Some people take your weight loss personally. I mean…they really, really, really do.
Consider this: I have several relatives who repeatedly call me ‘anorexic’, ‘skinny bitch’, and ‘bulimic’ because I look the way I do: athletic, slender, and slightly muscular. Said relatives tend to be the opposite of that description…and most of them take my dedication to staying fit as a personal affront to their decision not to do the same.
Yes, I’m dead serious.
So, on the occasions thatI do post something health or fitness related, on my personal Facebook page, or Instagram account, I receive messages that tend to go a bit to the left of what’s necessary.
Now, I’m a good sport, so I don’t let it get to me, but such encounters have made me take note of just how divisive a topic weight loss, and the overall desire to be “fit”, can be; particularly when you’re dealing with folks that don’t share your personal philosophy on the topic.
Just the other day I was reading an article about R&B singer Ledisi’s weight loss transformation, since her last album, and how many of her fans didn’t appreciate the change.
They felt she did it for the image and, therefore, wasn’t truly concerned about her health or anything else—she was just another sellout, looking for increased sales via a svelter figure. It didn’t matter that the change made her feel better about herself, they were more focused on the media-driven aspect of it all—even though there never was one.
“A lot of people think that I changed my outside for my album,” Ledisi said. “I did not do it for my album; it was already done. I had two more songs to finish.”
“I was in a relationship for a very long time, and I knew it was time to let this go,” she explained. “So when I left that relationship, I started to think about why do I do the things I do — like emotional eating — and why do I always try to save everybody else and not make time for me. So I decided it is time for me to focus on me.”
As part of her “me” time, she mastered new moves with other curvy sisters in choreographer Brandee Evans’ dance class, Hip Hop in Heels — sometimes wearing 7-inch stilettos. “I’m taking this class and I’m losing weight, and it built my confidence,” Ledisi said excitedly. “It forces you to look in the mirror and embrace yourself.”
“I also got a nutritionist to help me identify my issues with food,” she added. “I could eventually feel the results; even in my skin from the water intake. Additionally, I began juicing for the first time. I did a lot of different things that I normally would never do.” (Kim Betton, Fierce)
First of all, good for her! The hardest part of most weight loss journeys is figuring out the ‘why’ of what we do to our bodies.
Ledisi obviously had a ‘come-to-Jesus’ meeting with herself, then was proactive about making good, lifelong, changes. To me, that’s to be applauded, not criticized.
That said, the vitriol and overall negative vibe she got from the change, is just more proof of how the body shaming culture works from both ends of the spectrum: If you’re fit and healthy, you point fingers at the obese and say, you need to be skinnier, healthier, and take more pride in your body. However, if you’re sporting a less than ideal BMI, then you’re looking at the “skinny bitches” and saying things like you’re too skinny, men like curves, and who wants to look like an anorexic?..Not me!