Mar 25, 2011

The Things People Say

People say some strange things to other people who are losing weight. I have learned that we all have our own way of dealing with others changing around us, and most commenters genuinely mean well. And while no remark is "wrong," per se, some do come off nicer than others. Some just don't make much sense at all. Here are a few of my favorites:

First, my true favorite: anything along the lines of "You're looking good!" That's a great thing to say to anyone, whether they've lost weight or not. This comment just makes you feel great about yourself. I wholly endorse saying this to anyone who strikes you this way, because they will almost certainly be appreciative. 

Some comments leave very little room for response, like "Look at you, Skinny Minny!" Okay… well should I say "Thank you" or maybe "Look at me, indeed!" Again, I know everybody has their own way, but this one tends to seem more accusatory than anything else. I know that I'm a lot smaller than I used to be, but there truly are people out there who would warrant the "Skinny Minny" handle, and I am not one of them. Incidentally, anyone who would be in that category probably has self-image issues of their own, and wouldn't like it any more than a two-year-ago version of myself would've liked being called "Fatty Mattie." 

Another one that comes out slightly accusatory is "What size is that shirt?!" If my shirt was a size Double X instead of Medium, would it be okay to ask me this question? 

Some are meant as a joke, but when taken literally make no sense at all. Here is an example: "You keep up with your diet, and you're gonna disappear!" Another one similar to this is "You're wasting away!" Right. I'm wearing size 16 jeans, and they are not too big for me. Sixteen is not an arbitrary number, by the way; they actually make size 0 jeans. Even though I am currently very happy with my weight, and plan to lose only a little more, my BMI says that I am still technically "obese." I'm not in danger of disappearing. But you're right; if I kept up this 3.15 lb/month weightloss for 4.94 years, I would indeed poof out of existence. 

My seriously all-time favorite comment ever came from a scientist at work, which I mention only because special accommodations must be made for their systematic thinking coupled with and tendency to be socially inept. We were walking out of the office together that day, and the scientist said "Have you intended to be losing weight?" I couldn't help it, it struck me so funny I laughed right out loud. I replied that yes, indeed I had been trying. I further said that I understood the concern, because if I had been losing weight due to having cancer, for instance, it wouldn't be very nice to compliment me for it. It reminded me of Mitch Hedburg saying not to wave at people, because "What if they don't have a hand?" 

When it comes down to it, losing weight is an adjustment for everyone, not just the person who's losing it. I'm not only a brand new person for me to get used to, but for everyone else as well. When things change, people comment on the change. I take them all as compliments, no matter what the words that come out actually are. 

3 comments:

Patty @ A Day in My NYC said...

Great post! I also get a lot of the same comments. The one that strucks me as funny (though sometimes annoying) is "well, you look great now", as opposed to the not-so-great way I use to look before.

Sigh!

I know they mean well so I let it go but it is an odd comment.

hbacmama said...

What about getting "grilled" by some people about "what you're doing" to lose yhe weight? When I would reply, "I'm eating less and moving more," that was usually not sufficient and they would want a detailed breakdown of my nutritional consumption and work out record.

Laura said...

Thanks for the comments! Hbacmama, I hear ya on the "what are you doing?" comments. Recently I got that question, and when I answered "eating better and moving more," she said "Oh! I didn't want to hear that!!" I didn't ask her what she wanted to hear, but I assume she thought I had some magic weighloss stick...?

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