"Why are we celebrating her [Lizzo’s] body? Why does it matter? Why aren't we celebrating her music? Cause it isn't gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes,” said Jillian Michaels, former Biggest Loser trainer, in an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM. If you’ve followed the recent controversy involving the celebrity trainer and hip-hop icon Lizzo, you know that Michaels’ comments have caught internet fire.
Regardless of one’s opinion on Lizzo’s size or Michael’s comments, it is never OK to publicly fat-shame someone. Not only is fat-shaming cruel, but it is not an effective way to motivate someone.
If there is someone in your life who you feel may need an extra push to make lifestyle changes, there’s a better way than shaming them. Everyone can do their part to reduce the stigma around obesity. Here are a few tips to help with motivating instead of bullying.
Celebrate wins. Encouragement can go a long way. Celebrate victories, no matter how small. Don’t focus on what someone hasn’t done, but instead acknowledge the progress they’ve made. You might even consider celebrating milestones with non-food rewards, such as going to a movie or getting a manicure.
Listen without judgment. Losing weight and getting healthy is hard, and there will be bumps in the road. When this happens, lend a sympathetic ear and refrain from offering advice unless requested.
Show up. Offer to accompany someone to the gym or suggest a healthy meal planning session. This can speak volumes to someone who might feel like they’re alone in their journey or who has been missing out on social engagements because they are attempting to eat healthier.
Be positive. Whether you agree with someone’s approach to weight loss or not, show them you care. Sometimes an encouraging text or phone call is a game-changer to their mindset.
Bottom line? Anyone making a significant change needs someone offering support. Strive to be that person. You never know the positive impact you might have on someone’s life when it matters the most.