I Want to Be Done Thanking People for ‘Complimenting’ My We…


Nearly every Friday for the past few months, a woman has come up to me after the body sculpting class I teach and said something like this: “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working.” Sometimes it’s, “Good job; you’ve lost a lot of weight.” Others, it’s a form of praise I didn’t even know was a thing: “I can really tell that you’ve lost weight from your face. Your face is slimmer.”

My face? Thanks?

As a woman in America there are two things I’ve learned through the years: 1. Always try to improve your body. 2. Always say “thank you” when someone gives you a “compliment.” If my body is inherently in need of improvement, then when someone tells me I’ve lost weight, it’s supposed to be a compliment. And instinctively, when I hear anything complimentary, I say thank you.

I enjoy leading this Friday morning class. Teaching provides a sense of accomplishment and gives me an incredible amount of confidence. The people who attend the class are pleasant, and I am happy to take any and all compliments pertaining to the design of the workout or how much it kicked someone’s ass. That’s all me. I did that. I stood at the front of the room and challenged everyone. What I didn’t do was set out to lose weight.

The first few times this woman complimented me, I assured her that the number on my scale hadn’t budged.

She would just shake it off, perhaps assuming I was being modest. And yet I kept saying “thank you” every time she insisted that my math was wrong.

Thank you…for telling me I apparently look less awful than I used to? I’m glad you now approve of me and my body?

I won’t lie: I started taking working out seriously three years ago when my clothes weren’t fitting. But when I started down this path, I realized I was more concerned with being in shape than losing weight. I’d swim laps with coworkers and get winded after just a few turns in the pool, so every day it became my goal to swim more than I had during my last workout. Then I discovered other types of fitness activities that made me feel powerful and capable of improving. The second I stopped thinking about pounds and…

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