Apart from the fact that how another person’s body looks is none of my business, there are a number of reasons why I won’t comment on their weight loss.
Disordered eating or a full blown eating disorder – You have no idea how they’ve come to this point, they could be engaging in disordered eating practices and/or excessive exercise, so commenting on their body positively reinforces those maladaptive behaviours which will most likely cause further harm.
It could be a sign that someone is seriously unwell – Rapid weight loss is often an indicator that something significant is underlying. Unfortunately this red flag could be easily ignored due to the positive praise they’ve received, which could result in their condition going undiagnosed for a longer period of time, hindering their chances of recovery.
Chronic stress – Divorce, redundancy, bereavement are all major life experiences which can lead to elevated stress and sometimes weight loss. Making comments could add to their already high stress levels, as now they have the pressure to keep their body looking a certain way which leads to the belief that it’s more important to look thin, than prioritise their mental health.
It reinforces to that person that they look better/more desirable now that they are thinner– however if they regain the weight they’ve lost (which is the case for 95% of people who lose weight intentionally) then those compliments get turned on their head – being larger is less desirable and now they look worse than before.
Commending someone on their weight loss or even their efforts to lose weight, especially in front of people in larger bodies is inadvertently saying that they look better now that they look less like them or that they are better for just attempting to change how they look. However well intentioned it may be, please consider the above before commenting on someone’s weight as the chances are, you’ll do more harm than good.
If you want to compliment someone, it doesn’t have to be appearance based – tell them how they make you laugh, that they’re a good listener, a great friend and fun to be around.
I know it can be upsetting or disheartening if you’ve lost weight and it isn’t acknowledged by someone you care about and it can also feel awkward when you are the only one who doesn’t comment on a person’s weight loss but remember either way – you are worth so much more than your weight, it’s the least interesting thing about you! People love you for who you are, not your body size.