Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I'm one of those people who has lost a lot of weight, and based on a lot of blogs I've read recently, I guess I'm not alone in being annoyed by some of the questions and comments I get from people (some well-meaning and some just gossipy and curious). So I'm putting this list out there for general consumption.
Without further ado, the Top 5 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Lot of Weight:
1. "How much weight did you lose?"
Unless you are really close to the person or you've shared the numbers or weight-related info in the past, don't ask this question. I've been asked it by a few and I know that some are just curious as to the breadth of my acheivement (which is fine) and I know that others are just mentally trying to figure out my starting weight (not so fine). I can almost see the wheels turning: ("OK she lost 90 lbs and she looks like she's around 200, so... wow, she was pushing 300!") You wouldn't ask someone their weight straight out, so this question should almost always be similarly taboo in places that are not weight loss-related communities (i.e. Sparkpeople).
2. "How did you do it?" (if you don't really don't want to hear or believe the response of "Watching my food intake and exercise.")
This question can go extremely well if the asker is looking for honest advice for how to lose weight. But if not, this seemingly innocent question can turn ugly quickly when the asker is disappointed that the answer is smarter food choices and more movement and is looking for the name of a quick fix diet or another solution like gastric bypass or band surgery. So unless you want an honest answer and will not question or judge someone's methods, stay away from this one.
3. "You look so much better now!"
This is just backhanded, pure and simple. I don't understand why you can't just give a compliment without degrading the way a person looked before. I understand that I was very fat before. I'll never forget that. It has made me who I am today. But I think I looked good, just not very healthy. You wouldn't go up to a person who had a mole removed and say "Wow, it looks so much better now that you got that thing chopped off!" and so it should be with weight loss. "You look great!" will suffice just nicely.
4. "You're a whole different person!"
No, I'm not. I'm the same person. My personality did not change, nor did my thoughts or beliefs, or my profession or my family or friends. I may look different, but at the core, I am the same person. I still eat creme brulee and mojitos and I still love TV and movies. The difference is that I eat these things less and I watch less TV in order to make time for exercise. I got a few new hobbies. Those minor changes does not a different person make. I'm not ashamed of who I was before. I loved that person, fat rolls and all. I just needed to feel better, get healthier, and make life easier for myself. Life is not easy for a morbidly obese person.
5. "I could never do that."
Yes, you could. And by saying that you couldn't, you're elevating me to some kind of Superwoman when I'm just a mere mortal who REALLY wanted to lose weight and got SERIOUS this time. As much as I'd love to be Goddess of the Universe, I'm just not. It pains me to see a person elevate me (and thereby denigrate herself) by denying that weight loss is possible for her. You can do it. And it will be hard at times, especially at first. And you might not lose weight as quickly as I did. But living healthy and making better choices is completely possible for anyone out there.
So there's my Top 5. How 'bout you? Do you have any to add to the list?
EDIT: Oooh, I do... EXTRA CREDIT!
6. "You should stop losing weight now. You look good the way you are."
I just got out of the obese BMI category and you're telling me to stop? Why? Because I'm smaller than you now? Because you liked me to be the fat friend to make yourself feel better? Say it with me, "It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" I don't know what my goal weight will be, but I know it's not now. I've got plenty of more work to do!