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28th Mar 2024

‘Can I be body positive if I’m trying to lose weight?’

Kat O'Connor

I always feel guilty when I admit I’d like to lose weight

As someone who grew up during the era where magazines and tabloids slated any woman over a size 10 and Bridget Jones was called fat, it’s safe to say my relationship with my body is pretty damaged.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with being as small as my peers. I felt embarrassed if I ever needed to size up and dreamed about being as thin as Effie from Skins because all we knew was celebrating smaller bodies.

However, as I entered my twenties I started to realise that celebrating your body, and appreciating all it does, is far greater than wearing a size 8 in jeans.

I broke up with the societal pressures placed on us to look ‘thin’ and embraced the mid-size girl community. Women who are between a size 12 and 16 were finally celebrating their bodies and no longer hiding away. Seeing their empowering posts and reading their encouraging words helped me gain a completely different outlook on my body.

Its sole purpose wasn’t to look a certain way or to be a certain size. Accepting that helped me realise that losing weight isn’t something I shouldn’t be ashamed of, and the same goes for gaining weight.

As a friend said to me, “Nobody is ever the finished product and you can love yourself every step of that journey.”

My body has changed a lot over the past few years. I lost weight after breakups, gained weight due to medication and now I’m somewhere in the middle, unsure about what to wear and trying to be kinder to my body.

It’s a pretty incredible thing when you really sit back and look away from the scales and realise your heart is beating, your lungs are breathing, and your brain is storing memories.

“I want to lose weight to feel better and for my own health”

I was proud of everything my body got me through, but then I started to gain weight in 2022 and slowly started feeling less empowered about it. And it wasn’t to do with my appearance but how I felt.

Losing weight is something I’ve always thought about. During the Roman Empire trend on TikTok, so many women admitted that their darker Roman Empire was actually thinking about losing weight. It is something that has always been viewed in a negative/punishing way for me, but I’ve realised it can be a positive thing.

You can still be body-positive and want to lose weight.

I want to lose weight to feel better and for my own health. It isn’t about fitting into a smaller skirt or looking different.

I’ve spoken to so many people about this and shaking off that shame and embarrassment is so important. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight once you’re the one making the decision. If it is going to make you feel healthier and happier then is there any real harm?

One woman told me: “Losing weight if that’s what you want is perfectly normal. Bodies fluctuate. Just try not to tie your self-worth to the scales.”

“I still love my body just as much as I did before”

Jess Spencer added: “Losing weight doesn’t have to mean the same thing as looking better. You may want to do it to improve how you feel about yourself, and your energy levels.

“If I was to use a metaphor about body positivity and weight loss, it’s like, you can get a pizza and like it, but wish you didn’t have some of the toppings and wish it was a bit different. Just because there’s something you want to change doesn’t mean you feel completely negative about it all.”

Another reader shared: “As I’ve gotten older, losing weight is much more about my health as opposed to the optics of looking good.”

Maybe I can’t be body-positive when I’m trying to lose weight, but I still love my body just as much as I did before. This is about looking out for it and ensuring I’m caring for it as much as I possibly can.

The number on the scales means nothing to me anymore and the size of my clothes is just another number, but ensuring my body is being cared for is what matters now.

I’m putting my health first and I see it as an empowering step rather than buckling under beauty standards.

Anne Hathaway summed it up perfectly: “There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love.”



Body Positive