Comments I have gotten from complete strangers…
- OMG you look so good you must work out every day! (NOPE, I DON’T!)
- OMG you look so good you must be vegan! (NOPE, I LOVE MEAT!)
- OMG you look so good you must _________ (enter bias and judgment here).
First off I want to acknowledge my thin privilege. What is thin privilege you might ask? Great question. I had no idea what it was until 2019 and I am a dietitian. And there are MANY other dietitians and humans in general that still don’t know what it is – so we need to spread the word.
Thin privilege is the ability to move about the world easily and not get questioned, eye rolls, or rude comments for the size of my body.
For more thin privilege resources, click here to listen to these amazing podcasts hosted by Christy Harrison.
I do not know what how it feels to be in a very large body, nor will I ever pretend to know. I am human though and I am constantly absorbing the fat-phobia that is all around us. We are all so fucking petrified of gaining weight because we live in a fat-phobic world.
Are you afraid of the word “fat”? Click here to read a very important post by author, Amanda Martinez Beck.
Look at the ads, the commercials, the media, the models, etc. Everything is screaming at us to lose weight and that “fat is bad”. It’s no wonder we are all chasing thinness AND that the rates of eating disorder are sky rocketing (see more research below).
And then there is the fear mongering. YOU BETTER LOSE WEIGHT OR X, Y, Z IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU! Fat-shaming people is not going to do any good – it actually does the exact opposite.
Reposting Dr. Joshua Wolrich here with some amazing research. Click here to view the original post.
Discrimination or stereotyping based on a person’s weight has numerous negative health effects:
- depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and behaviors (Sikorski et al. 2015)
- increased blood pressure (Major et al. 2012)
- chronic inflammation (Sutin et al. 2014)
- increased mortality risk (Sutin et al. 2015)
- metabolic syndrome (Pearl et al. 2017)
What about the argument that this is all outweighed by the fact that weight stigma ‘encourages individuals to lose weight’? The literature would disagree with that, showing it to be related to:
- disordered eating and eating disorders (Ashmore et al. 2008)
- increased energy intake (Schvey et al. 2011)
- avoidance of physical activity (Vartanian et al. 2008)
- weight gain (Jackson et al. 2014)
“Almost all of these associations were independent of BMI. Separate to the wider conversation around weight and health, it is EVERYONE’S responsibility to take weight stigma seriously.” -Dr. Joshua Wolrich
Here are some additional stats that blow my freaking mind and I needed to share:
- Eating Disorders (ED) have doubles from 2000-2006 to 2013-2018 (Patton et al 1999)
- Dieting is the most important predictor of new ED in adolescents (Galmiche et al 2019)
- 35% of dieters will progress into disordered eating and 30-45% of those dieters will progress into a full eating disorder (Shisslak & Crago 1995)
- Dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain. Up to 2/3 of dieters regained more weight that they had lost (Mann et al 2007).
Let’s wrap this all together with a glittery bow. Click here to read my story. Have I been in a bigger body? Yes. Have I had disordered eating? You betchya (a lot of people do). If you look at this picture below I could easily say:
“OMG babes! Eat like me and control all your food and you’ll lose weight, gain confidence, and life will be great!!!!!!!”
But that’s not true. That would be a huge fucking lie and promoting weight loss is not what this picture represents. The girl on the left was a disordered eater and probably borderline ED (orthorexia) but was told by many people to lose weight. Which triggered years of yo-yo dieting and made my already unhealthy behaviors even worse.
GIRL ON THE LEFT
- Hated her body
- Had trouble sleeping
- Had anxiety and had to go on medication
- Would work out every day to “burn calories” in attempts to lose weight
- Would eat less during the week (especially carbs) to try to “be good”
- Would binge on food when she finally broke down and ate carbs and was “being bad”
- Thought that drinking alcohol in excess on would help with stress
- Was constantly fad-dieting
- Thought that her body was the problem and that it was working against her
- Weighed herself every single day
GIRL ON THE RIGHT
- Respects her body (and started respecting her body when it was still the one on the left **this is crucial**)
- Sleeps 7-9 hours every night and is pissed when she doesn’t get her sleep LOL
- Still struggles with anxiety but has coping mechanisms to help de-stress
- Does movement that her body enjoys a few times per week
- Rests for weeks at a time if her body needs it
- Enjoys carbs at EVERY meal and snack (in addition to protein & fat)
- Does not restrict any food
- Honors her body and trusts that her body is on her team
- Understands that her weight goes up and down but trusts that her body does best
- Does not weigh herself or know her current weight
Yes, the picture on the right is a smaller body. I understand that is an obvious observation but that is not the point. These pictures are also over 7 years apart. If you truly want to make peace with food you have to uncouple the idea of weight loss. Put a pin in it, move it to the side, it cannot be a part of the equation. Can it happen? Yes. Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not.
Health is NOT indicated solely by the size of your body. We all have a weight that our body feels happiest at – our set point weight. Because I was above my set point weight, yes I lost weight but your story may be different than mine. Click here to learn more about set point weight.
If you are sick of being on the diet rollercoaster, it is time to get off and we can help you! Click here to join our Fresh Reset course to reset the brain away from the diet mentality and ditch dieting for good!
We know that dieting is a major indicator of weight gain and that yo-yo dieting can increase the risk of disease…so what is stopping you?!