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How to Respond When Someone Comments On Your Body

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon experience. It's crazy to me that people feel entitled to comment on someone else's body. I'm not talking about people who are complementing an outfit or asking a question about a hair cut. I'm talking about the people who are compelled to comment on your body. It could be well intentioned or it could be with the intent to open a dialogue around diet, exercise, etc. Comments and conversations about bodies have the potential to trigger disordered eating or exacerbate already existing eating disorders.


So how do you respond? I would invite you to consider your relationship with the person and what you want the comment to be. For instance, it might not be the best idea to be extra salty to your boss, but I'll let that be at your discretion. Below are some ways that you could choose to respond, separated into mild, medium, and spicy/hot. Because my brain always thinks in terms of food (cough, Buffalo wings, cough) and besides, who doesn't love a saucy response?




Mild

For a mild response consider avoiding the comment, distracting from the comment, or setting a boundary without further explanation

  • Change the topic of conversation, "I've been doing fine, just looking forward to seeing Taylor at the Eras tour, are you going?"

  • Ask how they're doing, "Didn't you just get a new promotion? I'd love to hear about it!"

  • Set a boundary, "I've been focusing on all aspects of my health."

  • Distract, "I'm working with a dietitian and following that plan."

  • Deflect, "I'm not dieting, I'm doing an awesome new skin care regimen."





Medium

If you want a little bit of spice, but aren't ready for a situation to be too heated, focus on your feelings about the comment, provide the person education, and/or set a boundary with or without explanation.

  • Provide education, "Everyone’s version of healthy looks a bit different."

  • Provide education, "BMI and weight don't tell us much about someone's health status. The American Medical Association actually recently encouraged providers to de-emphasize focus on weight and BMI."

  • Provide education, "I'm trying this new thing where I try not to talk about bodies because it shows respect for people who struggle with body image or who may be secretly struggling with an eating disorder."

  • Provide education, "My mental health is so much better supported by today's body."

  • Focus on feelings, "I feel uncomfortable when you make comments on my body."

  • Focus on feelings, "When you comment about the changes that my body has gone through it leaves me feeling like you don't care about me as a person."

  • Set boundary, "Please don't comment on my body."

  • Set boundary, "I don't think there's a reason we need to talk about my body, I'd rather talk about something else."



Spicy

My personal favorite, making the perpetrator sweat thanks to a blend of all of the above WITH sarcasm and or dark humor. You also can add a pinch of saltiness by including a boundary with an expectation.

  • Set a boundary, "I don't want to talk about my body and if it's brought up again, I'll be leaving."

  • Set a boundary, "That was some audacity, and you can take that energy out the door."

  • Dark humor, "I've seen the way you party on the weekends, don't pretend you care about my health when it's obvious you don't care about yours."

  • Dark humor, "It's sad that you don't have anything better to talk about than my body."

  • Sarcasm, "I didn't realize you were a medical provider, when did you get your license?"

  • Salty, "My body is none of your f*#&$ng business, thanks."


I'd love to hear how these go or if you have any additions to these. Hope you enjoyed these flavorful responses and that you stay saucy.




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