The English singer’s weight loss shocked the world and attracted some heavy criticism. A year later, here’s what she has to say about it.

How can someone’s body be a subject of international debate?

Adele’s weight transformation, which was first noted in May 2020, signaled a shift in how the world likes to discuss and tear apart women’s bodies. We’re well acquainted with how body-shaming is wielded to disparage bigger, overweight women in nearly every single sphere of society — be it entertainment, politics, media — but in Adele’s case, the public decided to single out her slimmed-down figure. 

The British singer managed to keep mum through the entire controversy, but with her fourth studio album around the corner, she’s opening up about her pandemic year and all the changes she has undergone recently. Her take on the debacle not only shatters the many assumptions and rumors that have taken hold in the past year or so but also reveals a fresh perspective on fitness and health, particularly how it concerns women’s bodies. 

At the end of the day, it might do good to keep in mind that Adele’s rise to prominence is a result of her phenomenal voice and songwriting ability. Her appearance should have never been the center of attention, but since it inevitably has, it’s time to debunk some false narratives. 

Adele discloses the real reason she turned to the gym: “It was because of my anxiety.” 

Adele spoke to both Vogue US and Vogue UK this month and shed light on her divorce from ex-husband Simon Konecki. To no one’s surprise, the upheaval caused by such a split had severe consequences on the songstress’s mental state. She had to not only explain the complexities of the separation to her young child but envision a new future without her long-time partner. It understandably led to a great deal of stress and anxiety, and when you’re spiraling down such a dark path, you need to take time out of your day to focus on yourself and just yourself. 

Exercise turned out to be just what Adele needed. The gym became a safe place for her, where she could exorcise her demons and work through her frustration in a healthy and productive way. “It became my time. I realized that when I was working out, I didn’t have any anxiety,” she told the magazine. Her physical regimen was never about conforming to a beauty standard, she said.  It was about directing her energy to an activity that required discipline, consistency, and focus; it was about strengthening and nourishing her body. She told herself if she could make her body “physically strong,” it would lay the groundwork for an equally “physically strong” mind in the future. 

It was because of my anxiety. Working out, I would just feel better. It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone.

Adele to Vogue UK

As what happens with many hobbies, she took a liking to the gym work and became “addicted” to it, and would work out at least two-three times a day. Even her trainer Gregg Miele confirmed Adele developed an inclination for “strength training” and movement and wasn’t at all concentrated on losing weight. It was just a byproduct of a passion she’d begun cultivating. 

She understands why some were hurt but the controversy still “disappointed” her

However, the rest of the world thought otherwise. They just took a quick glance at the 33-year-old’s thinner frame and just assumed she was doing the work to look a certain way. Adele has always been a champion of self-love, and there’s no reason her weight loss disqualifies her stance on body positivity. She understands her transformation does disappoint a number of women who’d looked up to her as an idol.  “But I’m still the same person,” she said. 

My body’s been objectified my entire career. It’s not just now. I understand why it’s a shock. I understand why some women especially were hurt. Visually I represented a lot of women.

Adele to Vogue US

As much as Adele sympathizes with women feeling shocked or “hurt” by her change, she’s been going through this song and dance for a long time. People have argued over her body at every instance; they’ve turned it into a political prop to further their argument, to forge theories about femininity and attraction, to preach at each other about the latest cause célèbre — she has no compassion left in her towards those who choose to dissect her body so maliciously. She also noticed that most of the people doing the gossiping and shaming were women themselves. It was a stark reminder of reality: as much as you try to encourage women to be your best selves, some will still carry out “brutal conversations” about you. Adele said she was “disappointed” by the controversy. “That hurt my feelings,” she said. 

What a lot of people forget is that the progress of the body positivity movement doesn’t have to hinge on a few select people. Adele had never claimed to be a spokeswoman for overweight women, so it doesn’t make sense to unleash on her for making a personal change in her lifestyle. Everyone has a unique relationship between exercise and food, so instead of examining other people’s choices with such a critical eye, it’s best to address the larger societal challenges that create obstacles for body acceptance. “You don’t need to be overweight to be body positive, you can be any shape or size,” Adele told British Vogue. 

So why would I ever share [my fitness journey]? I don’t find it fascinating. It’s my body. 

Adele to Vogue UK

The mother-of-one added that her lack of documenting her journey on social media worked to her disadvantage as it enabled people to whip up all kinds of lies about her. Many public figures in her position would try to parlay the attention into a lucrative deal with a diet brand. Not Adele, though. “ I couldn’t give a flying f**k. I did it for myself and not anyone else,” she said. 

Your body is no one’s business

Adele doesn’t need someone meddling in her personal choices. She’s a legend in the game not only for her musical contributions but for how she’s always approached her size and self-esteem. She’s been casual, she’s been calm, she’s never let anything faze her, at least not regarding her body, anyway. 

That begs the question: why exert so much energy on judging someone for something that doesn’t impact you in the least? If you yourself don’t like hearing other people’s unnecessary interjections, you must know better than doing it yourself. Thin or fat, nobody has the right to assert their opinion on your body. You could be gaining weight, you could be losing weight; it practically affects no one but yourself. Your value is far more than the pounds you carry; it’s about your personality, character, vocation, and interpersonal relationships. Why bestow so much importance on something that fluctuates every day?

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