“Wow, you used to look terrible!”

For the record, I’ve lost about 25 pounds in the last year. I cut calories, started exercising, and I lost weight, very gradually. I’m certainly proud of this effort — I now weigh about what I did when I left college five years ago.

What I don’t understand, though, is why it’s seemingly acceptable for people to compliment me on my weight loss by saying, “Gosh, you used to be fat!” No, those aren’t their exact words, but in the last two months, a couple of people have looked at old pictures of me and said, “Wow, you’ve lost so much weight!” How is that different from saying “Geez, look how fat you were here?” One of my friends even defended himself by saying, “What? I thought you’d be happy to see how far you’ve come!” I am happy about it, but you could use a little tact.

Maybe part of it is that I didn’t start this quest to look better. That’s a happy byproduct, but the motivation was health. My dad has had a quadruple bypass (plus related other surgeries) and been diagnosed with diabetes in the time since I graduated from college. That had more to do with my decision to watch what I ate and start exercising than comparing myself to how I looked in college.

So, please: I appreciate the encouragement of “Hey, you’re doing really great,” but don’t point to a picture of me and say, “You’re so much smaller than that now!”

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