18 thoughts on “Weight Stigma Awareness Week: What You Need To Know

  • September 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks, Margarita and Marsha for continuing to bring attention to topics like weight stigma and binge eating! With coverage like this, we’re finally getting the topic out of the closet! So appreciated!

    Ellen Shuman
    VP, Binge Eating Disorder Association
    Emotional Eating Recovey Coach, http://www.aweighout.com

    • September 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      @ Ellen, my pleasure! I think BEDA is doing a fantastic job, and I’m happy to get the word out on Weightless. Thanks for everything you do!

  • September 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I’m so glad to see that this is getting attention. Weight stigma is one of those issues that I feel is often overlooked and underestimated in its legitimacy.

  • September 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I’ve been reading a lot of similar topics to this one and I find most of the information a little comical. Instead of trying to make a large person feel better about being fat, why not teach them how to be healthier? Let them know that overall, they’re doing their body a service (less pressure on joints/arteries, decreasing chances of heart and overall health issues, positive body image when they’re finally fit). Why is everybody always on the fat person’s side? I work out most days in a week and eat very healthy foods and I look and feel like I do. I don’t become ill as often as my overweight co-worker, nor do I have knee issues due to the constant pressure from my weight. I do, however, am constantly ridiculed for my healthy habits. I’m always made fun of for eating “rabbit food” when it honestly is what I’d rather eat than the chicken wings and pizza my fat co-workers consume on a regular basis. I also notice they have a hard time with the stairs. While I don’t advocate humiliating a fat person in public, maybe some of them need to wake up and realize that their food habit is burdensome to society as a whole and that pushing for equal treatment is also their way of pushing the healthy people to become fat because they would feel better about themselves. Teach them good habits, habits that can be part of our children’s lives so we can actually live.

    • September 28, 2011 at 8:22 am

      @ Amber, it’s a shame that you find it comical. I think you’re assuming that “overweight” people are automatically unhealthy. First of all, they’re not. Do you think that all skinny people are healthy? Genetics plays a major role in our shape and size. So there are plenty of skinny people out there who don’t exercise and eat fast food but happen to have small frames genetically. Just like there are overweight people who engage in physical activity and take great care of themselves. With the exception of extremes, you can’t determine someone’s health just by looking at them. I think we should encourage everyone to accept their bodies and take better care of themselves. Since when has making someone hate their body (and themselves) led to healthier habits? When you hate yourself do you want to take better care of yourself? No, instead you feel depressed, anxious and unworthy, which is absolutely horrible. I think if anyone needs to wake up, it’s our society, which shames and blames people automatically based on their size. It’s discriminatory and absolutely damaging to everyone!

  • September 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

    BEDA sounds like a wonderful organization. There is so much pressure from celebrities, models, and magazines to be skinny. When I was a psychiatry resident, we had a lot of patients with eating disorders and they were obsessed with magazines such as “Victoria Secrets” wanting to be just like them. I think this awareness will have a powerful impact. It’s great to hear about it.

    • September 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

      @ Parwathy Narayan, yes, the media definitely makes it that much more difficult to accept our bodies and ditch the diet mentality. Awareness is definitely powerful! 🙂

  • September 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    To the Ambers of the world… I highly recommend that you become more educated on a topic before stating what you have stated in this post. Allow me to demonstrate the fallacy of your thinking. I used to work out for 90 minutes every day in the gym just to maintain my weight (we’re talking maintain, not losing weight) because I gain very easily regardless of what I eat if I am not active. One day my right knee popped in a leg machine that felt like stabbing razor blades inside my knee, which brought my activity to a rapid standstill… and totally freaked me out because I know if I can’t be active then I will gain weight. This is just the way my body works—it is what it is. This knee popping occurred in 1994 when I weighed 124 pounds (I am 5″4″) and today I weigh 100 pounds more and am considered morbidly obese. According to what you have posted, you would probably make the snap judgment that I am a lazy, fat person who obviously needs to get their act together and JUST eat right and exercise—but you would be very incorrect. That knee popping launched a 15-year nightmare of medical/surgical interventions and accompanying weight gains because I was not able to exercise on a consistent basis. In 2007 I couldn’t stand the pain anymore from the osteoarthritis and none of the nonsurgical interventions worked on me, so the right knee was replaced… and during the first session of my outpatient therapy my left knee meniscus tore. Long story short, the left knee was subsequently replaced in 2009, a surgery that plunged me into a nightmare that I am still living today and will for the rest of my life. I don’t know what this surgeon did but he messed up not only the surgical leg but also the right leg and my lower back, giving me a permanent seat on the disability bench. I have had setback after setback after setback with any amount of physical exercise and the physical therapist discharged me early stating I will never recover and to just do some stretches so I don’t lose what little I have left. You need to know that when someone undergoes a knee replacement the goal is to give them back their active lifestyle — not land them on the disability bench for the rest of their life. To be told I will never recover was absolutely devastating.

    So here I am, hundreds of thousands of dollars later spent on a myriad of diagnostic tests, doctors, specialists, etc., in attempt to figure out what happened during this knee surgery that messed up my entire body—and still no answers. I do not eat junk food, or drink sodas, or eat large portions. I drink water all day and my diet would make any diet magazine proud… yet I am the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life. I hate how I look. I hate how I feel. I hate going out. And I really hate it when people make a snap judgment that I am fat because I am lazy and I just need to get my act together and eat right and exercise. So before you make that snap judgment based on appearances only you need to stop and think… and then keep your mouth shut because you have no idea what that person has been dealing with. In my case, I have been through hell and back several times these past two years and have even prayed to God to please just end my life. And most “morbidly obese” people I know have been through great losses in their lives as well and are doing everything they can to cope with just staying alive. There is no comical component whatsoever. And by the way, my BP is 120/70, I have low cholesterol, low LDL, low triglycerides, and a healthy HDL.

    • September 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      @ J’elaine, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through.

      The problem is that many people don’t understand how prominent a role genetics plays in how we look. Many also don’t realize how unhealthy dieting and excessive exercise are. Weight loss does not inherently lead to health, either. Our society (i.e., the diet, fitness and weight loss industries) perpetuate the false idea that anyone can look slim if they just work hard enough. And if we don’t lose weight that somehow it’s our fault. Of course, these ideas also keep them very wealthy and us perpetually turning to them.

      I hope you can come to a place where you accept your body and do go out and enjoy the world. I’m not sure if you’ve seen a therapist before, but I always recommend seeing a therapist for people with body image issues, if you’re really distressed and it’s preventing you from living life to the fullest. It sounds like you’re a very strong person, and I wish you all the best. Regardless of anyone’s weight, size, shape, whatever, everyone is 100 percent deserving of a great life.

  • September 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

    @ Amber and people who share the same opinions, I am 6’1 and 240 lbs with a very big frame, and considered obese, but I am extremely healthy and walk faster and further than my thin friends.

    Also, I have been sick only twice in the last 5 years, while my friends and co-workers are ill all the time.

    Unfortunately, the fact that I’m fat means that people automatically assume I’m unhealthy and lazy and costing everyone hundreds of dollars in medical bills, which just isn’t true. In fact, if I DO ever get sick or injure myself I don’t go to the doctor because they always just tell me I need to lose weight as the solution for everything.

    It once took me months to get a fractured foot and torn ligaments diagnosed, because the doctors just kept telling me it hurt due to my weight, when actually I hurt it in a fall when I was exercising and tripped over a broken sidewalk. And of course by the time it was discovered it was really damaged and cost way more to fix.

    So people like you are causing more problems than you fix, even in areas where you say fat people are the cause, such as rising healthcare costs.

    And for the record, I used to be thin, was tired and ill all the time, and gained 100lbs when I was diagnosed bipolar and started taking a million medications, even though I became vegetarian and actually exercised more than before. And a lot of people think my mental illness is my fault too, because I “just don’t try hard enough.”

    • September 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

      @ Morton, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! There are so many myths and stereotypes about fatness, health, thinness and even the accuracy of BMI (not very accurate at all) – and, unfortunately, mental illness. But the good thing is that there are people like you questioning society, speaking out and taking good care of yourself.

  • September 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Also, regardless of what I look like, it says more about other people than it does about me that some people feel the need to call out insults about my size in public when I’m just walking or sitting outside a coffee shop. And this happens at least once a month.

    At 6,1 and 240 lbs I don’t actually look that fat, either, even though I am, because my height is so dramatic, so I can’t imagine what hell shorter people go through if people are responding to me like that.

  • September 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Wonderful! Isn’t it crazy how focusing on health improves health? Go figure.

    It’s unfortunate that we continue to marginalize segments of the population based on appearance and/or perceived lifestyle. But I am so very grateful for organizations such as BEDA and the Association for Size Diversity and Health. The “Health at Every Size” movement is one of the most sane, grounded and useful social efforts I’ve seen. Thank you all for the hard work you do in making life better for all of us!

    • September 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      @ Demandra, I LOVE your point about focusing on healthier habits. Who knew, right? 🙂 I’m always in awe, too, that so many people just don’t get that. For instance, how is losing 50 pounds good for you, if you do it through drastically cutting calories, constantly berating yourself and working out several hours a day for five days? (Which seems to be a common prescription you regularly read in magazines and other articles.) That’s clearly excessive, leaves you deficient in probably very many nutrients, makes you more susceptible to injury (as several comments have illustrated!) and makes you mentally and emotionally miserable. Thank you for such an astute comment!

  • October 13, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Weight Stigma awareness? If people who intentionally restrict their weight have a psychological disorder…then people who allow themselves to become Fat also have a diagnosis. How can Christ Christe manage the country if he can’t manage his own diagnosis?

    • October 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

      @ Michael, I think you make several erroneous assumptions. First, you assume that weight is entirely within a person’s control. The diet and weight-loss companies would love that you believe that, but it’s not the case. Genetics play a prominent role in our weight and shape. So do medications and certain conditions. Being fat is not inherently unhealthy or a disorder. Unless we’re talking extremes, you can’t tell a person’s health by their weight. Also, I never said that restricting your weight is a disorder in and of itself. Certain behaviors like restricting your food intake or over-exercising are unhealthy and may be symptoms of a larger problem. Also, I really wish that people would leave Christe and his weight alone. It’s absolutely nobody’s business, and honestly is a really superficial and ridiculous thing to focus on. Why don’t we get that upset when we hear that our politicians cheat on their wives (or their taxes) or have done drugs or committed serious crimes?

  • January 22, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Great effort! Thanks for sharing all the information and I’m sure many people will benefit from reading this article. Weight stigma and societal stereotyping are serious concerns and must be addressed. To begin with, studies have shown that demeaning and even dismissive comments put people at a greater risk of developing eating disorders leading to excessive weight gain. Support organizations play such an important role in breaking this vicious circle.


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