Unsolicited comments about your weight and/or body shape can be crushing and have the ability to negatively affect how you see yourself - after recovering from an eating disorder and gaining a substantial amount of weight (see below), I was on the receiving end of a fair few and it ruined my confidence. But how should we react to such comments? I've put together a selection of options for ways to tackle this negative and inappropriate behaviour, here goes…
1. Know it's probably not about you
I know, I know. This might not be much consolation when people make snide remarks about your looks, but a lot of the time, they're feeling bad about themselves and they're projecting. They're taking it out on you. The first step is realising that so you are able to react in a calmer, more composed manner.
2. Come back with a compliment
This is for the people who are intentionally trying to hurt your feeelings. I know coming back with a compliment sounds a bit crazy, especially when you probably want to slap them (!), but by not engaging, you choose to be the better person. The dynamic then shifts and now the other person is left feeling guilty about their inappropriate remark.
3. Hit the comment right back at them
Say 'so do you' and smile sweetly. It gets your point across in the most simple of manners.
4. Call them out
Tell them what they said was inappropriate, none of their business and ask them not to comment on your weight or what you're eating again. You have every right to do this.
5. Ignore it.
Not giving a reaction is perhaps the most powerful way you can stop a bodyshamer in their tracks. This one is tricky – and one I personally find difficult! – but it's an option if you are able to.
6. Remove yourself
When you've tried these other tactics and nothing works, it might be worth thinking about removing yourself from the line of fire. It's shit that you have to do that but selfcare involves removing yourself from potentially damaging situations so it's something to consider.
One day you will get to a point where negative comments don't faze you, but it wont' happen overnight. Self-love and self-belief will contribute to building a barrier that shields you from these negative comments. You WILL get there!