I’m going to tell you up front that this is a blatant rant. There are no helpful tips, or delicious recipes. Just me on my soap box.
It really drives me CRAZY when you see someone or meet someone and the first thing they comment on is your looks. There are a whole slew of comments that irk me, but especially when people say “you’re too _____” or “you’re so _____”. I mean who are they to judge if someone is too anything? Even though I’m sure many times it comes out of a good place, or simply something to say, it really annoys me when someone says, “you’re so skinny”. I immediately become defensive like you’re saying to me “you’re so obnoxious.” Maybe it’s just the English major in me overanalyzing the word, but I envision an emaciated person when someone tells me I’m skinny. I work SO HARD to be STRONG and balanced, that it is probably one of the most offensive things someone could say to me. I probably have the same reaction. I always feel like I have to justify myself, then I get annoyed at the justification. I KNOW I’m healthy. I KNOW that I eat well and workout hard. I KNOW that I don’t over exercise or over/under eat. I know this, but I still feel compelled to justify myself.
Perhaps these statements are a function of our society (this definitely has a lot to do with it) or perhaps it is because I am in the fitness industry (I am sure this plays into it a bit, but this always happened to me long before I became a trainer). The reason I post pictures of my body is not so that everyone and their mother can come up to me and give me their opinion of what I am or am not doing right with my body (however, I understand I will receive such comments on the internet). The reason I post these pictures is to show people that they can reach their goals. I have been on all ends of the spectrum. I have been skinnyfat and dieting, I have been average, I have been overweight, I have been pregnant, and I have been healthy. My journey is long and I want to share that in hopes to inspire others to take control of their life, the way I have been inspired to take control of mine.
First of all, immediately commenting on someone’s body when you first see them says that their body defines them. There is so much that defines me. I am stubborn, hard working, dedicated, ambitious, loving, quiet, passionate, empathetic, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a million other things before I am a 5’8” female with a particular body.
Second, if you are truly concerned about someone’s health, making a passing comment of “you’re so skinny” or whatever, does not show care. Who is going to respond to that? You will be met with defensiveness and the person will likely shut down. Just like it is inappropriate to tell someone who is overweight that “they don’t need to gain anymore weight” it is inappropriate to tell someone who is smaller “you don’t need to lose anymore weight.” Why not approach them with love and understanding. If you are concerned with someone’s weight wouldn’t it be better to sit down and have a conversation? It could go something like this, “This comes from a place of love, and I am not judging you. I have been concerned lately about your health. You seem to have gained/lost weight and I am worried. Is anything happening to cause this? Can I help in anyway? How can I support you?” Maybe it sounds silly and basic, but if there is any sort of problem (which there may not be) you would get a much more open response to this approach than simply telling someone what is “wrong” with their body.
It is also important to consider where someone is in their journey. Maybe they use to be obese, and have fought hard to lose 50+ pounds. Maybe they use to struggle with an eating disorder and have fought hard to put on weight. Both would require a huge overhaul in their mindset, and comments about their body may make it hard for them to move forward. I challenge you to focus on not commenting on someone’s looks when you first see them. Of course, a compliment of “you look healthy” or “you look fit” probably feels great to someone who has been working hard to meet their goals. I ask you to consider commenting on their mind before their body. Maybe I am being naive, and our society isn’t ready to view people beyond their looks, but I am still going to get on my soap box and rant about it.