Don’t Tell Me I Look Thinner

There are a million compliments I’d happily receive. Yes, seriously a million.

  • You look great
  • Love your hair
  • Wish I had your skin
  • That was clever
  • You’re so funny
  • Brilliant insight
Those are just a sampling of the compliments I would adore to hear. But there is one. One compliment that grates over my skin and shreds at my self-esteem.

“You look thinner.”

The last time someone said that to me I told them, “Don’t comment on my weight. Good or bad. Just don’t.”

Was I overreacting?

Maybe.

But I am so tired of being treated like a mindless soulless body.

I have fought with myself for decades shedding and regaining 30-40 lbs.

And I am very very cognizant of it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just a chubby worthless mess. That all my other accomplishments are nothing since I’m not anywhere near a perfect size six.

I have to battle my own mind on a regular basis.

So the last thing I need is anyone else commenting on it.

How about if I knew you had trouble in school and felt stupid. And everytime I saw you I said, “Wow, you’re sounding smarter.”

It would draw attention to your weakness. Probably make you feel like you were a dumb person. Like nothing you did mattered outside of your smarts.

So next time you see me, if I look great, say so. Just don’t talk about my weight.

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26 Responses to Don’t Tell Me I Look Thinner

  1. crubin says:

    Well said. A simple, “You look wonderful!” is all that is needed. And while we’re on the subject, I am not a fan of being told I look tired. If I am tired, I know it; no need to tell me. If I’m not tired, well, then I really don’t want to know I look it anyway!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. themadgayman says:

    I have been guilty to saying someone looks thinner. However, I don’t say it because I feel the person was fat. In fact, I’m 300 lbs and I hold it well. Anyone tinier than me isn’t fat in my personal opinion. So when I say someone looks thinner, it’s because they look thinner than they did before. I am not saying you looked fat before; it’s your own head making up this rationalization. Also, sometimes, I know some people like to hear they look thin because they’ve been working out. I usually know so I tell them the truth: you look thinner. I think it depends on the situation. Also, I feel people need to take it as a compliment.

    • Some people enjoy it as a compliment. And if that’s how it’s intended and taken, that’s wonderful.
      If it positively impacts the person you say it to, that’s great. ๐Ÿ™‚

      But for me, it hurts me. Especially from people who know my struggles with weight. And those people that say “You look thinner,” also say “You look bigger,” when I gain weight. That’s not okay with me.

      And if I won’t tolerate the criticism, I don’t want to accept the “compliment,” because that feeds the cycle of them thinking it’s okay to do that.

      This is a personal boundary I’m setting. And I expect my friends and family to respect it. Just like I respect their personal boundaries.

      • themadgayman says:

        Definitely. I would never say someone looks bigger. That’s a serious WTF moment for sure. I think people are way too inconsiderate or they want to bring someone down because they personally feel bad about themselves. Besides, what does it matter if someone is fat? It just means there is more to love. Kourtney, you’re gorgeous, thick or thin! PS- I never meant any disrespect whatsoever in my previous or present comment. You’re a beautiful person (inside and OUT). And that’s coming from a guy man. Just saying.

        • It shouldn’t matter if someone carries a little extra weight or is bloated, but society puts so much pressure on us to look good. And then defines looking good as being thin, tiny, etc. And anyone who isn’t is considered lazy.

          I aim for healthy and strong, but I am still inundated with images of what I should look like. And I confess, it smacks my insecurity bone. I know it is something I need to work on but I also think my circle of people need to be more aware of what they say.

          With your friends, it’s clear your sensitive to their needs and your saying they look thinner is done with the best of intentions. ๐Ÿ™‚ and they like it so win-win. ๐Ÿ™‚

          But in my specific experience, it feels degrading. I’ve had family members thinks nothing of commenting in front of others about my weight and this post was a backlash against that.

          Thanks for the compliment. You’re awesome!

          PS-I never thought you meant any disrespect. I was glad to hear another opinion. I was just trying to give further explanation on why I was taking a stand on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    Carrie said it well. Just a simple “you look great/wonderful/good” is all people need to say. And if they don’t really believe that, then a simple, “Hi, how are you doing?” works just fine.

    Our society’s fixation on uber-thinness as “beauty” is just wrong. Grown women should not look like pre-pubescent boys. We have curves. Some more than others. But few of us are naturally built like 10-year-old boys. What does it say about society when such a look is considered desirable?

    • I agree JM. ๐Ÿ™‚ Carrie raised a great point.

      It’s scary how woman have to take up less space, and spend all their time trying to achieve that ideal. It’s a great way to prevent them from ever reaching their full potential.

      Woman should strive to be strong and healthy and live well for their body type. Some of us are curvier in the hips, some of us are shorter, some of us tend to carry weight in the middle. Each body type is completely acceptable. We all have a healthy to be. And I completely agree with you–it is not a pre-pubescent boy.

      • Can we agree also not to pester and make snide comments about the thin ones – the ones with fast metabolisms and small frames – the ones who are naturally that way no matter how much they eat. They are not anorexic or bulimic – that’s just their normal and those rude comments are annoying, too.
        Everyone just needs to be healthy and exercise to get to their own “best” size and weight. And leave everyone else alone!
        Oh, and I like the “you look wonderful” suggestion.
        Good post

        • Karen I’m on board with that. Commenting on people’s weight is not acceptable. Especially in a negative way. Why would anyone want to say hurtful stuff to someone about their weight? Either side of it. I agree people should turn it inside and work on themselves. If we all focused on our own health we’d be happier and healthier.

          Thanks! I kinda needed to blog about it because it was really irking me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. winsomebella says:

    “You are looking smarter” really sums up the dilemma here—had not thought about it that way but it makes very good sense.

    • Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve noticed people ignore personal and professional accomplishments and focus on how I look because I’m a girl. Even asking me about the number on the scale. Would they ask me how much I make? No, because it’s private and that’s just rude. I feel the same way about weight.

  5. Ah weight! What a topic. It’s as if, once we have enough to eat, as a species I mean, a whole new level of uncertainty pops up. How much should we eat? Do struggles with and fears about not weighing the proper amount relate to lizard-brain fears about not having enough to eat? Body says eat! so we do, maybe a little too much, up goes the scale. Don’t eat enough for awhile make up for it, then body says EAT, in a panicky, life is going to end way, and on it goes.

    Hurray to you for putting your preference out there. When women my age (56) lose weight it’s often because they have cancer or are getting divorced so I generally avoid the topic in my own cohort, but you’ve given me a reason to never mention it.

    Thanks for the “Like”. Carry on! Your photographs and writings speak volumes about your beauty.

    P.S. Time to take the “aspiring” our of your blog title.

    • Julia–Very well said! There is so much angst around eating. Our poor bodies are suffering just like our ancestors’ did in the old feast/famine days.

      Sometimes weight loss is not a good thing. Regardless, people should not say anything unless they know someone is actively trying to lose weight and wants to hear that kind of feedback. Otherwise treat weight like religion, politics, and income.

      Aw thanks!

      I kinda feel like the aspiring author has to stay put until I get a novel published, but I will own the word writer outright. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Emmie Mears says:

    I’m with you on that one. Also, I despise when I go out without makeup and people ask me if I’m sick. That’s just…painful.

    • Thanks Emmie! That’s so rude. Commenting on appearance should be done positively and carefully. People need to stop and think, is what I’m saying a negative or a positive. My well intentioned Grandma has told me “If only you wore lipstick, you’d be so pretty.” So does that mean I am not pretty right now? That a magic tube of lipstick will hide my ugliness?

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Absolutely! People think it’s a compliment, but they don’t realize that they are also inferring that you needed to lose the weight to begin with!

    I don’t think you’re overreacting at all.

    Others already said what I would have commented, a plain “You look wonderful” or “that color is great on you” is all most of us needs to feel good about ourselves and how we look.

    • As writers I think we are trained to use words so we understand “thinner” means you weren’t thin and you gained thinness but you need to keep going cause you still aren’t thin yet. That’s what that phrase really means when I analyze it.

      Thanks!

      Positive things that infer no need for further work are compliments. Everything else falls somewhere on the spectrum of criticism.

  8. mj monaghan says:

    You seem so tiny in that green dress with the green mittens – first pic on your website. Oh, that’s a cartoon?! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Seriously, there are too many insensitive people out there; family, friend, or not. If someone wants to talk about their age, weight, and want to be engaged in the conversation, that’s fine. Otherwise, there are certain things that shouldn’t be stated.

    “Do I look fat in these pants?” – That’s a rhetorical question in my book.

    • LOL. Funny story, I sent that as an attachment to my dad and asked him to print it saying, “Mom loves this photo of me.” We laughed for weeks about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      MJ, I love your take on that question. The only time it may not be a rhetorical question is when someone is getting dressed and can change without anyone seeing them like that and the pants are not flattering to their figure, then I say, “They look nice, but with that top, your black skirt works better.”

      Unless someone specifically brings up the topic, weight, age, religion, and politics are all hot buttons to be avoided. Especially in a group setting.

  9. You weren’t overreacting at all, Kourtney. Telling someone they look thin, as a compliment, is highly risky and promotes the harmful message that our value lies in our waist size.

    A friend of mine had cancer and received so many compliments over her “thinness.” Grr… To me, Kourtney, you seem brighter and more inspiring than everโ€”A++s in my book. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks August. ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s what it made me feel like. As if I had no value until I shrunk myself down. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      That had to be terrible for her since her size was a direct result of her illness. It was like constantly reminding her she was ill. Why are people so thoughtless?

      Aw thanks August! I don’t think I ever got an A++ before. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Cat Forsley says:

    HONEY – I READ THIS THE OTHER DAY – AND IT GAVE ME BIG SADNESS – BUT THE TRUTH IS ——- WE ARE ALL LUMPED IN AND LABELED – THE WORLD IS CRUEL SOMETIMES – OF COURSE YOU ARE MORE THAN A “BODY ”
    YOU ARE A SOUL THAT JUST HAPPENS TO LIVE IN A BODY ……
    THIS POST WAS RAW AND REAL AND THAT IS HOW I THINK LIFE IS .
    AND THAT IS HOW TRUE ARTISTS RELATE AND EXPRESS THEMSELVES …..
    I HAVE VERY VERY LOW VISION – AND I HAVE BEEN LABELED – ALL MY LIFE – BUT
    IN THE END – THE SOUL AND HEART ALWAYS RULE ….
    MUCH LOVE XX
    I THINK YOU MAY LIKE THIS SONG —- ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cat, I loved the song. Thanks for sharing it! I can deal with the world lumping and labeling (though I think it’s wrong), I kinda expect cruelty from strangers. But when my friends and family do it to me, I feel like I have to take a stand. Those are the people who are supposed to be the kindest to me. And when they think they are but they are really cutting me, it’s not okay.

      Your phrase about a soul just happening to live in a body really resonated with me.

      Thanks for a wonderful response to my post. Really nice to know it effected a fellow artist. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I really appreciate the love. Sending some your way too!

      Hugs,
      Kourtney

      • Cat Forsley says:

        ๐Ÿ™‚ I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND = AND YOU’RE WELCOME .
        I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL – I THINK – ABOUT THE FAM AND FRIENDS THING ———-
        VERSUS THE STRANGER THING ——-
        I THINK LABELING AND ALL THAT IS WROMG AS WELL – BUT HUMAN BEINGS SEEMINGLY NEED TO COMPARE AND PUT THINGS IN BOXES ….? WHY ? I DUNNO ……….
        I AM NOT A SOCIOLOGY MAJOR !!! LOL ……..
        ALL I KNOW IN THIS LIFE IS THAT I EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AND USUALLY THE KINDNESS AND RESPECT COMES WHEN WE JUST DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK ANYMORE ….
        THE BIG THING OF LETTING GO ——- OVER AND OVER ๐Ÿ™‚

        YES = AS A FELLOW ARTIST – IT TOUCHED ME –
        AS A FELLOW HUMAN BEING – IT TOUCHED ME ๐Ÿ™‚

        I LIKE WHEN PEOPLE REALLY EXPRESS THE CORE OF WHAT THEY ARE FEELING ——-
        EMPATHY IS REAL ———–
        I KNOW THAT FOR SURE —–

        GLAD YOU LIKED THE SONG ๐Ÿ™‚
        IT’S PRETTY GOOD HUH ๐Ÿ™‚

        HUGS BACK XX
        CAT

        • Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚
          I totally get the labeling and putting in boxes, but maybe that should be an internal monologue versus something that is said aloud to other people. People can’t control the thoughts they have, but the words that come out of their mouth is completely under their control for the majority of people.

          I’m pretty good at deflecting words from people I don’t know. Disregarding what a stranger says is somewhat easy. But when it comes from someone close to me, it’s harder to dismiss it. Because I have to dismiss them in a way to negate what they said.

          The song was great, I had to go download it from Itunes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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