Celebrity weight loss: the social constructs and consequences

Adele went through a large weight loss, and the media, as well as her fans, had many thoughts on it.

Hannah Scott

Celebrities constantly have the media’s eyes on them, and this can generally mean that every aspect of their personality and bodies is critiqued. While generally, weight loss is a very personal journey for each individual, when you are constantly seen by large publications and photographers, it can be a little more difficult to keep the journey to yourself.

Many conversations have been started about celebrities and weight loss, first starting with Adele after she posted a photo on Instagram showing her weight loss and being followed by celebrities like Rebel Wilson, Kelly Clarkson and many others.

While losing weight is generally seen as a positive by most, for those in the spotlight, their weight loss can often bring controversy that they may not have expected.

When Adele first came out about her weight loss, many of her fans were disappointed in a way that it seemed she was backing away from her old body type and making it seem as though she was not proud of the way she had looked previously. Although this may have been what individuals thought themselves, to Adele, the story was completely different.

“My body’s been objectified my entire career,” Adele said in an interview with Vogue. “I understand why some women especially were hurt. Visually I represented a lot of women, but I’m still the same person. And the worst part of the whole thing was that the most brutal conversations were being had by other women about my body.”

With Rebel Wilson, it seemed that the star’s negativity surrounding her body and weight loss not only came from fans but also from those on her own team. Because Wilson has often been typecast in certain roles because of her body type, her team showed their worry that she might not have a niche anymore.

“I got a lot of pushback from my own team actually,” Wilson said in an interview with the BBC. “They were like, ‘Why would you do that?’ Because I was earning millions of dollars being the funny fat girl and being that person.”

While many individuals may think that stars choose to lose weight because of public pressure or being scrutinized, it seems that often, just like most others who choose to lose weight, the choice comes for them when they want to do it themselves. For Wilson, the choice to become healthier was a choice for her own body and mind.

“I knew deep down that some of the emotional eating behaviors I was doing were not healthy,” Wilson said. “That was kind of me numbing my emotions using food, which wasn’t the healthiest thing.” 

Another aspect of losing weight that many don’t think about often is that weight loss can often come as a side effect of mental health struggles and issues within your personal life. For Adele, who went through a marriage and separation in 2018 and then a divorce in 2019, her weight loss largely came from her struggles with depression and the fact that working out gave her back feelings of power.

“I realized that when I was working out, I didn’t have any anxiety,” Adele said. “It was never about losing weight. I thought, if I can make my body feel physically strong, and I can feel that and see that, then maybe one day I can make my emotions and my mind physically strong.”

For many individuals watching others lose weight that once represented them can be a struggle, and it can make them feel as though they are “losing” somebody who made them feel accepted. However, even celebrities are simply trying to make their way through the world just like everybody else.

“I’ve always been either too big or too small; I’m either hot or I’m not,” Adele said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “But it’s not my job to validate how people feel about their bodies. I feel bad that it’s made anybody feel horrible about themselves, but that’s not my job. I’m trying to sort my own life out. I can’t add another worry.”