This afternoon I saw a coworker for the first time in a few months, and she immediately said “you look so skinny!” to me. It was definitely meant as a complement, but can make me feel uncomfortable. My immediate response goes one of two ways: (1) Thanks! Wow! That’s awesome, because I HAVE been working hard on my healthy behavior. OR (2) Oh no no, I’m just the same, Its no big deal.
Even if I have been working on creating healthy habits, its not necessarily something I am going to talk to everyone about. No one ever says “Wow, you look so good! You’ve gained weight!” – at least, not to me! However, I do have a few friends who are significantly under weight for a variety of reasons, and it is only appropriate to say something to them because I know that they are trying to gain weight.
Mostly I try not to make comments to others about their weight – either weight gain or weight loss – because I know that it can be a touchy subject for a lot of people. Even when my intentions are good to try to encourage someone’s healthy habits, I only feel comfortable commenting when the topic is one I have discussed at length with that good friend. I have known other individuals who lost weight and continued to lose too much weight with what had developed into an eating disorder, so I tend to be cautious about the topic. I wonder if there are other tactics which we could adapt as a culture in order to be supportive of healthy habits.
How do you support your friends and family in their healthy habits?