Asking If I Have Lost Weight Isn’t A Compliment

As society we are conditioned to think that FAT=BAD. We forget that fat people have feelings too. This post is for all the fellow fatties out there, and a sort of open letter to those who cannot find it in themselves to compliment a woman without their words being size-based.

For the record, I hate the term overweight. I am not your checked luggage. I am fat. Call it what it is.

I have graduated from baby fat to womanly curves, and I’ve been almost every dress size there is during my adult years. There is no denying it. I am overweight. I’ve been partial to extra layers of blub all my life, and as a child I was put into dance classes by my over achieving mother as a way to get me to exercise. While I loved it then, and still love to dance now; all these classes did was remind me that I am different with my booty that jiggles and my boobs that threaten to break free from my clothing with every jump.

Don’t ask me if I’ve lost weight instead of saying hello when we see each other. It isn’t necessary. I don’t know if I have lost any weight, but I know my jeans still fit me so I’m probably OK. I stopped counting calories and watching scales a while ago, but while I don’t know what I weigh I DO know my worth. In fact, if I haven’t seen you for a while then I’ve probably gained weight. This past year as been hugely emotional, and I’ve shown major dedication to my Netflix queue and Cadbury’s.

I am constantly greeted with these words: “Oh hiiiii have-you-lost-weight?”

When you ask me this, what you actually mean is “OH-MY-GOD-YOU-LOOK-GREAT!” so why can’t you just say that? What you’re seeing is the return of me living my life. The return of my confidence in myself and my body and my sexuality after it was taken away from me by a terrible break up and a broken heart and the loss of my mother.

When you ask me this it’s not a compliment. What you’re saying is that you’ve noticed that I’m fat (der) and you think I’d look better if I dropped a couple dress sizes. You’re reminding me that I look different and that I am different and that I should conform to skinny because I live in a society that thinks I need fixing and that SKINNY=GOOD/FAT=BAD.

When I was 23 I lost a significant amount of weight. I did it the “right way” and watched what I ate and got myself a personal trainer. I worked really hard, I gave up sugar, carbs and fats. I was also miserable. I spent my free time counting calories, and stepping on and off scales. I didn’t eat food that tasted good, or that I enjoyed. Should I be congratulated for this? I was probably bordering on an eating disorder, so was it really all that healthy? Now, I wear what I want (currently rocking white skinny jeans), and I eat whatever I want (yes please I’ll have another Melting Moment.) I legitimately missed pasta, warm bread with lashings of melted butter, chocolate, cheese, mash tayto and most of all – ice cream sundaes. I’m now healthy. I fill out a pair of jeans like nobody’s business and I dance naked in my living room. I go to yoga classes and I go for the occasional run. I could probably be fitter, but I had cheese for lunch today and it was delicious.

What I am badly trying to say is that some people try really hard to lose weight and that makes them happy. Some people work just as hard and never lose a single stone and it makes them miserable. Others lose weight through illness and they are destroyed because of it. You cannot presume to know why someone has or hasn’t lost any weight, and asking them as the first thing that comes out of your mouth when you see them maybe bring up a world of pain, so just keep it to yourself. The idea that SKINNY=GOOD/FAT=BAD is so engrained in our society that it takes intellectual and emotional work to break down societal pressures to see thin as better, more beautiful, more successful. One way we can achieve this is to actively not comment on other people’s size.

Some of you will now be wondering how you can get around the issue. Let me make it easy, the next time I see you follow this:

“You look stunning tonight.”


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