Can you feel good about your body while trying to lose weight?
Reviewed by Dr Neel Patel
What does it mean to be body positive?
Body positivity is a movement that gained popularity on social media. It's all about the idea that every body is a good body. But this isn't a new concept—back in the 1850s to 1890s, the Victorian Dress Reform movement aimed to stop women from changing their bodies with things like corsets. Body positivity also has roots in activism by fat, Black, and queer communities, fighting for the fair representation of all body types.
Today, body positivity works to make different body shapes more accepted, challenging the 'ideal' body often seen in advertisements. It also stands against discrimination faced by groups like disabled individuals and ethnic minorities.
Can you be body positive and still want to lose weight?
Absolutely. Body positivity should empower people to make their own choices about their bodies. Thinking that wanting to lose weight goes against body positivity is like pressuring someone to conform to a specific standard, even if they want to choose differently. It contradicts the basis of body positivity.
It's essential to consider why you want to lose weight. Some people do it for health reasons, like managing diabetes, not just to meet beauty standards. Understanding your motivation aligns body positivity with weight loss. For instance, if it's only about appearance, it might not be the right choice.
Before starting a weight loss plan, talk to a healthcare professional, like your GP or a dietitian, for guidance on how much weight to aim for and the right dietary advice.
Body neutrality might be a better fit for those struggling with the 'love your body' message.
What is body neutrality?
Body neutrality encourages accepting your body for what it can do. It's about developing a neutral attitude—not fixating on how you wish it looked or getting upset about its limitations. Body neutrality helps:
- Reduce negative feelings about your appearance
- Decrease judgment toward others
- Dispel myths like 'overweight people are lazy'
- Promote inclusivity
- Consider your overall health
Overall health involves various factors. Instead of just focusing on the number on the scale, consider making changes to improve your overall well-being:
- Be more active by taking more steps or joining an exercise class
- Cook more from scratch
- Cut down on alcohol
- Drink more water
- Get more or better-quality sleep
- Reduce your stress levels
LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor provides helpful advice on living a healthier lifestyle in our health hub, covering topics from quitting smoking to beginner-friendly exercises.