This week only! Save 25% on a PLUS membership with code: FRIDAY

5 Reasons Not to Compliment Weight Loss

A person’s weight has nothing to do with the person, and a person’s value is not placed on the number on the scale. Whether you are new to learning about these things or not, here are five reasons not to compliment weight loss.

Contributing Writer
Updated Oct 03, 2023
5 Reasons Not to Compliment Weight Loss

A few weeks ago, I was taking my daily walk when a blue car pulled up beside me. It was a woman who I had known, who also used to walk. She hadn’t seen me in a few months because she was no longer walking at the same time as me.

The first thing she said to me was, “You’ve lost weight!” She said it with so much joy, but I felt sick to my stomach. I have been in recovery for anorexia for three years, but not many people I’ve recently met even know that about me.

It’s not something I would share unless I had to because it is painful. Although I had gained weight to a normal weight, my thoughts and mindset haven’t made much of an improvement.

Nevertheless, those three words made me feel awful. What she said for the remainder of the short conversation, I don’t recall. My thoughts were swirling in a downward spiral. From her tone of voice, she was saying I looked better now after I had lost weight.

What she didn’t know was that I had recently relapsed into my eating disorder, and that result was weight loss. In other words, she was complimenting me on being active in my eating disorder.

This is one of many examples people experience when people compliment them on their weight. It is never okay to comment on someone’s weight. There are tons of more interesting things to talk about besides somebody’s weight.

A person’s weight has nothing to do with the person, and a person’s value is not placed on the number on the scale. Whether you are new to learning about these things or not, here are five reasons not to compliment weight loss.

1. You Could Be Complimenting a Mental Illness

As I mentioned above, one reason to not compliment someone who has lost weight is because you could be complimenting a mental illness. Whether that is an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, or another mental health illness, all of these things can result in weight loss.

Before you think about saying something concerning a person’s weight loss, stop and think. Ask yourself, “Is this out of praise or concern?” If it is out of praise, don’t say anything, especially since you don’t know the means the person used to lose weight.

For someone with an eating disorder, they could have been restricting their food intake immensely and over-exercising. For someone with depression or anxiety, it could be they have felt too down or too anxious to eat.

As we can see, people can lose weight because of their mental illness, and this is nothing to praise. Mental health issues are real diseases, and they should not be dismissed or overlooked.

Educate yourself on mental health issues and be open to learning. It could be you were taught a lot of diet culture growing up and that is something you need to unlearn. There is nothing good about praising weight loss when someone has lost weight because of their struggles.

Take a moment, think, and refrain from complimenting weight loss. This will help everyone feel much more comfortable around you, especially if they struggle with a mental illness that is related to weight loss or body image.

2. It Could Be Complimenting a Physical Illness

A second reason not to compliment weight loss is that it could be pointing out a physical illness. Mental illnesses are not the only illnesses that result in weight loss. Cancer, gastrointestinal illnesses, and dementia are a few of the physical illnesses that result in weight loss.

When you compliment weight loss when someone is struggling with one of these illnesses, you are complimenting their cancer, gastrointestinal illnesses, or dementia. As you can see, it is just not a helpful thing to compliment weight loss.

You never know what a person did in order to lose weight unless they have directly told you. More likely than not, if your loved one said they lost weight because of their cancer, you probably would be concerned.

You wouldn’t be praising their weight loss. Yet again, this is why it is crucial for all people to stop complimenting weight loss as well as to stop commenting on people’s bodies.

The obsession our culture has with weight loss and body size needs to come to an end. Jesus died for us to have an abundant life, but are any of us actually living it if we are always concerned with our weight or our bodies?

3. It Promotes Diet Culture

A third reason to not compliment weight loss is because it promotes diet culture. Diet culture teaches the idea that healthiness equals thinness. As someone who was underweight for over a decade, being smaller or weighing less does not equate with being healthy.

Diet culture promotes eating disorders and disordered eating. Not to mention it teaches us to hate our bodies from a young age because they don’t look like what we see in magazines, television shows, or movies.

When you compliment someone’s weight loss, you are promoting and endorsing diet culture. This is wrong and only keeps the notion going that being thin equals happiness and health. This is not true because people of all sizes and weights can be happy and healthy.

It is important to pay attention to diet culture in your life, and you will start to notice it more. While you are noticing the diet culture, start to see how much of it you can unpack as well as unlearn.

It is within your power to stop diet culture at the roots. This means you have to stop endorsing diet culture in your own life and in your mind. Focus on wanting people to be genuinely happier — not thinner.

It is also important to mention that you shouldn’t shame anyone for gaining weight either because it could be they are gaining their life back from a mental or physical illness.

Shaming people for weight gain is also part of diet culture, and this is another reason diet culture needs to be ended.

4. It Gives the Idea a Person Is ‘Better’ if They Are Smaller

A fourth reason not to compliment weight loss is that it gives the idea a person is “better” if they are smaller.

Going back to my original example at the beginning of this article, when the woman said I had lost weight with a sense of joy in her entire being, it promoted the idea that I looked terrible before.

I gained weight because it was needed in order for my recovery from anorexia, but here was this woman who said I looked better now that I had lost weight. It goes without saying that this encounter has caused a lot of issues since then.

I am telling you and stressing this point so much because you have a huge role in stopping this negative state of mind. The obsession with weight loss and a smaller body impacts men, women, people of all ethnicities, and people of all ages.

Complimenting a person on their weight loss is going to make them think they looked awful before, which could make them only try to lose more weight or try to maintain their current weight even if it means going to extreme measures.

It’s time for the world to make a positive turn and stop obsessing over people’s bodies. There is no reason for people’s weight and bodies to be such a huge topic of conversation in the 21st century.

Instead of talking about weight loss, diets, or trying to lose weight, talk about something that actually matters, such as your love for the person, an interesting topic you learned about, or, better yet, talk about Jesus.

5. A Person’s Weight Is the Least Interesting Thing about Them

A fifth reason to not compliment on weight loss is because a person’s weight is the least interesting thing about them. We are more than our bodies. If someone places your worth on the size of your body, it is time to leave them or distance yourself from them.

A person shouldn’t require you to be smaller or thinner in order to be “good enough” for them. Your weight is the least interesting thing about you, and if a person obsesses over your weight, it could be they are obsessing over their own struggles and pushing that on to you.

When a person passes away, their gravestone doesn’t say how much they weigh or their clothing size. Instead, it’s going to say how they were a great wife, husband, sister, brother, and follower of Christ.

This life won’t endure forever, and it will eventually be destroyed, including the sin problem found within diet culture, weight loss, and an obsession to be thin.

If you have been body shamed or somebody has been mean to you because of your weight, know that it is their problem. There is nothing wrong with you or your body.

It is vitally important for people to stop judging someone based on the size of their body. Our bodies are the least interesting thing about ourselves.

You can also remember that on tough body image days, your life is much more than your body. You are beautiful, intelligent, and amazing, just as you are. Don’t change yourself because a magazine, a person, or a diet ad tells you to. You are enough just as you are.

For further reading:

5 Tips for Bad Body Image Days

Why Does the World Care about My Weight When God Doesn't?

How Can I Help My Friend Who Is Struggling with an Eating Disorder?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/wragg

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

Related podcast:

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

Related video: 

Thumbnail courtesy of  Stock footage courtesy of 

Christianity / Life / Christian Life / 5 Reasons Not to Compliment Weight Loss