Spending the past few months in a hospital has largely opened my eyes to the amount of fat-shaming we allow to go on within a healthcare environment. I think every single one of us has heard some type of insulting, dehumanizing comment directed toward another person because of their body size. We know that these comments contribute to poor overall health outcomes, yet we continue to hear them all the time.
In healthcare, many people in larger bodies have their symptoms overlooked and the blame is placed on their weight. Symptoms are attributed to weight only, without always getting to the actual root of the issue. Patients are told to try to manipulate their body size, (despite there being no research to prove this is even possible in the long run) rather than receiving evidence-based care.
While it’s easy to blame our practitioners for being rude and insensitive, it’s important to realize that fat-phobia is the unfortunate norm in these settings. At one point in our lives, most of us thought that fat = bad and thin = good, too. We didn’t know how to critically analyze the research on weight. We didn’t know that there were a host of other factors that contributed to poor health that mistakenly get blamed on weight. Many of us were stuck in our own disordered eating mentalities… but then we learned, and now we know better. But not everyone knows better, at least not yet. Sometimes we have to be our own advocate.
To help with this, I wanted to provide you with a simple list of questions you can ask your dietitian/doctor/healthcare professional when they are prescribing weight loss.
Remember: We have extensive research on the fact that any form of a diet does not work. It will not improve your health in the long run.
(Note: The “long-run” part is the one most practitioners don’t know. At least in my experience. Most of our “successful” dieting research only goes up to 6 months – 1 year, which isn’t sufficient data to base a recommendation on.)
No matter what your condition may be, there is always an option to improve your health without manipulating your body size. Find out what that is.
Here is a list of questions to ask when someone prescribes you weight loss:
- What treatment would you prescribe to me if I was thin?
- Why do small vs. large-bodied patients get prescribed different treatments for the same condition?
- What research have you reviewed on weight management?
- How do you know this diet will work for me?
- How will increasing my stress around food choices will affect my mental and physical health?
- What lifestyle modifications could I make that won’t make me feel neurotic around food?
- What success have you had with other patients losing weight long-term?
- Why do you think this condition requires weight loss as a treatment?
Hope this help <3 Let me know your experiences with fat-shaming and unwarranted weight loss prescriptions, how you dealt with it, and what I can do to help.