Certified intuitive-eating counselor and registered dietitian Lauren Cadillac, RD, CPT, recently posted this graphic to her Instagram page about why you shouldn’t compliment people on losing weight.
She said in her caption, “I genuinely believe that people are trying to be nice and give a compliment when they say things like ‘Oh my gosh did you lose weight?! You look AMAZING?!'” But she told POPSUGAR, “I posted it because I’ve seen the damage it can cause. From my own eating disorders to now helping people heal their relationship with food, the thin ideal causes harm to everyone. You also have no idea what someone is going through.”
She explained in the caption, “Personally the more compliments I received about my body (during my competition days) the more it kept me stuck in disordered eating. It’s hard to admit you have an eating disorder (or that you need help) when people are complimenting you for it.”
With that said, here are six reasons Cadillac believes we should stop complimenting others on their weight loss:
- It enforces the thin ideal that thinner equals better or that being thin is more beautiful or healthier.
- It contributes to fat phobia and weight stigma, meaning being in a larger body is a bad thing.
- You could be complimenting the side effect of depression, chronic illness, or an eating disorder.
- It can encourage disordered behaviors. The person may think, “If my thinner body looks good now, then wouldn’t it look better if I was even thinner?”
- It enforces the idea that our worth equals our weight. We are so much more than what we look like.
- It indirectly says the person looked bad/worse before.
If you receive comments about your weight or body, Cadillac said it’s up to you how you want to respond. If it’s someone close to you who always makes comments about how you look, you might feel OK saying something like, “I appreciate that you’re trying to give me a compliment, but it makes me a little uncomfortable when you comment on my body.” People can get defensive, though, which goes back to the point of Cadillac’s post, which is to not comment on people’s weight in the first place.