Ever wonder why an obese influencer who embraces her size & promotes fat acceptance also exercises? Is she contradicting herself and trying to lose weight?

This article is inspired by comments on a morbidly obese influencer’s Instagram page. She has over half a million followers.

One of her loyal followers is also morbidly obese and has over 215k followers.

Both preach health at every size and acceptance of their very large bodies.

Both have posted videos of themselves exercising.

With every workout video comes a mindless comment-question to the effect of:

“I thought you were happy with your weight. Why are you exercising?”

Or, it might go something like:

“Why are you working out? I thought you were all about body positivity. Are you now trying to lose weight?”

Obesity, especially morbid, is a leading cause of knee pathology – which of course, means pain.

It’s also a major cause of back pain, low stamina and getting short of breath, uncomfortable and sweaty upon light activity such as housework, taking care of a young child, walking a dog, gardening and shopping.

Benefits of Exercise Don’t Stop at Thinner People

Perhaps these very overweight influencers exercise because they fear future knee problems.

Of course, they can also cause knee injury by doing workouts that are inappropriate for their weight.

For instance, the first influencer here has posted a video doing jump squats. She weighs around 300 pounds.

This isn’t a smart exercise for her – even though she’s able to do a few in a row. Capability doesn’t always mean safe. A less risky alternative are simple bodyweight or weighted squats.

She’s also posted a video of leg moves including lunges – which she struggled with and was unable to keep her back erect nor go into a true lunge. It looked very unsafe – because it was.

But she also did some leg exercises that were safe for her weight.

This video drew several responses from puzzled followers. They couldn’t understand why she was working her legs when she has clearly stated she’s happy at her size and isn’t actively attempting to lose body fat.

Why don’t people understand that there are many reasons to exercise other than weight loss?

When I was a personal trainer I always asked my clients – regardless of their size, weight or body composition – what their goals were.

One overweight woman told me she wanted to be able to climb phone poles for her new phone pole repair job!

I also received the following responses from obese clients:

• Keep up with the grandchildren
• Go on hikes with my son
• Make gardening easier
• Have more energy
• Be healthier
• Reverse type 2 diabetes
• Eliminate acid reflux disease

As you can see, none of these answers to the goal question cites losing weight, though weight loss is important for meeting these goals.

However, even if weight loss isn’t achieved, some of these goals would definitely be met.

For example, if a sedentary obese woman starts an exercise program, but fails to lose weight, she will STILL have more stamina and be better able to go on hikes, play with her kids, endure a day of shopping, do routine housework without panting and just overall feel so much better.

Of course, weight loss will add to all of that, but exercise alone is magical in that it makes ANY body feel so much more capable and stronger, with much improved mobility, knee stability and balance.

Why don’t these followers of very large influencers understand this?

Every body should work out. The key is doing what’s appropriate for your size.

A very heavy person does not need to work on jogging up hills or pushups, for instance.

But brisk walking, the bench press and standing overhead dumbbell press are just fine.

So is using cardio equipment, light impact aerobics classes, home calisthenics and routines with heavy balls, kettlebells, tension bands and weightlifting machines.

Stop questioning why your favorite supersized influencers dare to exercise.

“Body positivity” does not mean being sedentary.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.