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Image / Beauty

When should you compliment someone’s weight loss?


by Holly O'Neill
06th May 2020
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Short answer: don’t


Everyone is ecstatic, truly delighted, that Adele is looking great. The more pictures of her that appear, the more headlines pop up. I read an article today entirely written about the fact that Chrissy Teigen had commented under Adele’s Instagram post. It was an ‘unfiltered response,’ they said. She had commented: “I mean are you kidding me.”

Of course, she was always beautiful, you say. Yes, she was. But do you remember as many people going on about it?

It is not a kind thing to compliment someone’s weight loss. It always implies that it is an improvement, that they have done something good, no matter what the means of achieving it were, that you had been waiting all along for them to get it done.

It is also none of your business. Not all weight loss comes down to healthy eating and exercise, but if the onslaught of Adele praise has led to you considering buying a diet book, let me save you twenty quid and tell you that that is basically it. Weight loss can also come from depression, sadness, grief, illness, anxiety, exhaustion. When you compliment someone on their weight loss as if they’ve announced that they’re engaged, getting a promotion or celebrating some real happiness, they have to manage your reaction in a polite manner instead of telling you where to go. Adele already implied that it wasn’t exactly the most joy-filled journey when she captioned her Instagram picture with “I used to cry, now I sweat.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Adele (@adele) on

One of the worst things about complimenting someone’s weight loss is that should that person happen to gain weight, they feel not just guilty for having reversed to a state that wasn’t deemed worthy of your compliments, they also become embroiled in this weird guilt for having let you down in some way. You were happy for me, and now when I see you next, you will be disappointed. It’s exhausting.

We have always been told that every advantage is awarded to the thin, that they are happier, more successful, more loved, wealthier, better dressed. Adele was those things before and she is those things now. I am sure you have felt that the life you want to live is waiting for you when you have lost weight, gained muscle, can fit into another size. A culture of body shame that will never allow us to have a respectful relationship with our bodies is bolstered by seeing Adele celebrated for her least incredible endeavour: she has had the best selling album of the year four times in a decade, not to mention nine Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Grammy Awards, eighteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, and two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year. These achievements have brought as many headlines, tweets and Instagram Stories celebrating and commemorating her for her great achievement to weight loss.

“To my fellow fats who are looking at everyone telling Adele how beautiful she is now she’s skinny — you’re valid, beautiful and celebrated at the weight you are now,” fat-positive influencer Lottie L’Amour tweeted. “You don’t need an ‘Adele’ moment to feel validated. You can achieve and be whatever you want to be right now.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Adele (@adele) on

Next time you get an urge to tell someone they look great for losing weight or comment on another’s body in any way, shut up. The idea that it comes from a good place is a big fat lie.

Photography by @adele.

Read more: Love Island is cancelled this year. I’ll be glad of the break from watching perfect bodies six nights a week

Read more: Here’s a ready-made table quiz to tackle with your lockdown housemates

Read more: Happy Birthday Adele! Here’s 15 of her most uplifting, relatable quotes

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