Weight is a tricky subject for most people, with the all-seeing eye of social and mass media impressing a false sense of beauty upon many. Indeed, this problem is especially well pronounced in the LGBT community, as one recent GQ article explored in some depth. Addressing weight concerns is already difficult enough without social and emotional pressure ladled on top. In order to truly consider the weight question and make long-term change, it’s extremely important to undertake critical self assessment of what weight means to you, and why you eat – or don’t eat – within that analysis.

Understanding cravings

As a first step, it’s crucial to understand that food cravings are, largely, a mental phenomenon – not a physical desire for sustenance. According to Psychology Today, food cravings come from one of three sources – self-medication, in response to stress or illness; addiction, where there is a psychological link between the food and happiness; and, more rarely, allergies, where the mind and body crave something it cannot have. Understanding this can then help in unearthing triggers. Is it a smell, a sound, or an emotion that prompts craving? What’s the connection between a desire to eat excessive food and the mind? Finding the link can then inform the building of preventative tools – for instance, scented candles have been shown to effectively dissipate the psychological, or neurological, ‘need’ for food, creating a healthy new balance when the need comes around.

Self-observing the body

Severing the psychological desire for food is an important tool and break to equip yourself with – but for long term change, it’s important to understand weight, and why it is you want to lose weight. One champion, or ally, of the LGBT+ cause, Lizzo, has come under fire for her views on body positivity, according to Vox – but it’s also their opinion that many miss the point. Being overweight can be unhealthy, just as it can be healthy – but all of that’s irrelevant. It’s not the job of society and friendship circles to judge or assert that weight loss must come for x or y reasons – instead, it must come from a position of self assurance.

Build your confidence

Ultimately, the key to a healthy weight is finding what it is – and adapting to it. BMI calculators are a guideline, but only that. A healthy weight is one where you feel confident in your skin, you are able to enjoy life without restricting foods to a significant extent, and you are as healthy as can be defined by tests, and so on, at the physician’s office. What the world has to say about that is irrelevant.

Like any other community, the LGBT+ sphere has a lot to catch up on. It’s not easy to understand the acceptance of weight, and to think about how that only really impacts the person involved. With that, and some tools to help crush cravings, a healthy weight can be achieved.