different people have said to me some version of “you’ve lost weight!” And each time it’s felt like nails-on-a-chalkboard level annoyance to me. I know these comments were only meant as a nice thing to say, so I’ve been digging into my brain to try to figure out why it bugs me so much…

Here’s the thing: Yes, I’ve been eating well lately - nutrient dense, mostly at home, no drinking - all the stuff I normally do 90% of the time, but that can sometimes slide a bit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, because… life. I’ve also gotten back to lifting heavier weights again, making time to sit in the mid-day sun, going on more walks & hikes, getting as much sleep as I can...

So, in a way, I understand what the people who said this to me meant to say. (Which might have been better stated as “you’re looking good” or happy, or healthy, or rested... Any number of other things that have to do with the actual thing that *I hope* is noticeable, which is that I FEEL great.) 

But we still live in a culture where losing weight is thought of as a good thing, and gaining weight is a bad thing. Which is NOT necessarily the case. So many people put massive emphasis on this one particular measure to equal whole body & mind health, when in reality, there are SO many other factors that indicate and contribute to health & happiness.

I’m frankly quite sick of the importance we give to the number assigned to the force of gravity holding us to the earth.

I haven’t weighed myself in probably three years, so I don’t have a clue how much I weigh. I could venture a guess, but in the last 10 years I’ve done a lot of work on trying to disconnect my weight from my worth. There are so many other defining qualities I’d rather be recognized and appreciated for. It’s continued work, to rely on and trust how I actually feel in my skin, to guide me, rather than a number.  

So someone telling me I look skinnier, or asking if I’ve lost weight, bugs the SHIT out of me, for several reasons:

1. I don’t know

2. I don’t care (well, I maybe still kinda care, even though I don’t want to. See #3 below. But 99%, I don’t care.)

3. I immediately think: the last time you saw me, you thought I looked bad or unhealthy or whatever you want to call it - WHICH SHOULDN'T MATTER - but it still does occasionally matter to me because a.) I’m a human, who was once unhealthy and overweight and sensitive about it still in my weaker moments, and b.) I’m a trainer and I still battle with being in the public eye and thinking that people scrutinize what I look like as a professional, more so than others. It’s these little things, the 1% of me that still cares what anybody else thinks of me, that I’m still working on from years of low self esteem, that are brought up with this kind of comment.

4. Currently, I’m not TRYING to lose weight or "get skinnier"… I’m trying to get stronger, healthier, faster, better, (harder to kill, as Steph from @stupideasypaleo says), smarter, & more radiant as I age.

5. I really like muscles and those aren’t light.

6. And this is probably the MOST important one: It's not anyone's business what you weigh. (except your doctor, and the guy checking you in for the tiny plane flight to the outer islands in Fiji.) And it's ABSOLUTELY not ok for anyone to be monitoring your weight, and CERTAINLY not ok for them to make an unsolicited comment about it. 

 

So I’m not sure exactly how to wrap this up except to say, let’s please be mindful with how we "compliment" each other. Consider someone's journey that you may know nothing about. Take the emphasis off of looks, and onto energy. ASK, and listen. 

And let's allow for many standards of beauty and COMPLETE acceptance of ourselves, in ALL states and stages.

If all else fails, saying "you look happy” has surely never made anyone feel bad, right? :-)

And REMEMBER:  Your WEIGHT in NO WAY equates to your WORTH.

Chime in… I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

xo January