There is a lot of talk about #weightstimga and #fatshaming in the media right now. If this is the first time you’ve heard about #weightstigma, I’m so glad you’re here! Time to start learning. Time to start changing.
Personally, I want my child to grow up in a world that isn’t obsessed with ANY body ideal – not thin, not fat, not fit, not tall, not short, not whatever. The only body “ideal” I wish to see is one that embraces every single version on this earth. There are over 7 billion people on earth. Are we really sold on the idea that ALL of them are supposed to fit into the arbitrary BMI box of 18-25?! PULEEEZZZ I don’t need to look at a single research study (but if you need the research…there is A LOT) to know that is absolutely ridiculous and can’t be a philosophy based in evidence. I knew that in kindergarten. We all come in different shapes and sizes. Period. Health looks different in every person and comes in all different sizes. Double Period. Here are three ways you can start making a difference.
1. Educate yourself about #weightstigma
This is a MUST. Our culture is so burdened with discrimination and hate for fat people that many of us don’t even realize we’re contributing to it. It’s so insidious that good people that we love-family, friends, coworkers are engaging in it. These aren’t just those trolls that lurk around the internet making hatful and hurtful comments behind a fake screen name. It could be your doctor, your teacher, your dietitian. It could be your friend. It might be you. Now, what can we do about it? Lots. Once you’re aware of it, time to work on it and stop promoting it. You can start educating yourself here:https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org and here: http://www.haescommunity.org and here:http://www.drdeah.com. You can join in with campaigns like this one to challenge it here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/stoptheshame.
2. Refrain From Making Comments About Bodies-Including Your Body!
Don’t comment on how Aunt Sally lost or gained weight. Surely we can think of something else to say about Aunt Sally! Don’t make comments about fat or thin bodies in the media or while people-watching. Don’t talk about hating your own body. Choose to stop. Actively, and gently, practice redirecting your thoughts and comments when you do find yourself in autopilot when it comes to these conversations. As an adult, if you need support in this area, get it. Many of us need support in this area. Feeling shame about feeling shame about your body just = more shame. It doesn’t make anything better. Practice showing yourself some compassion for feeling that way and talk about it with another adult that you trust. Open yourself up to re-learning how to live in your body right now…because…um…you ARE living in it right now (and for the rest of your life) whether you like it or not. Be sure to find someone who has a body positive mentality who can listen, validate and support you in how you’re feeling and also help you redirect. This could be a friend or family member or maybe a dietitian or therapist. Just make sure that whomever you talk with isn’t going to engage in fat talk and more body shaming. Validating someone’s feelings is very different than engaging with them and ruminating together over how much you are uncomfortable in your bodies. Remember that.
3. Get over the idea that fat shaming is OK because we think it makes people want to be healthier.
It doesn’t. Not to mention the fact that the idea that all fat people could be healthier is an incorrect assumption. Healthy looks different for everyone. Fat shaming makes people feel bad. Really bad. It’s discrimination AND IT IS WRONG. There is no excuse or good reason to discriminate against and shame others. Not to mention the fact that feeling really bad about ourselves does not lead to us wanting to take better care of ourselves. We take care of the things that we like and appreciate. You know what many people do who feel bad about their bodies? They restrict. They deprive. They overeat. They binge. They use movement for punishment more than wellness. They feel alone and embarrassed. These experiences often result in feelings of isolation and tons of shame. If we’re on the topic of health we need to realize that this leads to an incredible amount of inflammation in their bodies due to the stress of isolation and shame. Shaming makes people less healthy and, since fat shamers are soooo worried about the weight of others, know that shaming can actually lead to weight GAIN. If you have engaged in fat shaming in the past choose to stop, choose to change and begin educating yourself. Use this links above for guidance.
<3 Your Favorite RD,