The “love yourself” movement has gone too far.
I’m not saying that shaming others is okay and that people should hate themselves. What I am saying is that society has taken this idea that the thin ideal is unrealistic, and that at any weight and any size, people should be content.
Sure, people should be happy with who they are, but when it comes to something that affects health, like being overweight, loving yourself should mean more than self-acceptance. It should mean loving yourself enough to take action.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimated in 2013 that over 70 percent of adults in the U.S. were overweight or obese.
Of course, there are multitudes of factors that affect these statistics, but it’s clear that obesity is a growing problem-a problem that won’t be fixed by inaction and simply learning to “love yourself.”
People who struggle with weight should not be shamed, but they shouldn’t be continuing in their habits either.
“Yes, love yourself, but you need to love yourself to the point that you need to realize that you don’t want to be sick,” senior exercise science major Mariah Mercado said. “I hate saying this, but being overweight and obese, mainly obese, is sick; it is literally labeled a disease.”
It’s still important to remember that weight isn’t the end-all-be-all measure of a healthy body.
The Center for Disease Control’s website says that anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9 is the appropriate Body Mass Index for humans at a healthy weight. That still doesn’t take into account varying muscle or bone mass in different people. So it makes sense that the “love yourself” movement wants to erase the idea that a low weight on the scale is the ultimate goal.
Learning to “love yourself” is a start when it comes to losing weight or forming a healthier lifestyle, but if the self-care stops there, then the movement hasn’t done its job.
While physical appearances shouldn’t make or break happiness, learning to be content with who you are should also not be an excuse for continuing unhealthy habits.
Loving yourself means loving who you are. It is so important, but actions speak louder than words. Loving your body means taking care of it, not accepting a problem and avoiding healthy change.