We see the headlines all the time now about how medical professionals are fat shaming their patients, but what happens when he happens to a health professional? I so often hear my clients relay to me how their weight was addressed without any type of empathy or compassion. Judging a person on their appearance versus their actual health. According to Psychology Today, 70% of obese individuals report they have be ridiculed for their weight.
To top that off, 61% of people polled found no issues in regards to making comments about someone elses weight.
When I was doing research for this post I was shocking by these statistics. Over 50% of people think they have the right to say something about someone elses weight? That’s seems crazy, right?
Here lies the problem though, I’ve encountered this myself.
The first time it happened, I just finished up my senior year of college and went for my annual appointment with my OB/GYN. I brought up the subject because being a nutrition major I had seen the writing on the wall that I likely had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and realized its something I should address with my doctor. You know what she said to me, you don’t have PCOS you just need to lose weight. I remember the shock, I was so angry when I walked out of there. I never went back to her again. Spoiler alert…it took me 10 more years to find a doctor that took me seriously, but I eventually was was diagnosed with PCOS.
The second time it was a friend who said something to me. I know…right?
But, the real kicker was recently when I was fat shamed by a client. Can you imagine? For any of you that have been following my story over the past month, you will know that I have not had a great year. You can read here more about it if you missed it. We live in a world obsessed by appearance, weight and health. You can’t turn a corner without it glaring you in the face. However, in my practice, I have a no shaming policy. I work hard to help my clients stop shaming themselves and/or their children’s weight or eating.
What this client didn’t realize was only 7 days prior to him seeing me I lost a baby at 11 weeks all while helping my husband battle cancer. No, I had not been exercising to the degree I usually had due to being pregnant and quite frankly had gained some a noticeable belly being pregnant. So when he asked me, if I had stopped taking care of myself that day he was judging me solely by my appearance rather than who I was or what was going on in my life. I’ve heard stories of people that have complimented someone on how great they looked because they lost weight…the person had cancer. Or the story of the person with anorexia who was congratulated on their weight loss efforts.
It’s brings up the point, unless you are providing a detailed evaluation on weight, medical history and dietary analysis it’s important not to talk about someone’s weight. Not good or bad. You never know what that person is going through!
While it stings, I realized that our society is going to a place it shouldn’t. Our society views thinness as a symbol of hard work, will power and self discipline. While over 50% of people believe it’s okay to talk to someone about their weight, it’s important to note that your weight does not define you, your goals and/or your health.
We do know due to recent research, when people are alerted to their high weight, weight gets worse rather than improving.
Isn’t that interesting. So what is the solution? Bring joy back into eating. Sit down as a family and enjoy your meal. Focus on getting a variety everyday, moving your body in a way that feels good to you and focus on making feeding yourself a priority. It’s what we call being Eating Competent. We know that people who are eating competent (despite what they might weigh) have better health, lab values and overall enjoyment of food.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this post helpful, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Have you ever been fat shamed?
- Are you healthy, but have concerns about your weight?
Feel free to share in the comments below. I look forward to joining in on the conversation!