Weight Stigma and Loneliness


Weight Stigma Can Lead To Isolation

Weight stigma enhances feeling fat and uncomfortable in public and can lead to greater and greater isolation. At Green Mountain at Fox Run, we know that loneliness can interrupt self care and increase isolation.

Harriet Brown discusses in Science Times how, in a time of public acceptance and tolerance of differences, the stigma of being obese may be at an all-time high:

[quote]Public attitudes about fat have never been more judgmental; stigmatizing fat people has become not just acceptable but, in some circles, de rigueur. I’ve sat in meetings with colleagues who wouldn’t dream of disparaging anyone’s color, sex, economic status or general attractiveness, yet feel free to comment witheringly on a person’s weight.[/quote]

[div class=”callout-left”]Read This Related Article: How Weight Stigma Hurts[end-div]Weight stigma can keep you frozen inside your house, mindlessly eating to comfort yourself and not feel the loneliness. How can you start to break out of the negative self talk and behaviors that keep you isolated?

3 Loneliness Busters

Go And Then Give Yourself Permission To Leave


Strike a deal with yourself to risk going to the office party or calling an old friend, and then tell yourself that you can leave or get off the phone any time you want. Don’t expect yourself to stay more than 15 or 20 minutes. This can help you get out the door and out of your head.

Be With Yourself Instead Of All Alone

Think about the things that used to be fun for you with or without someone else. Plan an outing for yourself that could be pleasurable. It might or might not be, but give these a try: Going to a movie or the museum, hitting up the mall, browsing a bookstore, doing arts & crafts, testing out a new coffee shop.

Celebrate Your Small Successes

Write your successes down. Big or small, partial or complete. Notice what is working rather than what you did wrong. It is so easy for us to focus on what isn’t right, what we are not happy about. Just for a moment, notice a small success, and see how that feels.

Do you have any loneliness busters that have worked for you in the past?

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5 responses to “Weight Stigma and Loneliness”

  1. Kim L says:

    Get support from your group of friends. Whenever I feel lonely or unmotivated to get off my duff, I always have some people to contact to help pull me out of my funk. If you don’t have friends because you fear how you will be accepted, hop on Green Mountain’s facebook page and find some new ones. Our alums are the best group of ladies and we come from simply everywhere.

  2. Sophie says:

    What fantastic advice Marsha! I’ll be celebrating my losses from now on instead of getting frustrated at my sometimes slow progress – it’s all going in the right direction. Thanks for giving me a new positive viewpoint 🙂

  3. Louise says:

    Thanks for these ideas. I am actually doing some already from a self-help suggestion and need to find a few more. Friends are key, just make sure they actually help and not hinder, even unintentionally.

  4. Jill says:

    Go out into the sunshine. Go for a walk or even a stroll around an area that is pretty: a lake, a pond, a farm, a mountain, a stream, woodlands. Look at all the beautiful sights, watch birds, and if you are a photographer, take a few photos – you can use them for e-cards or greeting cards or to make yourself smile.

    Buy something in a pretty, bright color: a few flowers, a lipstick, a hair ornament, a candle, a scarf – to wear or tie onto a handbag.

  5. This is a bit abstract, but it helps to remember what you like about yourself–that is, what makes you somebody you like to hang around with. Once you’ve got that thoroughly in mind, you can decide to either hang around yourself–doing those enjoyable things you like to do alone–or spread the love to someone else. Also, I do agree about getting out. Sometimes just being in a more public space, such as a coffee house or a library, makes me feel more like I’m part of “the club.”

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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