Home > Fat Acceptance, HAES > You look great, have you lost weight?

You look great, have you lost weight?

You have no idea how g-d irritating that statement is to me.  I know people mean well.  I know that we live in a culture where thin is in and fat is hated.  But just take a moment to think about the implication of that statement.

“You look great, have you lost weight?”

Meaning, if I didn’t lose weight I look like crap?  Meaning if I gain the supposed lost weight back I look like crap?  Meaning that how you look is more important than how you feel?

I already know that I’m fat.  And I know that because of that most people think that I look like crap, whether it’s true or not.  I don’t really appreciate having that idea reinforced on a regular basis.

My weight noticeably fluctuates regularly so I hear this statement a lot.  And I really want to tell people to knock it off, but I realise that believing in Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size puts me squarely in the vast minority.

And I have been guilty of saying the same thing in the past.  I just hope I didn’t offend the person I said it too.  I no longer think it’s appropriate to comment on other people’s weight loss or weight gain for several reasons (unless it’s so extreme that there might be some underlying health issue).

1.  It’s not my place to comment on the state of other people’s bodies, whether it be calling them an anorexic toothpick or a giant fatass.  I don’t like it done to me so I won’t do it back to other people.

2.  Weight loss could be due to illness, and I wouldn’t want to congratulate someone on that.  What an ass I would feel like if I went to someone and said “you look great, have you lost weight?” and the response is “yeah, I’m getting chemotherapy now, I was just diagnosed with cancer.”  Way to make the other person feel special!

3.  I wouldn’t want to congratulate dangerous, unhealthy behaviour.  Losing weight by drastically reducing your caloric intake, cutting out carbs, taking diet pills, exercising excessively or only drinking milkshakes is not healthy by any definition.  I wouldn’t want to help reinforce that kind of behaviour.

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Categories: Fat Acceptance, HAES
  1. Miriam Heddy
    February 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

    My personal favorite response to this is, “Huh. I didn’t even notice. I hope I’m not getting sick!”

    • February 9, 2010 at 10:26 am

      I like that one :). I’ve started saying “I hope not!” and then I like to watch the puzzled look on people’s faces.

  2. Merricat
    February 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I keep wanting to say “yeah,my anorexia’s been acting up” when I get this from people who haven’t seen me in a while who always say this, but I haven’t got the nerve. What I’m wondering is, after I’ve recovered and gained some of the weight back, is what people are going to say then. In fact, I’m terrified of it, because as every anorectic knows, part of the allure of the behavior is the encouragement from everyone around you. It’s just so pathetic that size is considered such a big part of looking good. I’ll have to make sure myself that any comment I feel I must make on someone’s appearance has to do with their personal style, not their size. “i love your outfit/hair/glasses/style!”

    • February 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

      Yes, that’s a huge problem too. People don’t realize that a simple comment could send someone back to their eating disorder. I wish it was possible that all body-related comments come with a trigger warning.

  3. WRG
    April 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

    I used to get that line quite often even when my weight hadn’t changed a bit. Then I would ask myself, “Do I leave the “impression” of being heavier than I actually am in people’s minds? And then they have to “correct” that impression when they see me again?” Strangely enough, now that I’m getting older (almost 54), no one notices what my weight is. I can actually lose weight and no one says a thing. Now I’m just perceived as old and out of the game, so to speak.

    In any case, even if I have lost weight, I prefer people to just tell me that I look great–that is, if I look great, not necessarily thinner.

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