Read this before you comment on someone’s weight loss

Photo from Adele's Instagram

Everyone is talking about Adele’s recent weight loss

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Adele and her significant weightless. She recently posted some photos with the Grinch and Santa at a holiday party that (I’m assuming unintentionally) stirred up a war over body positivity. The photos were from a Christmas party and the caption talked about how much fun she had that night. She did not mention her weight loss at all, but a majority of the comments were focused on her new bod and commenting on how she is so pretty and looks like a different person.

Images and comments from Adele’s Instagram

The comments on Adele’s “new look” were likely meant with good intentions, but they stirred up a back lash of people pointing out that it’s not as complimentary as you might think to praise someone for losing weight and looking different.

Jameela Jamil’s Tweet about Adele’s weight loss.

Why it’s not always appropriate to compliment someone on their weight loss

Speaking as someone who has had dramatic weight loss and weight gain in my past, I agree that it’s not entirely appropriate or helpful to make comments on someone’s weight loss. There’s a difference between celebrating someone’s positive changes in health and wellness, and complimenting them on being skinnier than they were before.

I want to be very clear here – you should absolutely praise someone who has intentionally made positive changes to their health and wellness. They’re working hard to improve themselves, and that should be acknowledged, but don’t limit your compliments to their physical appearance.

When you praise someone for looking thinner/losing weight, it does a few things:

  1. It implies that their “old self” was not good enough (not pretty enough, not worth complimenting, etc,).
  2. It ties their self worth directly to their physical appearance.
  3. It tells others around you that they are not good enough if they’re not thin/losing weight.

Compliments that have nothing to do with appearance

Changes in weight can be due to a lot of things: health changes in diet and exercise, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and eating disorders. Instead of congratulating someone for losing weight, consider using one of these compliments instead:

  1. You look happy
  2. I’m proud of you
  3. You’re smart
  4. You’re funny
  5. You’re thoughtful
  6. You have great style
  7. I’m so happy that I know you
  8. I admire you for insert reason here
  9. You’re a great coworker/boss/friend/etc.
  10. I admire your confidence
  11. You’re really good at insert skill here
  12. I appreciate your thoughtful advice
  13. You’re an amazing person
  14. You’re a great role model
  15. You’re so talented
  16. You’re still beautiful