Poppy Noor – The Guardian
Adele has reportedly lost weight, and is being lauded for it – but there are many other reasons why we should admire her
Adele seems to handle life better than I do when I forget to have breakfast. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS
Adele may have dubious views on tax, but one thing is for certain: the rest of her resume is nearly flawless. Her first album, some of which she wrote at age 16, went platinum 11 times – an achievement surpassed by her second album. She is the only artist in Grammy history to have taken home the three biggest awards in one night, not once but twice. And let’s not forget the time she accepted her album of the year award while calling out the establishment for not giving it to Beyoncé.
Adele achieved all of these things while being criticized for being too fat. In a blow to health gurus everywhere, she even did it while smoking 25 cigarettes and drinking 10 sugary cups of tea a day. But she has now lost some weight – paparazzi pictures taken this week while she was on holiday made it clear – and is now celebrated and criticised for it (women can’t win, remember?).
How predictable. Instead, may I suggest that Adele should be celebrated for her seemingly healthy relationship to fame. Since becoming famous, she has gone through at least one album-worthy breakup and a divorce. She has had a child, gone through post-partum depression, and has gotten over being a “massive drinker”. She did so with grace and an insistence on keeping strong boundaries around her private life (she intentionally gives very few interviews).
And yet, she hasn’t said too many stupid things in the media (outside her aforementioned tax comments) and appears largely unconcerned with the rumor mill. She has escaped many of the toxicities of fame: she hasn’t paid for sex, struggled with hard drug or had to take a break from social media.
In short, Adele seems to handle life better than I do when I forget to have breakfast. She has made hundreds, probably thousands of healthy choices in the last few years. So why focus on her weight loss? Aren’t there ample other things to applaud?
Of course, we shouldn’t berate women for weight loss either (or weight gain, for that matter). It is an incredibly personal achievement, and there still is huge pressure for women to be slim. Sometimes weight loss is about health benefits, confidence, ill health or all three. Sometimes, it’s not even a decision. Any or none of these things may be why Adele lost weight.
But significant weight loss does not come without restriction. Ordinarily, a person has to cut out at least 500 calories a day to lose 1lb a week – that’s a quarter of a woman’s daily diet. Some people say that exercising is a healthier way to lose weight, but the average US woman would need to run over 21 miles a week to achieve that calorie deficit.
Sure, applaud the willpower, but let’s be clear: there is no miracle diet, no special hypnotherapy or diet pill that achieves weight-loss. There is surgery, but let’s not pretend that’s pain-free.
I’d rather celebrate Adele for other things. Like the way she handles her divorce with humor; tells a crowd of famous actors that she’s just at the Golden Globes for a night out; and managed to pen an entire album about an ex without ever publicly dragging his name through the mud. Those things are proof of character – her weight, at best, is incidental.