Three Her Campus Members Speak Out on Why You Should Never Judge Someone Based on Their Weight

People expect all women to look like supermodels, but that isn’t possible. Everyone’s body holds weight differently and some people have health issues or were on medication that caused them to lose or gain weight. Judging people on their weight and criticizing them for it is always a bad idea. You don’t know what that person has gone through or is going through mentally or physically. Gaining weight isn’t as easy as eating more and losing weight isn’t as easy as eating less.

To gain insight on experiences other than mine, I asked myself and two Her Campus members about their experience with weight change and how people responded.

Q: Please Explain how and why your weight/body has changed.

Savannah: “I have Celiac Sprue which is a genetic autoimmune disease. Celiac has affected me on many levels and has required me to make many long-term changes to my life. I live on a strict gluten-free diet, and I am very careful about nutrition. My body frame has always been small and lean, and, by having Celiac, it has been incredibly hard to gain weight and muscle.”

Sydney: “I was on a low dose of Topamax to help with migraines. This medication can cause side effects just like any medication and my doctor told me I would eventually get used to it and that the side effects would eventually go away. While on this medication I lost my appetite almost completely and whatever I did eat, I became  extremely nauseous and threw  everything back up. I was on Topamax for almost a year and the side effects only continued to get worse. I ended up losing around 20 pounds and I have always been a relatively small person so losing this weight was not healthy. Even though I am off Topamax now, I still sometimes get extremely nauseous and haven’t gained all of my weight back.”

Lindsie: “I started gaining weight when I started taking birth control. Since it actually regulated my body like it should've, I had to adapt and one of those adaptations was weight gain.”

Lindsie, Sydney and Savannah.

Q: Have people commented on your weight/weight change and if so, what have they said?

Savannah: “People have commented on my weight and this topic is one I have had to confront. During middle school and high school, I struggled with body positivity. I have always struggled to keep a healthy weight, so when people would comment on my body, it made being confident ten times harder. I’ve heard everything from, “you would be a lot more attractive if you gained ten pounds,” to “why don’t you just do some squats and eat more.” Comments like these are very rude and have lowered my self-esteem in the past. For me, it is not a matter of eating more or doing more squats. I work hard to keep my body at a healthy weight, and these insensitive comments need to stop. When I asked, "why would say something like that?" the answer was, "I'm just helping you out." Comments like these are not helpful and definitely do not build confidence. The opinions of my body-- especially in college and high school-- have primarily come from males. So if you are a male reading this and have said something to women regarding her weight, please know that we should be celebrating women just as they are instead of trying to change them to fit your “ideal look.” I learned to get past these comments when a friend of mine battled an eating disorder. I learned to approach body size as a topic on health rather than weight. This mindset helped me accept my body for the way it is, not someone's opinion.”

Sydney: “I have had people tell me I need to eat more, and I usually just laughed it off or say something like “I wish I could.” I have had friends and their parents ask me if I’ve lost weight and said I look tiny. Those types of comments don’t bother me as much, but they do make me feel self-conscious .”

Lindsie: “Not recently. But weight is something I've struggled with since a young age. I was an athlete for most of my life, so I was always very heavily muscled up until I got into my sophomore year of college.”

Q: How do the comments people make about your body affect your self-confidence?

Sydney: “The comments affect my self-confidence because they make me very aware of my body and that I don’t look like a supermodel. Over time I have learned that I am beautiful. My body may not be perfect to other people, but I think it’s perfect and that’s all that matters.”

Lindsie: “It doesn't. I am happy with me so I don't care if other people aren't.”

Q: What do you think parents should or could do to help their children be happy and confident in their own bodies?

Savannah: “I would tell parents that when they are communicating with their kids about their body image, to focus on health instead of on weight. Parents should watch what they say, especially regarding their child's body, because what they say could have a significant impact on how their children view themselves. I think the conversation of body image should turn toward a positive note and focus, not on negativity, but on healthy eating and regular exercise.”

Sydney: “I think parents can tell their kids they are beautiful and perfect the way they are and don’t pay any attention to the comments other people might make.”

Lindsie: “Tell them that others opinions should not determine their own.”

Q: What is something you want to tell the people who judge others on their bodies?

Savannah: “I would tell people who judge body weight to keep comments on others’ bodies to themselves. You never know what someone is going through and what factors into how their body looks, so it’s best to keep your opinions on others to yourself. No matter how much one may think the comments are “helping,” it is not helpful. In the future, we should focus on being more body positive and celebrating every woman—no matter the size.”

Sydney: “I would ask them why does it matter or affect them. It isn’t their body, they are not “helping,” and they are most likely making the situation worse. Please take into consideration what someone could be going through before you comment on how they look.”

Lindsie: “Just don't. Bodies are bodies and we're all struggling with something. Just because someone looks ‘thick’ doesn't mean they're fat.”