Does the Prejudice against Obesity Motivate You to Lose Weight?

26SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/20/2013 12:00 PM   :  323 comments   :  36,856 Views

It’s no secret that being obese can make you the target of some very negative and stigmatizing attitudes. Many people have been subjected to public ridicule and cruel remarks, lost jobs or promotions, and even been blamed for large-scale social problems like climate change and rising health care costs—all because of their weight.

As reported in this article, even doctors and health policy professionals get in on the act. Ms. Brown reports that, in one study, more than half of the 620 doctors questioned said they viewed obese patients as “awkward, unattractive, ugly, and unlikely to comply with treatment.” Another study shows that higher BMI scores translate into doctors having less respect for patients and spending less time with them during appointments.

With all the evidence that, in most cases, obesity is a complex condition caused by the interaction of many different genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors, you’d think that medical professionals, especially, would be less likely to fall into the trap of viewing obesity as some sort of character flaw and stigmatizing obese patients.

Ms. Brown raises the possibility that many health professionals and policy makers believe that being stigmatized can motivate people to lose weight and improve their health. But, as she notes, the question is whether this approach actually works.

Most of the evidence seems to say “No.” Being on the receiving end of judgmental or stigmatizing attitudes is highly associated with depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems, and many people are motivated to avoid situations where they experience these attitudes. People who feel judged by their doctors may simply avoid going to the doctor, even when they really need to. Others may internalize the negative judgments aimed at them, becoming their own harshest critics and worst enemies. This rarely leads to positive choices and actions.

Dr. Peter A Muenning, a professor of health policy at Columbia University, told Ms. Brown that being stigmatized can actually make people sick: “Stigma and prejudice are intensely stressful. Stress puts the body on full alert, which gets the blood pressure up, the sugar up, everything you need to fight or flee the predator.” Over time, chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, and other problems—the same conditions often associated with obesity.

Ironically, the social stigma attached to obesity may actually be aggravating the situation and contributing to the negative health consequences of being overweight.

As Ms. Brown describes in her article, even well-intended efforts to combat the “obesity epidemic,” especially childhood obesity, can backfire and produce negative consequences. For example, conducting school-based campaigns to prevent teenage obesity can make overweight students feel stressed for making the same lunch choices as other students, and fail to get thinner students to examine their own eating habits and make healthier choices.

Maybe we need to put less emphasis on obesity as the problem, and more on building and maintaining healthy lifestyles for people of all weights and sizes, as advocated by The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance

What do you think? Have you been on the receiving end of the obesity stigma? Does that help motivate you to make changes, or does it just raise your stress level and cause more problems than it solves? What do you do to overcome the negative feelings associated with being stimatized?


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Comments

  • 323
    I am a medical professional who until very recently was classified as obese. Even I find it hard to avoid the bias against obese patients, even more so because I am accepting of the fact that my own weight issues are entirely controllable. I am VERY supportive of my patients who are working toward improving their health (regardless of their level of success), but far less so of those looking for something or someone to blame. Accountability is key. - 9/30/2014   11:10:04 PM
  • 322
    Not a motivator. It is the only acceptable form of discrimination left in our society. Not just accepted but encouraged by the establishment. - 6/16/2014   2:27:16 PM
  • 321
    Any negativity causes stress that's why they say don't be a Debbie Downer, if someone is taught to be confident or learns to be negative comments won't bother them but it not like its easy, and the reactions people can have are pretty weird and overwhelming but blacks and gays have it worse.
    - 2/8/2014   6:54:32 PM
  • 320
    No one should be put down because of the weight or any part of their anatomy. That includes comments about people in normal BMI range being called "too skinny" and told to "go eat a cheeseburger." A bully is a bully at any weight or size. - 2/8/2014   3:49:31 PM
  • 319
    I'm pretty lucky to have rarely encountered negativity towards me because of my weight, and when I have, I always thought it said more about the negative person than it did me. For me it's more that I feel invisible when I'm overweight, more overlooked. It's such a subtle thing that it's almost something I can live with, until I remember what it was like when I was thinner and was treated like a real member of society. - 2/8/2014   10:02:00 AM
  • 318
    I've been obese most of my life but I get so tired of people making excuses to keep being obese. This seems like another one. Yes, it's hurtful when others say what you know, that you're obese. It never motivated me to lose weight, I always had my own excuses, some of them were pretty legitimate. But, hurtful comments never sent me running to refrigerator or pantry for something to eat.
    When you realize that YOU are the only one that can do this and that no one can else can stop you, you will succeed. Stop the excuses and start trying. You're not too busy to get some exercise and eat better. You're not too heavy to move and cut down on calories. There are no words, no matter how painful, that can derail you. - 2/8/2014   9:33:19 AM
  • 317
    I have to admit that I put off going to the doctor until I had lost weight... I never really thought about it other than that although I am not in the "obese" category. I have always been only a few pounds overweight and I never thought about it, but it does affect even the borderline overweight "me". - 1/22/2014   8:58:44 PM
  • RESOLUTION2014
    316
    It doesn't help motivate me, it deflates me.. I know I shouldn't let comments and rudeness influence me negatively, but I feel stressed out and gain weight - 12/28/2013   10:25:04 PM
  • 315
    I couldn't score a date when I was overweight. I lost 40 pounds on my one time diet and certainly got treated differently. Luckily my now husband doesn't care how I look. - 12/28/2013   8:41:27 AM
  • 314
    Being obese is a tough row to hoe so yes losing weight would help quiet the comments in today's mean society. But could you classify the comments as a motivation....no...it's just bullying. - 11/20/2013   11:48:19 PM
  • BLUBIRDY00
    313
    I've been heavy my whole life. Weight has been a constant struggle for me for 40 years. I do avoid going to doctors because I don't think they will take me seriously due to my weight. I always say I will go to the doctor for an injury or physical ailment after I've lost weight and I suffer pain and discomfort while I'm waiting to go. - 11/20/2013   10:35:08 PM
  • 312
    NO! It has the opposite affect. I ballooned up to 372 pounds because of all the years of negative comments, looks, etc. I do take responsibility for my own eating habits, but I remember even when I was exercising overweight, people would look or make comments, so its a no win situation. Now that I am closer to a, "regular" weight, I definitely notice the difference in treatment, but I have NO respect for those people who treated me badly when I was morbidly obese. I look so different most of them don't even remember the, "old" me but I definitely remember and while I am polite to those individuals, they could NEVER be considered a friend. - 11/20/2013   9:35:05 PM
  • GHYSLAINE27
    311
    I have been on the receiving end and it is horrible. I do not think that I am obese and yes I am "big boned". Criticizing does not help motivate me to do better, instead I want to hide from the world. I am a curvy full figured woman and despite many diets, workouts and even one attempt at surgery I am still a healthy size 16/18. I want to lose weight not because of others harsh statement but because sometimes I don't like what see in the mirror and when I go shopping. Shopping the plus size can sometimes seems be depressing. - 11/20/2013   2:50:25 PM
  • 310
    I have been on the receiving end of this treatment from a dr. Quite recently I had to get a new dr. Because I moved, and I have bipolar and insomnia. I have had this for many years now, so when I went to my "new" dr. He tried to take me off of all my medication, and when I asked him what I should do about my moods and sleeping, he simply replied " i can refer you to a dietitian" . That was the most rude a dr. Can get! So I simply changed dr's, and I don't take it personally when socially uneducated people make outrageous comments. By the way I am about 100lbs overweight, and I am working really hard to change it around, thanks to the support of the spark people! - 11/20/2013   1:32:20 PM
  • 309
    I definitely try to manage my weight because of my own prejudices. However, I find the observation that doctors dismiss overweight patients as being true only half the time. My sister is obese, and I tell you, if she so much as looks sideways, her doctors are falling over themselves to treat and medicate her. Meanwhile, I have a fifty-fifty chance of getting a doctor who takes my issues seriously. Have I had a doctor make snide comments about my weight? Yep. Did their attitude change towards me after I lost twenty pounds? Yep. But I have never in my life received as much devoted and adoring medical attention as my sister. - 11/20/2013   12:45:38 PM
  • GLENMORRISGIRL
    308
    The campaigns targeting kids are the most offensive. By ingraining these unhealthy attitudes and perceptions we're setting kids up for a life time of misery. Why not promote healthy lifestyles instead of anti obesity campaigns? Nutrition over calories? Something everyone could use a brush up on! - 11/20/2013   6:02:09 AM
  • 307
    It might not be how the majority reacts, but I personally never really cared about negative comments even when I was over 300 lbs. What makes me feel more uncomfortable is people trying to be "politically correct" or even worse, preachy. It makes for an awkward conversation. At least when someone says something negative to me I shrug and say "thanks for stating the obvious!" we laugh it off and we move on to discussing more interesting things. When someone keeps trying to drop hints here and there, or tell me about this new tea their sister in law tried to lose weight the elephant in the room is there to stay and makes any other topic awkward.

    If someone is plain mean (not just honest), they're just attention seekers trying to feel better about themselves. I just ignore those, not worth my time.

    As for the question, no. It did not motivate me (or demotivate me for that matter), it was more of a health concern.

    - 8/23/2013   5:14:42 AM
  • 306
    Now that I've taken more time to actually read this article, I can add: Several years ago I WAS on the receiving end of the obesity stigma. It only made me feel so bad about myself, that I became depressed and withdrawn; only to gain even more weight! I finally came to realize that you cannot change other people's attitudes. I moved on, ignored the negativity (when possible), and finally lost the weight! - 8/3/2013   12:09:28 PM
  • 305
    As one previous post says, prejudice means hatred. This would in no way motivate me to do anything. A positive and caring attitude towards someone would (at least for me) work best. - 8/3/2013   11:51:20 AM
  • 304
    Prejudice against people who are overweight is a form of hatred and emotional abuse that is, unfortunately, too easy to internalize. In other words, this hatred is something that can, unfortunately, make overweight people, such as me, hate themselves. When I hate myself, I act in ways that are not healthy. On the other hand, when people can see and love me for the wonderful person that I am, it is much easier to act accordingly--to love myself and to eat in healthy ways. Therefore, it is best for me to stay away from hateful and bigoted people whenever possible for my own health. Anyone, who thinks their biting remarks should motivate others to lose weight, are not only ignorant and cruel, but are kidding themselves. Of course, what goes around comes around, and they will learn about their cruelty sooner or later... - 7/9/2013   6:08:22 PM
  • 303
    People who are overweight and yes I am 50 lbs overweight right now need to get a bit thicker skin. I know I'm overweight and yes I did it to myself. Sometimes people say things but they are right I'm fat right now so I have to deal with it. - 5/27/2013   1:04:34 AM
  • 302
    How irritating to read! My sister was just sharing her specialist keeps making personal, not so much MEDICAL comments about her appearance and wants her to consider gastric bypass. She is NOT 100lb overweight (which at least used to be one of the criteria).

    I told her to get a different specialist. Yes, she could work on body composition but 50lb overweight to get bypass surgery? That along with his odd personal comments (again about how disgusting her face is, etc., not medical) then this article? Sad. - 4/29/2013   9:49:18 AM
  • 301
    I love all the helpers I have that tell me I need to loose weight, and/or have suggestions of what I should do. It is almost always painful because I already know what to do. I have just not done it for long enough (lifetime) to get it done.
    I don't know the answer, but am finding what may work for a lifetime for people here at sparks. Almost as good as the 12 steps! Maybe better for weight control for me. - 4/28/2013   4:13:07 AM
  • MOE718
    300
    I think that everyone is beautiful in a unique way no matter what size they are. After
    all everyone is not destined to be a size 2! And I'm sick and tired of all the emphasis on weight & size acceptance for a certain group of people for their liking! - 4/27/2013   8:12:02 AM
  • NASTYNORK86
    299
    Being healthier and making healthy choices is a lifetime commitment that is easier for some than others. I don't think negative reinforcement works to motivate someone who may already have a low self esteem about their weight and outer appearance but may defeat them before they even attempt to live better and do better. Every one is different and have faults that we struggle with every day. We all need support and people that are supportive in our life to help motivate us to be better.

    I know what worked for me was to help motivate myself by helping others because honestly we give the best advice when it's directed towards another persons problems. Get up, get active, and get motivated is easier said then done but that's what makes it rewarding when you accomplish your goals and look back at the person that you use to be.

    Here's a website that I use for my vitamins, supplements, and I use the wraps to jump start my weight loss/skin tightening for the extra boost of confidence I needed in order to see change and want to really go after it. It's all natural products and the Fat Fighters is awesome for those of us that struggle with carbs and fatty foods. https://myhealthybody.myitworks.com
    /Shop - 4/21/2013   6:44:49 AM
  • 298
    I've been on the receiving end of various negative remarks and for me they don't work. In reading the original post I remembered how horrible it was to be the fat girl in jr. high, an age when very few of us know how to 'armor' ourselves. I couldn't eat in public, no matter if it was a carrot or brownie, I was bullied. Ultimately I spent most of my school years skipping breakfast and hiding in classrooms at lunch time, starving because being seen eating was an open invite for classmates to attack. Today I still struggle with an innate distrust of skinny people. - 4/17/2013   10:17:11 PM
  • 297
    I've always been prejudiced against fat-on self! Heavy friends weren't fat in my mind until they were jerks in other ways, although I never mentioned them being 'fat'. And this study is interesting, with many truths. But just for grins, I'd love to see how many doctors are obese or at least 'overweight'! - 4/16/2013   1:43:59 AM
  • 296
    I was just baffled to see an article by "Coach Dean", since he hasn't been around for years. This article is dated March 3, 2013, but the comments go back to 2010 (and beyond, I assume, since I'm not going to go thru almost 300 comments.) I find this misleading on SP's behalf to post something "old" as something new. - 4/4/2013   11:47:13 PM
  • GLENMORRISGIRL
    295
    I definitely agree that school wide programs/societal focus on obesity only make those who are obese more self-conscience and in many ways are declarations of "open season on fatties". If obesity is a societal problem, shouldn't we focus on the systemic issues - building "fit" neighbourhoods that encourage walking, supporting families, stronger legislation for ingredient content/limitations and marketing?
    If "just saying no" is not an effective counter for teenage pregnancy, why would it work when combatting obesity? - 4/2/2013   2:45:00 PM
  • 1954MARG
    294
    Definitely, it has a negative impact on people, and not just the people on the receiving end. Those who dish out this tripe become harder, nastier and less appreciative of the good qualities in those around them. This is a destructive process for the whole of society on this planet. - 4/1/2013   10:29:16 AM
  • KITTY43351
    293
    I definitely don't think prejudice or negative comments motivate people to lose weight. The stress and unhappiness caused by these attitudes can actually lower someone's self esteem which often leads to poor eating choices. - 3/30/2013   12:41:26 AM
  • 292
    Fat prejudice is obscene. The tri Delta sorority had a wonderful campaign. - 3/24/2013   8:44:08 PM
  • GETSALONG
    291
    Fat prejudice is not acceptable ever, and is still not only tolerated, this stupid notion to stigmatize people is encouraged as medical treatment.

    Things will change when enough people stand togther and demand it stop, as it has for other groups, race, religion, gender and sexual preferences.

    It will mean the fat quit joining in bashing themselves and other fat people too.

    Everyone matters and unique and as important as everyone else... as precious as any baby and deserves to live, love, laugh and be happy as much as everyone else, from home, families, friends, jobs, social opportunities, medical care...

    there is NEVER any possible justification to demean anyone for their own good. Ever!


    Would you stop someone from kicking a puppy? It's time to step in when it's a person.

    - 3/23/2013   11:29:52 AM
  • 290
    It is true. All that "I love exercising" and "I look young, cool, hip and trendy" ... all Altius, Citius and Fortius all the time - as if both Olympic tryouts and Fashion Week were happening everywhere you go ... and I get that feeling not just on SparkPeople but also many places in New York City, where I live ...

    But then I remember that SparkPeople attracts the thin and not-so-fit who want to maintain and get fitter (different Goals!) and New York City is a fashion mecca (different Goals and different Bank Accounts) ...

    I keep the eye on MY goals, and try not to let in one sound-bite of the fit fanatics or fashionistas ... but I admit it's hard to do ... - 3/23/2013   6:54:02 AM
  • 289
    Part of it for me is "stubborn toddler syndrome". I rebel against the constant being told what to do and that I'm not "being good" if I don't do it.

    I have this syndrome about more than one thing, I hate to admit because who wants to admit to acting like a petulant two year-old, but mostly of late I've had it in regards to losing weight, exercising and healthy living pressures. It is part of why I come to SparkPeople (for some weird reason I can't seem to stay away) and leave in tears.

    Yes.

    I feel it here too.

    All the nagging (mostly in the media and such), hype (here & everywhere it seems), all the happy-smiley-I-just-love-exercising
    -all-the-time-and-eating-only-healt
    hy-foods (here) just plain gets annoying and gets my back up. So much of it has only served to make me plant my feet firmly on the wrong side of the line, daring anyone to try to drag me over to the "good" side.

    At the same time, I hate that I'm heavy. I hate that (particularly when I'm sitting) I look like a walrus. I really would like to lose weight and tone up.

    But do I want to cow-tow to all the pressure?

    The very fact of being so pressured makes me want to not do any of it. It's a vicious cycle that has been increasingly stressing me out - and stress increases weight gain and health issues. :-(

    I really feel that all of the stick thin models and actresses and all of the social and political pressure about what we should and shouldn't weigh and the endless nagging to "eat fruits, veggies, whole grains and just a little lean meat" is a huge part of why, despite all the efforts at getting Americans healthier, obesity and lack of exercising has continued to increase over the last several decades.

    I'm getting closer to giving up and giving in. I went with my daughter while she shopped for new jeans and there was a sitting area where you could see yourself in mirrors there.

    I look horrible! Jabba the Hut. Bull sea lion. Walrus. Bull frog.

    I don't want to look that way . . . but drat! I hate giving in to all the pressure. - 3/22/2013   11:22:45 AM
  • 288
    My entire childhood I was bullied because I was overweight. A doctor helped me lose weight the summer before my eighth grade year but I gained it back after school started because of emotional eating. After that I felt that I was destined to be overweight and I continued to use food as my friend. It hurts to think about what I missed because I didn't realize my true worth. I rededicated my life back to God at age 19 and I began to feel better about myself. I lost a little weight but not by trying. Later I was called in for a job interview at SWB but after the physician who gave me the physical wrote on the report that I was GROSSLY overweight I didn't get the job.200lbs is grossly overweight? That affected me and my self esteem for years. It also caused me to settle in many situations in my life.

    We had gym and activities when I was in school but I had other emotional issues that affected my weight. I believe I ate to keep myself unattractive so I wouldn't be prey. That's the truth. And it's sad that some people who have never struggled with weight think they know but they really don't. When you walk in my shoes...the life I had to live from that little girl until now my life experience willl not be the same as another's. There are reasons other than being greedy or lazy for people who have been overweight for most of their lives and these days some folks act like people who are overweight are the enemy. I have a better understanding of who I really am because of Christ in Me. But I still have to remind myself daily even though I've lost 84 lbs and I'm the smallest I've been since the 4th or 5th grade. Each person is different. I know some overweight people who have always been active. Yet many are judged by what people see. God looks at the heart. I pray more people will also. Love NEVER fails! Thank you for sharing! - 3/22/2013   12:57:39 AM
  • 287
    I'd like to add one more comment to this thread. We're now learning that obesity is a chronic condition.

    Our bodies store excess calories as fat incase of famine, but once we lose all that excess weight our bodies are going to fight to get back to our highest BMI.

    It's so much easier to think that losing weight is easy, and that fat people just need to get up and go to the gym.

    It's so much harder to realize that overweight and obese people have to fight every day for the rest of their lives against their biochemistry.

    Setting aside the reservations people have about working out in public, I don't think many skinny people think about how much harder it is to walk down the street with 50-300 pounds on their frame, let a lone go to the gym and do a hard work out.

    So much easier to think that a person is lazy, that to account for the fact that they are hauling around 50-300 extra pounds on them.

    It's so much easier to think that weightloss is easy, that overweight people just need to "eat a salad" once in awhile or just go to subway.


    Let's forget about the amount of research, prepping, and planning it takes to have a healthy diet at a reasonable budget.

    I've have never been so inspired to push my boundaries as much as I have in my time with sparkpeople.

    Previously 300+ people training to do a triathlon, many who were bedridden, and seniors doing marathons.

    These people have struggled and are anything but lazy, they are hard workers and have fought tooth and nail against their own biology, against an economic system which presents us with easy, cheap fast food and processed junk, and deserve respect not only because they worked freakin' hard, but because they are human beings. - 3/22/2013   12:42:59 AM
  • 286
    In recent years I have not been able to stop the pounds from piling on. I swear it's true that every time I go to the doctor he becomes more mean and abusive to me. Even my husband says he was mean to me. This is the reason I wait til I'm almost dying before I make an appointment. I want to find a new doctor but am fearful of ending up with another mean one. Lately I have left the office and went to my car and cried my eyes out before starting my car to go home. It's very stressful. - 3/22/2013   12:35:01 AM
  • 285
    I remember when I went to my doctor about a different medical condition and I asked her what I could do to alleviate the symptoms. She then said (in a rather snarky tone) "start going to the gym". I then informed her that I have been going to the gym five days a week for a few years.

    I don't see her anymore :) - 3/22/2013   12:30:21 AM
  • JGMARIE80
    284
    My doctor told me that I was overweight and he's right. He's not only my doctor, he's also my friend. He wanted me to lose some weight to improve my health. Lately, my lab results have improved compared to the previous ones. I'm not there yet but once I reach my ideal weight, I know that I will feel better. - 3/21/2013   9:35:56 PM
  • 283
    I KNOW just by the looks I have gotten during interviews and the thinking of some people. FAT = LAZY AND STUPID. - 3/21/2013   9:15:22 PM
  • 282
    being bullied or criticized constantly only knocks the self esteem out of a person. I was ten when my mother told me I would be fat forever, so why bother to try. At 17 I wanted to loose weight but mom didn't teach me anything about nutrition so I went to a doctor he told me to stop eating. So I made it to adult hood between 200 and 295 in weight most times, I had no clue on how to fix this problem. I even had one doctor wear a mask and rubber gloves every time I went into her office. It is true that one can not know what to do to loose weight In 1970 doctors prescribed speed, pills that in the end killed more patients than helped. Not long ago I found a doctor that helped me to find the resources to learn how to take care of myself, then I stumbled on to sparkspeople through another website. the resources here are are incredible, I now have some knowledge to work with and am loosing weight, a lot slower than I would like, but healthy My new doctor is helpful, and the people I know especially my newboyfriend are supportive. For me its still a learning thing, but each day I get better and healthier.

    Being bullied only makes for depression and loss of self esteem, when self esteem is gone there is no will for change. No one needs to tell a fat person they are fat, we all have mirrors and can see for ourselves. - 3/21/2013   7:57:54 PM
  • 281
    I've been motivated by the negatives at some times (the day someone looked at the seat beside me on the subway and chose to stand rather than challenge my hips overflowing into the seat beside me) and discouraged into overeating at others (the umpteenth time my doctor's answer to a complaint was "that's most likely due to the extra weight". I think it really depends on where you are inside your own head at the time.

    Incidentally, after 40 years fighting my weight and feeling like an undisciplined failure because I couldn't get it under control, my new doc diagnosed a hormonal problem that likely onset at puberty. Finally, someone believed my reported eating habits and looked deeper. Just a month on a new medication and I've lost 17 lbs without even getting an exercise program going yet! FORTY YEARS!!!!! - 3/21/2013   6:11:19 PM
  • 280
    I've been motivated by the negatives at some times (the day someone looked at the seat beside me on the subway and chose to stand rather than challenge my hips overflowing into the seat beside me) and discouraged into overeating at others (the umpteenth time my doctor's answer to a complaint was "that's most likely due to the extra weight". I think it really depends on where you are inside your own head at the time.

    Incidentally, after 40 years fighting my weight and feeling like an undisciplined failure because I couldn't get it under control, my new doc diagnosed a hormonal problem that likely onset at puberty. Finally, someone believed my reported eating habits and looked deeper. Just a month on a new medication and I've lost 17 lbs without even getting an exercise program going yet! FORTY YEARS!!!!! - 3/21/2013   6:02:49 PM
  • 279
    My husband and I are both overweight. He has been overweight since we got married 22 years ago, and I have been overweight since the birth of my first child almost 18 years ago. We have three children. Two daughters, ages 17 and 12 who are both slim, and a son, also 12 (twins!) who is overweight.

    I don't feel like I have ever been the victim of negative thoughts or actions towards me, and I don't think my husband has either (as far as I know). But my biggest fear is that my 12 year-old son will be bullied by another child at school because of his size. The pediatrician has said that going on a diet isn't necessarily the course of action, but that we should just not allow our son to gain any weight as he grows taller. His current weight will become a healthy weight as he gets taller (he is not obese, just overweight). I am not sure how to achieve this and I am afraid it will not happen "naturally".

    I came to SP last September after a doctor visit in which my doctor told me I had gained 20 pounds since my last physical (in a year). He said I needed to lose weight, so I started a weight loss program and have lost 23 pounds to date. It's not a huge victory for the amount of time I have been on the weight loss program (compared to other stories I have read) but it's something. I could have stopped at the 20 pound mark and I think my doctor would have been happy but I decided that I want to become healthy for the first time in almost 20 years. I've learned a lot.

    I don't think negative behavior or comments from anyone would have motivated me to lose this weight. I probably would have felt defeated and eaten more food to drown my sorrows if someone were cruel to me. I really hope my son never has to deal with this. - 3/21/2013   3:58:39 PM
  • 278
    I've been a patient of two orthopedic surgeons in the last couple of years that harped continuously on my weight. One is particularly upsetting because he keeps telling me how much I should be exercising, ignoring the fact the reason I'm seeing him in the first place is because I'm looking a two knee replacements. Hello, how far can I walk on two bone-on-bone knees. It's not that I don't want to walk. I like and trust him but if we can make it through these two surgeries without me slapping him silly it will be a miracle! - 3/21/2013   3:39:47 PM
  • ABARNOWL
    277
    A couple of years ago I was quite overweight, changed my eating and exercise habits and lost 50 lbs. Guess what? I am no more or less intelligent, clean, awkward, lazy or self-indulgent then I was 50 lbs ago! The only thing that has changed is that I am more active and I put different food in my mouth.

    Also, I am now finding that, though I need to lose about 15 more pounds, my body won't shed them no matter how hard I try. I have great diet and exercise habits but the scale does not budge. This just proves that a person's weight is so much more than just diet and exercise. There are probably even hormonal and metaboloic factors that have not even been discovered yet.

    In conclusion, being a certain size does not determine personality and there are a lot of uncontrollable factors out there that go into body size. Judgement needs to stop! - 3/21/2013   3:34:04 PM
  • 276
    I like the idea of educating EVERYONE to make healthier choices. - 3/21/2013   3:18:04 PM
  • 275
    Prejudice may or may not be motivating but it could be deadly! I had been referred to a pulmonary-cardiologist because I had palpitations and breathing difficulties. (I also was being treated for hypothyroidism!) He told me that if I weren't so fat, maybe I could breathe and to come back in a year. I decided I would never go back, I'd just lose the weight. About 7 months later I ended up with open heart surgery to replace one valve and repair another. You don't need a doctor who doesn't want to waste his time with you!!! - 3/21/2013   3:05:51 PM
  • JSIEVERT
    274
    Interesting to read peoples' comments. I must say that I am obese, and after losing about 40 pounds and going to the doctor for a regular physical, I was saddened to oversee notes from the last time I'd been in for a physical - 227 pounds, very obese. Needs to lose weight to improve health. But those comments were never discussed with me, I had gotten sick of my weight and did something about it all on my own. I think doctors are afraid to talk to people about how to healthfully lose weight to improve their health.... Why? Because of the responses they would get from several people on this site. Even mentioning a weight issue is taken as an insult, even if they are trying to help or educate you. As a society we have come to a place where we can't deal with anyone pointing out that we're not perfect. We take it as an insult, even if they are a professional who is not trying to judge us, but rather help us. We all need to have the ability to take a step back and look at it from their situation and see they are trying to help. - 3/21/2013   2:57:09 PM

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