Recently actor Jonah Hill posted a comment that resonated with a lot of people:

Instagram post from Jonah Hill

And believe me, I get it. I know it seems cool to mention that you think somebody has recently lost weight. I mean, it’s a compliment right? And it’s tempting to warn somebody you think might be gaining weight. Because it’s about their health right. Here’s the thing.

Just Don’t.

I’m serious. Even if it feels like a compliment, it may lead someone with disordered eating to wonder how bad they must have looked before. And the reason for that weight loss might not be awesome at all. The last time someone complimented me on the way my body looked, I had lost a bunch of weight because I was severely anemic. Like the doc was ready to do a transfusion anemic. I wasn’t well at all. And in my friend’s case. She got lots of compliments on her weight loss, which resulted from the treatment for cancer.

And here’s another thing. A significant percentage of the folks who temporarily lose weight are going to gain it back. And when they do, they will remember that you complimented their body in the beforetimes. Before the almost inevitable weight regain. And because a significant percentage of the folks who lose weight are likely to regain what they’ve lost and more–resulting in more physically, emotionally and medically harmful weight cycling, you should just keep your health advice to yourself.

It took a while for Jonah Hill to find peace with his body.

A really significant percentage of the adult population (and an alarmingly large population of kids) are pretty messed up about how they feel about their body. It takes a long time to come to terms with it (if one ever really does). So don’t mess it up with your need to make a comment. Tell them they seem happy or at peace. Tell them they look joyful. Or better yet, just ask them how they are doing.

Because nobody’s body (including mine) comes with a comment button.


Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)