eating disorders

Don't Kid Yourself...We're All Victims of Weight Stigma

Did you know that it's Weight Stigma Awareness Week!

Could weight stigma be the reason why you're frequently binge eating, feeling depressed, hating your body and struggling with low self-esteem? According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), people who are victims of weight stigmatization are more prone to these things.

My primary intention in this love note is to define weight stigma and help you to see how it may be affecting your life, especially as it relates to your relationship with food and body. It's very important to realize that even though some may believe they haven't directly experienced weight stigmatization, because weight stigmatization manifests itself in internal and external fat phobia and/or weight bias (defined as fear of becoming fat or of fat people) it does affect us all.

If we want to continue to grow and be more inclusive of others, it's important for all of us to continue to examine our beliefs and bias toward all marginalized groups. Make no mistake that weight stigma hurts us all and I'm going to briefly highlight a few reasons why.

What is weight stigma?
According to NEDA,

"Weight stigma, also known as weight bias or weight discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on a person’s size. Weight stigma also manifests in fat phobia, the dislike or fear of being or becoming fat."

What are some weight stigma facts?

  • It affects people of all shapes and sizes

  • Disordered eaters and people with diagnosed eating disorders are affected by it

  • It occurs more frequently than gender or age discrimination

  • "Concern trolling" (people concerned about your weight for "health" reasons) is another form of it

  • Those exposed to it engage in more frequent binge eating

  • Those exposed are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with binge eating disorder (BED), depression, and body dissatisfaction

How do medical providers perpetuate weight stigma?

  • Provide patients in larger bodies with less health information and are often dismissive because they believe cause of ailment is solely due to a person's weight and/or size

  • Spend less time with patients who are in larger bodies or dismiss concerns of patients in thinner bodies

  • View larger bodied patients are undisciplined, annoying and non-compliant

  • Eating disorder programs base treatment on a person's weight and won't treat if weight is too low

  • Insurance companies often use weight as a deciding factor for eating disorder treatment and/or discharge based on a patients weight not on their recovery stage

What can we do about it?

  • Educate yourself about what weight stigma is and how it may be showing up in your life

  • Recognize how you may have weight bias toward yourself and others

  • Continue to observe your eating and body dissatisfaction triggers to discern if they are influenced by weight stigma

  • Continue to seek out anti-diet communities in social media, listen to anti-diet podcasts, and strengthen your intuitive eating practice by working through the Intuitive Eating Workbook or schedule an Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session with me

  • Continue cultivating your self-compassion practice

Other weight stigma resources to check out
Weight Stigma FAQ - NEDA
Weight Stigma - NEDA
Talking to Your Child About Weight Bias - NEDA
The Health Impact of Weight Stigma - Today's Dietitian, Carrie Dennett
Fat Is Not the Problem—Fat Stigma Is - Scientific American, Linda Bacon & Amee Severson

Virgie Tovar challenges fatphobia, how it hurts mental health - Virgie Tovar

View more posts about this topic by searching for the #WSAW2019 and #ComeAsYouAre hashtags. Follow my Instagram weight stigma posts.

If you're tired of battling with your weight, fed up with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, and yearning to be free from your obsessive thinking about food and your body, schedule your complimentary Embrace Anti-Diet Living Connection Session.

We’ll get clear on where you are now, what you want instead, and what might be getting in the way of your success.

I’ll also share some powerful recommendations and resources to get you started on creating a peaceful relationship with your body and food.