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Never comment on someone's weight ever? Yes or No?

nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
Just getting back after a long and complicated move.

My mother came by on Sunday and commented 5 different times on my husband's weight. I didn't count--he did.

He's been working day and night--working his "day job" and packing and then doing repairs on the new place to get it ready for us. He's been skipping meals and even I've been worried he's losing too much weight. He was slim to begin with and didn't need to lose any.

My mother said things like

"I brought you some cake, we need to put some meat on those bones"
"Don't skip any more meals, you'll start looking like a concentration camp victim"

And so on.

I didn't think much of it because my mother non-stop harps on me about my weight being too high, and has done so since I was in pre-school. For example during the visit she said "you've lost a lot, but still need to get that last 10 or 20 pounds." Sigh.

My husband was deeply offended and is pretty angry at her right now.

He says it's never appropriate to comment on someone's weight ever. I appreciated that viewpoint when he defended me against people saying I was too heavy, but I have to admit that now that I've lost so much I really don't mind people saying to me "wow, you look so thin!" and stuff like that. But it does seem rude for my mother to imply he's unattractive so thin. For what it's worth, he still has muscle, just essentially almost no visible fat right now. My main worry is that if he keeps skipping meals it will start to affect muscle too and make him less healthy.


  • earlnabby
    earlnabby Posts: 8,177 Member
    Your mother is out of line IMHO. If it were her child, yeah, maybe but it is her child's husband so she is going too far.

    Whether or not to comment on someone's weight really depends on the person who is the subject, the person doing the commenting, and the circumstances. I give a bit of slack to close family members but it depends on the actual comments. Passive-aggressive comments like what my mother always did (every time she mentioned running into an old friend or classmate of mine she would comment on how she "has such a cute little figure") got total crickets from me and I would walk out of the room.

    I would never comment if someone is putting on weight.

    I would comment if I knew someone was trying to lose and their results are noticeable.

  • mom2kateRH
    mom2kateRH Posts: 178 Member
    this topic definitely has some grey areas.

    I've had co-workers comment on the fact that they have noticed I've lost weight and that I look much healthier and fitter. I actually find this encouraging! I had one person who hadn't seen me in awhile say, "wow, you look like an athlete!" I think this type of comment is not a problem or an issue.

    However, specifically commenting on weight in terms of whether or not a person needs to lose, has lost too much, etc is not appropriate, unless you are the person's doctor or significant other/spouse (if you have serious concerns about your loved one's health). and if there are true health concerns, then just say, "I'm concerned about your health." and go from there.

  • Kintsugi_Haikyo
    Kintsugi_Haikyo Posts: 361 Member
    I never comment on someone's weight. I figure that it's like asking a woman if she's pregnant. If she is, and she wants you to know, she will tell you. My mom taught me this as a little, little, child. It's just crass. Imagine how a poor woman would feel if you asked her when she was due only to find out she has a beer belly?
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,630 Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    Thanks guys! Yes, my mother is obnoxious... I've reached peace with the idea I won't change her behavior toward me, but acting like this to my husband is a bit too far! I was just wondering if people felt like sometimes it's ok in terms of a compliment or if it's always a bad idea? I mean, you wouldn't want to say to someone at work "Great work, you've lost so much weight!" and have them say "actually the chemo makes it so I can't keep food down."

    Unless it's brought up I never mention it...I was once asked if my weight loss was on purpose.....backhanded way of asking if I was sick.

    Exactly. Mind your own business!

    I actually lost 50 pounds when I was really sick in 2000. People kept asking me out to lunch. Uh - nope - the smell of food makes me even sicker. (If possible.)
  • MarieMckenji85
    MarieMckenji85 Posts: 23 Member
    I don't mention it unless they mention it first. I also know what it's like to be the wife of the skinny husband that has gotten comments a few years ago about being too thin. He too got tired of them and offended by his dad and step mother making those kinda comments. guess it just depends on the person too because some like those comments while others don't.
  • mph323
    mph323 Posts: 3,566 Member
    edited August 2017
    I have a strict policy of never commenting on anyone's weight (or apparent pregnancy) unless they bring it up directly. And even then I've never had someone ask specifically "Do you think I'm fat?" It's always in the context of my own weight loss process, or them talking about how they need to lose weight. People will sometimes call themselves fat in these conversations, or fish for a compliment ("Oh my goodness, you're just fine as your are!"). I don't respond to either type of comment, just keep rolling with what works for me.

    eta: BTW if someone were to ask directly if I thought they were fat I'd answer honestly.
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,507 MFP Moderator
    If it is close family or close friends I think it is ok to bring up weight if you are concerned about something. But, I don't think the way your mom did it was very productive or appropriate. If she hadn't seen him in a while, noticed he lost a bit of weight, and just asked if everything was ok I would be ok with that. Nagging about anything never really gets good results out of anyone.
  • MotherOfSharpei
    MotherOfSharpei Posts: 1,152 Member
    I think it depends on the individual relationship between two people. I would never comment on anything about a stranger's appearance...weight, hair, shirt, etc... and I'll tell a stranger where to go if they comment on mine. But there are certain friends and family members that I have the type of relationship with where we can bring up anything in any way, including weight, and it isn't taken as offensive.
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    Thanks guys! Yes, my mother is obnoxious... I've reached peace with the idea I won't change her behavior toward me, but acting like this to my husband is a bit too far!

    Got a suggestion. Jump on this before your husband tells your mother to *kitten* off.

    I'm at that point with my in-laws and it is a tough spot in my marriage.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    VioletRojo wrote: »
    lporter229 wrote: »
    Kullerva wrote: »
    I don't comment on others' appearance, period. Unless--they mention it first. For instance, those of us that lose often get asked how we did it. I don't take this as an offensive inquiry, but I also don't bring it up unless people ask me. (I get "rabbit food" comments endemic to the vegetarian community, but usually nothing worse.)

    Joking once about weight I get (some people are just insensitive), but five times seems excessive. Perhaps your mother should focus more attention on worthwhile things, instead of getting stuck on the same (offensive) one. If changing the subject doesn't work I would be very direct (read: scary intimidating) with her. Sadly, I'm with your husband on this one--your mom sounds a lot like my dad (and that's not a compliment. I don't talk to my dad anymore.)

    So you find it inappropriate to tell somebody that you like their new hairstyle or the dress they are wearing?

    This subject came up on a thread in the motivation forum a month or so ago when the OP was saying that she was uncomfortable with comments on her weight loss. I was very surprised at the overwhelming number of posters that said that comments, even those intended to be compliments, on a person's weight were out of line.

    I have, on many occasions, commented to friends and family on their weight loss efforts. All of these comments were made with the best of intentions in an effort to support and encourage their efforts. It is hard work to lose weight and I have a hard time understanding why congratulating somebody on getting the job done is so taboo. When I read these comments, I was pretty horrified to think that I may have inadvertently offended a friend or made them uncomfortable. When I have lost weight in the past, I know that I have always appreciated when people noticed. It made me feel like my efforts were paying off and often gave me that little boost to keep going. After reading these opinions, I will likely refrain from complimenting anyone on their weight loss efforts in the future, although i still have a hard time understanding why it is inappropriate or offensive.

    I'm not the OP of that post, but I find it inappropriate to comment on someone's body unless they open the topic. Commenting on hair or clothing isn't the same thing at all, although unless there has been a drastic change for the better, I wouldn't comment on hair either.

    Pretty much. A "you look great" is fine, or maybe a specific comment on a goal you know the person has been working toward, but certainly not negative. Exception is that a spouse/SO can comment on body, of course (using knowledge of the other person, judgment). Talking to a child about weight also okay, if done in the right way, although at this age if mine tried to raise the topic other than positively (you look great, good job on losing all that weight) I'd say "that's not something I want to discuss, thanks.")

    In-law going on about someone's body/appearance negatively, not cool.
  • OliveGirl128
    OliveGirl128 Posts: 801 Member
    Almost 39 years old here and I've never, ever, ever commented on someone's weight, or engaged in a discussion with someone about their weight, (excluding forums like this one). Seems like a bad idea no matter how I look at it :p