Congratulating Someone for Losing Weight Isn’t Always Validating. Here’s Why.

One’s life should be celebrated regardless of size, weight, color, and wealth. No one should ever feel excluded when they don’t meet the beauty standards accepted by a lot of people. Nowadays, people must learn that commenting on someone’s physical appearance, especially their size, is rude. Even though it’s out of “concern,” keep the opinion to yourself. People are going through something in their lives that might affect their physical appearance. Be kind instead of giving unsolicited advice.

Photo: Unsplash/Taylor Smith

Another issue about pointing out someone’s physical appearance is the notion of congratulating them for losing weight. People suddenly respect others more when they become skinny and more petite. They shower them with compliments they hadn’t received when they were still plus-sized. People on the receiving end might not take it well.

Also, congratulating someone for a successful weight loss is not necessary. No one knows why they lost weight. Congratulating them or giving compliments isn’t validating — mainly when their reason for losing or gaining weight is due to mental and physical health issues.

Photo: Unsplash/i yunmai

One Reddit user brought this issue online — a topic many must pay attention to. With the topic’s relevance, euisalk’s Reddit post received 12.4k upvotes and 1.4k comments. In her post, she shared her weight loss journey and how it affected her relationships with others. OP has struggled with being bullied ever since she was a kid due to her size.

People keep pointing out that her lifestyle choices aren’t good for her. Her thoughts were filled with comments from people who couldn’t leave her weight alone. It’s as if she wasn’t trying hard enough to fit into their “health” and “beauty” standards.

“I got to a point in my 20s where I decided I didn’t care anymore. I was fat, and that was that. I stopped efforts for intentional weight loss and started moving my body because I enjoyed it, and it alleviated my depressive episodes. I also went vegan for Lent 3 years ago and never stopped after the 40 days,” OP shared. She decided to stick with her lifestyle and naturally shed lots of weight. It’s her right to be happy about it, but the treatment she got from other people made her furious.

Photo: Pexels/Andres Ayrton

With the evident changes in her physical appearance, people became more accepting of her. Personally or through social media, she suddenly became attractive to others. It was saddening to see that the requirement to stop all the bullying was to change herself. All the compliments made OP feel like she did not deserve validation before because she was fat.

You couldn’t deny that it was undoubtedly fatphobia, and it’s disappointing that a lot of people are experiencing it. Those compliments can easily damage someone’s perspective about themselves, and it’s ridiculous that being fat is much more unacceptable than their superficial way of viewing people.

The situation became more problematic when OP snapped during a family event. Left and right, she kept on hearing wonderful things about her body. They kept asking about her secret — until she couldn’t take it anymore.

Photo: Pexels/Mart Production

OP wrote, “I told them, very curtly and firmly but never shouting, that it’s disgusting how they treat me. How the cousins who never invited me on girls’ nights now want me to hang with them. How people are now talking to me about things other than work and taking a genuine interest in my life. How they’re not even trying to conceal their fatphobia. It makes me sad that I could have had the love and support of my family all these years had I not been fat.”

Her family defended themselves by showing “concern” about her health, and she retorted by making her high-functioning alcoholic cousins an example. Her cousins weren’t unfairly treated due to a “health risk,” as they see being fat as a much more serious issue. Despite being invalidated by her relatives, even her own family, euisalk was supported by the Reddit community. People couldn’t help but send lengthy comments to help OP feel she isn’t alone.

“Rarely am I this proud of an internet stranger. NTA in the least! As someone whose weight yoyos all the time, I get so irritated at comments about how good I look minus ten or twenty pounds, or the laughable times when I’m actually heavier than normal, and someone asks me if I’ve lost weight. So damned insulting to comment on someone’s body, even when you mean well. Good for you for caring more about yourself than people pleasing,” Stunning-Currency-95 commented.

Photo: Pixabay/zuzyusa

OP replied and clarified what bothers her the most: “Another reason I hate the comments is that it puts sooo much unnecessary pressure on me to stay this size! Like, will they go back to treating me poorly if I regain the weight? Sending you hugs.”

Maintaining body weight is indeed tricky. It’s scary to know that once you go back to being a plus-size person, those “concerned” people will be mean and condescending again.

The comment section of euisalk’s post became a safe space for people like euisalk. Weight loss is a personal journey that no one else has a say in unless they are medical professionals. Complimenting them for being healthy differs from glorifying a thin waist and a flat stomach.

People trying to lose weight are already having a hard time, and family and friends shouldn’t be an added factor in why they lose confidence in themselves. If you have a similar story to euisalk, feel free to share your thoughts. Engaging in a conversation with someone who understands can freshen your perspective.

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