that awful, plague of a question
Have you lost weight?
I hate this question. It’s supposed to be a compliment. It’s not. Inside it are a slew of horrific judgements beating down upon you. With this question comes the implication that the questioner noticed your physical appearance “before” and compared it to “now” and decided the difference of their perception was how much poundage you carry on your bones. It’s a question that implies you were fat “before” and you are less fat “now” when the only real difference is their perception, which doesn’t take into account any number of other factors.
Like wearing your hair differently. Like wearing different clothing. Like having a healthier psyche that results in you standing a little straighter because you’re moving forward with confidence. Like wearing a smile because you’re having a great day. Like the million other little things that can affect your appearance that have absolutely nothing to do with how much you weigh.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I had none of the typical symptoms. I wasn’t overweight and within the realm of normal for my BMI. I didn’t feel sick. I don’t look diabetic. My condition is entirely genetic and it sucks. What works for normal Type 2 Diabetics doesn’t always work for me. Medications always have side effects and dealing with them emotionally and physically is difficult.
Seven months ago, I started Kung Fu. Best decision of my life. Soon I will be learning how to climb up bamboo trees as I beat down bad guys. When I started, I was in an average physical condition. Two years ago I ran a marathon and while I didn’t run as intensely, I kept up an average amount of exercise. Over the last seven months, my body has gone through a physical change.
But I have not lost any significant amount of weight.
Because muscle weighs more than fat. Because what you weigh and how you carry it are complicated nuanced things. Because scales and your BMI can’t tell the entire story of who you are existing in this physical state we call life.
Can we stop asking such a rude question? If we must comment on the physical difference we see in other people, can’t we say something to the effect of:
You look so beautiful today! Tell me your secret!
My solution isn’t perfect, I realize this, but maybe, if we spoke with the intent to truly uplift other people, we’d find more personal happiness and the world would be a less awful place plagued by such despair.