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15 Responses To Unsolicited Comments About Weight

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What Are Unsolicited Comments About Weight? 

We all know those one-liners that make our skin crawl.  Better referred to as: unsolicited comments about weight.  

Those comments make it clear that the person speaking to you clearly believes your body weight, shape and size are somehow attached to your value.  

These comments might make you feel uneasy, icky, unworthy or even slightly unnerved by the fact that you might feel a sense of accomplishment by the fact someone appreciates you take up less space in the world. 

Unsolicited comments about weight might include one-liners like: 

  • Wow! I can’t believe how much weight you’ve lost. You look great!
  • Looks like you’re putting on a little extra weight this winter
  • Are you really going to eat that?  
  • Just watch your portions! You’ll lose weight!
  • Look how skinny you are! 

Whether we want to admit it or not- these comments don’t really make anyone feel good in the long run. 

Further- If we don’t speak up about how they make us feel the offender is likely to continue body image abuse on others. 

Weight-related comments are a result of long-standing thin privilege in western culture which allows some bodies to simply exist as they are and others to endure scrutiny and oppression.

While comments about weight loss (a socially idolized behavior) can feel good at the moment, we are likely feeling mixed emotions regarding the fact that someone values us MORE simply because we weigh LESS. 

Let’s work through some ways we can gently toss these unsolicited comments about weight to the curb!

Weight Comment Examples And How To Respond

Let’s work through some of the most common weight comment examples and how to respond.  

I want to acknowledge here that not everyone will feel the same level of security when responding to weight-related comments. You are not doing anything wrong if you aren’t ready to take the plunge into weight comment retaliation.

For example, those with bodies on the smaller end or the weight spectrum may feel a lot safer with witty responses to weight-related comments.  

If you are just getting started with body trust, you might choose a more gentle response to weight-related comments or to simply remain silent. 

If you’re in a space where you feel good about responding to weight-related comments, here are some common comments and possible responses. 

  1. Maybe You Shouldn’t Eat That
  • I definitely know what my body needs. Thanks.
  • Maybe you should stop embarrassing yourself by trying to determine what someone else’s body needs. 
  1. I Feel So Fat Today
  • Fat is not a feeling. 
  • Try tapping into the actual emotion you’re feeling and go deeper. 
  • By what standards?
  • I don’t make judgements about people’s bodies.
  • Comments like that don’t make anyone feel good. 
  1. Wow. You/They Have Really Gained Weight
  • I notice you spend a lot of time analyzing people’s body weight/shape/size. Where does that come from?
  • Thank goodness YOU don’t have to worry about my/their body.
  • I finally got to the weight i’m supposed to be and I feel amazing.
  • Don’t I look great! I’m finally happy and comfortable with my body.
  • Thank you for noticing.  I’m not planning on losing weight.
  1. I’m Going On A diet After Today
  • I’m the wrong person to talk to about that
  • You know I love you not matter what size your body is or what you eat 
  • I’m actually working on making peace with my body and food because dieting has. caused me a lot of trauma. Would we be able to not talk about dieting while i’m here? 
  1. You Are Fat
  • Excuse me, I’m pretty busy admiring my perfect body right now.
  • Fat isn’t a bad thing. But you might want to be careful using that word around others who are more sensitive to its negative social stigma. 
  • I’m still fucking awesome.
  • Lets talk about more important things.
  1. We/I/You Need To Work Out
  • I don’t work out to lose weight or my curves. 
  • Others may not like it, but I think my body rocks just the way it is. 
  • I might enjoy working out. But no one needs to.
  1. Wow! You’re so skinny!
  • Your focus on my body makes me uncomfortable. 
  • My Body is the least interesting thing about me.
  • Was that supposed to be a compliment? 
  1. Wow! You Look Great! You’ve Lost So Much Weight! 
  • Oh, I hope not. Did I really lose weight? 
  • Was that supposed to be a compliment? 
  • I have better things to worry about than gravity.
  • I just have really good bowel movements.
  1. You’re Just Too Big To Wear Those Types Of Clothes
  • Clothes work for my body. Not the other way around. 
  • I look hot in this outfit. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. 
  1. Do You Really Need Those Calories?
  • Absolutely! 
  • I don’t appreciate you commenting on my eating habits. 
  • My body, my choice!
  1. I Don’t Eat Carbs/Sugar/Gluten
  • Great! That means mor for me.  I really love this dish.
  • I trust my body to figure out what I need.
  • I don’t deprive my body of the nutrients it needs.
  1. But There Are So Many Health Problems With Being Fat
  • The problem is- research is actually very limited in this area. Studies rarely include stress from weight stigma, restricted access to healthcare, racial discrimination, and disordered eating.
  • Health exists on a spectrum.  Many contributors to poor health outcomes are overlooked BECAUSE someone is fat 
  1. Wow, You Look Great For A Mom
  • My goal is to appreciate my body for what it has done.
  • I’m a mother and I look like one.
  • Thank you for complimenting me on the least important part of parenting.
  • I have a cesarean scar. I love that scar 
  1. Make Sure You Don’t Gain Too Much Weight While Your Pregnant, You’ll Never Get Your Body Back! 
  • I’ll take those pounds and this feeling.
  • My body will still be there, just like it has always been there for me.
  1. You Shouldn’t Be Hungry Already!
  • My body needs fuel. It tells me when it needs to happen. 
  • I listen to my body’s hunger signals.

How Should You Comment On Someone’s Weight?

The correct time to comment on someone’s weight is never.  The correct way is not to do it. 

However, if you’re sensing rigid diet patterns, significant intentional weight loss, or other clinical signs of malnutrition it might be a good time to explore further to see if someone has an eating disorder.

Those with intrusive thoughts about their foods or their body may experience an extremely loud eating disorder voice, body dysmorphia, or be preoccupied with avoiding fear foods.  

They will likely feel guilty after eating food, which could cause avoiding certain foods or all foods altogether.

Why It’s Wrong To Comment On Someone’s Weight

The top reasons you should stop commenting on someone’s weight are: 

  • It tells the person they hold more value in a smaller body or a body that fits your needs
  • You could be complimenting an eating disorder
  • You could be complimenting a medical issue
  • The person might be experiencing something traumatic (such as a divorce or a loss). Complimenting weight might escalate the feelings they already have. 
  • We could be intensifying food restriction, excessive exercise or other ritualistic behavior
  • We’re projecting our own desires, needs, and insecurities onto someone else
 
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Witty Responses To Any Weight Loss Comments

Here are some good general responses to ANY weight or food related comments: 

  • You shouldn’t comment on people’s bodies unless they’re on fire 
  • I don’t talk about weight, politics, or religion 
  • My body is the least interesting thing about me. 
  • I will never feel guilty for choosing myself 
  • I am not obligated to prove my worth 
  • I’m under no obligation to pursue health to have value 
  • I think body image is a very personal thing. 
  • I prefer you don’t make comments about my/her/his body.

Stop Commenting On My Weight! 

While all of these witty comments to shut down weight and food stigma in its track are great in theory, putting them into practice might be quite a bit scarier. 

If you are ready to pull out some of these comments and feel confident and safe in doing so – all the power to you!  

If you are ready to bust out the witty responses to unsolicited comments about weight just yet here’s some other ways to stop weight comments in their tracks: 

  • Simply remain silent following the comment
  • Leave the room
  • Change the subject

Believe it or not these actions are often just as effective as a verbal response. Both verbal and nonverbal responses to weight-related comments will get the person commenting to ponder why they’ve made the judgment and comments in the first place. 

Prepare Yourself For Weight Comments In Advance

Let’s face it. There are times in our lives when we just KNOW the weight comments are going to be rolling! These often include holidays or other social gatherings. 

Our families for some reason often feel the most inclined to have every opinion about our weight and food in the world! 

Although these situations can be difficult, there are things that we can do to prepare ourselves in advance.  

  • For those you trust, write an email or letter in advance explaining your new journey with food freedom and diet culture divestment. Request they refrain from discussing diet or weight at the table.
  • Create a safe space in your head. Not everyone will be on board with your new freedoms. You might say things to yourself like

Things that you might say to yourself to prepare is to agree to mentally recite one or more of these mantras if weight or food-related comments come up. 

  • They do them, I do me
  • They’re still caught up in diet culture. It takes time for everyone to move past this.
  • I know where I stand and what’s right for my body. 

When it’s not possible to verbally retaliate or move to another room, I like to simply envision myself in a metal suit of armor.  I pretend that the negative comments are beads bouncing against my sleek metal suit and rolling away from me. 

Weight Focused Comments Hurt Everyone

There is no good time to comment on weight. There is not time in which commenting on someone’s body weight/shape or size will have a positive result.  

By advocating for ourselves, we are ultimately advocating for all people in all bodies.  Shutting down weight centered comments immediately delivers the message that you do not value a fixation on body size. 

It also gets the other person thinking about why they DO value body size to such a great extent.  And that really is what starts the cycle of change. 

Do you have any other awesome responses you’ve used when it comes to unsolicited comments about weight? 

Drop them in the comments below.

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Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I'm an eating disorders dietitian in Washington state. I hold bachelors degrees nutrition & dietetics, cultural anthropology & psychology. I believe in honoring your hunger, having your cake whenever you want it, and that critically analyzing diet culture can change the world!