As a #dietitian I have been told the most heart wrenching stories from people in bigger bodies. The horrible shit they have put up with from friends and family and co- workers and society, that constantly sends negative messages about their body weight, or overlooks their amazing abilities, ideas, or kindness or creativity because of their size.
Sometimes the people spreading the stigma do this unknowingly, they might direct regular negative comments about weight or food choices toward a person, thinking that they are helping the person gain motivation to lose weight. Other times they are just outright bullies and are putting others down to make themselves feel better.
Now let’s just clear something up here- negative comments about weight and food are not helpful! What the research shows is weight comments, stigma and discrimination as well as all the mental health issues it raises, actually makes someone more likely to engage in emotional and binge eating, and less likely to exercise. So they are not being helpful, they are making the problem worse!!!
Often weight stigma is internalised, where someone truely believes the messages of weight stigma and applies it to themselves concluding they must not be “good enough”. And I want to call bullshit to that. Because it really is bullshit. The hurt, the lack of confidence, the low self esteem, depression and anxiety that come with weight stigma and poor #bodyimage is huge, I studied this in my PhD so it’s not just anecdotal; and as a society we must change. Too much time and brilliance and people’s lives are wasted with this shit!!!!
I always had a very good sense of self growing up, looks where not really that important in how I see myself as a person. But as a non super lean dietitian, I have experienced some of this weight stigma crap first hand. There was the patient who looked me up and down and assured me they were much thinner then me at my age as if this was somehow important, or the ‘friend’ who inferred to me their weight loss product they were selling could come in useful to me even though I was a dietitian because (I got the look up and down again) the proof was in the puddin, or the little unsolicited little comments about weight from all sorts of people. Or the worst was a loved one telling me I was not as attractive as I used to be, when I was thinner! I just sort of shake it off now, and try to calmly put some very clear boundaries in place- various versions of, its not ok to say that, so don’t, or else don’t expect me to keep talking to you. Even though I really wanted to yell, f*** you, you have no idea what this body has been through! I don’t share these experiences for sympathy, but I think it’s important to know I understand you, on an intellectual level from my professional education, and from a personal level.
For me personally, and I know this is not for everyone, but my #Christian belief is that we are all worthy, loved, have a purpose and are truly beautiful in the eyes of #Christ and that gives me the confidence to keep my chin up and keep moving forward and enjoying life.
So sometimes you have to brush off the naysayers, the negative and carry on shinning your brilliance to the world whatever your size. And as a dietitian I firmly believe nourishment is always the most important goal in my practice.