Let’s Talk: Is it OK to tell someone they’ve lost weight? 45

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It sounds like such a nice, friendly, encouraging thing to say. “Have you lost weight? You look really good”.

But it’s really a social minefield. Here’s a few reasons why.

Slightly awkward

First, in essence it’s just a big, red-flag way of saying that you used to be fat. That’s not necessarily a completely positive thing to remind you of. What follows could well be a feeling of awkwardness by you, and then the “complimenter” when they notice yours.

While the awkwardness is spinning around it could well have you questioning yourself; “Did I look that bad before? Have I lost enough weight yet?”

Of course the awkwardness might not happen, and it might simply be taken as a compliment. But there’s a decent chance that it won’t.

Over the past 2 years or so I’ve dropped about 8 holes on my belt. No idea how much I lost, but all those belt holes that I don’t use any more certainly means something good. When it’s noted by others, I do feel a little awkward. But it’s OK, it’s only a slight case of the awkwards for me.

Very awkward

Then there’s the negative side to weight loss… illness and calamity. If you haven’t seen the person for a while, or you don’t know them terribly well, you might not know that the change was due to ill-health.

Has the person recently gone through a divorce? Or suffered a death in the family. You don’t want to be bringing up loss of weight when it has been caused by despair, or depression.

A better idea

Here’s a idea, In future, instead of asking “Have you lost weight? You look really good”, just cut it in half:

You look really good.

It works well in the lost weight situation, and has the added benefit of making someone be happy and fell good about themselves at any time!

How about you? Have you had to field this question… how did it make you feel? Or have you been the questioner in this situation? Let us know your stories in our Comments section.


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. No, how about “How are you? You look well.” There is a difference between well and good. Tell someone they look well (healthy) and let her/him elaborate.

  2. My SIL has had chemo for cancer and it was so joyful for my husband to say to her. “You’ve put on weight” The happiness in his voice says it all – not the words.

  3. I have never found it a problem … When I know the person is genuinely doing there best to lose weight .. And has accomplished noticeable lose …. To tell them how wonderful they look … How proud I am of them …. And not to give up ….. I usually get a hug …. I think it’s nice for people to recognise that persons struggle

  4. Some people put on weight when they are depressed , comfort eating is common. If someone said to me you have lost some weight I would be very happy & take it as a complement.

  5. It is taboo talk! Skip it, go to next topic, “What have you been eating? “

    10 REPLY
  6. …it’s better than…”eat something!”…which I get constantly!….my reply is..”I’ve always been this BIG!!”…btw, I’m 56…5 ft TALL…and weigh about 43 kg…:)…andI eat really good, healthy food..always have.

    3 REPLY
    • Our weight, big or small, is no one else’s business. I have started to tell people that “if it wasn’t for people like me that no one would realise how good you look”. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they are too thick and take it as a compliment!

  7. im tired of it and it hurts. no differemt than saying boy your fat! insulting. im thin from grief stress diabetes and trauma. lucky to be alive so shut up insensitive people.

  8. I lost 18kgs when I was seriously ill. A lot of people told me how good I looked. My mother told me how proud she was of the way I now (then) looked, when at a party with me.
    One friend, only, came up to me, with a worried look and commented that I had lost a lot of weight and asked if I was ok. Her sincerity and care, nearly made me cry. She was the only one who cared about me and the reason behind the weight loss.
    I will never forget that, Caroline Barila ♡♡♡♡

    6 REPLY
    • The kindness and support you have shown me through out the years don’t even compare. The love, care and education on life that you have given me in my early adult years were so important and made a massive impact on my life for the better. That Lorraine Ratcliffe will stay in my heart forever. LOVE U xox

    • I’ll go the other way ….. I had always been slim, due to medication (steriods) I have put on weight. When I bumped into an ex sister-in-law, she said ‘oh, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who has put on weight’. I didn’t respond !

    • ..I like you, Lorraine..and best of luck with all your future endeavours…and thanks for your kind comments…same…same.. xx TKB…:)


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