What Not To Say To Someone Who Is Losing Weight

In our society, we're conditioned to believe that losing weight is good and gaining weight is bad. In truth, though, things are often quite the opposite. If it looks like someone you know has lost weight, you've been taught to believe that they've been deliberately eating a healthy diet with the intent to shed some pounds and that their work has paid off. Yet, in reality, weight loss can be a sign of many different problems with mental or physical health (via Healthline). Whether or not someone has deliberately tried to lose weight, there are plenty of comments that they likely don't want to hear on this sensitive topic (via Cosmopolitan).

For the most part, people get a lot of things wrong about weight loss, and it's difficult to know how to respond when you notice that it's happened to someone close to you. Still, weight fluctuations and changes are normal and happen to virtually everyone from time to time. As a result, you're bound to run into a situation now and then where you notice that someone you know has lost weight. Knowing what not to say to them can be the difference between being a helpful friend and being hurtful.

Things you should never say to someone who's lost weight

The first thing you shouldn't say to someone who lost weight is anything in the "congratulations" family (via Lifehacker). Since you don't know why they've lost weight or if they are hopeful that others haven't noticed, it's best not to treat their weight loss like it's a big accomplishment. By the same token, don't tell them how much better they look (via Cosmopolitan). This almost certainly feels like a good thing to say, but it can be hurtful. Your friend doesn't want to feel like they used to look 'bad,' nor do they want any extra pressure to maintain their current weight forever. Of course, while telling them they look better now is no-no, telling them they look worse now is even worse. Even if you think their weight loss isn't their best look, don't share this info with them; it won't benefit anyone. 

Don't ask your friend if they're sure they don't want mozzarella sticks when they ordered the salad, and don't pressure them into having ice cream when they've already said no to dessert. Focus on what's on your own plate, since they may be struggling with what's on theirs.

How to respond to weight loss

With all of those things you definitely shouldn't say to your friend who's lost weight, you're probably wondering what you should say. Well, there's one thing you can say that will never fail you: nothing. Most of the time, avoiding the topic of another person's weight fluctuations is your best bet (via Lifehacker). It's the easiest way to make sure that you don't find your conversation with your friend in any undesirable territory.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and the biggest exception is when you know that your friend has been trying to lose weight in a healthy way. If your friend has been talking to you all about the Blogilates videos she's been doing or how she's been making salads for dinner to shed a few pounds, that gives you a yellow light to bring it up (a.k.a. proceed with caution.) If you notice that your friend who's been on a weight loss journey looks like they've made progress toward their goal, telling them they look great can open up the conversation if they want to talk about it (via WebMD). A "You look so good!" is pretty much always a positive thing — just leave the weight out of it.