“I might look a little different than the last time you saw me here,” joked Rebel Wilson as she hosted the Baftas on Sunday night. Behind her, a photo of herself two years ago appeared on screen and the crowd cheered for the transformation. Wilson’s speech made me feel uneasy, not because of that glee or Emma Watson’s grimace as she joked about getting more roles now that she’d lost some weight, but because behind his jokes lies the bigger problem – that women, both on and off screen, feel the need to justify their weight in the world.
Wilson lost 77 pounds during his “Healthy Year” by eating better and exercising more. From squatting with a wombat instead of a kettlebell to going on hour-long hikes with a great podcast, the actress documented her journey on Instagram. She said she did this to inspire others, but also to be honest about her struggles, both with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormonal disorder that can cause menstrual irregularities, excessive hair growth, acne and obesity – and its unhealthy relationship with food.
Talk to BBC News, Wilson said: “I was always very confident of being taller and you know I loved myself. I would rock on a red carpet and I was probably double the height and sometimes triple the weight of other actresses, but I still had faith in that. But I knew deep down that some of my emotional eating behaviors weren’t healthy. Like I didn’t need a tub of ice cream every night… That was me, kind of numbing emotions using food, which wasn’t the healthiest thing .”
I, too, have undergone an equally dramatic health transformation. At 18, weighing 70 pounds – nothing, I was plagued with anorexia and body dysmorphia. Although not remotely on the same scale as Wilson, I received criticism from almost everyone about my appearance – my dentist, my teachers at school, guys in bars and women in clothing stores would all be gobsmacked and whispering about my weight. And while being dramatically underweight is as dangerous from a health perspective as being significantly overweight, I thought people thought they had a right to comment. As I gained weight, the comments and sideways glances stopped, and people rushed to tell me how beautiful I looked, as I began to exist in a more acceptable frame. for societal standards.
At Morning shift with Hughesy, Ed and Erin, Wilson commented on the change in demeanor people around her have shown in the face of her weight loss. “I liked to think I looked good in every size and everything, and I’ve always been pretty confident, so it’s not like I wasn’t confident and now I’m super confident. .. I think what’s been really interesting is how other people treat you. Sometimes, being taller, people wouldn’t necessarily look at you twice,” Wilson said. “Now that I’m fit, people offer to carry my groceries to the car and open the doors for you.”
The saddest issue is that there may be some truth to Wilson’s words. In an interview with Hollywood journalist she said different roles have come to her since losing weight. “I found that with British drama The almond and the seahorse – I’m not sure I would have been cast in there when I was a taller girl because they stereotype you a bit more when you’re taller,” she said.
Like me, 18, Wilson wondered why the world was so obsessed with the number on his scale. “Why are people so obsessed with it?” she asked in an interview with BBC News“With women, especially, about their looks. I know what it’s like to be a woman who was basically invisible to most people because she’s not traditionally seen as beautiful or anything. Either way. It’s crazy trying to adapt to that. It’s just better to be the healthier version.”
Whatever Wilson’s reasons for losing weight, the bigger question is, as Wilson so rightly asks, why do we care? As the health and fitness editor and as a woman who has spent the last ten years understanding what health means, I know that “healthy” is not a particular dress size or number. on the scale. Maybe instead of celebrating Wilson’s weight loss, we should celebrate that she’s feeling healthier and happier about herself – something often overlooked in the media’s scrutiny of her new style. of life.