Here’s a question I’ll throw out to my readers — How should I respond when someone tells me:
“You’ve lost a lot of weight.”
One friend has advised me to simply say, “thank you,” and then let it go. But there’s a part of me that doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. Saying “thank you” implies I’m accepting a compliment. A compliment I wasn’t looking for, a compliment I’m not even sure I want.
I didn’t lose this weight because I started some exercise regimen or went on some new diet. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I lost weight because I was sick. Because I literally wasn’t eating or drinking (to the point where I needed an IV of fluids because I was so dehydrated). And I’ve kept the weight off because my eating just isn’t the same as it used to be. My appetite has changed. I don’t eat as much as I used to, and I don’t eat the same things that I used to. (For some strange reason, bananas are no longer appealing. And I’ve had no desire to eat a bowl of ice cream which is really very un-Wendy-like).
So when a good friend tells me I look thin, I know she says it out of love. She’s worried about me. She wants to make sure I’m eating and taking care of myself.
But when an acquaintance, another parent at my son’s school, recently told me I lost so much weight, I didn’t know how to react. So I ignored it. But she leaned in, waiting for a reply; maybe she thought I had some sort of magic answer about how to achieve weight loss.
My instinct, and what I did, was tell this parent I had been sick and that was why I lost weight. But that didn’t feel quite right to me. And I don’t want to say “thank you.”
Then, this comment (granted, it’s meant to be complimentary) just brings up more questions for me.
I wonder — what did I look like before? Did I need to lose weight? Do I look “better” now?
In an ideal world, people wouldn’t casually comment on one another’s weight. Unless I know a person is really working hard to lose weight, I never say a word. If I know weight loss is a goal, and I can see a difference, I’ll offer encouragement and support and praise. But otherwise, I remain quiet. Because there are too many variables as to why someone may gain or lose weight.
Really, the numbers on the scale don’t matter to me. What matters is that I eat. That I want to eat. And that what I eat stays in.