Over the holidays I had multiple family members or friends comment to me about my weight. Four separate individuals asked me if I had lost weight which struck me as odd considering I was a blond last Christmas and a brunette this one. That’s a change I would have expected comments about. Not my size. Now admittedly over the last 6 years have had two babies so my weight has been variable during that time, as I was busy growing and caring for two little humans. As a dietician who works with individuals who struggle with weight and body image I am always taken back when asked my weight. In all honesty I rarely weigh myself as I do not own a scale so I do not have an accurate answer to that question. My standard flippant response is ” no I’m just taller”. Which at 36 yrs old we all know I am not growing. But these questions did get me thinking: how does it make an individual who struggles with body image feel to hear a question such as that asked or even more concerning to me how does my 6 yr old daughter interpret that question.
For some reason it is still ok in casual conversation to comment on a persons perceived weight loss. Many even view this as a compliment. “Gee I must look great if someone thinks I have lost weight”. But for children comments such as this can colour their opinions on weight and body shape from a young age. It makes the “weight loss” be seen as positive. Something someone should be striving for. That our bodies can and should be controlled not allowed to exist at their own biological set points. Adding to the damage are the follow up questions of “well how did you do it” or “what’s your secret” as if there is some magic potion to weight loss that just needs to consumed.
Nobody wants to hear that I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full and pretty much eat what I want. That’s not a diet or a program that people want to hear about. Yes I exercise. I come from a family full of heart disease and I have full intention of meeting my great grandchildren so I exercise my heart. And do yoga-mainly because it’s quiet and my head stops overthinking things. But when asked about my weight are these answers people want. I’m not sure but I do know that my plan is to raise children that notice a change of hair colour not a change of weight.