Word crimes: lose my weight

I had several resolutions for this year, but the main ones were to eat more healthily and do more exercise. I bet these are the most common resolutions around the world; they were with my friends and family, anyway.

I was nervous when I stepped on to the scales at the end of the month to weigh myself. Had my weight gone up or down?

I was happy to see it had gone down and I’d lost 4 kilograms. While I was standing on the scales, I started to think about how we talk about weight in English.

I often hear students say ‘lose my weight’ rather than ‘lose weight’. In fact, it’s one of the most common mistakes I hear when I am doing speaking classes about health or goals for the future. Let’s look at some ways of talking about weight and when we need to use ‘my’.

When we talk about weight increasing or decreasing, we use ‘my’:

“My weight has gone up/down.”

“My weight has increased/decreased.”

In these cases, we need ‘my’ because we need to know which weight we are talking about. Without ‘my’ we could be talking about the weight of anything.

“I have lost weight.”

We don’t use ‘my’ here because we can only lose our own weight ­ we can’t lose someone else’s weight. What’s the opposite of losing weight, though?

“I’ve gained weight.”


“I’ve put on weight.”

image: puuikibeach