Adele’s Weight Loss Reminds Us of Toxic Beauty and Fitness Standards

By David T. Valentin


As Adele makes her way back into mainstream media with the release of her song “Easy on Me” teasing her new and upcoming album “30” after six years, headlines focus on the singer’s weight loss and a supposed “glow up.”


In early 2020, Adele revealed her 100-pound weight loss and opened up about how working out and exercising helped with her anxiety.


In a British Vogue interview, the singer and songwriter said, “It was because of my anxiety. Working out, I would just feel better. It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone.”


When the singer was accused of having a “revenge body,” losing weight because she was recently divorced as if glowing up to get back at her ex-husband, Adele said, “It’s ridiculous. I think it’s that people love to portray a divorced woman as spinning out of control, like, ‘Oh, she must be crackers. She must’ve decided she wants to be a ho.’ Because what is a woman without a husband?”


Still, despite Adele making it abundantly clear that her weight loss wasn’t because she was really trying to lose weight reasons, headlines and Facebook posts are calling her appearance a “glow up” compared to what she used to look like. As they write their headlines, they share unflattering pictures of Adele with a lack of lighting, bad angles and no makeup to intentionally portray her as “ugly” or “unattractive” before her weight loss.


And as the internet fills with these unflattering pictures all over the internet pushing a narrative of a glow-up despite the singer’s comments and clarifications of her weight loss, it reminds us of how much of the fitness industry is dominated by obsessions of looks and beauty as opposed to actual physical health and feeling good.


If you were to just look up pictures of Adele prior to her weight loss at award ceremonies, you’ll see she’s always contoured her face in the same way she does now, wore makeup the same way, and showed herself off in all sorts of different dresses.


And never once does she look the way she’s portrayed in the photos shared in the media’s attempt to push a “glow-up” narrative of the singer.


It’s a shame that much of the industry is dominated based around working out for the sake of looks, pushing your body to the limits even despite harmful diets and working out for all the wrong reasons.


Sure, of course, progress in the gym is marked by physical changes in your body, but for some with a different set of genetics and less time to dedicate to the gym to look like chiseled Greek statues, going to the gym for just an hour a day, or even for a few minutes, has positive effects on the mind that aren’t as visible as, say, a six pack and bulging biceps.


Believing fitness to be something just for achieving physical looks is a loss, considering for some getting up and moving either through walking or just doing small exercises in the gym or at home is a great way to keep the body active without needing to push it to extremes and is also a great way to combatting stiff joints later in life.


Moving forward, it would be nice to see fitness and mental health go hand in hand without the need to make people feel bad about their bodies. Rather, it should be about the internal and physical health of the person, not about how beautiful they look.