I think we can all agree that losing weight, especially a large amount, is something to celebrate. But actress Gabourey Sidibe isn’t interested in celebrating with other people.
The 34-year-old Empire star told Refinery 29 that she actually gets annoyed by other people’s attempt to celebrate her weight loss. If you’ll recall, she has slimmed down considerably since having weight-loss surgery last year. And while she’s spoken openly about her weight and weight-loss journey while promoting her book, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, she doesn’t want people congratulating her on her progress because, well, her body is no one’s business.
“What had been happening is, since I’ve been losing weight over the past year, people have been saying, ‘Congratulations on your weight loss!’ It doesn’t rock me. It just annoys me because I’m just like, don’t congratulate me on that,” she said. “If you’re going to congratulate me on my weight loss, also congratulate me every time I pee. Congratulate me every time I’m burping. Because my body actually has nothing to do with you, and I don’t really need your support for it. It seems ill-placed. I don’t need your support. That’s weird to me because my body will always be my body and always had been, and you have nothing to do with it and you’re kind of a stranger. But the way it works is that this is just my body. In the same way that this is just my face, this is just mine.”
“You will say something about it because you have an opinion,” Sidibe continued. “And the worst thing about Twitter is that everyone thinks their opinion is really important. And you’re 100% free to say something about it. I have to know myself and I have to know my own boundaries and take in what I need. And what I don’t need I don’t take in. That’s how it’s gotta be with my body. That’s how it has to be with my hairstyle choice, my clothing choice. I take in what I want.”
When I initially read what she said about people congratulating her, I thought, “That’s a little harsh.” However, I can understand where Sidibe is coming from. She didn’t lose weight because she wanted to look like anybody’s “snack,” because she had a reunion to show up to, or because she desired to turn heads during swimsuit season. She had her weight-loss surgery because she had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. That’s not to say that she hasn’t worked hard as far as her diet and exercise since having it, but it is to say that she lost the weight for herself and her well-being. Therefore, I get why she believes that the validation from other people isn’t warranted. As she put it, “I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes.” She was worried about losing her toes, not about impressing others.
And considering that so many people have spent years commenting negatively on her weight and telling her that she needed to lose a lot of it, she might not want those same people trying to compliment her now. I think we can all respect that. Don’t tear me down then and then attempt to build me up now.
But usually, when people congratulate or compliment you on your weight loss (and not in a way that seems dipped in shade), they’re telling you that your hard work is paying off. They’re celebrating the control you’re taking over not just your weight, but your health in general. And honestly, getting people to pay folks a compliment is harder than you think these days. When they do, they may genuinely wish to tell you that you look amazing because no one can deny it. They may also do so not only because it could bring a smile to your face, but also because it just feels really good to uplift others. Not to mention, Sidibe has been showing off a new side of herself on social media. While she may not want the “Congratulations!” people send her way, she has been taking a lot more selfies, even showing off her figure in a swimsuit. That is usually is done not only to show off your gains, but to also see what others might say about it. (It’s ok. We’re human. We all enjoy light affirmations from time to time.) And usually, the response to such images is always overwhelmingly positive.
Still, everyone is different. So while some of us may love the compliments and praise, others may not be interested in having their bodies be the topic of consistent public, attention-grabbing conversation. But for the record, Sidibe does look amazing. (Don’t shoot me for saying it, girl.)