I was just reading a New York Times etiquette column, and saw that a woman had written in about her friend’s comments about her medication. Apparently the woman who wrote in takes medication for A.D.H.D., and it results in a loss of appetite. Her friend jokes about this, saying she’s lucky to not have to worry about her weight. The writer found her friend’s comments hurtful given her medical condition.
Reading that gave me pause. Society is so obsessed with weight and body image, and quite often we project those feelings on other people. A friend of mine grew up with an illness that left her underweight. She received compliments all the time, and was constantly told how lucky she was that she could eat whatever she wanted. It hurt her feelings because she didn’t feel lucky at all. We wouldn’t dream of complimenting someone undergoing chemotherapy on their weight loss or diet. So, before we comment, we need to mindful of the many other diseases and ailments, such as thyroid disorders, that can also result in a loss of appetite or sudden weight loss.
The bottom line . . . it’s just not good form to comment on other people’s bodies. If someone is dieting or on a new fitness regime, they’ll probably tell you and you can probably have the conversation. If their weight loss is related to poor health, just leave it. People would rather be 100% healthy than shed a few pounds because of disease or a medical condition. Be sensitive to that.