Your Thoughts

This is going to be a bit of a rushed entry on my part.  A discussion was started in the comments over on Tarable’s website in regards to whether it is or is not appropriate to comment on people’s weight loss.  There were only three of us in on the discussion so I wanted to hear other people’s opinions.

To make it easier for you, I work down the hall from Tarable and Princess Darcy is my sister (who does not work with us). 

Princess Darcy Says:  Also, I have a question…(and I’m not sure I can make it sound not rude, so bear with me and know I don’t mean it rude at all!)
When I lost a lot of weight, ppl used to say that to me too… have you lost weight or how much have you lost or ‘you’re looking good..wink wink’. And I used to think it was in very poor taste. Because to me, it’s the polar opposite of not having said ‘my, you’re looking fat today’, ‘how much have you gained’ etc… so I was just wondering what your take on it was? Because to me, it’s quite rude, and would be the same as saying to someone, wow, you’re smelling a lot better… which obviously means that previous, you stunk… I hope that didn’t sound rude… I’m sure the person that mentioned it to you was someone close to you or someone who’s opinion you respect and wasn’t just a new dude on the plant floor, but still it begs the question…
and btw, you do look fabulous!

Lady Shanny Says:  I agree with Princess Darcy…somewhat. I’ve actually been giving this some thought myself but from a different perspective.I’m starting to find the whole weight loss thing self-serving. At no other time in life do people approach you and make comments about how wonderful you look. It’s almost as though I wonder if we gain weight (subconsciously of course) so that we can lose it and have everyone be bowled over by how wonderful we look.I get where Princess D is coming from in that yes, it is the opposite of asking someone how much weight they’ve gained. But the fact remains that if you have more to lose than a couple of pounds, people noticed that we were fat. We wear our secret on the outside. To dupe myself into believing that nobody noticed that I was carrying around an extra 80 pounds would be the equivilant of jamming my head in the sand.

In conclusion, from my perspective, people can just keep on commenting….bring it on! Because this is HARD WORK and deserves some recognition!

Tarable Says:  Princess Darcy,  You have totally and completely freaked me out now. I JUST had this EXACT conversation with your sister. We said some of the VERY SAME words that you just said.We said that some people feel that it’s improper to comment on somebody’s weight loss because they would/should never comment on it if somebody was gaining.“My my Tarable, you look really fat today”

And I’m ok with people not commenting about the weight loss if that is how they feel. It is nice sometimes to hear those encouraging and uplifting words. Because while I was gaining it, the silence was just as good as if somebody had told me how fat I was getting.

Your comment is not rude at all. Freaky, but not rude.

Princess Darcy Says:  I suppose I agree that it’s no secret that when you’re fat, you’re fat. However, Alcoholics carry their secret on the outside too some of the time… ppl know… they don’t say anything, but they know… so when someone drys out, do you then run up to them and congratulate them on being strong enough to kick their addiction? Not unless you are very close with that person.
My point I guess is thus:
Being overweight is a stigma. People tend to think you’re dumb, smelly, gross, unkempt, unhealthy etc… (not all people, but it is a direct stigma). So they feel ENTITLED to then comment on the difference… It’s just like when ppl say ‘oh, you’re looking so stylish today’, and I want to say ‘what, I look like a friggen bag lady the rest of the time?’.
Personal preference I suppose that people keep their opinions to themselves, unless they’d like to share something personal and private about themselves that I can comment on at will…
D
P.s. dammit… now you’re going to start looking for those cameras and microphones I put up…

Tarable Says: No I totally understand what you are saying. And I happen to agree with you. I hate the stigma that goes along with being fat. And I think people do feel that they are entitled to comment when you change yourself from being so dumb, smelly, gross, unkempt, unhealthy to being a more worthwhile human being just because you’ve shed some weight. Really, that train of thought is terribly wrong.

*************************************

So what do you guys think?  Do you LIKE when someone comments on your weight loss?  Or does it feel like they are really just telling you that you were fat before and now you look reasonable?

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12 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    January 11, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I personally want someonte to notice that I have lost weight (25 lbs!). I just bought new jeans, a size 16 (thank you) and no one, other than my family has said boo about them. Then don’t need to say over-the-top things, but something, anything would be nice.

    I guess I need a little bit of validation besides seeing the scale move down. I know that sounds a little backward. It seems like the numbers slowly move down, but no one notices that I look better/different/smaller (?).

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Comrade GoGo said,

    January 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    This is a tough one for me, because where do you draw the line? I mean, for instance, is it okay to compliment someone on their hair? Or will they automatically assume they looked like crap before and get offended? I would hope not, but I don’t know. Everyone’s different.

    For me, the effect of a weight-loss compliment often depends on the person speaking and their relationship to me. The phrasing of the comment also affects my feelings about it.

  3. Sybil said,

    January 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I struggle with this issue too and I totally know what your sister is saying. I mean really, was I such a fat miserable example of a human, just because I weighed more? The answer is no.

    I went back to visit immediate family during November. I had lost about 20 pounds and many inches at that point (it was quite evident) yet no one in my immediate family said a word. Was it because they DIDN’T notice? Because they did yet felt they didn’t want to say something? Jealous? Who knows. I was surprised though.

    Then there are the people at the gym…. Periodically, someone will come up and tell me how good I’m doing and to keep up the good work. Some have commented on the weight loss but I think these people are giving more healthy encouragement in a general sort of way.

    I guess the total over the moon best situation for me is when I notice I’ve lost weight or toned up. I had a moment like that yesterday at the gym. I was in the mirrored room (which I typically hate) and when watching myself in the mirror, I actually recognized and acknowledged that my body was changing. THAT was a nice feeling. That made it worth every moment I’ve spent trying to figure out how to move and feed this body of mine.

  4. Krystle said,

    January 11, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Personally, I want people to comment on my weight loss. I have already accepted the fact that I was indeed fat before, so for them to notice that I am trying my hardest to get healthy… makes the weight loss all the more worth it!

    I’m not saying I’m losing weight for other people to notice me, but it definitely boosts the ego, and I feel better about doing it.

    It’s what keeps me going! But, I agree with Princess D on the fact that, “So, I was a fat slob before?” I’ve thought about that, myself… but, don’t let it bother me. I knew I was fat(ter) and now I’m trying to better myself, and I strive off of people recognizing me trying to better myself.

    That’s just my open-onion (opinion, ha!)… Teehee!

    ~Krystle
    http://formywedding.wordpress.com

  5. Siggy said,

    January 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I think that we as a society do not compliment nearly enough. Especially from a man to woman.
    You see, everyone is so darned polotically correct, and as a result feel it is inapropriate to compliment.
    A simple “you look nice today” is taken soo out of context by some that they right away feel like it is sexual harrassment.
    I for one (ask Shannon) try very hard to give credit and compliments whenever I am able.
    I like to have people notice weight loss on me. I have been large for a long time. It’s a lot of work and yes, I do deserve to have people notice. it just takes a bit of tact to notice the other side (yes those pants are getting tight, lay off the pizza). I for one will strive to compliment the men and women I come in contact with,because it makes me smile and I enjoy seeing the reactions.
    Maybe one day I may get an adverse reaction, but until that point…Look out, because I may leave you speechless.
    As a smart lady once told me “How do you fault someone for calling you Beautiful?”

  6. Princess Darcy said,

    January 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I guess part of the reason as to why I’m usually offended when people say things like that is because I don’t notice on other people at all! You could lose 50lbs and I probably wouldn’t notice. Not because I’m stupid or blind, but because that is completely irrelevant to my interaction with you. 50lbs overweight? 10lbs overweight? 30lbs underweight? I’m not likely to notice, so when someone changes, I’m not likely to notice that either. So then I think, if other people do notice, then is it because it ISN’T irrelevant to their interaction with me? (I’m not talking about family or your closest friends, or people at the gym, who incidentally can comment all they want, since you’re both there for a common purpose)

  7. Anonymouse said,

    January 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    This is really making me think… Off the top of my head, yes, I did like it when people complimented me on my weight loss. I was just a little disappointed that my parents didn’t notice that I’d lost almost 30 pounds (years ago). I had to tell them, and then they said they thought I did look different. My sister noticed and complimented me right away and that felt good.

    Now I’ll have to think hard before I compliment another person on weight loss. Because I am a very visually oriented person and I do notice.

  8. Marueze said,

    January 11, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Great Topic!
    I’m a Leo so I enjoy any compliments I can get. With the weight – when I’m working it I work it so compliments are appreciated. Sometimes we don’t see our progress. But I do have that internal dialogue with myself – well what did they think I looked like before, etc. I know for me being 6′ tall when I lose 10 lbs because it is stretched out over my frame it is as if a shorter person lost 5 lbs so I believe that on me 10 lbs isn’t that noticible. Let alone when I mention my goal weight 180 – 190 lbs people’s eyes saucer because for many of the ladies that is more than their starting weight. I used to weigh 160 lbs in my 20’s – it was good but I was very slim. I got to 170 lbs in my 30’s and I was told that I was too thin – I’m just trying the best I can.

    This reminds me of a conversation that I had with the receptionist at my Chiro’s office many years ago. She was a lovely young lady, with a weight problem who when I first started going to the Chiro didn’t wear make up. She started wearing make up. I paid her a compliment saying that she looked really nice when I saw her. She thanked me and said she was trying different make up and stuff but she was offended when people who also had believed they had complimented her by say “wow, what have you done you look so much better in makeup.” Had just pissed her off. Just the slightest change in the verbage of the compliment had insulted her.

    I work in an office where people are constantly complimenting each other. Some of the individuals are sincere, others are just kiss butts.

    I agree with the individual who said that we aren’t complimentary enough to each other.

    I know myself it changed a whole relationship that I had with a guy just by the fact that he said to me that I didn’t look the same as I had when we worked together.
    Granted I had lost 40 lbs, cut all my hair off and had on an outfit that happened to look really nice. He said it wasn’t that I didn’t look great before…I just carried myself so much more confidently because I was feeling better about myself. Maybe that’s what counts.

    Hope I wasn’t too scattered for you all.

  9. Bev said,

    January 11, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I agree with Marueze. Often it is just in the way we present to other people, the clothes we wear, how we carry ourselves, even our moods. People don’t know how to identify what ‘IT’ is, but they know something has changed. Society is so weight conscious and weight sensitive, that may be why some people don’t ‘notice’ the weight loss. And much of it is in the phrasing, how well you know the person, if the comment seems sincere.
    I get much more satisfaction dressing well, being confident, happier and feeling good inside than I do from someone asking if I’ve lost weight.

  10. ladybeams said,

    January 13, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I always love being complimented on how good weight loss looks. I do understand Princess D. A couple of times when I got complimented for the weightloss, someone nearby would say “Are you saying she was fat and didn’t look good before?” Those comments were usually made just to rib the person who complimented me more than anything. Personally, I never took the compliment that way. I guess I knew I was overweight, I didn’t find it surprising that everyone else knew it too. Now that I have gained the weight back and trying to go down again, I am grateful they don’t say “You sure have put on some weight, haven’t you?” I’d probably want to kill them once I got over the embarrassment.

  11. katapilla22 said,

    January 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Now I’m going to come across rude, and I haven’t yet read any of the comments above….but I think I need to say: take a compliment for what it is, a compliment.
    In my opinion, there is more judgment in assuming that the other person thought you were ‘blank’ before, then there is coming from the compliment in the first place.

    I once took this course once (some sort of self improvement type one), and one of the first group assignments was to go around and compliment ppl we did not even know. The compliments flowed easily from person to person (remember, no one knew one another until this point) but the point of discussion after the exercise had to do with how ppl excepted these compliments. And almost everytime, the person being complimented could not except it for just that, a compliment. They had to either play it down and turn the topic away from them.

  12. namastelove said,

    July 1, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Personally I really like it. I was aware of being obese before, so I assume others around me knew it as well. Also, I’ve always been very open about my goals for a fit and healthy lifestyle, so all my friends, family, coworkers, etc. know that getting to a healthy weight is a part of that lifestyle goal. The only thing that really annoys me is when people want to ask me how I did it after complimenting me, which makes me tempted to be a smart-alec and say, “I did it on the nothing-but-ice cream diet.” or something silly like that just to show them how dumb they are for asking me…don’t we all kind of *know* what it requires by now? Don’t you have to be living under a rock to not know these days?


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