As body positivity and fat acceptance gain momentum across platforms, Western culture’s obsession with dieting in order to be thin seems to be shifting (although it’s also obvious that it’s not going away anytime soon). Things like AMC’s new series Dietland critique the fad diets and weight-loss plans that are pitched to us every day from every angle.
Body positivity is ultimately about making personal choices to feel good in your own body. Dieting for the sake of weight loss usually doesn’t lead to feeling great — most people gain the weight back, especially if they lose it too fast. For some people, this leads to even worse health problems, like eating disorders, which are incredibly common according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
Some of our favorite celebrities have opted to take on a more body-positive approach to talking about food, exercise and weight loss in their interviews, which helps dispel the mythos that all women want is to be thin. These body-positive celebrities have sworn off dieting completely, and their reasons are pretty amazing.
Pink stays in shape for her high-flying performances, but she told Fitness Magazine she doesn't rely on restrictive diets to make it happen. “I try to eat really healthy most of the time," she said. "When I’m not on tour, I’ve done the vegan thing, although I sometimes eat chicken and fish. But on tour is a different story. I don’t beat myself up over every little food choice. If I’m hungry for bread or pasta or a French fry, I eat it. I cannot resist cheesecake! You can’t be too controlled.”
When Kate Winslet went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in September 2017, she had just one suggestion for letting go of diet culture: “I don't know how much I weigh. I haven't weighed myself in 12 years. Top tip. It's a great move!"
“Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size six and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought,” Melissa McCarthy told Good Housekeeping in 2012. “But I am weirdly healthy, so I don’t beat myself up about it — it wouldn’t help, and I don’t want to pass that on to my girls.”
Jennifer Aniston told Glamour in 2012 that she would rather focus on eating well and exercising for health. “I stopped dieting when I figured out that you just have to eat regularly and properly with moderation,” she said. “The fads are too much.”
“I'm going to start my own Chrissy diet that's like Paleo plus cheese. Plus late Saturday night drive-through,” the model and cookbook author told Elle in 2015.
After Kristen Bell gave birth to her daughter Lincoln, who is now 4, she said she made a promise not to allow her personal narrative to be about weight loss for one year after her pregnancy. Bell told E! News, "I was like, 'I have a baby. Do you know how awesome that is? It's so radical! Why on earth am I going to be so concerned with my pants size?'"
New mom Mindy Kaling told Shape in May that she loves to work out, but not for weight loss. "I don't go to therapy, and I think that's because I get endorphins from exercise," she said. "It's such a powerful tool for me mentally. I know that working out is not the path for me to be skinny. For my body type, that entails eating well and making healthy choices. Working out is a way for me to have mental strength, and now, with a kid, it's also time that I have just for myself and to focus on my body." She also said that for her, "food is life."
In 2012, Adele told USA Today, "I read a comment on YouTube that I thought would upset me 'Test pilot for pies' — but I've always been a size 14-16 and been fine with it. I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn't."
In March, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil launched a new body-positive project on Instagram called I Weigh. The account features submissions from people all over the world talking about how their personal value lies in more than the number on the scale.
The project follows an article Jamil wrote for HuffPost U.K. in February in which she called for people to stop judging themselves based on their weight: "And by all means take pride in your appearance. Enjoy your looks, and your clothes and your sex appeal, but don’t make it your number one concern and selling point. It can be in your top ten, but it should never, ever define you. It isn’t important. We aren’t supposed to all look the same. And nothing good ever comes of self hatred. It will never further you. It will always hold you back."
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard wants young girls to know that diets aren't worth it. She told InStyle in 2016, “When I started working, I felt like I should look a different way, and try and do a diet. Then I would have a six-month period afterwards where I kept thinking about food and having cravings. It was such a waste of time. I wondered why I fantasized about bread! Now, I feel really fortunate that I never got into a space where there was an eating disorder, but I also feel like that easily could have happened if I didn’t say, 'Hang on a second, this doesn’t feel right.'”
Candice Bergen spoke candidly about weight gain and why she doesn't diet in her 2015 book, A Fine Romance: “In the past 15 years … I have put on 30 pounds. I live to eat. None of this ‘eat to live’ stuff for me. I crave cookies … all the things that dilate my pupils.”
During press for her latest film, I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer opened up on Katie Couric's podcast about how she's been fat-shamed by interviewers and how she doesn't diet because she doesn't want to be hungry. “Howard Stern once asked me, ‘Why don’t you lose, like, 30 pounds?’" she said. "And I was like, ‘I don’t want to. I’ll be hungry.’ And I lost some weight for Trainwreck, and I was like, beauty and body, that’s not my currency, that’s not my thing. I feel beautiful and I feel strong and sexy, but I’m not going to be the most beautiful girl, so I’m not gonna try to market myself or get myself there. And I don’t think that sends a good message. How about not striving for some other version of yourself? Like, why not love what you’ve got going on right now rather than this eternal dissatisfaction?”
January Jones made a powerful statement to Allure in 2011: "I have never dieted. I just listen to whatever my body craves. I don't deny myself anything."
Gina Rodriguez was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease — an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing fatigue and muscle pain — right after she filmed the pilot for Jane the Virgin. She told Shape that the diagnosis changed her relationship with her body and with food. "I'm all about moderation," she said. "I can't deprive myself. I love pizza so much. And I adore Mexican. I'm more savory than sweet. No, wait, I love sweet too! Who am I kidding? I'm an equal opportunity eater. I have very few do-not-eats on my list. I am so the person who says, 'Taco Bell? Sure, I'll go there!' I'll go anywhere."
Jennifer Lawrence has always been very body-positive. She told Vanity Fair in May, “I can’t work on a diet. I’m hungry. I’m standing on my feet. I need more energy.”
“It’s so much harder when you’re 35 and hate working out,” Dunst told Variety about The Beguiled director Sofia Coppola asking her to lose weight for the film. She said the film's rural location also would have made it impossible: “I’m eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work. So I’m like, ‘We have no options! I’m sorry I can’t lose weight for this role.’”
People reported on a January Instagram post shared by Demi Lovato in which she candidly discussed how hard it is to love her body in her ongoing recovery from an eating disorder. Lovato said, “As someone recovering from a food disorder, it’s something that I want to put out there that you don’t have to diet in order to be happy. I don’t think I’ve heard that message out there in the public and of course, it’s important to be healthy and everything in moderation is fine.”
Plus-size model and body-positivity advocate Ashley Graham told ABC News in 2015, “I know that I look good and, more importantly, I feel good so why am I dieting? I now know what works for me.”
Meghan Trainor's first single, "All About That Bass," was a body-positive love song that we still sing along to when it comes on at the gym. Around the time of its release in 2014, she landed in hot water for saying she wasn't "strong enough" to have an eating disorder, leading Demi Lovato to call her out for the harmful comment.
Four years later, Trainor says her focus is being healthy so when she and her fiancé Daryl Sabara eventually have kids, she'll be ready. She told Entertainment Tonight that Sabara "saved my life in every single way, and he taught me how to eat healthy, and we work out together."
For years, under the abusive thumb of her producer Dr. Luke, Kesha went to extreme measures to be thin. She checked herself into rehab in 2014 and came out the other side ready to fight for herself, her career and her creative control. Now? Kesha told CBS Sunday Morning in May, "I'm not a size. I'm not a number. I am a strong, badass motherfucking woman, and quite frankly, I like my junk. Ten years ago, I never thought I'd be able to say that."
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