Worried about your weight?
Nov 2, 2020
Are you worried about your weight? It’s just a number on a scale; your weight says NOTHING about your health…
As an example, what assumptions do you make when you look at someone’s body size? If they are living in a larger body, do you assume they have cardiovascular or heart disease? High blood pressure? Need hip or knee replacements? Do you make assumptions about their personality, moral character, or energy level? Because we all have subconscious influences, it is helpful to identify and increase awareness of what they are. To explore your subconscious bias, play with the Harvard Implicit Association tests, especially the one designed to explore Weight IAT.
Here’s some research that will help you to understand
why what we automatically think about people matters.
In one study, 400 doctors (family physicians!) associated obesity with noncompliance, hostility, dishonesty, and poor hygiene.1 And obese patients (as defined by BMI) receive less preventative care; doctors do less intervention.2 Not only doctors have preconceived negative opinions, but also nurses and dieticians, too.3, 4
Many medical conditions are attributed to an increased weight by doctors.5 For example, live in a larger body and have back pain? The automatic ‘cure’ is to lose weight. Therefore, patients who live in larger bodies often avoid health screenings6 and are often denied health insurance or forced to pay higher premiums.7
Next, your concern about weight may not be about ‘health’ at all, but rather on body image and societal pressures. We’ll talk about this in a future post…
I don’t want this medical neglect to continue! I want to be the doctor that empowers ALL people, especially those in larger bodies, to tune in and learn to trust your brilliant bodies.
No need to worry about your weight – a Health at Every Size approach takes the focus or emphasis off of your weight. Since weight isn’t something that you (or any of us!) can control directly, why make it front and center in priority? Instead, I suggest focusing on all the other aspects of your life that you have the power to make choices in.
As you make choices that promote increased health and balance, your weight does what it will to find its healthy ‘setpoint.’ This set point is the weight at which your body prefers to be – the weight at which your body happily settles out without much effort. If you have to put extra intention towards your movement or food intake to stay at your weight, then you aren’t at the weight that your body feels is right for you, ie your biological setpoint.
What can you focus on? The 5 Tune in to Your Body essentials for you to be healthier every day.
- CHOOSE includes sleep, lifestyle choices, clean living
- CONNECT with yourself, others, and something greater
While food is often addressed at the top of any list, I’ll be rearranging my essentials from now on to put food towards the bottom. Why? Food is important, don’t get me wrong. AND, the pressure that we all put on our food relationship is out of proportion with its importance. Food is only one piece of your health!
If you struggle with your relationship with food, start somewhere else to increase your health and well-being. Then, revisit your food relationship when other aspects of your life are providing support. Some ideas of places to start:
- Prioritize and improve your sleep
- Begin to find how you can move your body in a way that makes you feel capable and grateful
- Find ways to both minimize stress and move through stress that is just a part of life
Need more support on your life path to increase your health?
1Klein D, Najman J, Kohrman AF, Muncro C. Patient characteristics that elicit negative responses from family physicians. J Fam Prac. 1982; 14: 881-88.
2Bertaki KD, Azari R. The impact of obesity on primary care visits. Obes Res. 2005; 13:1615- 23.
3Maroney D, Golub S. Nurses’ attitudes toward obese persons and certain ethnic groups. Percept Mot Skills. 1992; 75: 387-91.
4Swift J.A., Hanlon S., El-Redy L., Puhl R.M. & Glazebrook C. (2012) Weight bias among UK trainee dietitians, doctors, nurses and nutritionists. J Hum Nutr Diet. doi:10.1111/jhn.12019.
5Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Rudd Report: Weight Bias 2012
6Amy, NK, Aalborg A, Lyons P, Keranen L. (2006). Barriers to routine gynecological cancer screening for White and African-American obese women. International Journal of Obesity, 30, 1, 147-55
7Rothblum, Esther; Brand, Pamela; Miller, Carol; and Oetien, Helen. The Relationship Between Obesity, Employment Discrimination, and Employment-Related Victimization, Journal of Vocational Behavior 1990;37/3:251-66.
As accessed through https://haescurriculum.com/