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Have you recently experienced a dramatic weight loss and now sense that people are treating you differently? Are you suddenly hearing things like you’re “getting too skinny” or you “look sick”? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes” you’re certainly not alone. Unfortunately, this is something I’ve been dealing with for most of my adult life—and I’m not even naturally thin.

Related Article: Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Why Being Thin Doesn’t Equate to Being Healthy

More than a decade ago I lived a vegan lifestyle. Since I was also a runner and avid weightlifter, I was often told that I looked “skinny” or “sick”. The funny thing is that during this time I weighed 140 pounds and stood a good 5 feet 7 inches tall, so I was not at all skinny. I looked good to ME and I felt great.

But, to others I was just too skinny.

Today, I’m still a runner and devoted weightlifter but no longer a vegan. I now hover between 150-160 pounds and I still look good to myself and feel great. Still, some people like to call me “skinny” or jokingly say things like “I can’t stand you skinny people.”

Truth is, I hate being called skinny!

That isn’t a compliment.

To me, this word is belittling and implies that I have a problem or that I’m doing something wrong. I’ve been battling obesity all my life with exercise training and sensible eating so I really do appreciate the results of my hard work.

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When you work hard for something, it makes you think and feel different.

If you’re currently on the road to losing weight chances are you’ll probably experience the same type of criticism at some point, if not on a regular basis. Most people will never appreciate your achievements unless they too have worked hard to achieve something similar.

Plus, it’s kind of hard to be happy for someone when you’re unhappy with yourself.

There are many who will criticize you because they themselves lack confidence. They just sit back and wait for you to fail so they can ridicule you and say, “See, I told you so!”

Trust me, these types of people are everywhere.

My mother used to tell me people never compliment you when you’re doing things “right” but they’re quick to point out something “wrong”.

She spoke from experience.

My mother had a beautiful pear shaped frame with a slim top and round bottom, which she maintained well into her late 30s. Although she didn’t have a structured exercise regimen during this time, she walked regularly and worked on her feet most of the time.

While in her early 40s, my mother incurred an injury through no fault of her own. After several faulty surgeries and overly prescribed steroidal medications, she gained an excessive amount of weight. My mother underwent physical therapy at a hospital at which she used to work and I occasionally attended her sessions with her.

On one particular day, we ran into one of her former co-workers and the first thing this lady said to my mother was: “Ohhh Gladys, you’re sooo fat. You used to be skinny but look at you now!” I looked at my mother’s face. I could see the pain in her eyes.

But, my mother doesn’t play that. She’s always been very blunt.

Her immediate response was: “Ohhh, I’m fat, but you’re ugly. I can lose this weight. What are you going to do with your face!”

That woman shut her mouth and walked away enraged. My mother looked at me and said: “She never complimented me when I had that nice figure.”

This was a moment I never forgot.

I had a similar experience when I gained 65 pounds while pregnant with my son. People both inside and outside my circle of “friends” and even family members would say things like: “You see, I knew you would get fat after the kids, that’s what happened to me.” I should point out that I lost the weight and they are still “fat” (their words not mine).

To this day, one of my favorite quotes is that: “It is much easier to find fault with others, than to be faultless ourselves.”

As you continue to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find that others, who may not be living this way, criticize you in any way they can. It’s important to just be happy with yourself.

If YOU feel as though “you look sick” or are “too skinny” then there’s a problem.

So, if you’re having these experiences, hopefully I’ve provided you with some encouragement to keep pushing on. In the words of my mother: “The next time someone teases you about how skinny you look, tell them how fat they are.”

If they have the audacity, so should you.

Related Article: Fat-Shaming: Are Legitimately Unhealthy Fat People Hiding Behind the Term?