Weight Stigma Awareness Week: Notice Your Own Behavior First

By Darla Breckenridge on 09/24/2012
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Join Green Mountain at Fox Run as we blog about Weight Stigma Awareness Week, sponsored by the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). Today, we encourage you to recognize and notice your own behavior. How might you be contributing to weight stigma unknowingly?

  • Augh! I am SO fat!!
  • I wonder how she ever got into those jeans?
  • The way he is looking at me, he must think I am a whale.
  • The outfit looks so good on her because she is so thin.

This is the language of weight stigma that we perpetuate on ourselves and others…often totally out of our awareness.

The more conscience (or self-conscious) we are about our own weight, the more likely we are to judge others about their weight. The more we judge ourselves about our weight, the more likely we are to stay home and isolate. Weight stigma exacerbates loneliness.

How do you know when you are criticizing yourself or someone else about their weight? Remember, you can not change a thought or a behavior until you are aware of it. For many of us weight stigma is out of awareness, a constant and never ending train of thought.  It is no different than judging someone by their ethnicity or sexual orientation.

We use weight and size as a greeting. We used to say “Hi, how are you?”  Now we frequently greet each other with, “Oh you look good, did you lose weight?”

This week and every week, be on the look out for how weight and size stigma sneak into your conversation … with yourself, about you, or others.  These conversations might be in your head or out loud.

Challenge yourself and others to:

Notice…when your thinking centers around weight or size

Be Aware…of comments by others which focus on weight or size

Educate…by saying, “I have been learning recently that when I focus on my weight it doesn’t help me initiate healthy behavior…”

or, “We live in a world that believes in ‘The Thin Commandments’ and many of us suffer from self-hate. Maybe we can let go of fat talk.”

Add… kindness to your self talk and decrease weight stigma.

What can you say to yourself when you notice weight stigma?

Photo by Cea

9 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Even though I try to focus on health, and not size, I too, notice that I internally make comments about people losing an enormous amount of weight. We just don’t know how that person lost weight. Was it though listening to internal cues of hunger & satisfaction? Chemotherapy? Restriction & diet pills?

    • Darla says:

      You are so right! The judging that we do is tireless and often not open to reason or perspective. Thanks for reminding all of us of that. Darla

  • Erika says:

    Lately when I notice these thoughts I’ve been telling myself, “It’s not my fault.”

    Meaning: it’s not my fault that I’m automatically assume that someone who is thin is happy, or that I don’t like the way I look. These thoughts have been building in me my whole life through my experiences. I’m trying to work through them, but I feel better by not blaming myself for thinking them. Next step is changing them to be more positive!

    • Darla says:

      Erika, Great idea and taking the blaming out of your internal process is a worthy step towards kindness. Thanks for sharing your strategy. Darla

  • jbtrevor says:

    I have difficulty with certain family member’s comments either about my weight or what I eat. About the only thing I can think of to say in the stress of the moment is: ”how about you worry about what you eat (weight, exercise, etc) & I’ll worry about what I eat…

    Any other suggestions?

    • Darla says:

      Hi, One thing I have heard from others is “I am practicing intuitive eating and fitness and each moment I am checking in to see what works for me.”
      Or, “I am on a path of listening to myself, thanks for trying to help, but I have to do it one step at time for me.”
      Thanks for asking and keeping the boundary on your food and movement is so important. Darla

  • Deborah says:

    Sadly I’m one of the worst offenders and it’s usually self-talk that’s the issue! I think I need to adopt some of the challenges you’ve suggested!

    • Darla says:

      Thanks for considering challenging yourself. It is an important step to realizing the power of weight stigma. Keep up the good work. Darla

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