Alternatives to ‘Whoa, You’ve Dropped a TON…’

Yep, I’ve lost a lot of weight in the last few months. Yep, I clearly have much more still to go. (And yes, it’s about so much more than just weight, I know – but that’s what shows up for most people.)

And while I certainly don’t mind hearing people comment about it in positive ways, well – I’m going to give you a few tips and/or tricks about what you could say instead of referring to pounds themselves – for me or anyone else around me in the midst of positive changes.

Of course, that’s where most people in our weight-obsessed, size-obsessed culture automatically go – it’s what you look like, not how healthy you actually are.

I guess that makes sense in a way, since my new cholesterol numbers aren’t showing up in flashing neon on my forehead, for example…

But I’ve heard a few examples of what to say from friends or acquaintances over the last few months that did my heart good, so I thought I’d share them with you as well to spur a conversation about how best to support those in the midst of change.

That title example above? Yeah, it’s what not to say in my book. Thankfully, no one has used on me. Unless you count #HeTeen, that is*…

Note that I’m not using this as an opportunity to shamelessly troll for compliments myself. Instead, I’d love to talk about how best to encourage someone on making change in his/her life – without seeming like you’ve spent the time before that passing snarky judgments about them prior to the shift itself.

See also “Oh, your hair looks so much better now that you’ve colored it!” — which only makes you wonder just how crappy it must have looked before, grrr…

These are a few recent examples I’ve dug up to start the conversation…

  • The ever-classic “You look great these days” always works.” (Said by a few friends – some who know what I’m up to these days, some who do not. Those who know usually tack on some variant of ‘healthy’, which I appreciate.)
  • “Wow – I haven’t seen you in a while – you’re looking very fit now!” (Said by a casual acquaintance at the gym yesterday, in fact.) So. Not. True – but I’ll take it!
  • OTOH, referring to size in a lighthearted or offhand way can work, depending on the individual. A long time acquaintance who hadn’t seen either #SheTeen or I in years greeted us with (to my daughter) ‘Wow, you’ve gotten so much bigger now, haven’t you? then without missing a beat, turned to me & said “and you’ve gotten much smaller as well, I see!” Then, the conversation shifted to a recap of my daughter’s latest exploits – and yep, it worked…

…now, I’d love to get your examples as well!

* #HeTeen’s version of the ‘whoa, you’ve dropped a TON’? It a) counts as the best compliment I’ve received to date, and b) he’s the only one who could have ever gotten away with it. It went something like this (said as he’s walking into the living room yelling “MOOOOM???”):

“Oh, wow. Don’t get offended, but I didn’t even see you sitting there. You used to take up the whole chair, you know -and now you take up about half. Way to go, Mom!”


  1. Genevieve

    Yeah, I go with “You look terrific!” (though I had a similar experience to Liz when I complimented someone on her weight-loss and she said it was the grief diet, because her mom had died that year).

Surely you're not going to let me have the last word - are you?