Trial by TikTok – Part 2

For me fitness is not about fighting fat or aiming thinness, it is about having the stamina and physical energy to keep up with my professional demands and day to day requirements of life.

Amrita Rao

This is Part 2 in a small series about the response to a TikTok video that I posted. If you haven’t read Part 1 do go back and have a read and watch the video in question.

It seems lots of people commenting on the post were worried for my health – how kind of them! Honestly, so many people said that instead of eating the cake I should just have a small piece and lose some weight, then I’d be healthy. Brill. Simple then yes?

No! Not simple. It is a terrible sweeping statement to say that if you lose weight you’ll be healthier. I’m a big Health At Every Size (HAES) advocate and I urge you to wipe that thought from your mind if it’s something you currently believe.

There are lots of factors at play, as always in nutrition.

How quickly is the weight lost? What did the person do to lose weight? What was their body weight before? What is their body weight after? What was their diet like when losing the weight? All of these things matter.

Quick weight loss is not good. It sends the body into a bit of blind panic, it’s usually accompanied by serious restriction, and the weight usually comes bouncing back at speed once that restriction stops. It is actually causing more harm than good.

Maybe the person doesn’t have any weight to lose for their body to be happy and so losing weight is detrimental rather than beneficial? And how far did they push it before they stopped? Has that weight loss become extreme?

feet standing on weighing scales

The type of food they have been consuming through that time would be important. A person could cut a large number of calories but still live on crisps and chocolate alone, and then what you have there is restriction plus a degree of malnutrition.

Did you know that the disorder anorexia nervosa, for example, can often be found in larger-bodied people? Eating disorders of this nature don’t always present as the person being seriously underweight. To anyone on the outside it looks like they’re ‘just on a diet’, but this is serious restriction. While people are busy congratulating their weight loss the person is really harming their body. Fast weight loss may be a sign of an eating disorder and encouraging weight loss across the board can be incredibly dangerous.

Likewise, obesity isn’t actually an indicator of poor health either. Just because a person is overweight it does not automatically mean they are unhealthy. There are plenty of inspiring influencers on social media for example that prove that you can be fit, healthy, and have a clean bill of health in a bigger body.

At the opposite end of the scale let’s look at fitness models, male and female. Do you look at those people in magazines and online and think how fit and healthy they must be, and how you’d love to look like them?

There are plenty of those models out there that will tell you that at their leanest they were unhappy, clinically depressed, lacking certain vital bodily functions, weak, dehydrated, and that their health in general was poor. Those people don’t advocate it and it is their living.

Now, knowing that, will you look at those models again and see if they still look fit and healthy to you? I hope not because they are prime examples of losing weight not necessarily being a benefit to health.

Next up in Part 3: ‘But you eat rubbish’

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠.