Getting compliments about my weight loss is fun. I’ve written about some of my favorites before. However, there is one compliment that I kind of hate. I’ve heard it twice in the last couple of days:
You’d better watch it! You are wasting away to nothing!
Ugh. Seriously, I hate this. Look, I understand that the folks who say this don’t mean any harm. I know they are trying to be nice… which is why my answer is polite instead of a punch to the jaw. But let’s break it down a bit, shall we? Let’s talk about what I actually hear when someone says this. (Hint: It isn’t, “You look very nice.”)
You’d better watch it! What is this supposed to mean? It seems to imply that I don’t work for this, that instead I took some magic pill and oooohh noooo if I don’t get the antidote in time I will disappear completely! I mean, talk about condescending. The subtext I get here is that if they had the option, they would have stopped my weight loss a few pounds back, but I am obviously the type to run wildly with scissors, golf in thunderstorms, and lose too much weight. Gack.
You are wasting away to nothing! Okay, what in the world am I supposed to say to this? My instinct is to say something like, “oh no, there is plenty of me to lose!” Yuck. I can’t believe that actually came out of my mouth the last time. I sound simultaneously like one of those people who can’t take a compliment and like I am obsessed with my weight. Plus this is one of those negative compliments. I know it is supposed to be humorous, but instead it sounds like I am now less of person now that I have less weight. That’s ridiculous.
And finally, the word “wasting” makes me uncomfortable. We’ve known people who have lost a lot weight due to horrible sickness, that is wasting. It is sad and awful. That is not what is happening here. Implying it bothers me; it cheapens the pain of others.
Again, I know that the two people that said this to me mean well. They would be shocked and mortified if they knew how this made me feel since none of that was their intention. Who knows? I might have even used this phrase myself back in the old days, it sounds like something I might have said. I know this though, I will never say it again. Instead, if someone is looking well, I think I will start with, “Hey, you look great.”
Photo credit: findingtheobvious