Adele’s Weight Loss Is None Of Our Business, Says Charli Howard

“Discussing other people’s weight loss reinforces the message that being thin is something to celebrate,” writes Charli Howard

18.2.2020

“Discussing other people’s weight loss reinforces the message that being thin is something to celebrate,” writes Charli Howard

“Discussing other people’s weight loss reinforces the message that being thin is something to celebrate,” writes Charli Howard

When I first sought treatment for my eating disorders, the body positivity movement seemed like a great way to connect with people online who had also dealt with food issues and negative body image. Here were women of all sizes, celebrating the things society and the media deemed “ugly”: cellulite, stretch marks and scars. The flaws I’d been taught my whole life not to love.

But as I began gaining weight, I began to see a theme on body positive social media accounts. Women who had stomach rolls, but who perhaps weren’t the dictionary definition of “fat”, were told they’d “never understand” what women bigger than them had been through and the problems they’d faced. While I’m sure there’s an element of truth to that, it sums up this no-win situation. If you’re thin, you’re told to gain weight, too big, and you’re told to lose it. Having thought I’d found a safe space in which to talk about body image problems, a new set of issues arose, and once again I didn’t feel secure enough to be myself. I began to overcompensate, posting photos in which I perhaps didn’t look my best, in the hope that I’d be accepted by this – let’s face it – judgemental “movement”.

While the body positive chapter in my life has closed, even now, as an “in-between” model (one who doesn’t fit into the straight or plus-size categories), who I’d say feels 90 per cent okay with her body, I’ve experienced huge pressurenotto lose weight, even if I’ve felt unhealthy. If I do lose weight, for whatever reason, I’ll instantly receive negative comments from people in the industry or on Instagram… in addition to a virtual round of applause. While I’m sure this all sounds very “woe is me” (poor model encouraged to eat!), there is definitely pressure to maintain a certain image when you feel your livelihood is at stake.

Read more:Face Feeling Dry? Here Are The Best Moisturisers For Every Single Skin TypeLet’s go back to why we shouldn’t comment on people’s weight loss. Recently, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Life has been tough over the past few months, for reasons beyond my control, and as a former anorexic and bulimic, this isn't great. Control is what keeps me going, and a lack of it edges me one step closer to that dark, negative mindset I’ve worked so hard to break free from. A few days ago, a stylist on set asked me what I’d done to lose the pounds, to which I replied, truthfully, “stress”. “Well, stress is clearly working for you, you look great,” she said, thinking she’d paid me a huge compliment.

To someone who’s battled eating disorders, a comment like this is triggering. It threatens to eliminate the positive changes gaining weight brought to my life. It makes me think gaining weight is shameful, and feeds the demon in my head that says people find me more attractive when I’m thinner. If Adele should ever gain the weight back, will all of her achievements have been for nothing? Of course not. Adele was successful and beautiful when she was bigger, and she is just as successful and beautiful now.

So, before you comment on somebody’s weight – even if you think it’s a compliment – perhaps it’s worth stopping to reflect on why, as grown women in 2020, we still place such a high value on thinness and looks over other our myriad other qualities and achievements. We owe it to ourselves – and each other.

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