real life

'When I was going through the worst time of my life, people told me how good I looked.'

It’s absurd to me how comfortable some people are initiating a conversation about someone else's physicality.

This really stood out for me when my ex-husband and I separated over two years ago. Leading up to that point people started telling me how great I looked. 

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It took me a long time before I had the courage to admit that I wasn’t going to be able to remain in my marriage and during that period I started to lose weight, only not in a conscientious health and fitness way.

Having experienced the breakdown of my 10 year marriage, I now see that the reason some separated people lose weight is that they are so completely wretched from the experience that they can’t eat, they can’t sleep and they are in chaos, stressing the weight off.

Did I try hard enough? Is my child going to be irreparably damaged? Is my ex going to hook up with someone who’s going to make my child’s life miserable? Is my ex going to hook up with someone who’s going to make my life miserable? 

My entire body was fizzing with anxiety. I was severely lacking in appetite and sleep but hey, I’d lost weight and from the neck down, I was impressing some people.

Someone remarked that I was even showing a hint of muscle tone. High praise indeed! F**k off. I did not need that. I needed a big hug, a few solid nights’ sleep, someone to stroke my hair and reassure me that everything was going to be fine. Oh, and proper food. 


It was meant as a compliment, I'm sure, but it couldn't have been further from the mark. 

Just before I got married, a relative asked me totally out of the blue if I was going to lose weight for the wedding. 

She thought nothing of asking that question, essentially suggesting that I should. That I would want to.

My response was something along the lines of: “This is what he’s marrying, why would I look different?”. 

Even speaking about my own body like that feels disrespectful. 

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Surely self-love is far more important. You’re going to need it when the high of a wedding and honeymoon have worn off, even more so if the next step is kids.

We’re so brainwashed by this notion that lean is better that we’ve missed the part about it being entirely irrelevant to anyone but the individual. 

I bet my cellulite that when I put the weight back on no one will congratulate me on that, irrespective of whether it’s a sign of being happier and healthier.

So, can we move on from this ridiculous culture of aesthetic distraction?

How about next time we see a person who has lost weight, consider that it might not have been via the conscientious health and fitness route. Consider that they don’t need our congratulations. Consider that actually, it has fuck all to do with us and simply ask them how they are. That's much more helpful. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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