Hi! Before we begin, I am going to put a trigger warning on this post for references to weight and eating disorders.
My weight and self image has always been something that I struggled with. I actually haven’t really thought about it in a while until one comment sent my mind back into a tailspin. With the holiday season in full swing now, I thought that it was high time to give everyone a friendly reminder so let’s get to it:
Due to COVID, it has probably been ages since people have seen their friends and family for a holiday gathering. In that time of everyone staying in and turning to video chat to connect, people’s bodies could change. Whether weight was gained or lost during that time it is NEVER your place to say anything. Why ruin someone’s day with a completely unwarranted comment?
Weight is a sensitive subject for many people and it is also something that can fluctuate for a multitude of reasons. Of course, it’s not anyone’s business but the person themselves and here are a few of many reasons for weight change: Medication, eating disorders, an illness, depression, PCOS, and so on and so forth.
I, myself, am well aware that I have lost weight thanks to everyone and their brother telling me. Just this past week, one of my old skating coaches who I haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic made it a point to tell me that I “trimmed down”. Little did he know, my weight gain came from a time of serious depression and a binge eating disorder. He also has no idea that I am a recovering bulimic.
What this person thought was a compliment hurt me deeply and it took me back mentally to when I could barely stand to look in the mirror. So, yeah, “you lost weight” is a statement that is filled with negative connotations when the person didn’t volunteer information like that they dieted or went to the gym.
Commenting on someone’s weight after you haven’t seen them in a while also can make it seem like the person’s self worth is directly correlated with how much they weigh. A true compliment if you feel the urge to say something would be that “you look happy”. And, if you’re unsure: Say nothing at all.
Words have power and as a writer, I know this firsthand. What my old coach deemed innocent enough has still been swirling around in my head days later. In fact, it originally made me not even want to go back to that rink at all. That’s pretty sad considering how much I look forward to my time on the ice.
This holiday season, I urge all of you to keep things merry and bright and leave comments about weight off the table. Chances are, your words are going to linger well beyond the holiday gathering.
Can anyone relate to the above sentiments? What is your favorite compliment to give? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah