The reason I chose to use a photograph of a brick wall for this post is because this is how I feel about about people bringing up someone else's weight. It's a no go topic and shouldn't be brought up unless the person whose body weight you are discussing invites you to do so personally - and even then you still need to tread carefully.
There are many reasons why one shouldn't make comments about someone else's weight, but the main reasons that stand out to me personally are:
1. You don't know why that person is the weight that they are.
Whether the person in question is extremely thin, overweight or what you personally deem to be a "healthy" size you don't necessarily know the reasons behind their current weight. Take me for example - back when I was a teenager I ate crap constantly, exercised a little, but had a very fast metabolism. I was considered slim and looked healthy on the outside, yet I wasn't all that healthy at all. Fast forward a few years and I had started medication for my sleeping disorder. Despite still eating heaps of food (and unhealthy food at that) this medication made me lose a lot of weight and I was very skinny. People constantly told me I needed to eat more food despite already eating way too much. They didn't see the real reason behind my sudden weight change and they didn't care to. Fast forward to now and people are noticing that I have gained roughly 10kg in the past year. What people aren't seeing is that I have a (proven) slower than normal metabolism after restricting my eating in recent years (I have well and truly learned my lesson - don't worry!), that I have switched up and stopped taking certain medications, that I stopped going to the gym because I was busy concentrating on my design business and because I simply couldn't afford to, or that I am under a lot of stress that I don't often talk about. People also can't see that despite all of this I am still eating very healthy/clean 90% of the time, and that aside from special occasions, all I ever drink is water. Instead they see a girl who has completely let herself go, because how else could I have possibly gained 15kg in the space of a year?
2. You wouldn't like it if people were commenting on your own weight.
Unless you've recently lost/gained some weight through lots of purposeful hard work and effort, you probably wouldn't like it if someone randomly commented on your weight. If you have lost/gained some weight and want some recognition for it, be loud and proud and let people know what you have achieved to spark the conversation. Otherwise, I think people should always play it safe and not comment on someone's appearance unless it is a general, non weight related compliment (e.g. "You look beautiful today", "That dress looks amazing on you", "What shade of lipstick are you wearing?" etc.). Even when you think you're giving someone a compliment (i.e. "Have you lost/gained weight? You look great!") if you're focusing on their weight then you're basically saying that what they looked like before wasn't all that wonderful. Whilst some people might simply take the compliment, there are plenty of people who will look for the negative so it's just not worth the risk. In saying that - I once had a friend who had lost a bunch of weight in the space of a few months but I didn't say anything as I thought she looked perfect regardless, and she got really offended by this and thought that I was being rude for not noticing - so there will always be exceptions to this rule, you can't win them all!
3. It's rude and judgemental, and it can make people lose trust/respect in you.
I don't know about you guys, but when someone comments on my weight (particularly if it's obvious that they're not trying to give a compliment) I immediately lose most - if not all - of my respect for that person. Their comments tend to sit with and usually stay with me forever. I begin to fear catching up with these people in the future for fear of them passing judgement on me. I also lose trust in them as I feel unsupported by them in the grand scheme of things. Sadly, nine times out of ten these people will never even apologise for the things they have said. What's even more sad is that they probably don't even realise that what they have said is wrong! :( I'll also lose respect/trust in people who bitch about other people's weight behind their backs. If I have a friend who does this they generally won't be my friend for very long, as more than likely they're bitching about me behind my back as well.
4. It speaks more of you than it does of them.
Please don't think that by writing this post that I think of myself as this perfect person who never passes judgement on anyone - that isn't the case at all. In fact, it's because I've passed judgement on people in the past that I feel the need to write this post. What I've learned is that whenever you pass judgement on another person (whether it be to their face or behind their back), you are usually doing so to make you feel better about yourself in some way, whether you realise it or not. For example, commenting on someone else's weight could be a way to draw attention away from and make you feel better about your acne covered chin, or the fact that you don't have a job, or just anything that you're not particularly happy about at that point in time. Once I realised the real reason I was passing judgement on other people, aside from feeling incredibly guilty about the poor people that I had passed judgement on in the past (who I've apologised to by the way), I began to see it as a blessing in disguise that I now had a way of knowing when I needed to take a good hard look at myself in the mirror (metaphorically speaking of course!) and figure out what exactly is making me feel down about myself.
Now, you're probably wondering what sparked the idea for me to write up this blog post aren't you? Don't worry, I'd be curious too! Basically what happened was that this past weekend I went to a family Christmas gathering where one of my Uncles said "Wow! I didn't recognise you.. you've put on so much weight!". I have no idea whether he meant that as a backwards compliment (although I very much doubt it) but the comment made me feel like absolute shit. I then had to eat Christmas lunch (where there were no healthy options available), regretting every mouthful I put into my body.
This isn't the first time a family member has commented on my weight either. Two of my Aunts, two of my grandparents, several of my cousins.. heck, even my parents! My friends (well, my current friends) and my partner are the only ones who have had the sense not to comment on my weight full stop. My parents are very supportive of me in their comments, so I can't hold anything they've said against them, but I'd still prefer it if my weight was never brought up by my family at all.
I'm actually scared to attend a couple of upcoming Christmas gatherings because I'm afraid of what certain people are going to say. One family member in particular will physically poke my stomach (hard!) and comment on my weight, letting me know that I need to go to the gym and perhaps skip desserts this Christmas! (I also used to have a friend whose husband would poke me in the stomach back when I was slim and tell me that I needed to gain weight - appalling, inappropriate and unforgivable behaviour really). One should not have to feel this way around their family (or friends), and especially not at Christmas.
It's time we start standing up for ourselves and letting people know that is NOT okay to comment on someone else's body. Who's with me?!