Have You Experienced Fat Shaming?

What motivates you? Personally, someone “shaming” me about what I am doing or how I look does NOT help. It makes me want to hide and give in to unhealthy habits and behaviors, feeling defeated and embarrassed. Can you relate? I am motivated by the positive things to look forward to when I reach my health goals. And that’s what we focus on at RLEI. A recent study supports this, read on… “Harassing and shaming people who are overweight can make the obesity epidemic worse. That’s what researchers at University College London found when they studied the link between fat discrimination – often called “fat shaming” – to subsequent weight loss and gain. Researches asked nearly 3,000 subjects if they had ever felt discriminated because of their weight, which they defined as: 1. You are treated with less respect or courtesy. 2. You receive poorer service than other people in restaurants and stores. 3. People act as if they think you are not clever. 4. You are threatened or harassed. 5. You receive poorer service or treatment than other people from doctors or hospitals. On average, the people who reported being fat shamed gained 2 pounds over the study’s four-year period. Those who had not been fat shamed lost 1.5 pounds. The research, published in the journal Obesity, flies in the face of commonly held notions that fat shaming encourages weight loss. “There is no justification for discriminating against people because of their weight,” says lead author Dr. Sarah Jackson. “Our results show that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss, and suggest that it may even exacerbate weight gain.” Jackson says previous studies have found that people who experience fat discrimination often turn to comfort eating. “Stress responses to discrimination can increase appetite, particularly for unhealthy, energy-dense food,” Jackson says. “Weight discrimination has also been shown to make people feel less confident about taking part in physical activity, so they tend to avoid it.” Obese patients also report being shamed by their own doctors. “Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment,” says Jane Wardle, director of the Cancer Research U.K. Health Behavior Centre at University College London.” From “Does ‘Fat Shaming’ Help People Lose Weight?” By Lisa Kaplan Gordon

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