Let me start off by saying that I genuinely love giving people compliments. I love spreading kindness and when it comes to compliments, I don’t hold back. With that being said, I will not compliment someone’s weight loss and I don’t think you should either for the following reasons.

Complimenting weight loss reinforces the myth that being smaller is considered better.

It also places the value of who you are as a human being on your body size. I would hope that we wouldn’t define ourselves by the dress size we wear but instead by who we are as people and how we choose to live our lives.

We live in a world where we’re constantly told that being fat is the worst thing you can be. Like it’s some sort of plague- oh wait, it is! It’s an actual epidemic. We’re telling fat people they need to be eradicated and that’s a huge problem considering we come in a variety of shapes and sizes and fat people are not going anywhere. I will not participate in reinforcing the idea that you are now more worthy of acceptance and love because you shrunk a few sizes.

Someone’s weight loss can be from a sickness, severe stress, or an eating disorder.

I have two recent examples that happened in my life. I posted a picture of my grandmother and I at my cousin’s wedding. Someone sent me a message saying that they were jealous of my grandmother’s shrinking waist line. Well, the truth is my grandmother recently lost too much weight and could not eat because my grandfather has been in a coma for the last few months.

The other example is a friend of mine who recently relapsed with anorexia. She went from being considered chubby or fat to a more average weight and of course no one suspects an eating disorder in people in higher weight bodies. Well, every time she gets a compliment from an acquaintance telling her to keep it up, etc, it’s reinforcing her eating disorder behaviors. She’s being praised for starving herself and no one knows!

eating disorder

The problem is that people suffer from eating disorders in ALL body sizes so you truly cannot tell when someone is suffering. My friend does not need praise for starving and purging the little she does eat.

You never know why someone lost weight so it’s better not to comment on it.

And lastly, research shows that almost everyone (around 95%!) who diets will regain the weight back within a few years – sometimes ending up at an even higher weight than before the diet. I wouldn’t want to compliment someone’s weight loss and contribute to them feeling badly later on when they likely gain it back.

Here are examples of compliments you can give that are NOT body or weight related:

You’re intelligent.

You matter a lot to me.

I love your creativity.

You have amazing taste in —-.

You are so kindhearted.

I wish more people were like you.

I wrote this post originally for NEDA blog here. Read more about my thoughts on dieting here and why the term “clean eating” is dangerous AF here.