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Sadly, because society is not giving up on stigmatizing higher weight people any time soon, if you are higher weight and want to live without feeling its oppressive impact, you’ll need to stop believing that being unable to lose weight or keep it off is a moral failing. There are people fighting to eradicate weight stigma, but change takes time. In the meantime, you can buy into the lie that there’s something dreadfully wrong and defective about you for being higher weight or you can stop internalizing this falsehood.
The results presented in “Living With Obesity: Expressions of Longing” or even reading the abstract describing this study (V. Ueland, PhD, RN, E. Dysvik, PhD, RN, B. Furnes, PhD, RN, 1/22/20, https://doi.org/10.1177/2377960819901193) are enlightening and provocative. They conclude that many higher weight individuals believe that their size is a burden to them and others. They’re “subjected to a cultural understanding that obesity is a moral failure caused by lack of self-control. This pressure can lead to self-stigma and self-objectification. A hostile or indifferent view of oneself can create further alienation, and feelings of being not quite human may arise.” If you feel like this, you’re not alone.
Three themes of longing emerged from this study:
Listen to and attend to your longings. Do you toss them all out as if they were one and the same or do you view them individually so that you can learn from them? What do your longings tell you? What can you do with them to help you grow and heal whether or not you lose weight or become more fit? What longings do you ignore although they have nothing to do with your weight? What are you afraid to do because of your size—aside from it?
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