Our society is image driven. It’s no surprise that body image reserves a large spot in our cultural experience. Every where we look we are bombarded by ads to shed those extra pounds and pictures of slim women with unattainable figures.
Now, this isn’t an article about positive body image and learning how to be confident in our skin; I think there are enough of those circulating around the internet.
I want to address an overlooked aspect to this epidemic.
Not all weight loss deserves praise.
What do I mean by this? Well I guess to understand what I mean, you will have to know about me; I’m in recovery from an eating disorder. It’s been an uphill struggle. I’m happy to be here today. I’m finally healthy and learning what it means to be comfortable in my own skin.
When I was sick, acquaintances and friends would praise my weight loss. Boys would call me tiny. Girls would say they were jealous of my figure. They would congratulate and applaud me.
But they didn’t know of the beast that was inside me; the beast they were feeding. I slowly became weaker as the voice inside my head grew stronger. I was wasting away as others stood by watching in awe.
I don’t blame anyone for my disorder. I just want to paint a picture for others. Our words have power; the power to build people up or break them down, to feed either a voice of empowerment or a voice of destruction.
So the next time you want to compliment someone on weight loss, just stop and think. Is there something else you could compliment them on? Is their outward appearance that important? Is their weight loss healthy and warranted? Do you really know if they are losing weight in a healthy way? Or are they starting to fall victim to an eating disorder?
Maybe we can start praising each other for other qualities and accomplishments; those that really deserve our attention: dedication, courage, ambition, loyalty, creativity,, compassion.
We can begin to realize that healthy weight loss is something we do for ourselves, not for others.