When a friend, family member or co-worker looks to you as though they’re achieving fantastic weight loss results, you may feel inclined to comment. After all, anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that it isn’t easy. Doing so successfully is deserving of a compliment, right? Not always. In fact, less than you might think.
Naturally, if your friend walks up to you and excitedly declares that she’s thrilled about reaching the ten-pound milestone of her diet, you should feel welcome to celebrate with her. It’s not that weight loss results are a taboo subject. The difference in this case is that your friend brought up the subject specifically and opened it up to discussion.
The situation is very different when the comments are unsolicited. When someone hasn’t brought up the subject, but you decide to throw them some praise for their obvious weight loss results, you could be saying something you genuinely don’t mean. Consider some of the reasons this can be harmful:
It is not uncommon for people who comment on weight loss results to overlook other important achievements because they are focused on what they see. This is not at all intentional. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that they feel lost weight is more important than the other achievement. It is simply a side effect of being comfortable with such unsolicited comments.
An easy example of how this can happen is in the case of singer Adele at the end of 2019. She closed the decade with 15 Grammys, millions of records sold around the globe and even became a mother with the birth of her son. However, the most media attention she received was at the end of 2019 when she posted holiday pictures of herself online, revealing that she had experienced substantial weight loss results.
Headlines mentioning that she appeared “skinny”, “gorgeous” and had undergone a “transformation” far outnumbered headlines that occurred following her other professional and life achievements. Based on unsolicited comments, it suggested that her appearance was far more important than her talents. It is this exact message that we may send when we comment on the weight of others.