Stand Up to Stigma

Shift your thinking to overcome weight-related negativity.
In the meeting room the first week of August we discussed Weight related stigmas and discrimination. “Have you ever faced Weight stigma?  If you suspect that your body size has negatively affected how someone views or thinks about you or you have been called a hurtful name because of your weight then the answer is yes.”
“Weight stigma can come from anyone- a loved one, a coworker, your doctor, even a passerby. What makes this form of stigma unlike others is that we might believe it’s true, BLAMING ourselves for being stigmatized rather than the person who was unkind to us. Some people affected by stigma turn to food to cope, for others it chips away at their self esteem.”

I know for me that my doctor was the biggest offender of weight stigma. I have been battling with hypothyroidism for several years now. I often felt like my medication levels weren’t correct and that was stalling my weight loss. I would beg her to re-evaluate the levels against my research and I was always met with things like her looking at me with a judgmental face, telling me to eat less or see a dietitian. In my early twenties I had a physician (that happened to be VERY overweight) and she was constantly telling me that I was overweight and that I needed to lose weight.  I remember thinking to myself “who the hell does she think she is talking to me like that when she is worse off than me!”  I know that the doctors job is to make sure you are healthy and are taking proactive steps to a healthy lifestyle but I also know I don’t need to hear multiple times in my office visit that I’m overweight and need to lose some weight either.  On the flip side, I also don’t remember a physician EVER telling me that I did a great job losing weight!  I’ve also run into weight stigmas in the work place.  The most memorable one for me was I had a v neck blouse that I loved.  i wore it often.  I continued to wear it after gaining some weight and was brought into my bosses office to remind me what appropriate dress was and that my shirt was too low-cut and my cleavage was “too much”.  I called them out on it.  I told them I had been wearing the shirt for quite some time and because I gained some weight i was being shamed.  They never admitted to it, but I know that was the case.  the shirt wasn’t inappropriate, i just was a little fuller in the bust at that time.

So… How can you overcome it?  “Recognize that stigma might happen, but that you don’t have to let it hurt you!  You can develop coping skills to counter negative feelings so you don’t turn to food as a response.  One way to counter stigmas harmful effects is to bring to light the times when your feelings were hurt because of stigma, then reality check the negative thoughts that result from those feelings.  This process can help you create a new line  of thinking that leads you away from shame and towards helpful thoughts.

Source:  Weight Watchers Weekly August 6-12 2017

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