Addressing Weight Concerns in the LGBT Community

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The Indian LGBT community has always faced a unique set of challenges with new studies indicating that there may be a connection between sexual identity and various weight concerns. Where LGBT women are seemingly more prone to being overweight or obese, gay and bisexual men are generally skinnier than their heterosexual counterparts.  With so much emphasis being placed on outward appearances it is also no wonder that an estimated 50% of LGBT youths are living with eating disorders of which anorexia is the most common. It is of the utmost importance to address any weight-related matters in an informed manner to not only ensure the best possible physical outcome but to reduce the risk of malnutrition as well.

Ditch the quick-fix diets

If you are trying to shed some weight, it is important to do it in a manner that is not only healthy but sustainable as well.  While it may be tempting to embark on one of the latest fad diets touted by celebrities, chances are you will do more harm than good to your body. Any severely restrictive diet including the Lunar Diet, the Lemonade Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, and the Cabbage Soup Diet may trigger an initial weight-loss but can result in severe nutritional deficiencies that can lead to a compromised immune system and countless other health concerns.  If you are looking to lose weight while also giving your overall health a nice boost, rather opt for a more balanced eating plan .Consider embarking on a low-carb diet such as keto or Atkins instead as they are known to boast a range of health benefits including sustainable weight loss or, alternatively, consult with a doctor about the best plan of action for you.  

Address eating disorders swiftly

While eating disorders may be rarer in India than in Western countries such as England and the USA, they are still prevalent enough to warrant considerable attention. The distinctive stressors experienced by members of the LGBT community, which includes coming out and being bullied, can have a huge impact on them. Not only can it damage their self-esteem, but also affect anxiety levels and the ability to make use of healthy coping mechanisms. The same stressors can also lead to an eating disorder that may become life-threatening if not addressed in a timeous fashion. Both The Minds Foundation and Sangath actively assist individuals from all walks of life who battle with eating disorders in India while assistance is always available from GBT groups such as Harmless Hugs and the Humsafar Trust.

Don’t underestimate the importance of regular exercise

Apart from following a healthy diet, regular exercise is one of the best ways to both lose weight and build muscle. According to the World Health Organisation adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Not only will getting active help you with your body image, but it will also effectively address any underlying mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

If you are not happy with your weight, chances are your self-esteem will be severely affected.  By following a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and building a positive support system you will give yourself the best chance at obtaining a positive body image.

Jess Walter

Jess is a Freelance Writer