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5 Things To Keep In Mind When Your Fave Goes on a Detox

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There has been a lot of buzz about Lizzo’s latest Instagram story discussing her choice to do a “detox” cleanse. In the post, Lizzo never mentions weight loss. She points out she is working with a nutritionist and that people should do their own research.

In response to the conversation happening around her, Lizzo responded on social media. She reminded viewers that she, like people of any body size, has every right to make personal decisions about her body. She did what worked for her.

“I detoxed my body and I’m still fat. I love my body and I’m still fat. I’m beautiful and I’m still fat. These things are not mutually exclusive,” Lizzo wrote on Instagram, adding:

I did not starve myself. I fed myself greens and water and fruit and protein and sunlight. You don’t have to do that to be beautiful or healthy. That was my way. You can do life your way. Remember, despite anything anyone says or does. DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH YOUR BODY.


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A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating)

Still, her initial post stirred up a lot of people’s feelings. Some viewed it as a “betrayal” that their body-positive favorite was engaging in what they view as diet culture. We saw similar conversations spark around Adele’s recent weight loss, and years ago when Demi Lovato, who’s openly in eating disorder recovery, posted on Instagram promoting a 30-day detox tea challenge.

So, setting Lizzo’s specific case aside, here are five things to keep in mind when one of your body-positive heroes engages with diet culture.

1. Check Your Privilege

It’s not our place to comment on what other people do with their bodies. Period. White fat activists especially need to be conscious of how race plays into matters of body politics. For example, as a white woman I don’t comment on the choices Black women make for their bodies. (To be clear, it’s a mistake I made in the past until people generously educated me.)

2. Feeling Disappointed Is Valid

When you’re a fan of someone based on your understanding of their beliefs, you have an investment in what they do and share publicly. When that person takes an action promoting something seemingly against those beliefs — even though they have a right to do that — it can still feel like a betrayal. That’s a completely valid feeling. You don’t get to control other people’s behavior, but you do get to have feelings about it.

3. It’s Good to Be Skeptical When Celebrities Engage in Diet Culture

Even stars get duped by diet culture. Lord knows there is enough pressure to cave and enough people ready to sell it to them the minute they do. Even though Lizzo was not paid to post what she did, from the Kardashians and their appetite suppressant lollipops, to the various celebrities who attach themselves to weight loss plans like Jenny Craig, we’re used to seeing celebrities help sell diet culture. Because of this, it’s good to be skeptical whenever we see any celebrity engaging in diet culture.

People can do whatever they want with their bodies, yes, but it is fair to point out when their behaviors perpetuate fatphobia. If they do, then they are responsible for the harm they cause, regardless of their personal reasons for trying to change their body size.

4. If You’re Working to Resist Diet Culture, Stay Strong

No matter how much we understand that detoxes don’t do what they advertise, and almost every weight loss attempt ends with full weight regain (and a majority end with people regaining more than they lost), seeing people we admire engage in any type of diet or detox can make us think: maybe we should diet just one more time.

Resist that urge. Dieting and weight cycling harm us physically and emotionally. It’s unfortunate when celebrities look like they are engaging in diet culture, but we don’t have to. We worked hard to get off the diet roller coaster and we can stay off if that’s the best thing for us. Stick to what you need and what works for you.

5. Center and Protect Marginalized Voices

There are fat people, including fat people with multiple marginalized identities, who have chosen to do the difficult and painful work of liberating themselves from diet culture. Those people have chosen not to risk their lives and quality of life with dangerous surgeries and diets, even though it might bring more money or fame.

The Size Acceptance community is a social justice community with limited resources to fight the crushing oppression of global weight stigma and so, while people are allowed to do what they want with their bodies, we are not obligated to support those still perpetuating diet culture. We can help the world by centering those voices and by creating spaces that support them.

Originally published: December 15, 2020
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