I’ve long said that I have this weird debate that happens inside of my head when I notice someone has lost weight. On one hand, I don’t like commenting on it because it implies the person looks better and 100% of the time I think they’re as beautiful without the weight as they are with it. On the other hand, if they’re working hard to lose the weight, then they may appreciate me recognizing it.
I usually don’t say anything, honestly. If I know they’ve been running a lot I find a relatable compliment to recognize THAT hard work, like “You’ve gotten so fast!” or “You’re not even huffing and puffing!” So that I notice their efforts without accidentally implying their previous body was less attractive.
This week two things happened and I realized why I’ll probably never offer unsolicited comments on someone’s weight loss (specifically) again. First? Someone on twitter mentioned that when her depression was the worst, she wouldn’t eat and people always complimented her weightloss and it felt weird because it was almost like they were happy she was depressed. Since I stress-eat I had never thought of that, so I considered that I shouldn’t mention someone’s weightloss unless I know it’s part of a healthy journey and not a side-effect of something difficult.
The second thing is that I was talking to my friend about weight gain and how these bodies we’re working to get lean again (we both are working towards the same race in the Fall) don’t bother us really as they are. But the weight gain has still depressed us and it hit me: I’m hung up on it because people comment on my weight when I’ve lost it, so I assume everyone notices when I’ve gained it and that they just aren’t saying anything.
I mean, we tell ourselves People aren’t as hard on us as we are on ourselves but what if people commented on my weight loss when I was training? This was my last “Race Day Body” – my 110K body in January 2016. As I was training I had tons of people compliment my weight loss and I loved it because I was working hard and it meant it was showing. And that body served me well on that race day and it was much easier to run with than this body now. That body weight – 133lbs – is my general race-day target whenever I’m training for something big because it’s easier on my legs and it’s a lighter body to run in.
This is my body now. I took this my first run at the YMCA last week and was trying to practice some self care because I was proud of myself. And I still am. I’ve been on track with eating and running for two weeks now and I can feel it all starting to feel right again. I did a hill workout this week. I ran 3 back-to-back double-digit days. I am feeling optimistic that training is ramping up and all is well. I’m feeling leaner already. But this body is very hard to run in. It was 159lbs the day I started back training, and I haven’t stepped on the scale since. I don’t really want to because I am having such a hard time with the weight I’ve gained, I don’t want to give those numbers more power.
But it’s hard not to remember all of the people who complimented the weight loss before, and to think: So they probably notice they gain, too. Right? And then I get depressed. And it’s dumb and illogical and I’m in a good place talking myself back from that self-criticism, but it’s there.
So I think I’ll focus on different ways to compliment people if I notice they’ve lost weight. If I know they’ve been working out or running maybe we’ll focus on that. If I don’t, then maybe I’ll try to think of some other way to compliment their hard work if they’ve been trying to get healthy – but if I don’t know anything at all? If I’m not close enough to them to know if this is a journey the’ve been on? I’m not going to offer my comments because it’s none of my business, really.
But most of all? I’m going to tell my friends they’re beautiful more often for no reason. Because I am surrounded by beautiful women in my work life, my family life, and in my friend circle. I mean – BEAUTIFUL – women full of life and love and kindness and joy and I want to make sure if I’m handing out compliments, they’ll stand the test of time no matter how much this beautiful person weighs.