Op-Ed: Please Stop Congratulating Adele on Her Weight Loss

As I’m sure many people are aware now, Adele lost weight. Like, a lot. And hundreds of thousands of people have opinions about it. It feels like everyone and their grandmother are praising the singer for “glowing” and being “successful,” or even getting revenge over her ex-husband by becoming this sort of "new" person. 

"When a celebrity loses weight, the public seems unable to receive it with neutrality," Buzzfeed reporter Scaachi Koul said in an op-ed about the singer's weight loss. "Adele’s weight loss is somehow not just an aesthetic change, akin to cutting her hair or losing her trademark winged eyeliner; it’s a value add, as if who she was before somehow wasn’t good enough."

She explains why the discourse around Adele's body is so unsavory. "Some people are cheering for her, as if her Oscar and 15 Grammys and multiple world records aren’t enough for her to feel like a success," Koul said. "Her weight loss, any way you cut it, pales in comparison to the other things she’s done in the first three decades of her life, yet it’s being framed like the most incredible thing she’s done in recent memory."

Spoiler alert: Adele is still the same amazing woman she was before. I’m not here to criticize Adele on her weight loss—some people thought it was appropriate to say that she looked better before. That’s equally as toxic as saying that she looks better now.

My point is that we should be cautious and refrain from commenting altogether. Because weight loss can be an amazing, positive, healthy experience, but it can also be a heart wrenching and self-destructive one. And it’s important not to make assumptions about what losing weight represents to someone.

Sometimes, people decide to lose weight because they would feel better with a few pounds off, and that’s great! Everyone should be celebrated in whatever decisions they make about their bodies. Losing weight can be so empowering—making new kinds of meals, trying fun workouts, and getting more active are all exciting things! However, sometimes people decide to lose weight for unhealthy reasons, such as thinking that they aren’t worth love and care or attention if they don’t weigh a certain amount. These people may be looking for validation as they achieve their weight goals—and when you give it to them, it perpetuates a very dangerous cycle.

Why? Because that person may be losing weight by not eating enough and overexercising. Worse, that person may even have an eating disorder. You may mean well when you encourage someone to keep going in their efforts or compliment them on their progress. But your reaction could lead them to believe that what they are doing is healthy and necessary to be accepted and loved by society. Especially when that person has been shamed for their looks in the past, by Karl Lagerfeld himself

In Adele’s case, she could be reclaiming her confidence after ending an unsuccessful marriage by focusing on herself. Or, she could be having a difficult time navigating all the grief and try to find a sense of control in the way that her body looks. The point is, we just don’t know, because Adele won't say anything about it—and tbh, more power to her. 

In addition, if complimenting someone on their weight loss had nothing to do with being fatphobic, why don’t people compliment those who gain weight? Gaining weight may mean that someone is developing stronger muscles or that they are not focusing on the number of calories they’re taking in every day. At the end of the day, a healthy body doesn't look the same for everyone, and that's okay. Many people feel happier and healthier when they weigh a little more than what is traditionally accepted in society. Yet, it is often painted as a sign that the person is lazy or struggling mentally. So, if you keep getting really excited when celebrities lose a crazy amount of weight, you may want to think about it. Unrealistic standards for women’s bodies created by society may be impacting you more than you realize.

If you truly want the best for someone, please, refrain from commenting on the way that their body changes and their weight fluctuates. You never know what someone is going through.

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