You stumble upon an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile. You immediately notice she’s lost quite a bit of weight. Do you comment on her body? Or do you move on to the question ‘HOW ARE YOU?’
Let’s talk about why we need to back off the body comments.
Take your long lost friend for example. She may have lost the weight in a healthy, balanced fashion. BUT she may have lost that weight due to sickness. Perhaps she’s depressed. Perhaps she’s silently struggling with an eating disorder.
The point is…you really don’t know HOW a person got to be to where they are. The same goes for weight gain. We may mean well. We may think we’re complimenting the other person. We may not be aware of how body comments can negatively influence someone’s self image.
“My co-worker said I was BIG BONED today!” one of my girls told me frantically in a text message.
My blood started to boil. The protective friend in me couldn’t help but get defensive and angry. Regardless of the definition of ‘big boned, whether you think it’s positive or negative (FYI: big-boned, adjective 1. of larger than average build) or if the person ‘meant well.’
Why are they commenting on HER body? Why is the amount of space we occupy of any interest to anyone else?
My friend battles with her body image. Regardless of her co-workers intentions…she took the comment negatively. The comment festered inside her and she thought about her body for the rest of the day.
She’s not alone.
As my restrictive eating and compulsive exercise got worse and my body thinner the comments rolled in all the time.
You’re so thin you’ll disappear if you turn to the side”
“You look like you need to eat a sandwich”
“You’re getting way too *insert body comment here* (lean, muscular etc.)”
“Even YOU have stomach rolls…” (YES someone said this to me as they grabbed my stomach)
These comments wrecked havoc on my disordered mind.
Now as I openly struggle to recover and gain weight I am well aware that the comments will shift. I remind myself to stay focused on my journey and MY body.
Other people’s comments say more about THEM than they do about us.
So let’s stop and think when we’re tempted to comment on someone’s weight or body size. Throw out a compliment that IS NOT appearance related. Brighten someone’s day with one of these gems:
Back off the body comments and let your friends know they inspire you.
xoxo Collette Marie