I’d love to tell you that fat shaming is well on its way to being eradicated forever, but isn’t. According to 2015 ObesityWeek study, “Data from research with more than 70,000 US adults beginning in 2014 suggests that ‘the public increasingly understands that obesity is more complicated than simplistic notions of personal responsibility or blame.’” (ConscienHealth, “Fat shaming is down, but weight bias persists, retrieved 11/13/15).
It’s fantastic news the public is finally recognizing how complicated the subjects of eating and weight are and that fewer folks are buying into the shame-and-blame model of weight stigma. I hope you’re one of the enlightened, both when you view higher weight individuals and if you have a higher weight yourself. As eating disorder therapists and researchers have been insisting for decades, gaining weight, not losing it, or not keeping it off is not about a simple eat-less-exercise-more formula. Far from it. Science has proven just how many factors affect weight—genetics, the food industry, life skills, trauma, gestation, neurochemistry, food deserts, environmental toxins, and more.
Although fat shaming is finally subsiding, “other attitudes related to overall weight bias are essentially unchanged. Explicit weight bias, measured by the Fat Phobia Scale (Who knew there was such a thing?), remained moderately high and was unchanged in October 2014 and April 2015. The Obesity Action Coalition President and CEO Joe Nadglowski had this to say about changes in public attitudes: ‘While we are pleased to see that the ‘blame game’ for obesity is declining, we now know that there is still much work to be done in combating weight bias.’”
Which brings me to the more personal point of this blog: What are you doing to combat fat phobia and weight stigma? If you’re still buying into fat is bad, you are part of the problem. You’re buying into it if you are of a higher weight and can’t stand your body. Sure, other people might look at you and not like what they see. But that’s no excuse for you agreeing with their ignorance. And you’re buying into it if you’re thin or of average size and live in terror of becoming fat.
Why look at your body and hate it? What’s the point? You don’t need to go along with what society thinks or says. You can become part of the movement that values body diversity and has compassion for people of all sizes. You need only decide that you’re not going along with the crowd that thinks badly of you or others based on size. Remember, you can value and love your body and still want to improve it.