A little over a year ago, I wrote about my experience being ‘shamed’ for wanting to lose weight. It appears that little has changed, and there is still a stigma attached to wanting to lose weight. Can we normalise people wanting to lose weight? Can we normalise people doing what they want with their own bodies? –Especially if it’s healthy.
Weight & Health – The Great Debate
There is much debate around people saying they want to lose weight to be healthy. I fall heavily in this camp. I don’t want to lose weight for society, mean girls on Instagram, my husband or any other ridiculous influence. I want to lose weight to be more healthy. I am obese. There is no denial there. Carrying around this extra weight is unhealthy. My body is under excessive and unnecessary strain due to the fact I weigh more.
Excess weight in the proportion that it is on me can lead to a multitude of health issues. This isn’t about me being body positive. I love my body. I appreciate my body. It birthed two humans that I would literally lay down and die for right now, but for the love of God, I want to be here to see those humans grow, and that won’t happen if I’m sick or my heart gives in because I didn’t do something about my weight.
Let’s have it right: thin DOES NOT equal healthy – there are plenty of thin people out there that are unhealthy, and I appreciate that weight does not necessarily represent overall health. If I look back at images of myself, I can tell you right now that in the ones where I weighed less, I was healthier. No one knows your body as well as you do.
There are many factors involved in weight, like genetics, for example, which is why I wouldn’t turn around and say anyone that weighs what I weigh should lose weight. However, just as I couldn’t make a judgement on someone else’s weight, I should be able to make a judgement on my own. In doing so, that shouldn’t be considered taboo. I should be able to openly say, “I’m on a diet to lose weight,” and it shouldn’t feel like a sin.
I get it; diet culture is the pits. Brands and companies have been profiteering from this insinuation that self-worth is tied to our physical appearance for years. All these promises of quick fixes and this myth that we will live a life beyond our wildest dreams should we just become skinny. At best, it’s a money-making scam, and at worst, it’s an integral cog in the mental health crisis spreading through our generations. At one point, being on a diet was like having the latest accessory, and if you weren’t on the latest fad, then you simply weren’t anybody.
Although diet culture is still rife and something we have to be conscious of at all costs – especially for our younger generation who are, of course, extremely impressionable, it should not be confused with someone choosing to lose weight for their own desire. There is no denying that diet culture in itself is extremely unhealthy and damaging but for some people being overweight has the same impact. If someone chooses to lose weight healthily through choices of their own reason, then should this be discouraged? I wouldn’t encourage someone to lose weight if it was not their choice, so shouldn’t the same ruling apply?
Can We Normalise People Wanting To Lose Weight?
There is great emphasis on people being allowed the choice to do as they wish with their own body, particularly if that person has no desire to lose weight. That is, of course, without question the choice of the individual. So, with that understanding, then it is the same for someone who wants to lose weight. So, can we normalise people wanting to lose weight? – without casting opinion, ridicule and judgement. Of course, weight loss should only ever be undertaken in a healthy way for both mind and body, and avoiding the pit that is diet culture is ideal. Weight loss shouldn’t be related to self-worth or happiness, but if someone wants to lose weight for their own reason, then shouldn’t they be granted the privilege?
If it is not a sin to want to lose weight, then why does it feel that way? Please, can we normalise people wanting to lose weight?
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