Looking better.

There are a lot of things that have been said to me over the past few years in regards to my weight.   I’ve been called “Princess Fat Arms.”   I’ve been told that if I would only lose thirty pounds then I would be SO much more attractive.  If I lost thirty pounds, perhaps the friend of the guy who told me this would not have left.  If I lost thirty pounds perhaps the friend would have wanted to hang out with me… I’ve got such a pretty face so I should have the body to match it.


Those comments were made over thirteen years ago but they still sting whenever I think about them.

Around the same time, my late teenage years, I met a dude off the internet.  We hung out just once and that was that.  Then just yesterday, over a decade later, this particular dude found me on the dating site I just recently rejoined.  We began chatting and within minutes he brought up whether or not I had lost weight and if I work out a lot.  Before I could type out my response, he sent off the six words I hear most often and always *hate* hearing:

“You look so much better now.”

People intend for those six words to be a compliment because surely, in those peoples eyes, I do look better to them.  I’m smaller, firmer, and more appealing to their own eyes.

April at age 17. Aside from the super raver outfit, do I really look so much “better” now?

But what I hear is, “You were so fat and horrible looking before, you look so much better now!”

My weight loss has never been something I have done for others viewing pleasure.

I’ve wanted to lose weight so I could FEEL better, not LOOK better.  I wanted to not get heartburn.  I wanted my knees not to hurt as much. I want to be able to ride a damn horse without having to worry about the weight limit.

On the shallow end, I wanted to fit into more commonly found smaller sizes.  I’d love to be able to rock an itty bitty bikini but I want to do it because I’m a healthy size, not because I will look better once I am thirty pounds lighter than the weight I currently am at.

I want to look healthier, not better.

For the first time though I was able to tell the guy how I honestly felt about his compliment.  When I explained to him that it hurt my feelings because it made me feel like I was so awful before, he apologized, and then he told me that he always thought I was hot…   just he could tell I lost weight.  However, when he had met me before, I was actually less weight  than I am now.  Except now my weight has shifted into muscles because of all the exercise I do.

When I talk to other people who have lost significant weight, I hear that I am not alone in my thoughts when our weight loss success is easily broken down as “looking better.”   Though I’ve also talked to people who don’t mind at all being told that they look better because they agree, they do look better in their own eyes, and that’s great!  I just don’t think like that.  The brightness of my smile and the happiness in my eyes, my best features, have  never changed and regardless of my weight, they’ll always be the part of me that I love best about myself.

The squishyness of my body has never determined how beautiful I have felt as a woman so for someone to say that I look better makes me feel that the part of myself that is truly significant to only me, is worthless and I am only judged on attraction by my fluctuating body size.

Has anyone else experienced a double-edged compliment like that?  If so, what kinds of things have been said to you that have been meant as positive, but secretly stung on the inside?

Sorry I have not been writing as often but I’ve been booking up flights for my Europe adventure I leave on NEXT WEDNESDAY (June 12th!).

I’ve got some updating I can do on my weight loss endeavors which will come later this week.

Until then, I hope you all have a peachy day!  😉






8 thoughts on “Looking better.

  1. This hurt my lil heart to read because I know EXACTLY what it feels like. Goes up there with the person who once told me if only I was thin, I’d have it all. SHEESH! Or the guy who once told me that I had the face and my friend had the body. Like, WTF? And because we’re women we’re suddenly free range to be the recipient of all these image based compliments, as if the person inside the body doesn’t matter at all? Great post.

  2. Great post and I completely identify. I often have people say to me, “You look great. Have you lost weight?” It bugs me because it just reinforces the notion that I was/am overweight to begin with or that it matters at all. Why do people think this is a compliment? Nobody says this kind of thing to my husband. They ask him if he’s been working out, or if he’s been having great sex.

  3. I remember that when I was really sick about halfway through my first year of grad school (with a chronic illness), a bunch of people at one point were like, “Wow! You’re so skinny now! I’m soooo jealous!” And all I could think was 1) Im incredibly ill and feel like shit and 2) so when I was healthy I wasn’t as attractive? Which, for me, as someone who has dealt with serious eating issues, was really hard to hear. Even now I often catch myself thinking–maybe everything would be better if I looked how I did when I was sick–which is a terrible thing to think. Basically, insensitive people kinda suck sometimes.
    On a happier note, I LOVE your raver look!

  4. OH! The range of emotions this post just took me through was crazy! Unfortunately I hear these things too and it really sucks. I was working on a project (at work) which happened to include a size 2 dress on a dress form and one of my male coworkers said, “what are you doing with that dress you can’t squeeze into that?” Ugh! I agree with Alyssa and Linda’s comments above. Why are women subjected to these comments and men aren’t? It is completely ridiculous!!!

  5. I hate when weight is commented on, other than “you look great!” It can be so upsetting when someone says you look BETTER or alludes to how bad you USED to look. Because regardless- you were the same person. I was told the same line of stuff about “He said he would be interested if you lost a few pounds” and it sure did sting! I’m glad I found a man who loves me just as much at any size- I wish everyone could have that! Because while I have something to work on sometimes with my body, I always love myself!!!

  6. I’ve made the same mistake of the dude in the story to other people in the past.

    I think the best way to compliment someone’s weight loss progress is to to say something like “Wow, you look great!” to emphasize the present instead of focusing on the improvement over the past.

  7. I totally get this. One of the reasons I really hate anyone mentioning anything at all to me (especially at work) is because I constantly have that feeling of “I must have looked horrible before”. Even things like “OMG you are wasting away!” bug me because I can tell you, 4+ years ago when I started all of this, I lost weight for about 9 months and then everything stopped. I have literally lost maybe 6 pounds over the last 3 years (and one colleague says this to me all the time). Seriously, my body shape, size, whatever is not a topic of discussion! I have another colleague who said to me once “I saw pictures of you 6 years ago, you were really fat!” Um. How do you respond to that? People don’t get that words can be incredibly hurtful even when it’s a supposed compliment. I don’t want to talk about my diet or my weight with people. I’m more than that, you know?

    I’m really glad you told the guy exactly how you felt about the comment. People need to be told. These comments need to change.

  8. I have often been on the receiving end of such comments like ” you have such a pretty face, it’s too bad that you are so overweight.” Really??? Who says that to another person? This sort of thing lead to many years of self- loathing in high school and college. Like, I thought my whole world would change if I just lost weight. Looking back, it is funny that I was at my highest weight ever on the day I got married. I still get the backwards compliments on occasion, but they usually don’t bother me. Maybe someday I will get back on track and try losing some weight, but it won’t be because other people think my face and body should match!

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