No-one should feel like their body is inadequate and that they should change it, or feel pressure to lose weight.
While becoming healthier is incredibly important, health resides in a variety of factors. It is absolutely pointless to lose 20 pounds at the price of your mental health, for instance.
For this reason, I am against diets, which, in my opinion, do much more harm than good. I want to teach about nutrition for people to see the power it has on their health and how they can turn around their life very easily.
But never to tell people that they should lose weight to look better. Eating healthily looks different on different people, taking in a variety of factors that are mainly genetic and that you can’t do anything about.
Thin people have privileges
People just assume that thin-bodied people are healthy. In fact, many average-sized or thin people are extremely unhealthy. Yes, you can eat pretty healthily, be thin but smoke and drink daily. You can also eat way fewer calories than you need and have them all come from pizza and cake, and still be thin.
Chances are, if you’re thin, no one is ever going to comment on your health. People are just going to assume that you’re healthy, unless they know you, of course. And even then, people are more likely to comment on how incredible it is that you can have pizza every day and remain skinny.
So if random people keep telling you that you should lose weight just because they just want you to be healthy, shut them up. Chances are, if it’s coming from a person close to you who actually cares about your health and isn’t just fat-shaming, it’ll be said in a manner that won’t bother you.
And if it does, you have every right to tell them off.
I’m not saying that very thin people don’t ever experience shaming for their bodies. However, it can’t be compared to our society’s general fat-phobia.
The reality of fat-shaming
People with extra fat are constantly associated with stereotypes such as not having self-control or willpower, being lazy and slothful. It is commonly believed that they deserve less respect because they are the only ones to blame for their bodies.
This is so embedded in our culture that they are often misdiagnosed medically, or have more trouble finding jobs.
A common argument people give for being fat-phobic is that they are just trying to look out for the person’s health. First of all, health isn’t always defined by size. You can have a lot of fat and be very healthy, and as mentioned previously, be very thin and unhealthy.
You cannot tell if a person is healthy or not by looking at their body. That being said, obesity is associated with more health risks, yes.
But guess what— if you really care about someone’s health, fat-shaming them will not work. It will only push them further down a negative spiral of being self-conscious, toxic eating behaviors, and weight-gaining. In addition, many perfectly healthy plus-size people who are far from obese are shamed constantly for their bodies— and it’s not for health reasons.
So, what should you do?
If you are on the path to becoming healthier and losing weight because you want to feel your best, that’s amazing.
But it shouldn’t mean hating your current body or the body you’re going to have along the way.
It doesn’t mean suddenly obtaining happiness once you reach your target weight. It means loving yourself during every stage, and loving the body that enables you to live your life every day.
You also need to accept that your healthy body might not look like the “ideal” body plastered all over the media. As I’ve mentioned before, we all have different natural body types and ways to store fat.
We also all have a different set point, which is the optimal weight-range within which your body can function.
While diet and exercise can modulate your weight, if you are to go over or under your set point, your body will do everything it can to get you back within the range. This is why most people gain all their weight back (plus more) after going on restrictive diets.
When you drastically lower your calorie intake, both your appetite and your metabolism are going to adapt in order for your body to gain the weight back. The only way to lose weight lastingly is to do it very slowly, over a long period of time, and by mainly focusing on becoming healthier.
In conclusion, you don’t really need to lose weight
Remember, losing weight shouldn’t be your primary motivation for starting to eat better. It should be about nourishing your body with real food, giving it all the nutrients it needs and keeping it fit, in order to reach a healthier, happier version of yourself.
If you start a health journey for the right reasons, weight-loss will follow— if it’s what’s best for your body. Being happy, healthy, comfortable in your own skin, smart, kind… in the end, isn’t it what truly matters?
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