Ask Bodyposipanda: Should I Keep Trying To Lose Weight Like My Friends, Or Should I Just Accept Myself?

Ask Bodyposipanda: Should I Keep Trying To Lose Weight Like My Friends, Or Should I Just Accept Myself?

Dear Bodyposipanda,

A part of me wants to follow the crowd and continue on with the constant flows of '5 tips to lose weight', or get sent 'inspiration' by my friends in a group chat over and over again. But another part of me just wants to be okay with my body! Should I keep on trying to lose weight like all the other girls or should I just accept myself for me and be happy with who I am?

- R

Hey R!

I get where you are right now. I think every body positivity advocate has been in that place, feeling the pull of diet culture on one side but the potential of self love on the other. And it seems like perhaps a big part of your resistance towards letting go of dieting is the social aspect of it amongst your friends.

Here’s the truth: breaking away from diet culture when your friends are still immersed in it does change those relationships. So often our shared body dissatisfaction feels like the glue that holds our friendships together - bonding over diets, hearing someone else echo our insecurities, striving for a goal body together. Sometimes it’s the greatest sense of community and connection that we get, we bond over hating our bodies because it’s the cultural message we hear the loudest, we know other people understand it too and if we’re fighting against our bodies together, at least we don’t feel quite so alone. 

But honestly? We deserve a better sense of community than one based in body shame. We deserve to build bonds that go beyond a mutual desire to shrink ourselves. And we deserve friendships that give us the strength to fight against the real problem: diet culture. Not our own bodies.

There’s a chance that some of your friends won’t understand you choosing to leave that mindset behind. I had a lot of conversations with friends who just didn’t get it, who saw it as an excuse, who wouldn’t stop telling me about their weight loss goals. But for the most part, they got it eventually, and the ones who didn’t and still don’t? Well it turns out you need more than a shared goal weight to hold a friendship together, so it feels okay that I’ve outgrown them (in more ways than one *wink wink*).

And as for your main question of which way you should choose to go, I think you already know the answer. It’s just buried under the fear of what might change when you choose it. So I’ll leave you with the questions I asked myself when I didn’t know which way to go:

Has dieting ever made me truly happy before, long term?

Has dieting ever actually worked for me, long term, or have I just gained the weight back every time? (Hint: 95% of diets fail, and it’s not your fault when they do).

Since they’ve never actually worked, maybe it’s time to accept the fact that they never will? Which means…

Am I prepared to keep dieting for the rest of my life, until I’m old and grey and counting calories until my last breath?

And the answer to that last one was: FUCK NO, I CANNOT SPEND MY ENTIRE LIFE COUNTING CALORIES AND HATING MY BODY. So that made the decision for me. Yes it was scary. Yes my friendships changed. But would I make the same decision again? A million times over.

Love & bopo,