Singer Adele has lost weight. It really shouldn't be news, but it is. She was photographed last week, looking pretty because she has always been pretty, and looking thinner than she has before.
Adele used to be a role model for all of us "ordinary" women. Here was a superstar who used to not give two hoots about her body shape and was still thriving in a pop industry that places huge emphasis on looks. She proved you could be successful at a bigger size without that weight defining your personal narrative. Now we have lost a representative as we sit at home stuffing banana bread in our face, piling on the Covid stone.
How did she achieve it? Apparently by taking up the Sirt diet - famous for actively encouraging those following it to have red wine and chocolate but otherwise sticking to turmeric and buckets of green tea.
Why did she do it? Well even in the 21st century, a woman's value is centred around her weight and we all sat up and began to take notice as her body changed in recent months.
She began losing weight after the end of her eight-year marriage to Simon Konecki last year and has lost a rumoured seven stone since. This fact has outweighed all of her achievements to date, despite the fact that she's a mother, a Grammy winner 15 times over and the recipient of an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Despite the fact that being thin is not an achievement, winning 15 Grammy awards is an achievement.
The global diet industry - worth US$189bn (€174.8bn) in 2019 and projected to reach US$269bn (€248.7bn) by 2024 - has ensured that we all know our looks and size are what matter most. The "wellness" companies, diet supplement businesses, and weight-loss programmes are financially preying off our bodily insecurities - ones that they helped to create.
The downside is eating issues on a disturbing scale. According to the HSE's Model of Care for Eating Disorders launched in January 2018, an estimated 188,895 people in Ireland will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
We are constantly getting mixed messages. One day it's all about body positivity and how you can be fat and fit. The next day we wake up to a warning that we're all getting bigger and that obesity will kill us.
And the vernacular around dieting has become so loaded, it's a very difficult beast to talk about.
We are getting fatter, too. The Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 found that just under four in 10 (37pc) of us have a normal weight, six out of 10 of us are overweight and 23pc are obese. But the messages about how we should look after - and feel about - our bodies are wildly confusing. So, we jump on different diet bandwagons and we always have another five or 10 or 30 pounds to lose.
I can't imagine the pressure of millions of people having an opinion about your body, but I preferred a fuller-figured Adele. I'd be lying if I said disappointment was my first reaction to her latest photo. No, despite my better judgement, my initial thought was, "Maybe I should lose a few pounds for summer". Because, when it comes to weight loss, all reason can go out of the window.
It's not surprising. We're so messed up as a society, in terms of how we view weight, that we cannot let go of whatever messages have been drilled into us by popular culture. Everyone is busy judging everyone else's weight because so many of us are uncomfortable with our own.
I've hitched a ride on various different crash diets over the years, plumped up by the deluded conviction that this one will get me to destination happiness.
But, without exception, they have all ended in the same way: guilt, disappointment and a monumental pile of buttered toast. I've felt guilty about gaining and losing the same five pounds over and over.
I've felt guilty over being the wrong kind of feminist - or maybe no kind of feminist at all. Instead of fighting for a world where all bodies are admired, I am pandering, reshaping my body to make it acceptable to the world around me.
The fear of added pounds during lockdown reflects the diet culture we live in. You've seen the memes and whether it contains a SpongeBob gif or a photo series of Keanu Reeves, the punchline of the joke is pretty much the same. We are terrified of weight gain - even in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic -because we're constantly flooded with messages that gaining weight or living in a larger body is very, very bad.
There's already enough stress right now: Unemployment is at 28pc, many people are struggling to meet basic needs, and no one really knows when or how this will all end, but likely in joblessness and crippling taxes for most of us.
But we're not wrong to obsess and worry about weight gain or weight loss, because that's the culture we live in and society has done one hell of a job on our collective self-esteem.
Adele's weight loss reminds us of our own struggle with conventional beauty and the ways we don't fit in. Adele can't win, and neither can we.