COMPLIMENTS FOR EVERYONE

Hi fitness fans!

So this time around my blog is going to be more of a reaction to several posts I’ve seen floating around the internet. Now before I get started I would like to point out that this reaction is purely my opinion. This is not meant to be a statement against any specific individual or meant to be “the correct” way of thinking over the post itself.

The title of the post is “We Really Need to Stop Complimenting People on Weight Loss” Click HERE for link to article.

I would like to discuss how in my lifetime as a fitness professional, and someone who is also challenged by gaining/losing weight, I have never ONCE witnessed a reaction like what is being described in the post.

The definition of compliment is: “A polite expression of praise and admiration”. Complimenting others on weight loss usually occurs when people are exchanging unhealthy fat to muscle, so this idea that it has a negative effect is hard to believe. Yes you may be influenced by others, in both positive and negative ways, but that is still a choice. Your choice. Blaming others for your lifestyle habits is unfair and unrealistic. We need to be more accountable for what we do and how we live our lives as adults, it’s the joy of being an adult!

Generally speaking when people lose weight is it due to getting rid of unhealthy fat by obtaining better eating habits and exercising. We are not “rubber stamping a standard of beauty that places straight-sized people above plus-sized people in terms of attractiveness and worth”. For one, beauty is subjective, so being smaller does not automatically mean you are more attractive to all; however, having less fat and more lean muscle typically means you are healthier.   Saying someone looks great after losing weight does not mean they did not think that person was unattractive beforehand like the article says. This way of thinking mirrors the old line where when you tell someone they look good today, their response is “Wait, are you saying I didn’t look good yesterday?!” This mode of thinking is awkward and displays insecurities, thus ruining the compliment. When someone notices something different about you, whether it be a new hairstyle, wearing makeup when you usually don’t (this one happens to me all the time, lol), or when your physique shows that you’ve lost fat on a journey to a healthier lifestyle, people tend to notice!That is where I believe the compliments stem from. We are noticing that you have taken on some lifestyle changes to becoming a better/healthier you, and that is worth complimenting!

For the longest time the public has had mixed feeling on thin magazine/runway models and whether or not that should be a desirable body type.  In the fitness industry (where I have been working for over 10 years), never once have I or other personal trainers suggested to their clients that their goal should be to get thin/skinny. Our goals is to help clients loose fat, gain muscle, become stronger, more flexible, more mobile, etc. Bottom line we promote being healthy, and yes, that often means losing unwanted fat. In my ten years as a personal trainer, I can safely say that about 90% of my clients come to me saying their primary goal is to “lose weight”.  The general public is not ignorant to the fact that the more body fat you have the more health risks you are susceptible to. Being overweight, or underweight for that matter, does not mean that you must have health risks, BUT, it does mean that your chances of developing some are higher if you are. So the idea of it being harmful to compliment someone on making healthier lifestyle choices seems insane to me. Imagine if every time I had a client who’s goal was to lose fat started reaching those goals, and I never acknowledged it, never complimented hem when they showed me their new outfit, or an old outfit they could finally get back into. I can’t count the amount of times clients came to me so thrilled that they were losing inches, felt more confident, sexier, and stronger because they were getting past barriers they had with their weight. I have helped women get to their desired waistline for a wedding dress or go from a one piece to a two piece bathing suit. I’ve helped men and women exchange fat for muscle to pick up their children and grandchildren without fear of being winded or unfit to play with them. I’ve motivated people to incorporate healthier eating habits so they improve their energy levels, stress levels, digestion, and the list goes on! Dropping fat and creating healthier lifestyle habits doesn’t mean your goals equal getting abs so rapidly that it has damaging effects on your body and emotional state. So to say that “as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a situation when commenting on someone’s body makes sense” is presumptuous and untrue.

People may not know what sports you partake in, know what eating habits you’ve changed, or know that you’ve started a gym. We react to what we see, and when we see that someone looks like they’ve lost unhealthy fat, we tend to respond positively and comment on it. And you know what?  Every, single, time I have complimented or have witnessed someone being complimented on their weight loss, we have been met with elated responses. People are happy that we’ve noticed and THEN want to tell us what they’ve been doing differently, tell us how great they look and feel in their new skin, tell us about new recipes and fitness routines they’ve discovered. It can take months for people to see the changes their bodies take on when they start living healthier, so when others notice first and bring it up, oh man, does it ever give us a boost to continue that routine! I have gone through this too. When someone comments on my fat loss and muscle gain, it gives me the confidence boost that I’ve been needed that I am making a difference and my efforts are paying off!

If someone was to receive a compliment on their weight loss journey and didn’t want it, then they would say so. But people don’t. If they went home to internalize the compliment in a negative way, then that is an unresolved issue of that individual, not of the person giving the compliment. If you have insecurities, problems losing or gaining weight, hit a fitness rut, or have body image issues, then I encourage you to reach out to fitness professionals, trainers, and nutritionists.  We are here to help you reach whatever health goals to have, and yes, we will compliment you when you succeed.

My fitness facility continuously posts and promotes people’s individual fitness journeys, and you guessed it, many involve fat loss. People are beyond proud to show off their before and after photos for a reason. They want people to see the physical changes they’ve made, and we as a society are thrilled to comment and compliment them on their progress! It’s not just that people are “all paying such close attention to each other’s bodies”, rather we are inspired and motivated to know that those individuals are obtaining a healthier and stronger body due to better choices, and that usually shows in what we physically see.

Of course this means you can complement folks on all kinds of things other than their physical appearance, but that in no way means that you shouldn’t. It’s not how the world works. If you don’t want the compliment that’s just fine, please let us know. However, demanding that others stop, or that these compliments are somehow responsible for “triggering” self-destructive behavior is unrealistic. People love seeing other succeed, people are motivated and inspired seeing those who undergo both small and drastic physical changes, and people are known to flourish with positive feedback.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daphne has been a Personal Trainer since 2010 and has coached everyone from beginners to trained athletes.

Her passions lie in general fitness and mixed martial arts and is always working towards new gym goals.

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