Let’s Reconsider The Way We Discuss Weight Changes

We have to be aware of the language we use, if there’s even a need to speak at all.

“You’ve gained weight!” is not a greeting.

“You’ve lost weight!” isn’t either.

The truth is, we are a culture that is obsessed with other people’s bodies. We want to know how we look in comparison and what’s behind their weight fluctuations. We dig to discover other people’s diets or scoff at them when they’ve “let themselves go.”

Online, folks often barrage larger people with comments about diabetes and for “promoting obesity.” On the flip side, discussing eating disorders in the Black community was taboo for entirely too long. The interest in people’s bodies is generally off in some way because of how entitled we feel to speak at all.

We’re humans. Our bodies change when we’re not even paying attention. Sometimes the changes we go through, weight included, aren’t intentional. It’s the result of stress, illness or a dietary shift caused by a transition, like a new job or a big move across the country. Or we’re eating more because we’re suddenly indoors all the time. Then again, it could also be because of a new relationship. The recurring theme is change, but we need to really think about how we insert ourselves into others’ transitory phases. Why do we feel as if we have the right to make someone’s physical form the center of an ongoing dialogue when the person has done nothing but exist?

Not all weight loss, or gain, is an accident though. Sometimes people work hard to lose or gain weight for the sake of their personal fulfillment. There’s nothing wrong with doing what makes you happy.

Until someone has spoken on their transformation, or let you know that they’re okay with discussing it, it may be best to leave it alone.

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