Adele has won 15 Grammy awards, an Oscar, and two Ivor Novello awards (Picture: Phil McCarten/CBS via Getty Images)

Adele has won 15 Grammy awards, an Oscar, and two Ivor Novellos (to name a few), but if the latest interest in her physical appearance is anything to go by, it is almost as though her 100-pound weight loss is her biggest achievement yet.

I know the feeling. Like me, Adele’s first noticeable shift in weight came after a health scare. Mine was the removal of my gallbladder, hers a vocal hemorrhage in 2011 that saw the singer change her diet and lifestyle habits to keep her voice in the best condition.

I did the same and after losing around 40 pounds last year, I’ve been inundated with unsolicited ‘compliments’ on my weight loss, too.

‘Wow you look great, you’ve lost so much weight’, ‘Keep up the good work’, ‘You’ve always had such a beautiful face, but now you look amazing’, are just some of the so-called flattering comments I received from friends and family on a daily basis.

However, this left me questioning whether any compliments I’d been given pre-weight loss had actually come with an invisible caveat. When someone had told me I looked amazing in a dress, did they secretly mean ‘for a person of my size’?

And now those doling out their latest praise – which is viewed as innocent and positive – have very little idea on the negative impact it has on my relationship with my body. They are even more unaware of the effect it’s having on their own sense of self-worth, too.

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Commenting on someone’s weight loss is essentially fatphobic: it reinforces the status quo, that thin is the ideal body type. This locks people of all sizes into a cycle of measuring their self-esteem through a number on a scale.

Unsurprisingly, rather than make me feel good about myself, I’ve been made to feel as though weighing less makes me a better, more desirable version of myself.

This has triggered food-related anxiety and negative body image issues that, after years of therapy, I thought I had finally put to bed: analysing the labels on everything I eat, damaging self-talk and a nagging fear of gaining weight.

Unless you’ve been specifically asked, weight related compliments should be a no-no.

However, with weight loss listed as 2019’s second most popular New Year Resolution, Public Health England proclaiming we should all be on strict calorie-controlled diets and the billion-pound diet industry flogging us slimming teas, shakes, pills and programmes – as well as the slim-equals-attractive ideal we are constantly exposed to – I’m not surprised that a lot of people would find it hard to see how losing weight and being praised for it is anything but positive.

Your daughter, friend, colleague or partner could be in the throes of an eating disorder and such constant praise actually feeds into the myriad factors that is causing them to continue abusing their body.

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They might be suffering from an illness they have yet to disclose or they could be under immense stress and weight loss is the by-product. Weighing less does not necessarily equate to being physically or mentally healthy, in the same way that weighing more doesn’t mean you aren’t.

This is an idea that advocates of the body positivity moment, like singer Lizzo, are championing. It’s much-needed work but in turn throws up the question of whether it’s possible to want to lose weight and still be body positive.

This is something I grapple with daily. I know that the constant praise for my initial weight loss made me hyper focused on my size and while I squirmed inwardly at every compliment, I slowly began to want to lose more pounds.

My confidence increased and I enjoyed expressing myself through my clothes more than ever before, too. However, I also suffer guilt. I feel better about myself when I weigh less, but if body positivity is all about self-love, then the desire to change my body for no other reason than to fit into society’s ideals feels akin to self-harm.

I recognise that it’s important to constantly check in with myself as to why I’m losing weight, and to ensure that my eating adjustments are healthy, balanced and maintainable.

I just hope that with all the extra scrutiny a huge star like Adele receives, she is able to block out all the misplaced praise that could see her fall down the same rabbit hole as I have.

More than that, I hope anyone who Adele inspired to follow their dreams, no matter their size, are not impacted either.

MORE: Doctor warns against dangerous dieting in the New Year

MORE: Food is not meant to be served with a side of guilt and shame

MORE: My Label and Me: I’m living my best fat life





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