I had to lose weight three times in my life. First, in my 20s when I gained 40 pounds during uni, secondly, after my first pregnancy where I gained 45+ pounds, and thirdly, after my second pregnancy where I gained 50+ pounds. All three times it sucked. There is nothing fun about having to lose weight. Nothing.
But the worst part, worse than the hangry, crankiness you feel all the time because you're not able to eat whatever you want, worse than the fatigue and soreness from all those intense workouts, worse than looking in the mirror and realising you still have more weight to lose; the worst thing is the comments. I never thought seven little words would make me cringe so much and conjure up so much anger. Every time someone gleefully smiled and said, "You look great, have you lost weight?" I wanted to punch. them. in. the. face.
I know, I know. They had good intentions. It was supposed to be a compliment. But it's a shitty compliment, that could actually be hurtful. Think I'm overreacting? How can I not? All I can think is did I not look good before? Was I ugly when I was fat? Am I only beautiful and worthy of love and attention when I'm thin?
And then the panic sets in. What if I gain the weight back, and every time those people see me, they'll just see a fat, ugly me? For someone who's really sensitive about their weight like I am, it can cause some pretty unhealthy behaviours like working out twice that day or depriving myself of dessert later.
And another side to the coin is that losing weight sometimes isn't a good thing. Maybe the person was really depressed about a recent breakup or a death in their family. Or maybe they're suffering from being sick, or they're battling with an eating disorder. You just don't know.
Maybe you disagree. Some people would love it if another person noticed all their hard work in slimming down, but there are other ways to convey that. "Wow you look really strong, I'd love to work out with you!" Or, "You seem full of energy, have you been doing something differently?" Or maybe, "You have this glow about you!" Or how about, "You look really healthy, can you share some tips with me?" Of course you could always just avoid the issue altogether and say, "You seem really happy and that makes me happy!" All of these show genuine care for the person's well-being without focusing solely on their size. It makes them feel proud and inspires them to keep on their healthy path in a positive way.
So the next time you notice someone's dramatic weight loss, keep this in mind. Words are more powerful than you think, and choosing yours carefully can make the all the difference in how a person feels. Be the one that lifts them up.