“skinny” isn’t a compliment

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SKINNYPOST

I hesitate to jump into a conversation that’s been exhausted over and over again in a cyclical pattern but it’s been on my mind for several months so I thought I’d just throw my two cents in here.

I cringe whenever I see women commenting on photos on social media with things like

“omg you are so SKINNY!”

“you look itty bitty!!!”

“how did you get so skinny?”

I’m not referring to my feed, as that truly doesn’t happen very often, and I genuinely believe that some of the women offering compliments like that actually mean “you look great” instead of glorifying skinniness but may not think twice before posting it.

And I get it, I really do. It’s a part of our culture, whether we like it or not. A lot of women idolize being skinny. I mean there’s a meme that floats around Pinterest that says “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Are we serious with this?

I’m deeply grateful, and become even more appreciative with age, that my mom instilled a really healthy body image in me as a little girl. I never obsessed about my weight. And I still don’t.

But I know some women do, and the “skinny” comments may be more destructive than we can even imagine.

 

Anyway, what I’d really love to see (and I know this is a huge undertaking) is a dramatic decrease in the amount of compliments towards women that involve the word “skinny”. 

What if we focused on words like “healthy” or “happy” or just something simple like “you look great!”? Doesn’t that feel better to say anyway?

I’ll leave it there, but I’d really love to hear your thoughts on complimenting women below.

What was the nicest compliment you received that didn’t revolve around your body?

 

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Comments (190)

  1. Deb Cadovius says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Women tell me ALL THE TIME that they feel very comfortable around me to be themselves. That makes me feel incredible about myself. I just want women to feel relaxed and “at home” when they are hanging out with me. 🙂

    • Lacy says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      That’s such a beautiful compliment, Deb! And it really speaks to the lasting impact you have on someone, rather than just the way you’re perceived through a snapshot.

      • Deb Cadovius says
        Posted November 24, 2015

        Thanks, Lacy. I couldn’t agree more. When I host play dates, my house never looks completely clean and I rarely look all put together. I do this on purpose to help women feel more at ease. Building relationships is very important to me.

        • Anne says
          Posted November 24, 2015

          Deb, that is beautiful! Thank for being a kind and thoughtful person! Do you have any recommendations for one hoping to improve relationships and/or valuing them more?

          • Deb Cadovius says
            Posted November 28, 2015

            Anne, number one is reading the book Boundaries. It teaches how to love people without being a doormat. Number two, honestly just treat them with genuine kindness and direct the conversation around them/what they’re going through currently. Most importantly remember that “hurt people hurt people”. So instead of letting their remarks hurt your feelings, try to understand where their comments/behavior is coming from. I always say “something deeper is going on”. <3

    • Heather S. says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      AMEN!!!! This has been something that has been on the forefront of my mind as well. I have 3 daughters & it’s my heart’s cry & prayer to be able to instill in them what true beauty is in a world saturated in the word “skinny”. Thank you for your encouragement just now. Just hearing another woman share where I”m at is refreshing. And may I add, you are beautiful! Your blog is one we go to often! 🙂 Thank you sweet lady.

  2. Samantha says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I totally agree with you! There is way too much focus on looks and a person’s body! Thank you for bringing it up and talking about it 🙂 My favorite compliment that I’ve gotten most recently is “you look so happy” because 1. I am! and it’s so nice that people can see it and 2. that’s really what should be most important, not looks but a person’s happiness!

    Thanks again for this post 🙂

  3. Posted November 24, 2015

    I think the best compliment I’ve ever received is something I’ve done work wise that’s impressed someone. I think it’s abilities and our character that makes us who we are – not our body and image.

  4. Amanda says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m actually so glad you brought this up! Skinny totally doesn’t feel like a compliment. I always think back to the times my mom would compliment me about how I treated my friends or how I was kind to so and so. When people notice those things, it means something. It reflects on our character, which is what lasts. Love the conversation. 🙂

    • Elise says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      LOVE this! And definitely what I try to emphasize with my daughter! She IS beautiful but that’s not what matters so I try to highlight a. that I love how kindly and compassionately she treats other people and b. when talking about her body, we talk about all of the amazing things she can do with it: Run, jump, play, dance, create- not on how it looks!

  5. Elise says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I appreciate compliments on the things that I work hard on to create. I love to bake, sew, craft, decorate my home, etc. When people appreciate that I took the time to lovingly make or bake something for them- or comment on how comfortable or inviting my home is (whether they mean the decor or the food or the atmosphere), I feel great about myself and the effort I put towards those things to love other people.
    When people compliment my appearance, I appreciate comments about my hair- which is rapidly going grey- or my articles of clothing. Those are the things I will most likely compliment another woman on as well. Saying, “I love that bag! Or those shoes are fabulous!” compliment their style and choices while implying that they look great.

    • Dana says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      Elise, I couldn’t agree more with your comment! When my husband and kids love something I’ve put my whole heart into (when don’t we as moms!) and truly appreciate it and it makes them happy, my heart overflows.

    • Danielle G. says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      Elise, I’m a teacher, and a lot of the new research is surrounding growth mindset, which basically says that people flourish at a much greater rate when you compliment their effort, rather than their intelligence. It also really supports students who don’t “get it the first time,” and helps them to continue trying even when their peers already got it. Which is NOT saying that you aren’t smart, but that complimenting effort is much more motivating than complimenting doing it right. I think about that a lot as I think about growing my family.

  6. Tristia Winters says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m so thankful for this post!!! I am been following your blog for years, and whenever I try a hairstyle or makeup tutorial of yours, I always think, “I feel great!”

  7. Lara says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love this! Some of my sisters have been working hard to get into shape and I love that we don’t focus on the skinny, more on the feeling great and being happy and healthy! My mother in law told me my hair looked great the other day, and it made my day!

  8. Lisa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    As someone who has struggled to gain weight my entire life, I appreciate this post. When people tell me I look skinny, they don’t typically mean it as a compliment. They are implying that I look unhealthy. But what they don’t know is that it has taken me almost 23 years to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not have those constant thoughts about how much “better” I would look with curves.
    The best compliment I’ve ever received came as a comment on a video assignment I did of myself interacting with children in my preschool classroom. The woman told me that I looked so comfortable in the classroom, and that my behavior appeared very natural. This means more than any comment telling me that I look pretty, because pretty can change, but the fact that I belong in the act of the career that I love, that will stick with me for a while.

    • Samantha says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      Lisa, I can relate to you, as I didn’t see skinny as a compliment. I struggled trying to gain weight, and loved the idea of having curves. I tried everything to gain weight, including eating unhealthy. The only result I received from eating unhealthy was losing my gallbladder. Turns out, I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer a year ago, so there was a reason behind my “skinny” after all.

      • Lisa says
        Posted November 25, 2015

        Hi Samantha,
        I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnoses with cancer! I’m sending healing thoughts your way. What a great reminder that anytime we see someone with any kind of dramatic body type, we don’t know what kind of serious health condition they may be battening.

    • Posted November 24, 2015

      Oh, do I ever feel your pain! I have always been told “You are sooo skinny!” It never felt like a compliment, either. As I got older, even boys would say that if I would gain some weight, “I’d be pretty enough to date.” I would much rather someone find something about me (besides weight) to comment on. Heck, even my hair! That actually takes skill to master! 🙂

      • Vicki says
        Posted November 25, 2015

        Oh my gosh… I feel your pain ladies! Growing up a very thin girl (also my 4 sisters and now my daughter) I constantly had the word “skinny” thrown at me like an insult, I hate that word now at 53 years old. I would NEVER go up to someone and say “oh youre so fat” but have had so many that feel the need to tell me this. Now at 53 I have FINALLY gained some weight but my daughter is still dealing with the insults (jealousies?)
        Youre so right Kate…… skinny should not be uttered by anyone, we are all
        wonderful what the size or shape.
        Love your blog Kate…..

        Vicki from Australia 🙂

  9. Emily says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Amen! I have never commented on your blog before (although I’ve been a loyal follower for a few years now) but this post warranted a comment. I agree wholeheartedly and would love to see a change in mindset/posts that celebrate health instead of being “itty bitty.” I commend you for taking a stand and putting this out there! Have you seen this site: http://healthyisthenewskinny.com/ I am not at all affiliated with them but love their message.
    I’d have to say the best compliments I get are when someone says something nice about my kids or compliments me on something that we’ve worked really hard to instill in them.
    Thanks again for posting!

  10. Rachel says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I get a lot of compliments on how happy, well-tempered, and charming my son is and that it speaks to our parenting. I love that way more than whatever the scale could tell me!!

  11. Amanda says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m a new mom to a son who’s almost 9 months old. I will always remember when someone told me that they have never seen me happier in my family pictures then they do now that I’m a mom. It made me smile, especially at a time where my body changed so dramatically over the past 1 1/2 years, that I’m still not quite used to it. But, when I am not feeling the best about my new body image, I just remember this comment and the “I wish I was skinnier” thoughts just go out the window! The compliment puts life in perspective for me and puts a smile on my face!

  12. Summer says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I like many women have this major desire to be skinny and am constantly beating myself up over every taco, beer, and lazy evening on the couch instead of at a barre class. That being said, I realized recently that I am my skinniest when I am most unhappy or stressed. So ‘fat and happy’ is a real thing…and I think I am ok with that.

  13. Jennifer says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    “Your love for Christ really shines through” – best compliment ever! Not sure it’s deserved but it was very nice to hear and made me want to share God’s love even more. If you think the same thing about someone, I challenge you to tell them. Our bodies will age and fade, our accomplishments will be forgotten, but our love will be eternal. Thank you for a blog post that helps us remember the important things in life.

    • Posted November 24, 2015

      I love that compliment!

  14. Sam says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I totally agree with you Kate! This post is a great reminder to us all! My favourite compliments are the ones where people say positive things about my parenting and my children! “You’re such a good mom”. Or “you’re kids look so happy” these are the things that matter to me!

  15. Cami says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I too hate the word “skinny!” Granted with a fast metabolism, three kids, and VERY little time for myself– I often get the you are so skinny “compliment.” I never know how respond. I have often heard the term “you are too skinny.” Know it doesn’t always make the person on the recieving end happy to hear. I have eliminated the words “skinny” and “fat” from our house and focus on food and habits that are making our “feel good and happy”

    My favorite compliments I have ever received have been on my parenting– always so good to hear when you spend so much time wondering if you’re doing it right or if there’s a better way!

  16. Veronica says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I agree! I think something similar happens when we talk to little girls too. Too often we tell them things like “You look so pretty in that dress” which is fine but when that’s all they hear from adults then how can we expect them to not be concerned with body image?

  17. Kristen says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Thank you for posting this reminder! I’ve realized how weight-based compliments aren’t really even genuine or helpful anymore. My husband, for example, lost about 35 pounds this year (which is awesome!) but anytime we see family that’s the first thing they comment on. “Wow, you’ve lost weight! You look good!” Which is kind of them to say to him, but then they usually look at me and say, “Oh…you look like you’ve lost weight, too!” AND I HAVENT AT ALL. It’s given us a few laughs because I’ve stayed the same size this whole time but it’s just an automatic thing they say. I want to say, “Guys, it’s okay for you to not mention my weight. Compliment my husband because he accomplished something! I don’t need a pity compliment thrown in!” Haha

  18. Amber says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I never comment on someone’s skinniness, even if they have recently lost a bunch of weight. I rarely comment on someones clothes/hair/shoes. I feel like when someone comments about these things to me, they are only caring how I look, not how I’m am.

    like your blog title, those are the small things. To me, the big things are if the person is happy, having health problems, worries about their children, etc.

  19. Sarah S says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Yes! There are so many wonderful things about people, why reduce it one little superficial thing?

  20. Kiahlie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Kate,

    I have been following you for years. This is one of my most favorite posts you have ever made. There is so much honestly and truthfulness to this and I appreciate that so much. (Not that there isn’t in your other posts) But getting a small glimpse into your thinking on something so simple yet so important makes me enjoy reading your blog that much more! I am not sure what it is about this post in particular, but thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed this post and couldn’t agree more.

  21. Christine says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I completely agree with this. Coming from someone who gets this gets ALL THE TIME, its hurtful and I know people don’t mean it in a nice way, it usually is followed with you should eat more or don’t you eat?. How ignorant. I’m short and petite and happy with the way god made me. People need to learn to keep their mouths shut.

  22. Kate says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Someone recently told me I was genuinely just a “good person.” It made me tear up!

  23. Stephanie H. says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    The best compliment I have ever received is “God shines through you”… I am so thankful for that! 🙂

  24. Morgan Post says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Totally agree! How about complimenting a woman for looking strong or fit? To me, the word “skinny” is not a compliment – it’s a word associated with looking ill or weak. I am not in great physical shape and while I journey to be healthy and strong, I never want to be skinny.

  25. Holly says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    my friends tell me that I’m a great listener and, to me, that is a high compliment. I value my connections with friends & family the most.

  26. Molly says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I had lunch with a former colleague today. The first thing out of her mouth was, “Oh my gosh! You look SO happy!” I have never felt more beautiful. Despite stress acne, flat/staticky hair, and 5lbs that I’ve been hanging onto for the past few months, she made me feel comfortable and pretty. Happiness is a wonderful thing!

    • Jaclyn says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      Molly, I love this! That is such a rewarding compliment and makes you feel so much more beautiful than does a comment on your appearance. If you look happy, you not only look beautiful but you look friendly and inviting. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  27. Julia says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    As someone who is in recovering from bulimia, I prefer “you look healthy” or “you look great!” If someone absolutely feels the need to comment on my body. Otherwise? “Wow, that shirt is fantastic!” Or “you look wonderful!” Are all okay comments that don’t center on someone’s body.

  28. Jennifer Shobert says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    The best compliment I have ever received was regarding my children. I love to hear from other parents that have spent time with my children when I am not around and I hear that they were polite, used their manners and were a pleasure to have around. As a parent, I couldn’t get a better compliment.

  29. Noel says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This is just what I needed to be reminded of! Thanks a bunch, Kate!

  30. Posted November 24, 2015

    Growing up I was always very skinny and people would comment all the time that I was so skinny. I even had a friend’s mom call me Olive Oil. While they thought they were complimenting me I always took it as a negative. I always wanted to look a little bigger so that I wouldn’t get called out for always being skinny. Now that I’m in my 30’s I appreciate that I have stayed thin but still struggle with how I look.

    Rather than commenting on how their body looks, maybe say, Hey, that shirt looks really great on you.

  31. Mere says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Great post! If you’re up for it would you share somewhere what your mom specifically did/said growing up that had such positive, lasting impact in this area? Thinking of my two daughters (and even my son) and how I can better build into them regarding this issue!!

    • ann a says
      Posted November 27, 2015

      Yes! Props to your mom, Kate! I would love to hear any wisdom from your parents about the way you were raised–on any issues you can think of 🙂 There are a few bloggers I would love to hear that from, in fact.

  32. Caryn says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Thank you for this post. I couldn’t agree more. I guess I am what is considered “skinny” just due to genetics and a lot of times the “compliments” from other women, even good friends, go something like “I hate you, you are so tiny.” Um, thank you?? I agree that just saying “you look healthy/happy/nice” would be much more meaningful. Or just don’t say anything at all! As for my favorite compliment, it would probably be “your kids seem so happy.” I’m not sure if it’s really meant toward me, but I choose to take it as so 🙂

  33. Kayla says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Amen. I don’t care what the scale says, if you are my friend its because of your personality and not at all about your looks. And I have some beautiful friends. Inside and out!
    As a new-ish mother, I tell my daughter she is beautiful all the time. But I also compliment her on how smart, sweet, and funny she is. I want her to be healthy, but more importantly I want her to be HAPPY. Happiness should be the new trend.

  34. Kirsten says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m guilty of saying skinny or noticing someone’s weight loss. However, because of this post, I am going to make a conscious effort to not say that anymore. Completely makes sense. While I do workout daily and try my best to choose healthier food options, I tell my daughter that I’m being healthy, keep my heart healthy, and feeling good, not trying to be skinny.

  35. Lisa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Hi! Great post! I learned this that using the word skinny is not a healthy word in college when my roommate would get so upset that people would say “look at how skinny you are” as a child she was made fun of for being so skinny, being called names and I learn that it is just as bad as being called fat…so as an adult she looks great! but still carries that with her as skinny being a bad thing. So I try really hard to compliment people on there eyes or smile or simply you look great! or clothes, love your outfit, looks so good on you, things like that….If someone is healthy that is all that matters weight should not be a focus. Thanks! Lisa

  36. Posted November 24, 2015

    I appreciate this post–it’s something that we could all use the reminder on. I personally don’t give (or receive! Ha!) that “compliment”, but the struggle instead is more on seeing other people given that compliment and having to remind myself that there are other things that are more desirable than just being thin.

    The nicest non-body compliment that comes to mind first was given to me just after the birth of my third son. I was at my postnatal appointment with all three kids in tow (ages 3, 19 months, and six weeks). I get really nervous sometimes when I’m out with the boys because I know how much people judge someone for having kids close together. People aren’t always very kind. But my OB (who has delivered all three and soon-to-be-four of my babies) remarked at the end of the appointment how well-behaved the children were and that I could bring them anytime, and that motherhood suited me very well. That meant a lot to me, considering they had been asking during the pregnancy if I wanted to have my tubes tied after my third’s birth. 😉

  37. Andrea says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This post really resonated with me. I am a mom of a 17 month old who (literally) has depleted many of my resources. I was lucky to lose my baby weight through breastfeeding but because I have not had time for lifting weights or working out, I have also lost a significant amount of muscle mass and I can tell. Pre-mommyhood, I worked out regularly and had muscles and now I have none and am not happy with it. So, when I get the “you are so skinny” comment it does not make me feel good about myself, because I am not comfortable with my body right now, even though I am at one of my lightest weights ever. I would rather hear a compliment on how I am doing as a mother (or maybe I suck at it and that’s why people comment on my appearance? hah), or my intelligence, or something I chose to wear, something I made, really, ANYTHING but my appearance. Especially because 9 times out of 10 I feel like a hot mess. Really, I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer or feel sorry for myself with this comment, just trying to convey how telling someone how skinny they are can actually make them feel uncomfortable.

  38. Posted November 24, 2015

    Best. Post. Ever.

  39. Erin says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    My childrens’ preschool teacher (a saint of a woman), told me I am a good mom. I don’t always feel that way, so its nice for someone to tell you!

  40. Posted November 24, 2015

    My daughter is very thin and recently teachers at her school have decided it’s OK to tell her that she is “too skinny and needs to eat more”. She is perfectly healthy, but tall and thin. I wonder if those same teachers tell larger children that they are, “too fat and need to eat less”. I doubt it. It seems like our culture believes it’s ok to comment on how skinny someone is, but it’s not nice to talk about people being overweight. My favorite compliments are on something I’ve made or written.

    • Sherri says
      Posted November 28, 2015

      Actually, they do tell children as young as seven, they weigh too much and need to lose weight. My grandson is seven and he came home from school in tears, because he was too fat. This makes me angry.

  41. Lara says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I struggle a ton with my body image and as I try to lose weight and get healthy, nothing throws me off my game faster than someone saying “wow, you look skinnier!” I know they are being kind, but mind instantly goes to “OMG how fat did I look before?!” or “I’m must have really looked disgusting.” Thank you for starting the discussion 🙂

  42. Elizabeth says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m pretty thin, but when someone refers to me as “skinny,” it’s usually not a compliment. I frequently feel somewhat put down by this word, because people are generally implying I don’t properly take care of myself.

    I also dislike the whole, “real women have curves” campaign. As if my narrow body is somehow undeserving of “real woman” status.

    I love this post, and I think you’re totally on point.

    • Kate says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I agree with you on the “real women have curves” thought as well. There shouldn’t be an overarching goal that everyone should try to achieve. 🙂

    • Shanna says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      Elizabeth, I’m going back through reading the comments and I basically said the exact same thing as you. Trust me when I say I get it, 100%.

  43. Michal says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I really like that you brought t topic up. I feel I focus on the skinny thing as well instead of “looking great” or ” looking healthy” Thank you for this is message!

  44. Cynthia says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Great post! I’d rather be “funny” than “skinny” any day. Ha 🙂

    • Kate says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      me too!

  45. Stephanie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This is such a refreshing post. I am a woman who has since been struggling with body image, and self confidence. And I recently have lost 10 pounds and I am happy with my new health and fitness “lifestyle”. However, the “you are looking so much thinner these days” or “You’re skinny, what are you doing?” Comments are to me, not compliments. However a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while said to me the other day “Wow, you look great, you look so refreshed and happy, like you have a glow”. That gave me a spring in my step. She seen me as happy. As healthy. I am a mom of Three little ones so hearing that I looked “refreshed” was taken as a compliment and made my day.

    Thank you for this post Kate. You’re such an inspiration to many women.

  46. Jenn says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This! Love all of this. It’s just like when people are pregnant, others feel like they can say whatever they want. “You look huge!” Is as much of an insult as “wow you’re so tiny!” The only acceptable things to say period are “you look great!” And/or “you seem so happy! What’s your secret!?” And if someone is dieting or worried about their weight, I’m sure they’d tell you at that time. What is it with society that people feel like they can say whatever they please!? Great post, and I think you look amazing! 🙂

  47. Shannon says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I totally agree. I don’t even consider “skinny” a compliment. I’m a mom of 6. I’m naturally thin and have trouble gaining weigh and people would accuse me of an eating disorder or say “eat a cheeseburger”. I looked sickly at times. So I never got the “skinny” compliment. How about you look lovely today? Happy? Healthy? You’re so spot on with this post. Weight shouldn’t even be considered in a compliment. (Or negatively either).

    • Shannon says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      *weight. Ignore any other typos. Autocorrect is my nemesis.

    • Kate says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I’m glad you chimed in. I’ve never been on that end of the word but I totally hear where you are coming from!

  48. Miranda says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Right after I had my first child my mom posted a picture of my new family. Many comments on it involved the words skinny and looking tiny. I certainly wasn’t feeling either and the comments made me wonder why people just didn’t comment on our beautiful addition instead of what I looked like 5 days after childbirth. Then the best compliment ever was posted. “Motherhood looks lovely on you.” Now whenever I see new moms posting pictures of themselves I find myself seeing how in love with their bundle of joy they are rather than judging what they look like.

  49. Lori says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Great post!! Totally agree!

  50. Shasta says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    It would be amazing if we could get over the word “skinny”. To me, when I was growing up, it was a word that was used often to describe me and I HATED it. It meant they questioned if I ate, if I was anorexic, etc. It was just the way I was built. I didn’t pack on any weight until I was 18. I love it more when people say “You’re in great shape” or just plain and simple “You’re gorgeous!”.

  51. Lindy says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I don’t think we need to shy away from telling a woman that she looks good. Compliments about our personality or hard work are good too, but we are also beautiful women because God intended us to be. I don’t like the skinny compliment, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water and forget to say, “you are beautiful.” I love to hear my husband tell me those words, but it’s not superficial. He has remarked on my beauty when I’ve just had a baby, carrying extra weight and dark circles.

    • Rachel says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I love being told I’m funny, a good friend and all of that. I really do. But it’s also really nice to hear that you are pretty every once in awhile, too!

  52. Lauren says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I hate to disagree but if someone called me “healthy” I wouldn’t take it as a compliment. Skinny has value, healthy sounds like “a good eater” which to me implies more weight than what’s beautiful. Maybe I’ve been ruined by years of wanting to be like what I see in the media but I’d take skinny over healthy any day. You don’t hear “skinny” people whining about wanting to be called healthy or not liking being skinny. That’s because they already have the goal attained.

    • Kate says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      So it’s just what you attribute to the word, right? The meaning for you is different than the meaning for me—and that’s likely due to different life experiences and all of the things that play a role into how to receive a comment. I understand your point, and as always I’m glad you (and others) feel comfortable enough to respectfully disagree! 🙂

      • Lauren says
        Posted November 24, 2015

        Absolutely. Of course being healthy is a great thing. It’s my Midwestern upbringing where healthy is a girl with a little meat on her bones. *cringe* it’s almost as bad as being called curvy.

        • Maggief says
          Posted November 28, 2015

          Love that this conversation is open and acceptable od different views and the point of the post is so honest to begin with but you are wrong. Health does NOT (automatically) equal skinny (and vise versa. I have always felt like I could stand to lose five pounds, never overwifht, but rarely called skinny. When I worked out and ate right, lived the healthiest lifestyle inside and our, those were the timws I was at mt heaviest weight. Then, a couple of years ago j began to get sick. I couodmt work out, my muscles wasted as a result of nerve damage, worse of all I was in so much pain I could even eat. For the first time in my life nothing sounded food. If I had enough energy to ge get foodfw to make, I soykD have fo could force myself to eat just to get enough nutrients. The only foods that appealed to be weren’t very healthy, but jt was better than nothing, during this time EVERYONE I knew, and a lot that I didn’t, told me over and over how “healthy” I was looking. How ironis that my weightless could be caused by such a painful illness, and y I was constantly complemented on how skinny and healthy” I looked! Strangers would ask me what workout routines I did when I would barely get out of bed. I live in the medwest also and Skinny does NOT equal healthy and healthy most certainly Does NOT equal heavy.

  53. Keri says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Thank you for your post. I have read you for years and have never commented but this topic really hit home. I think the best complement I’ve ever received was from my 5yr old daughter who told me, “Momma, I want to be strong just like you when I grow up.” Not only was she referring to my strength of character and grit she was referring to my muscles. I’ve always liked to be toned and healthy so have incorporated weight lifting into my workout regime as long as I can remember. I am by no means a body builder but I am capable of lifting a heavy box on my own. When my daughter was born we made the decision not to use the word “skinny” in our home. My husband and I don’t think “skinny” gives the right message. Now when my 11yr old daughter draws a woman she draws them with muscles and curves just like me.

  54. Genifer says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Agree 100% here. Another thing I would love to see in the culture is encouraging our young men to notice and compliment women on something other than her looks!

  55. Emily says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I just had my 3 child in 5 years! Best compliment was “Wow, you have your hands full but it looks like you’re doing a great job!”

    Off topic, where are those flats from? I’ve been looking for awhile!

  56. Brooke says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Not necessarily a compliment I received, but worth mentioning. I read this in an instagram(@iampetersson) bio the other day and absolutely loved it, “I don’t need a “bikini body” and I don’t need to be a size 2. I’m a size strong.” I’d much rather be noticed for being strong than skinny.

  57. Kelly says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    As someone who survived and then beat an eating disorder, and still to this day has to work hard to love her body despite everything, thank you.

    As much as my self-esteem craves the compliments, any time someone comments on how much weight I’ve lost since recovering from bulimia (which caused me to gain weight) it ends up feeling more like a drug than an actual compliment. I know I’m more at-risk because of my history, but I worry so much about women who become addicted to being told how thin they are…and how destructive that compliment can be toward women who don’t fit the stereotypical “skinny” idea.

    Better alternatives:
    – Brave
    – Strong
    – Smart
    – Healthy
    – Bold
    – Enthusiastic
    – Passionate
    – Driven

    Those are words I’d like to hear in regards to my physical appearance, mental health and overall well-being rather than “skinny” — regardless of my weight.

    Thanks for writing this. God wanted me to see this today, I’m sure.

  58. Posted November 24, 2015

    From someone who’s naturally “skinny”, I don’t really consider being called skinny a compliment. A lot of times I think they actually mean 1) I look unhealthy, or 2) I must starve myself to look this way. Both of which are not true. I have a healthy BMI number, and I am not on any diet. I just have a smaller bone structure and higher metabolism, that’s all.

  59. Anna says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I could not agree with you 110%!!

    Best comments I have ever had would be those that were around my intellect, family, or pets.
    (I don’t cook much, and I have a “black” thumb in the garden.)
    but I really enjoy complements on things I’ve worked on (either at work or at home), nice things about my kids (cuz they are just normal kids), and my dogs (love love love our dogs).

    Happy Thanksgiving — your post is wonderful and should live on another 100 years!

    cheers!

  60. Arianna says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This is a difficult argument to talk about. You are right saying what you are saying and we should all really just stop using “skinny” as a compliment. We should say that we look healthy, that we look fit, but not that we look skinny. What happens if we say “you are amazing: you are so skinny” to someone who survived an eating disorder? Plus, being skinny doesn´t mean being beautiful. Being beautiful is being healthy, is feeling good in your body!

    Thank you for sharing with us all!

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/

  61. Posted November 24, 2015

    Here here! I’ve always thought it was a compliment in saying “You look great!” or “You’re glowing” Actually, when people say “you look skinny” I kinda take offense to it. It almost implies that I look sick or unhealthy.

    I’m all up for supporting each other by giving more direct and uplifting comments!

    xo, Bev

  62. Melissa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I completely understand this post. I just had my 4th baby in 5 years, so I’m getting lots of different comments about my body right now. However, I think women should also be careful in choosing when to take offense at something. Proverbs 19:11 says it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Several hours ago (likely) well-meaning women commented on your IG post and this post followed. Those women will likely take offense to your post now. Everyone “meant” well, yet it’s likely offenses were taken. Let’s choose to assume the best of people.

  63. Emily J says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Agreed, Kate!
    In the last 18 months, I’ve rededicated myself to healthy eating + working out, and am down 20 lbs. I feel incredible, and I’m so much stronger than I ever was, even when I was a collegiate athlete. My mother-in-law continues to say “you’re so skinny” and I just look at her, confused, and say “Thank you?”, and she has to clarify “I mean it as a compliment”. I know she’s just being nice, but it’s irritating. I’m STRONG. I’m HEALTHY. I’m CONFIDENT. Those are the important things, why doesn’t that get recognized and praised instead?

  64. Brandi says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Being someone that has been overweight forever I can’t help to say I would probably feel really great about being called skinny. I know I shouldn’t, but can’t help it. I would feel better about being strong, or caring, loving, helpful, funny, etc. I really feel great though when people compliment my craftiness. I love crafting and take pride in it so when that is recognized I really feel good about myself.

  65. Debbie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I really love this post. Great concept and in my head I love it..but it’s harder for me to accept. I have always been relatively skinny and I secretly like it when people tell me how thin I am. Argh that makes me sound like a petty high school child. This post has given me something to think about. Thank you 🙂

  66. Miranda says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I remember you of the best compliments I have got was from a total stranger at a comicon convention. He gave me a high five and said “keep up the good work, it’s paid off” (I was wearing a leotard). It made me feel so good as I was trying to be healthy and fit and active.

  67. Heather says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a 2 year old little girl and can’t wait to hopefully teach her to be “healthy” rather than “skinny”!

    The best compliments I’ve received so far revolve around my kiddos….I was at a store last week and was trying to get my kids their food and asked them to please sit at the table while I get their utensils, it was really busy and I know lots of people were watching me/them (I’m also 7 months pregnant so they probably thought I was a crazy women!) 2 different people said how well behaved they were and sweet with each other…In the trenches of mommy hood that made me feel like I really am doing this! I’m helping these little ones become good people!

  68. Jaclyn EC says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Kate, I love this post. I recently read a post about how to compliment your children so that they feel confident in their bodies as they grow up. It said exactly what you said- Don’t say they’re skinny, say they look healthy, happy, and strong! I appreciate you mentioning your parents in this post because as I was growing up my parents always commented on their own weights, saying they felt fat or needed to lose weight. While that wasn’t a comment about my own body, it affected the way that it made me view myself and others! It’s so easy to have a critical eye for superficial things, while overlooking the things that really matter. My parents only said those things because that was what they were raised seeing, but I hope that when I have children I can keep this post in mind and treat them as such. I truly admire the confidence you have in yourself because it is evident in the way you carry yourself and is such an attractive quality! Thank you for sharing and for being such a positive influence on so many people. I also love all of the responses to this post, they are so insightful and uplifting! 🙂 My favorite compliment is “You look happy” because that encompasses so many amazing qualities in one compliment!

  69. Pam says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    When people tell me I am a good Wife and Mom. For me, there is no greater calling. 🙂

  70. Ashley Beth says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ve often marveled at your apparent self-confidence and I think that’s one of your most beautiful attributes. This skinny obsession has taken over our culture and it’s offensive, unhealthy, and draining. Thank you for sharing this vital message and for being a role model in how you approach body image issues.

  71. Shanna says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    “Skinny” can also be a cut-down. I’ve heard it all my life, said in a negative tone with the connotation that I have some sort of illness. I would love to see some grace extended from women to women in this area. One body type is not “better” than another type. And let’s not put down one category by glorifying another (“REAL women have curves”).

    I love the challenge to compliment based on something, anything, other than appearance. Thanks Kate!

  72. Arijana C. says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’ve struggled with being “skinny” all my life. I cannot tell you how many times people accused me of starving myself and i cannot tell you how many times i cried over it.
    You are right, I would rather hear that I look great or healthy instead of “skinny” or be accused of not eating. And trust me, this girl LOVES food!

  73. Amy says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    We just had our engagement photos taken. Of course, I worried about how they would come out. Truth be told, I smile with my tongue up so there is t a double chin look. Bad, I know…but it’s a full on truth.

    When our pictures came in, I showed everyone. They said they could hear my laughter and see pure joy and happiness in our love. I didn’t worry about what position I was in that day…I enjoyed my time with my future husband. They could hear my laughter and happiness. That’s all that truly matters.

  74. Suzi says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Just before my son turned one, I discovered the love of working out – specifically CrossFit. I had never been into fitness a day in my life. The community atmosphere, new friends, and increased self confidence has made me a completely different person. Most of the comments that I prefer not to hear come from co-workers. They typically revolve around the word skinny and thin, just as you said. They make me cringe. Sometimes I want to just scream at them – “Skinny? I prefer fit and strong. I deadlifted 175 last week!”. What gets me even more is that those same people will attempt to call me out when they see me eating a cheeseburger from McDonalds. “Should you be having that?”

    ARE THESE PEOPLE SERIOUS!?!?!?

    The best compliments I ever received, usually came from fellow gym members or life long friends. They were always something like “You look fantastic and like you have your sh*t together” 😉 “You did a great job pushing yourself today!” One of my favorites were “I saw your family at the park Saturday. You all looked so genuinely happy.”

  75. Kaycee says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Im out right offended when people say “you look skinny” because the implication is that I usually don’t. It’s rude,but people just don’t think about. Thanks for bringing it up.

  76. Renee says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    A former boss once told me “I never had a daughter, but if I did, I would have wanted her to be just like you”. That was the best compliment I ever received!

  77. Simone says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love this post and your heart on this. How beautiful it is to embrace the body that God gave us, encourage other women with uplifting words (but not ones that could later haunt them ie. “I’m not skinny anymore”). Our minds are such battlefields and our mouths have the ability to feed and fuel for wins and losses.

  78. Posted November 24, 2015

    I have tears in my eyes as I write this, but I think the nicest compliment I’ve ever been given was by my old boss when I worked for Ann Taylor LOFT. This compliment was given to my mom, actually, and not to myself directly. My mom called me and said, “Madison, I just want to pass on a compliment I received from Lori at LOFT today. She said, ‘We miss Madison. She always made everyone feel so special.’ She just wanted to let you know that you’re missed.”

    That is the kindest thing I’ve ever been told and has been both an encouragement and a challenge to myself to be more like that.

    PS. You look GREAT! 😉

  79. Tamera says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    The best compliment I have received was being told how honest and real I am. I think all of us as women want to feel the freedom to be ourselves without being constantly judged for how we look, feel, work, mother, etc. When you are honest with each other, you create an environment of sharing. No relationship deepens without being REAL.

  80. Rebecca says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I respectfully disagree. I also respect others feelings and will refrain from using the word on your blog, FB or IG. The PC list of words that can’t be used is so long I am scared we will no longer be able to communicate.

    • Karla says
      Posted November 25, 2015

      Rebecca– you’ll be just fine commenting on social media if you just let everyone stay in their “safe space!” 😉

  81. Melissa G says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    As a mother of 5, and someone who was morbidly obese for 20 years before recently losing 163 lbs, I have to say I take skinny as a compliment any day of the week. If someone called me healthy, I would take that as an insult. To me, when I hear health, I think well fed!

    That being said, the word small seems to have more of a negative connotation in my house. My oldest son didn’t go thru puberty til he was almost 16. He was called small all his life. When he was 10, he had gotten fed up with a boy always calling him small and shrimp and called him fat…although he knew it was wrong. The kids mom followed my son home and yelled at me. After I apologized, i explained to her that being called small is just as much of an insult as being called fat…she didn’t agree. My 11 year old dtr is also very petite and is often called small. She hates it.

    So, I think saying skinny is offensive doesn’t apply in all situations. Each person is different in how they accept it!

    • Renee says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I think the whole point of any of these comments be it skinny, fat, big, small etc is that they are objectifying people by their looks rather than complimenting people as people, for who they are and what they stand for. The media doesn’t help this by constantly objectifying celebrities, especially at the beach! But really, compliment or not, who really wants people commenting on their appearance at all, when all it really shows is that someone had been summing them up by their looks long enough to form an opinion. I’d like to see a move to a world where we compliment people for their actions and for what they bring to the world rather than feeding egos and insecurities. Our daughters will thanks us for it one day ?

      • Melissa G says
        Posted November 24, 2015

        Honestly, I think we view thing differently. If someone likes my hair, I’m glad to hear it. Some people don’t know who you are as a person, so your appearance is all they’ve got! And how can you honestly say that someone telling you your hair or outfit or makeup is great doesn’t make you feel great inside!! It surprises me that you would follow a beauty blog if you are that anti complimenting of appearances!

        • Melissa G says
          Posted November 24, 2015

          And, in addition, my daughters are great! I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job, even if I ( not them ) don’t mind being called skinny.

  82. Racheal says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I workout almost daily and eat pretty healthy. Not because I want to be skinny but because I want to be healthy. There are a lot of women that I workout with and when I notice someone losing weight, (because let’s face it, that is the goal) I compliment them by saying “you are looking very athletic today!”. They always look at me strange and then really appreciate the compliment!

    • Posted November 25, 2015

      Exactly! I was always athletic and didn’t pay any mind to my appearance until I was wearing maternity bottoms when my first was 9 months old. Although that might be good for some, and buying new clothes might an option, I just wasn’t comfortable. I was very uncomfortable. Since then, exercise has been a priority and I’ve grown as an exerciser with each pregnancy. I’ve been lifting heavy weights for over a year now and skinny means something different to me now than it did then. I want to look athletic-not what classic skinny looks like. I look at models now and think, where are your muscles? You’re booty is flat! But at the same time, my looks are a benefit of my desire to make healthy a priority for myself and my family. I wonder how people who DON’T work out survive-how do you carry your kids when the fall asleep in the car, carry in the groceries, carry up the loads of laundry, carry in your costco water bottles…etc. I think it’s really all how you look at it and I wish people would understand that skinny is just the byproduct of a healthy lifestyle!

  83. Posted November 24, 2015

    Thanks Kate, so agree! I really enjoy when someone tells me I’m creative. I think that’s such a great compliment that points more to who I am. 🙂

  84. Rachel says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Someone told me once that she loved how I interacted with my kids. We were in a restaurant and to be honest, I thought my kids were being kind of loud and obnoxious, so when this woman came over to our table I thought she was going to scold me for not keeping my kids as quiet as might be ideal in a restaurant. But she said she thought my kids were so cute, and she loved how I talked with them. It is, to this day, probably the best compliment I’ve ever received. I don’t always think I’m that great of a mother, so it meant a lot to hear something like that from a stranger.

  85. Marios says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I so agree, and have thought this for a long time. “Skinny” doesn’t even sound pleasant!

  86. Raela says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Thank you, I love this! As I’ve come more and more to terms with the truth that I will never be “skinny” and that that isn’t actually a bad thing and as I’ve gone from someone who never worked out to someone who actually enjoys running, I have learned to substitute the word “strong” instead of skinny. Now that is actually something to be proud of! Our bodies are amazingly strong and are capable of pretty impressive things–running a marathon, giving birth to a baby, beating cancer, and more. Let’s celebrate all the things we are and forget about the things we aren’t!

  87. Stephanie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I have a really long-time friend (that has no children) that has told me several times that I’m a great mom. It has blessed me every time!

  88. Laurel says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    One of the nicest things I’ve ever been told was that I was an easy going, peaceful mom…. Something that meant the world to me as I was a mom to a 2 year old and 2 month old at the time. What meant even more was that the individual went well out of her way to tell me these sweet words.

  89. Kristen says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    What were some things your mom did (said) to instill in you a healthy body image? I have a 9 month old baby girl and want more than anything for her to grow up having self confidence. Was it just in her being the example and being confident in who she is, or was it more?

    • Angie says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I think this is an awesome question. I don’t have any daughters, but a son. I think it is just as important to instill a healthy body image upon him too.

      I also think it’s important that we mom’s focus on our own healthy body image for our children’s sake. I’ve been trying, but living in the world we live in, it’s hard.

      To my son, I am the most beautiful woman in the world and I want him to grow up knowing that true beauty is found in a woman’s heart, not in her size.

      • Kristen says
        Posted November 25, 2015

        You’re exactly right. It’s definitely hard to be the example and not talk badly about yourself. But it definitely makes you think before you speak when you have little ears listening to every word you say. 🙂

  90. Posted November 24, 2015

    Hi Kate! I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile now. I love this post! I have to admit that I’ve used the “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. You have to understand I was about 60 lbs overweight and my self esteem was in the toilet, and it helped me at the time. It’s been 10+ years since I lost the weight. I have a much healthier self esteem and body image. I concentrate on being healthy and strong. Now that I’m 50, that is soooo much more important!. I still have some muffin top and bat wing arms, but that’s okay, I’m not a spring chicken, but I am healthy and strong! Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

  91. Anna says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I like to avoid using skinny as a compliment because I’ve read stories of women with past eating disorders describe how people telling them they looked skinny fed into their disorder and actually reinforced the unhealthy behaviors. I’m sure that’s not always the case, but I figure I really don’t need to say skinny whatsoever, as you say, what I really mean is “you look great”.

  92. Elaina says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    LOVE this message! And all the comments that have been shared! This message needs to be shouted to women! YOU are beautiful, your heart, your mind, your personality, NOT your body. I once received the “you’re so Skinny compliment” after a three month struggle with depression where I’d rapidly lost about 25 pounds. The woman meant well, but when she “complimented” me and then asked me what I’d been doing to lose weight… I responded with a round-about answer of “not eating”. The “compliment” isn’t always something the person needs to hear. And the best compliment I ever received was “you look so happy”, which came to me unexpectedly and made me feel great… because I WAS HAPPY.

  93. Beth says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I appreciate your blog so much! I was a “skinny” child and teen and got made fun of all the time, so I agree that this word is not a compliment. How exhausting it must be to try to be “skinny”, whatever that really means. Let’s change it – starting here! Keep up the great blog 🙂

  94. Nicole says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Great post! I lost a lot of weight last year and felt like I had reached a good goal for me – the scale didn’t match what the charts say I should weigh but I was very happy with my progress and felt it was a good weight for me.

    Everyone that saw me said, “you’re looking good Nicole!” and I would always reply with a polite thank you, BUT, in my mind I was thinking, “why not, you LOOK good” what does “looking” imply? That I haven’t gotten there yet, that I have a long way to go?” – So I decided If I were to give a compliment to anyone in regards to body image, I would ALWAYS tell them they look great!

  95. Becky says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    My thing about skinny: I never wanted skinny to define me. But it did, growing up with taller and bigger boned siblings. And skinny sometimes feels like “small” and “not enough” so compliments sometimes come across with a meaning that seems positive. But when someone bigger than you compliments you on your smallness, it sometimes feels like they are envying something you have. Which is not a compliment. Envy is not a friendly thing.

    The best compliment I got lately was, “I love your ‘just out of the shower ‘ face.” I love that one. It makes me feel seen for who I am and loved for it.

  96. Ashley says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    A good friend told me this past weekend that her mom said that I “have a sweet face that made her want to smile”. It also makes me want to cry whenever my mom tells me that I’m a good mom ?

  97. Becky says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    … Oh, non-body compliment, “I love how you put things like… Some people try to say things and talk in circles, but your way of saying things like that are true and efficient and insightful.”

  98. Angie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Kate –

    As you stated, it’s obvious that you don’t have a negative body image. In your posts and videos, you seem so comfortable in your own skin. And that makes ME feel better about myself. You are such a wonderful example on how to follow God, and love yourself. Your hair and make up tips are awesome too (of course)! 🙂

    The best compliments I’ve received always revolve around me being kind to others. If only I could be as kind to myself. So many times, I have felt guilty for eating chocolate or “less than” because I’m not a size 2. I’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. This post helps!

    Thank you so much, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

  99. Evelyn Nunes says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I get what you mean. I have a friend who struggles with her weight, she is often on a diet and posts pictures from the gym. I always compliment her on how beautiful she looks, even when I know she is posting a picture to show she lost weight. She wants a compliment, but is beautiful regardless of her current weight.

    I have several favorite complements. But recently someone called me charming, and I loved it. I also like when people say I have a great personality! I’ve heard that one more than once actually. I also like to compliment something the person is wearing or the lipstick, we know how much thought usually goes into that!

  100. Terran says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’ll be honest, when I first read the title of this post I thought it would be another blog “skinny shaming”. I’m happy to say I was wrong! I completely agree that women should be complimented on their beautiful characteristics whether it be the shape of their body or their kind heart. Being skinny comes with its own criticisms (the meme that says “only dogs love bones. Real men love curves”). Skinny girls also have their own insecurities. I know I have plenty, and it doesn’t help when you’re told to eat a burger or to add more food to your plate to fatten up. Thank you so much for your wonderful post about loving your body and treating other women with respect. We live in a criticising world and as women we know how tough it is. We should strive to build each other up every opportunity we get!

  101. Katelyn says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I relate to this post so much! As someone who has struggled with illness, along with a fast metabolism, I often find myself complimented on my “skinny” physique. Those well meaning women have no idea that their compliments are a constant reminder of the invisible sickness that threatens my life on a daily basis. Even after having a beautiful, large, baby boy, I still struggle to cross the 100lb mark.
    I would much rather hear people bring attention to my cooking, my devotion to my husband, my talent as a hairstylist, or my strength through the struggle of sickness. When I am complimented on those things, I know that person genuinely knows and cares about me, and those words boost my confidence.

  102. Katie says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love to hear you say that your mom instilled a really healthy body image, and that you don’t obsess about your weight. As a mom of a beautiful little 8 month old girl, I think about this often and hope I “get it right”…whatever that means! Any thoughts you could share from personal experience would be greatly appreciated. We live in a society that’s so focused on how people look rather than the inside health. Some of those people in the skinny images have very sad reality. I just want my girl to grow up understanding the importance of health, and most importantly, being happy in her life!

  103. Melissa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This post hits home for me. I have always had bad body image. My mom was better at giving my sister more physical type compliments. I was rounder growing up and lost lots of weight in college when I was put on a medication for my migraines. It was only then, at 110 pounds, did people in my family gush over how good I looked. Now, having a daughter, I try really hard to instill in her how beautiful she is and try each day to see myself in a better light. I think the best compliment that someone can give to me is that I am a good mom; because ultimately, that’s what I strive to be and all that matters.

  104. Hannah says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Love this post and totally agree with you. I’m a reflexologist and was once treating a blind lady who said although she couldn’t see me she could tell I had a beautiful soul. Flat-out the best and most resonant compliment anyone has ever given me.

  105. Amy says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’ve followed your blog for a couple of years but never commented. It is my go-to for hairstyles (seriously, I ALWAYS get compliments when I do!), new makeup ideas, etc. What makes your blog so great, though, is that you have such a kind, honest, down-to-earth perspective. Case in point here! Thank you for building women up! 🙂

    I struggle to find the balance between striving to be healthy, yet not obsessing over it. This was just what I needed today. 🙂

  106. Erica says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Love this post. You are so right, and I will second guess how I compliment someone in the future. I would love to read a post about how your mom instilled a great body image as you were growing up. I had the exact opposite experience with my mom, and I’m terrified I might pass that on to my children.

  107. Melissa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Kate, thank you for this post. I work at a residential eating disorder treatment center for teenage girls and it is so heartbreaking how intensely they feel that in order to be beautiful they must be skinny. It’s even more heartbreaking that this mindset is most highly influenced by their mothers. Thank you for expressing your views about “skinny complements”. You are a truly wonderful role model and I admire your confidence.

    • Christy says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      I do the same kind of work!

  108. Christy says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    As a therapist who works with eating disorders and kids (9-18) I implore people to look at the messages we get day in day out of “skinny” and “healthy” or “fat” and “unhealthy”. The kids I treat are very sick and some will not live to see their 21st birthday. Healthy is a 4 letter word and they want to be tiny, thin and skinny. Unfortunately, when we do projects with these kids on media and really anything marketed to men and women, they are filled with unrealistic portrayals of what humans should look like. I have treated those very models who are 16 trying to portray a hip and normal 20-something in a Gap ad. It’s heartbreaking. It has to change and we must embrace our individual differences: thighs, tummies, butts and all. The best compliment I ever got was about my approach with my baby and that I seemed happy and truly at peace.

  109. Gabby says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    God’s timing is impeccable-even in the little things. While in conversation this morning, a coworker said, “Don’t you just hate all these skinny people here, they can wear whatever they want, don’t you just hate them?” While I know she said this in a joking manner, it left me with two thoughts. One, that is a bit rude to speak of others that way, and two, what was she implying about me? That I’m not “skinny” like those others? It was one of those moments that I just had to smile and keep my head up, but I can’t say that comment didn’t come to my mind a few times throughout my day, and especially on my drive home. I have struggled with self image almost my entire life. I was anorexic as a teenager and exercised compulsively for years. Now at 30, I feel like God has brought me to a great place in my life and while I feel great about myself most of the time and focus on being healthy, hearing things like that can still bother me. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks it is their right to make labels for people or say anything condescending regarding what a person looks like. With that being said, when I saw your post with the word “skinny” i knew I should read it, and it changed my feelings that i have had since this morning. So, thank you!

    Also, the best compliment I’ve had recently is when my boss said that I am always so positive and he wished he could be more like that!

  110. Sarah says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love this and couldn’t agree more. As a mom of a little girl, I’d love to hear how your mom encourage a healthy body image. Especially because that’s something I really struggle with!

  111. Kristi says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I whole heartedly agree with this! About six years ago, I lost a lot of weight and a lot of people told me that I was looking skinny and I really loved hearing it. But since then I’ve gained back all that weight (and a bit more too), but I started to realize that although I’m not as healthy as I’d like to be (I used to run a lot, but haven’t done much this year), the size of my body has nothing to do with my success in life or my happiness.
    I think the best compliments I’ve ever received have been when my mom said that one of my blog posts could be in a fashion magazine, and when a customer at my old job told me I had the most beautiful complexion.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  112. Alexis says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Thank you thank you thank you! I have a smaller frame (all due to genetics and just the way I was built). As a teenager and young adult any “compliment” I got about being skinny was backhanded. “Oh my gosh I hate you, you’re so skinny! How do you stay so small?!” I never knew how to respond, it’s not like anything I did warranted the comment. I’m currently 6 months pregnant, still small (fortunately doc says I’m healthy, so that’s all that matters). I’m constantly getting comments “you can’t be that far along, you’re too tiny!” I never know how to respond. “Oh gee wiz, you’re right. Maybe I’m not pregnant at all!”

    Anyways, appreciate this post. It’s so important to me that we empower each other and the next generation that the can do anything or be anything. Want to be an athlete, homemaker, engineer, business professional? You go girl! Love expressing yourself through clothing and make-up or feel that it isn’t important to you? More power to you!

  113. Sydni says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This is great! Getting told you’re “skinny” is uncomfortable because you don’t know what to say back. You know the person feels more insecure about themselves than they think that you look good – so saying “thank you” feels rude. You feel like you have to defend yourself, or tell the other person “no, you look pretty!” It’s real awkward.

    Best compliment was that my smile lights up a room! I always thought so, but had never heard anyone say it 🙂

  114. Evelina says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Weight is such a big deal for so many people, both men and women. It is something that I am very self-conscious of myself. I was always told by family members that I need to be skinnier and it sort of resonated with me. I will say though, that my mom always tried to teach me about a positive body image. Your post is great and this is definitely not something that is talked about enough.

  115. Carissa says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Are you serious?!? I love being told I’m skinny, because I work my butt off to be fit and healthy… and as a result, I happen to be skinny! 🙂

  116. Carolyn says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Great post. I have never really thought about it. I am probably guilty of saying something of the sort to someone as a compliment! Maybe because I have struggled with my weight forever .. and as a result have a pretty awful body image. I would live to one day have the confidence you do Kate. I think confidence is truly what makes someone “beautiful”

  117. Brandi says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I’m SO glad you wrote this! I’ve always been a very small person. It’s just the way I’m built. On nearly a daily basis I’m told “you’re so skinny” or “you’re really tiny” and it really bothers me. It isn’t acceptable to make comments a person’s weight or size. How do they know I’m not sick? They don’t.
    A persons worth isn’t measured by their size. Let’s focus on health and wellness.

  118. kelly says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I hate it when people call me skinny. It’s just as rude as calling someone fat. When I was a kid, “skinny” meant “you boobless, hipless, weird, knobbly girl.” I still feel that childhood shame any time someone calls me skinny, even though I have a healthy body now. A person’s shape isn’t a topic for casual comments.

  119. Kerri E says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love this and agree with you. As the recipient of a lot of “skinny compliments”, it is not a compliment to me. What people don’t realize is that it makes us feel like we either have to apologize for the way we are built or that people look at us and think we are unhealthy and look “scrawny”. That doesn’t make a girl feel very womanly. Personally, I wish I had some curves. So no, “Girl, you are so skinny,” is not a compliment. It causes just as much insecurity as the opposite end of the spectrum. The best compliment I have EVER received was that the goodness of Christ radiates from me. THAT made me feel beautiful. 🙂

  120. Alicia says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    This is why I freakin’ love you and this blog. Yes!

    I’m glad you said it and will try to be more mindful of how I compliment in the future. But really our weight is irrelevant. I am more than my body. You know? And so are you. And her? And them over there. All of us.

    The best compliment anyone can give me is you’re a good mom.

  121. Anne LoGrasso says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Yes yes yes! Thank you for speaking truth!!! In fact sometimes by glorifying skinny I fear we are glorifying “skeletal” at times…

  122. Debbie m says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I am one of 13 grandchildren in my family, and unfortunately the only one who did not get the skinny gene in my family. I have heard a lifetime of my girl cousins complimenting each other by saying “oh you look so skinny”. No one has ever said that to me and I have always not understood it. Those goes back to when I was 8. I am now 42. It is sad I grew up hearing this.

  123. Kari says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I unfortunately was not raised with a healthy body image. My mom was always on a fad diet or starving herself by only eating popcorn. Satisfaction to the women in my life is that exact comment “you look skinny, or looks like you have been working out” if I didn’t hear that I had failed. When I had my daughter I chose to stop the cycle. I have worked really hard and I continue to battle but feel like I’m in a good place. My daughter is almost seven and I fear for her and pray daily she doesn’t deal with what I did all the way till my 30’s. What did your mom do to give you a healthy body image?
    I love when I get compliments for my positive personality and outlook on life.

    • Laura says
      Posted November 24, 2015

      My mom worked hard to help my sisters and me to have a good body image. Even if she didn’t feel confident about her own body, my mom would never “fat talk” around me, and if my sisters or I said things like “I wish I was more… I wish this were different” she would remind us that we are beautiful, and that being different is okay. The message that my mom gave us all the time was essentially “put your best foot forward and look nice, but don’t worry about what you look like when you leave the house. You are so much more than just a pretty face. Let your good actions bring your inner beauty to the surface.”

  124. iza says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Best compliment I heard recently is “you are SO funny”!!! I love being told I’m funny since I’m trying to make people laugh in a foreign language…(not so easy ladies).

    That stupid crede (meme)..was Kate Moss….I don’t understand her fame…she is a wreck, period!

    Kate, you are beautiful woman (inside and out), positive, healthy and seem very happy! That’s what matters!

  125. Kate S. says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    While I agree with you in general, what I would like to see is an all-around decrease in compliments made regarding bodies. If you must comment on someone’s appearance, let it be for their vibrant smile or beautiful eyes. I come at this issue from the other side. I am not thin and never have been (nor am I likely ever to be) . . . but I have a wonderful body image and have no wish to change things. As a larger-than-average woman, if I lose a few pounds or find myself wearing some particularly slimming outfit, I can expect to receive many comments like: “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?!” On the surface, these are compliments and are probably meant to be kind. In fact, they are insults. They imply that I did not look great before and that I could do more to match my friends’ ideal body image and that, if I look nice, it is because I am not as fat as I once was. Please, anyone reading this, STOP commenting on friends’ bodies. It is the most damaging thing you can do to someone.

  126. Laura says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    The best compliment I have ever received came from my sister in law. She said “Your mother raised a wonderful and caring daughter who in turn is raising two wonderful and caring daughters.” To compliment my mother, my daughters and me all in one sentiment is pretty hard to beat.

    I agree with you, Kate and so many of the replies. “Skinny” is not a compliment no matter where you fall on the weight spectrum. As a child and woman, I’ve constantly been told how “skinny” I am. Many people (such as aunts) thought they were complimenting me. More women than you’d imagine have actually said “You are so skinny, I hate you!” I’m not sure how I am supposed to think that is a compliment.

  127. Posted November 24, 2015

    YES! i overheard a friend once giving the compliment, “You look so fit!” and i thought that was so much more appropriate!

  128. Laura says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I love this. I’m a naturally skinny person, mostly because of genes and a good metabolism. Often people will ask me how/why I’m so skinny, and it honestly hurts because its like people are so jealous that they hate me. I like my body, but not because its “skinny”. I like it because I am comfortable in my own skin, and feel confident.

    The best compliments I’ve been given are bring told that I’m down to earth and genuine, and also a good listener. I’ve been told tons of times that I’m pretty and that I have a good body, but I can’t ever remember a specific time when someone told me that. But I will always remember the times that someone gives me a true, heartfelt compliment.

  129. Crista says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    I understand where you are coming from but I’m getting tired of everyone getting upset over something that isn’t PC. When someone says you are “skinny” they mean it as a compliment. Why is “strong” better than “skinny”? A naturally thin woman might have a hard time gaining muscle. No matter what word we use someone will always be offended.

    I have a cousin that has worked so hard to loose weight and when my mom commented that she noticed her weight loss she was so grateful that someone recognized it because she had been working so hard to be healthier.

    Compliments about our talents are always nice but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful. Those compliments are nice too. We should all lighten up and appreciate everyone who is trying to be kind and give you a compliment.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  130. Amanda says
    Posted November 24, 2015

    Quite frankly, I enjoy being told that I’m ‘skinny’ and I work very hard to stay so. While I never judge anyone else’s body type, I know what I’m comfortable with and gaining any weight is something I avoid at all costs. Why do we all have to be so offended by everything? As long as we’re all comfortable in our own skin, what does it matter?

    • Isabella says
      Posted November 29, 2015

      Exactly! I think I know where Kate was going with this, but as someone who works hard to look good, I have no problem with “skinny” as a compliment! Everything is offensive these days. 😉

  131. Chantall says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    I used to be one of those ‘skinny’ girls and I hated it. It made me feel insecure. Now, at 36 and with some extra kg I look and feel a lot better. You should never focus on weight but rather on how you feel. If you feel happy, that’s what’s important.

    The nicest compliment I’ve recently received was that my mother in law told me I’m a great mom to my 5 wk old baby girl.

  132. Lisa says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    I have one child. One overly spoiled child. Yet, I couldn’t help my self. Anyway, he is a grown child in his mid twenties. Recently, I received an email from someone in my company telling me that she was in my son’s place of work and he helped her. She went on about what a nice young man he was and how pleasant he made her experience there. Then she told me I must be a proud mom. That was the best compliment I could receive.

  133. Cheryl says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    oh my GOSH! I am SO with you on this! I heard Lauren Conrad banned words like ‘skinny’ from her blog, and instead use words like healthy! It is a tad scary with the skinny extreme, women start to look like ‘girls’ again with androgynous silhouettes. Bring on a healthy body image!!

    http://www.honestyforyourskin.co.uk

  134. sabina says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    while i agree with everything you said, i believe it all hinges on one thing: ” instilled a really healthy body image in me as a little girl. I never obsessed about my weight. ” that is your key to not having to obsess about your weight. My family has had food issues ever since i can remember, and although no one else in my family was overweight, i was, and i didn’t know how to deal with it. Finally after almost 48 years, i finally have my weight under control ( thank you low carb) having lost almost 100 lbs. I truly understand the saying ” nothing feels as good as skinny feels” because to me it is true. I now think, “do i want to eat this or do i really want to feel fantastic in that dress?” The phrase may be over simplistic, and taken too literally, but to me, at a size 10 now, i know I’m not skinny, and never will be. But a compliment in any form is a compliment.

  135. Posted November 25, 2015

    This is so good. Any compliment encourages behavior or mindsets of some kind, depending on the content of the compliment. “Skinny” compliments make us want to be more skinny. “Those are cute shoes” or “nice lipstick!” will sometimes cause us to double-think the next time we’re out shopping (I actually *just* wrote a post on the power & psychology of makeup – https://visavisjournal.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/the-creativity-of-crimson-tubes-can-make-up-be-considered-art/) The best compliments I’ve received have been encouragement for areas I’ve been needing to grow in. “I’ve seen how you’ve really trusted in God this past week and pursued that challenging research project” is so much more inspiring than “you look so itty bitty!”

    The best compliment I have been given, though? Any optimism shown towards my mothering – it’s a tough job when you don’t have a “boss” who validates your efforts or give you feedback or say you’ve done enough for today. Any time I receive a motherhood compliment, I treasure it.

  136. Posted November 25, 2015

    I agree with this completely! I find these comments all the time on Instagram, hopefully more people can see this and change their style of compliments (even if its just one person after reading this blogpost). The best compliment I ever received was a co-worker told me I was a very empathetic person and he appreciated it.

  137. Marisa says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    I think that best compliment I have ever gotten was that I was intoxicating! Or that they could just tell I was a follower of the Lord. I always try to be and act like a good person and Christian but to hear that people can tell makes a difference.

    It honestly it makes me really uncomfortable to get a compliment on my looks or even a lot of ‘likes’ on a picture! I wasn’t an overly popular or pretty teenager so it’s a little jarring to get a compliment on my looks. It’s crazy how things like that affect you.

    Also, reading these comments I really want to ‘like’ them all! A great blog that has great (and respectful) readers!! 🙂

  138. Posted November 25, 2015

    My greatest compliment ever came from my four year old. I have this book that allows me to ask him the same questions for 3 years and record them. The question came up that said, “Who do you want to be like when you are older and why?”

    Just as a background, he is little so his responses can range pretty wide and might not be super logical or make a lot of sense. I was fully expecting him to say something like “Superman!”, but he said, “You mommy, because you are always nice.”

    I don’t even know how I put myself back together after I turned into a puddle on the floor. lol. What he doesn’t know is that I actually try really hard just to be nice. Nice to him, to my husband, to strangers and co-workers, and I was starting to doubt how nice I was being to my kids because I also tend to be the discipline bringer, so this was music to my ears. *sigh* <3

  139. Melissa says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    I think the best compliment I have gotten is that I am compassionate. Which I am. So much so that it drives me crazy sometimes. LOL But I’ve been told I have a way of cutting through the BS to the heart of the matter and reminding people what it’s really about. Which is exactly what I want to do, to bring out the compassion in others.

    The word “skinny” doesn’t feel like a compliment to me. Often is has been used in a degrading way, such as “Oh my gosh, stop being so skinny, eat a cheeseburger.” I have never at any point been unhealthily thin. I think people believe they’re being funny or clever when they say things like that. Or they’re uncomfortable with their own body and that is how they cope with it. Doesn’t make it okay. Body shaming goes both ways. Insulting someone to make yourself feel better is never okay.

  140. Noel M says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    My favorite compliment is when someone says “you look so much like your mom!” She is beautiful, inside and out, and it’s not because of her weight.

    • Kelsey says
      Posted November 26, 2015

      Aww! This made me smile. Your mom is lucky to have a daughter that says such wonderful things about her!

  141. Posted November 25, 2015

    This is such a touchy subject and so many people that have influence seem to ignore it. After reading title I thought that it is going to be about people being called skinny as a negative thing. Honestly I could never see skinny as a compliment. I would much rather hear slim or fit not skinny. Through history there was always certain body type that was considered beautiful but I think that it is finally time to accept that we are beautiful just the way we are and to stop doing crazy and sometimes dangerous things just so people would say that we’re beautiful (now skinny) 🙂

    sparklygoddess.blogspot.com

  142. Ashley says
    Posted November 25, 2015

    I had this problem when I was pregnant with both my girls. Everyone including family members who would also comment on how tiny I looked and how I looked great because I looked so small. You don’t even look pregnant! Is that even a compliment? So if I wasn’t small I wouldn’t look great. Who cares? I’m pregnant with a beautiful child. I really don’t care about my weight or how big my belly looked. I never knew how to respond. Thank you? I know they meant that I looked healthy and not fat but it made me so uncomfortable.

    • Posted November 26, 2015

      This is exactly what I’m experiencing during my pregnancy right now! I know people mean well, but it really makes me feel awkward. Glad to know I’m not alone!
      In general, I try to avoid commenting on weight/shape and focus on other qualities I can compliment someone on. There are so many things that are more important than our weight!

  143. Kelsey says
    Posted November 26, 2015

    I couldn’t agree more! There are so many other ways to tell someone how great they look/are that doesn’t include commenting on their width.

    As far as appearance related, getting a nice comment on my make-up, hair, or outfit choice, because those are things I think I sometimes struggle with, so it’s nice to have positive feedback. But my favorite compliment by far is when someone says something about my sense of humor, or how I make others feel when they spend time with me. I love making people laugh, or like to know people are having fun, or feeling good, so those kinds of things really mean the world to me.

    Also– great end question! 🙂 It’s making me feel happier just remembering some of the nice things other people have said to me, so I can only imagine how other commenters/readers are feeling as well. Great job brightening other people’s days!

    XOX

    Kelsey from http://www.candidlykelseyblog.com

  144. Dara says
    Posted November 27, 2015

    I totally agree with this. The obsession with body size in society really irks me. We need to consider weight from a health perspective but it should not be the subject of praise or criticism in my view x http://www.champagneinateacup.wordpress.com

  145. Posted November 28, 2015

    This post was beautiful. I think the greatest compliment someone can give is “You look great.”

  146. Aaryn says
    Posted November 30, 2015

    THANK YOU. Just, thanks. I am so happy you posted this, and said it so eloquently yet sternly in that you want to see a change. Amen.

  147. Deana says
    Posted November 30, 2015

    A mom once told me that my little boy made her son feel “like he had a true friend” at school. It made me emotional because it was something different than the usual kind comments about his cuteness or how he looks just like his daddy.

  148. Spritmom says
    Posted December 8, 2015

    As a 44 year old mother of 4 who tries her very best to run 3 miles a day, I love being called skinny! I work very hard to stay in shape and keep my husband interested, and It’s a huge compliment to me. Another tip for staying in shape…cook everything you eat. For a family of 6, eating out is way too expensive, and not good for us. I also pack all of our lunches everyday (except my husband who gets tired of brown-bagging).

  149. Posted December 14, 2015

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for posting this. This is exactly what I needed to read today.

  150. Ashley says
    Posted February 6, 2016

    Growing up, I was the smallest (in weight & size & height) girl in my family. I was ALWAYS told by mom how skinny I was. She would say, “Ash, you’re so skinny!” “You are just so skinny!” —alllllll the time. Now that I am overweight it REALLY affects me. I no longer view myself as skinny and when I look in the mirror, I’m always so shocked at how big I am every. single. time. Because for so long I was skinny… I looked skinny… I felt skinny… And now that I’m not it is really hard for me to accept and I have a very low self-esteem. I don’t feel loved or that I look good because nobody tells me I’m skinny anymore.

    It’s a hard word!

  151. Lauren says
    Posted February 7, 2016

    I totally agree with you in your post! From pregnancy to post pregnancy (two times over!) everybody seems to comment on my body and it’s changes! I get so tired of it, even when it’s seemingly positive (“Like you don’t even look like you had a baby!”). The best compliments have been: You’re such a patient mom! Or You’re a good listener! Thanks for posting this – I love reading the comments you invited too!