Why Body Compliments Can Be Harmful

By Heather Irwin, MS, RD, LDN

The diet culture tends to focus on the outward appearance and it is really common to give compliments based on how someone looks. For example, “you look great, have you lost weight?”

While this may come from good intentions, what if you are complimenting someone’s eating disorder? Or perhaps this person has cancer or an illness they do not want to discuss. It reinforces that a certain body size may be better than another, or simply suggests that they did not look good before.

We all love to receive compliments, but rather than compliment someone on their body, let’s think of other ways to do so.

Here are a few examples:

  1. I appreciate your open mind
  2. You are a great _________________ (friend, colleague, teammate, partner, etc.)
  3. I love your energy
  4. I feel comfortable around you
  5. You seem happy today

Source: Tribole, E., Intuitive Eating for Every Day

Heather Irwin, MS, RD, LDN
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