Why Weight Loss Journeys Are Not Glow-Ups
Everyone's body is beautiful, whether you've lost weight or not.
CONTENT WARNING: eating disorders and weight loss
For many, weight loss journeys are essential to feel happy in their own skin, and yes, they may refer to this as a “glow up”. However, the notion of a glow up is problematic in itself. Weight loss is often seen as an attempt to be the best-looking version of yourself by society’s unrealistic and unachievable standards.
Ultimately, we must change the way we discuss weight loss journeys. There is a toxic side to praising people for their progress, as it almost seems as though if you aren’t on a diet or trying to lose weight and “better yourself” you are failing, which is completely wrong! The toxicity of social media, once again, branches into what people should look like and what a twisted societal view suggests is “healthy”. Whilst for some a weight loss journey teaches them to love their body and to make themselves happier, it is in no way essential. In fact, all of the TikToks about eating in a calorie deficit and YouTube videos about weight loss are more problematic than informative. Videos are triggering for those with eating disorders and belittling to those who struggle to love themselves.
Losing weight is not always positive. In fact, the type of weight loss promoted by social media influencers and celebrities, to look like a Photoshopped photo of Kendall Jenner, is extremely problematic. The unrealistic body types set out on social media are not only damaging to women but to young girls growing up and not understanding why they cannot look like celebrities. Although there is a rise in body positive influencers, the stigma around those above a size 8 (which is ridiculous) still remains.
An Instagram post by supermodel Kendall Jenner which received criticism for being Photoshopped and promoting an unrealistic body type.
As a society, we have to become more body positive and compare ourselves far less. Every body is different and we each have to learn to love our own, as hard as it may seem, because as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” We must learn to be comfortable in our own skin, whichever shape or size that may be.
Weight loss journeys can be inspiring, as well as fascinating, to watch, but the stigma surrounding size and fad diets needs to be approached differently. We have to get off the scales, because weight isn’t everything. Happiness, and love, and being able to experience life however you want to is what truly matters, so, next time you see a before and after on social media, or a calorie counting video, just remember that you have to do what makes you happy. Whether that be going to the gym, eating an amazing dinner, watching TV, or anything else. Know that your looks and body don’t define you, and all that does is loving yourself and being happy in your own skin.