Why Facebook's "Lost Weight” Life Event Seriously Irks Me

Facebook has always given its users the ability to highlight important milestones in their lives. You can indicate when you’ve started a new relationship or gotten married, had a child, or even gone on a really great vacation. But as the options for life events expand, there are some interesting offerings in this little drop-down menu on your Facebook page.

Now, you can tell all the random ex-sorority sisters and weird cousins that you’re friends with on Facebook that you’ve finally lost those stubborn extra pounds (yes, this option has been around for a while but is just now attracting my ire). The “Lost Weight” option is under a menu of other TMI health moments, like getting glasses, breaking a bone, or “making better eating choices.” I’m not sure why Facebook thinks that users would like another way to tell people about their diets, considering that the News Feed is already a graveyard of multi-level marketing diet schemes and terrible diet food recipes from Pinterest.

If you think your Facebook feed already has an overabundance of people oversharing tedious details about their daily lives, Facebook is making things even easier for these chronic TMI types. This is likely an attempt by Facebook to further ingrain the already ubiquitous social networking site into our daily lives. Facebook already has its own lexicon (think about how the meaning of the word “poke” has changed in the last five years), and most of us are checking our feeds before we even get out of bed in the morning.

The problem with including “weight loss” in the options for life milestones is the problem that exists with all other types of fat shaming. It’s there to tell fat people that their bodies aren’t good enough, and that they should be doing something — anything — to be thinner. Facebook (and your friends) don’t give a damn how you lost the weight, just that you’re not as fat as you used to be.

While these types of innocuous nudges toward dieting and exercise seem harmless on the surface, they only serve to shame fat people who can’t lose weight or simply don’t need to. Besides the fact that it isn't anyone's business how healthy or unhealthy a person is, fat isn’t an indicator of health, and there isn’t any amount of weight loss that suddenly makes an individual's health problems disappear. 

Then there’s also the troublesome fact that most of the people who lose enough weight to post about it on Facebook will gain it back in short order. Is there a “regained the weight because I lost it too quickly and unhealthily” option that you can add once the weight inevitably comes back? There’s nothing wrong with wanting a healthier body, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of people who are simply existing in a fat body.

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