Weight Stigma: Overcome Bias
Weight stigma can be discouraging for anyone who’s overweight or has obesity. Even when people are actively losing weight, they may still experience bias, stigma and discrimination.
It’s not uncommon for it to take a toll on your health and your personal and social wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people still believe that obesity can be prevented by self-control. They perpetuate the myths that obesity is caused by emotional problems or that if someone can’t lose weight, it’s their fault.
You may feel the effects of weight stigma at work, in school and in healthcare settings.
Weight stigma not only affects us socially but also psychologically and physically. You might find yourself feeling depressed, anxious or having a poor body image. Additionally, it can discourage you from exercising and lead you to consider questionable weight-loss diets.
If you find yourself affected by discrimination, take steps to advocate for yourself. After you decide the best way to handle a particular situation, you’ll feel better that you took an action. It may also help prevent it from happening again.
Overcome Weight Stigma, Discrimination
Here are five strategies to help deal with weight stigma:
- Challenge negative attitudes about weight by educating others about the stigma of obesity. Sometimes people need to understand how something affects another person before they change their attitude.
- Rely on your friends and family for support. It’s helpful if you can talk to someone who also struggles with weight stigma.
- Listen to how you talk to yourself. Try to not put yourself down or criticize yourself. Instead, practice self acceptance.
- Do not be afraid to ask for special accommodations if you need them.
- If someone makes hurtful and inappropriate comments to you, let them know how their remarks make you feel.
Many people find it’s helpful to talk to their doctor about weight bias as well. Your doctor may have other strategies to help you cope.