A woman I know just lost a few pounds thanks to a new diet. She didn’t think it was a big deal, but was amazed when people at work and neighbors started commenting on the weight loss. Everyone wanted to know her secret. Though she was flattered by the attention, my friend also felt it made her extremely self-conscious. She didn’t think her diet or body were anybody’s business other than her own. The feedback also made her feel that perhaps people had thought less of her when she was slightly heavier.
I also know a woman who lost weight because of an illness. People would compliment her constantly, make jokes about how she could eat whatever she wanted now, or comment on how lucky she was. She found the attention humiliating, and was very indignant about the situation, people were telling her she was lucky to be sick as long as she was skinny.
I’ve found it’s best to be discreet when I notice that an acquaintance has lost (or gained) weight. Body size is a very personal issue, and it can make people uncomfortable to talk about it. Also, you don’t know whether stress or illness prompted the change.
If someone has made a big body transformation, try telling them that they look nice; you don’t need to highlight the weight issue. If he or she brings up their new diet or exercise routine, you can then say well done and offer support. Do your best to not sound condescending. Most people are aware of their body issues and don’t need lectures about what they need to do. Leave them to it!