It is quite difficult to navigate around the discussion of dieting, weight loss, body image, and health without unintentionally offending anyone. One person would say that the desire to lose weight is a result of fatphobia and should, therefore, be discouraged. On the other hand, someone might argue that this type of thinking promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. The question remains, is there a wrong and right kind of body positivity?
The body positivity movement encourages us to embrace ourselves at any size to address the issue of weight bias and fat shaming in our society. One thing is clear, fat shaming is never okay. No one deserves to experience discrimination and prejudice because of their weight. The numbers on the scale do not determine one’s character. So yes, there is no problem with accepting and loving every bit of yourself at any size. But when it comes to the matter of health, claiming that you can be healthy at any size is arguably erroneous. Even those who are metabolically healthy obese are at higher risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease compared to metabolically healthy individuals with normal weight. This is according to a study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Perpetuating the mindset that any and all forms of weight-loss should be discouraged is just downright dangerous. Those who argue that desiring weight-loss is solely a psychological effect of fatphobia are completely amiss. Weight-loss caused by eating disorders is a deeply problematic occurrence that can be attributed to fatphobia. However, let’s not disregard the fact that not all forms of weight-loss are unhealthy and desiring to lose weight isn’t always illegitimate. People who discredit all forms of weight loss fail to acknowledge the fact that truly loving oneself entails making choices toward health and wellness. And this may or may not include weight-loss.
The blurred lines between body positivity and weight loss can be cleared when you take health into consideration. Make choices that are good for you and the body that you so claim to love. If that choice involves losing weight then so be it. Do what’s good for you with the guidance of a licensed physician, nutritionist or fitness instructor. Believing that you have to lose weight won’t set back the body positivity movement if it is done the right way.