Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 Things Not to Say about Someone's Weight

CCA wants to make the world a kinder place.
One way we accomplish that mission is to prevent and end bullying, teasing, and hurtful remarks, in social spaces and online. Unfortunately, many of our CCA Alums & Adults are familiar with bullying tactics and have been targeted by classmates, peers, and even adults. To help fight back against bullying, CCA is running a series of personal posts about how our Alums & Adults have handled bullying and teasing situations. Plus, we'll be posting resources from experts about how to promote safe and supportive relationships. Stay tuned this week for informative, inspiring posts about changing the way we react to others' comments - bullying, teasing, and even "harmless" remarks.
Some folks just have to comment on your looks every time they see you.
Maybe it's your face. Or your outfit. Or your smile. Or even your shoes.
Regardless of what has piqued their interest, you know they are looking because they're commenting. And while it is nice to receive a compliment, sometimes even well-meaning remarks bring up anxiety to those of us who already feel like a person on display.

Blogger Meg has experienced her share of frustrating comments, too, specifically about her weight. It can be exhausting to constantly answer others' questions, so keep Meg's tips in mind next time you - or your grandma - want to make a comment about another person's appearance. Whether you're curvy or angular, chubby or skinny, dark or light, tall or short... we're all people inhabiting the body we were born with. And we all want to be accepted for who we are, not what we look like.

5 Things NOT to Say to Someone Who's Thin
by Meg Storie

1. "You probably can eat anything you want and not gain a pound!"

No, I can't actually! I have Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Any food high in fat or with milk upsets my stomach and sometimes triggers heartburn. I don't have fast food very often; it's a treat when I do. I love my frozen yogurt sometimes. And because of GERD, I must eat early, hours before bedtime.

2. "You look like you are ten!"

Let's be honest: I do not look like I'm ten. This statement is too quick of a reaction and you should have thought before you spoke. In my early twenties, this is the "compliment" I get mostly, but even though we universally accept that everyone wants to look younger, no one wants to be infantilized. I'm a woman, not a child.

3. "How much do you weigh? You must be only X pounds!"

This is not the Fair and I didn't just give you three chances to win a prize. You wouldn’t ask an overweight person how much they weigh, so you certainly don’t ask someone who’s underweight.

4. "Do you eat?

What a silly question! I wouldn't be here if I didn't! The truth is, I love to eat. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new recipes on apps, dark chocolate, and eating David's heart healthy dinners! Eating is something I enjoy, but I have to mind my restrictions for my health.

5. “You need to put some weight on you.”

This statement assumes so much about me that is really unfair. I have been small all my life, so barring any physical changes to my body's chemistry, I'll be staying this way. For many underweight people, it is just as hard to gain weight as it is for an overweight person to lose weight.

In the end, making the world a kinder place is about shifting our communication patterns from commenting on people's looks to connecting with their spirit. There are many ways to start a conversation or compliment someone.

If you're guilty of saying some of these things out of habit, why not brainstorm a list of creative things to say instead? We came up with 5 Alternatives to get you started...
  1. Hi, Ginny! It is so great to see you! 
  2. I have missed you, Maggie! Where should we get lunch?
  3. Corbin, thanks for making it to the meeting! We're glad you're on our team.
  4. You're such an inspiration, Jake! When did you starting running 5Ks?
  5. Kelly, I have been eating way too much red meat lately. Do you know any good fish recipes you'd like to share?
Can you think of more? Share them in the comments!

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