fat shaming will not work

How To Get Over Fat Shaming Right Now

Fat Shaming will not help cure the Obesity Crisis.   We need to remove the social stigma associated with obesity.  We’ve proven that making it easier for people to talk about stigmatized health conditions is enormously beneficial.  But we still have the barrier to break down in terms of obesity.  This week is National Obesity Awareness Week in the UK.  Hence I’m debunking some of the myths associated with the attitude towards obesity.

Fat Shaming Won’t Help

fat shaming is not the answerI despise any kind of body shaming whether it’s fat shaming or skinny shaming.  It’s bullying and downright harmful.

Fat shaming someone who is obese is unlikely to encourage anyone to change their lifestyle.   People who respond positively to being shamed are relatively uncommon.  If you doubt this my recommended reading is Gretchen Rubin – The Four Tendencies.

Fat Shaming is more likely to reinforce their feelings of low self-esteem and may lead to more comfort eating.

I was overweight as a teenager and was bullied for it.  I’d been underweight until I was 6 years old and had a tonsillectomy.  My parents so overjoyed that I was at last enjoying food encouraged me to eat and eat.  While my own unhealthy relationship with food then later manifested itself as anorexia, this had nothing to do with being bullied for my weight.

 

It’s Just A Matter Of Calories In Versus Calories Outfat shaming not simply calories in and calories out

It’s easy you don’t need to be fat you just need to consume less calories than you burn (Calories In V Calories Out  – CICO)

This is a more insidious attempt at fat shaming.  Implying that people merely need to eat less and stop being lazy.

Dr Jason Fung states before 1980 we didn’t count calories.  He argues that we ate without knowing how many calories we consumed. We expended calories without knowing how many we burnt.  He argues that myths perpetuated about CICO benefited the US corporations who drove these messages for the purpose of their own bottom line.

Is this a cynical view or simply reality?  This week I read that McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s had spent $1Billion on advertising targeted at Black and Hispanic youth.  If this wasn’t bad enough  they’d all pledged to support healthier lifestyles to deprived groups.

 

Fat Shaming Is the Same As Skinny Shamingfat shaming not the same as skinny shaming

No it’s not!

As above I don’t condone any form of body shaming.    But skinny shaming is not the same as fat shaming.  I have friends who are naturally petite and get upset when they are told – you must have an eating disorder.  But this is not the same as the every day discrimination and humiliation levied at obese people in every aspect of life.

Michael Hobbes – Huffington Post Highline Article ‘Everything you know about obesity is wrong’ . He cited how one reader told me that unsolicited diet advice from strangers feels overtly worse than direct comments about weight.   Another said she leaves the room when her colleagues start talking about their new diets.  This is because it’s only a matter of time before a woman smaller than her describes herself as “huge.”

 

Let’s Get Children More Active And They’ll Lose Weight

Well I would never disagree with more activity.  There are incalculable benefits to more activity including:fat shaming we must educate children

  • More face to face social interaction;
  • Team sports and events improving their people skills as well as exercise benefits;
  • Improved sleep patterns with reduced screen time;
  • Emotional wellbeing of being outdoors particularly in nature.

Interestingly a number of international studies looked at healthy eating and more activity within children.  They found that while the combination didn’t have a massive impact on weight academic results improved.

But we do need to educate and help children from an early age without creating issues regarding food.  My own mother was a habitual dieter.  She had a relationship with food that consisted of deprivation followed by indulgence.  She loved food but was on a diet whenever her weight crept up again.  Of course her body suffered.  Her disordered eating had, at the very least, a sub-conscious impact on my own relationship with food.

 

Featuring Large Models Glamorises Obesity

No it doesn’t.diversity representing society on the catwalk

I’m a huge advocate for diversity on the catwalk and within the media to represent Society.  It’s vital that people don’t feel discriminated against. They should be able to relate to what is on the catwalk and in the media.

The outcry in October 2018 over Cosmopolitan’s Cover featuring Tess Halliday last year got the fat shaming brigade ranting and raving.    Led by Piers Morgan whose argument was that the cover made it acceptable to be obese.

Everyone deserves to feel positive about themselves.  Equally everyone should have access to education, information and support to lead a healthier lifestyle.

What we need to do is create a culture where fat discrimination is ostracized. People are encouraged to have a positive attitude towards their own bodies, which is fundamentally the aim of the body positivity movement.

Summary

We need to de-stigmatize obesity in the same way we’re creating a culture that allows us to talk about Mental Health.

Last summer an electrician visited my house and the conversation turned to photography. He shared with me his passion for photography and painting.  When I asked if he’d always enjoyed being creative he said he’d never tried it until he started to use it to help with his mental health.   How many complete strangers (particularly men) would have opened up like that even a year ago?

Obesity isn’t simply about physical health it’s equally about mental health and emotional wellbeing.   We have made fantastic progress with regard to mental health let’s replicate that with obesity.

 

Like to feel more confident about your body?  Why not take a look at my 3 top tips to be body positive by clicking on the link below.

 

 

 

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Positive Body Image

Positive Body Image Missing On Love Island

LOVE Island attracted another million viewers from last year’s finale.  It broke records on ITV2 – with 3.6million fans in total tuning in but it discouraged positive body image. 

positive body image missing on Love Island

Why am I interested?  Well frankly I’m not either in the TV series or the viewing figures.  Although I admit to feeling saddened by the number of people hooked on yet another vacuous reality TV show.

But I was interested in was the media spotlight on Body Image, which was in response to the series.

News coverage included fierce debates about cosmetic surgery and use of steroids. Kim Kardashian was under fire for her insensitive remarks about anorexia.  Huff Post also covered the #strongnotskinny perspective.

If you follow my blogs and social media posts, you’ll know that I’m an ardent campaigner of positive body image.

There are enough pressures in life without adding an unhealthy attitude towards our bodies.    I’m an advocate of a healthy mind and body.    Yes we do need to work on the obesity crisis.  We should exercise and not lead a sedentary lifestyle.  We need to eat healthily but at the end of the day we are all different shapes and sizes.

But as a result of so much media attention last week I want to discuss the topics discussed last week, share my views and hopefully get your thoughts too.

77% Of Women Believe Cosmetic Surgery Is Fine

positive body image not cosmetic surgeryWhy do we feel that looking different will make us feel happier?

It’s complex and I’m oversimplifying it here!  But it has a hell of a lot to do with seeking others admiration and approval for the way we look.

We see unattainable body shapes and looks in our celebrity-obsessed culture and on social media.  Many of us honestly believe the fairy tale that says we’ll live a charmed life too if only I look like that.

One woman interviewed last week, said of one of the Love Island contestants, ‘she’s so gorgeous she can have anything she wants’.   Seriously?

This was the same young woman who’d had a boob job after having children in her 20s, because they sagged a bit after breastfeeding.  How sad that she can’t change her perspective.  That she can’t see what an amazing job her body has done in giving birth and nurturing a new life.

Let me be honest here and say that I did have a consultation about having breast augmentation.

I’m anti cosmetic surgery and procedures apart from reconstructive surgery or helping someone with disfiguring scars.  So I was really at odds with my own principles when I booked a consultation to discuss breast augmentation.  It was probably the main reason I couldn’t get out of the consultant’s office fast enough when he leered at me!

I had a wake up call as he stared at my breasts.  Surgery was not going to make me a happier person.   Being accepting of my body was going to have a much greater impact.  I needed to have a positive body image.

 

Up To 1 Million Britons Use Steroids For Image

Despite the well-publicized health risks of steroids, it appears to be a risk worth taking for many.anabolic steroids health risks

The most common age group who begin taking steroids are between 20 and 24.  But teenagers as young as 13 and men as old as 70 are using steroids to improve their body image.

The health risks are extensive and the long-term effects may ultimately result in death.   Risks are of course increased if the source of supply is not reliable.  Given that Steroids are a Class C drug it’s not illegal to take them, but it is to supply.

While not physically dependent, users are psychologically hooked on the way the drugs make them look and feel.     Coming off steroids can lead to serious complications if not done properly. The body needs to be weaned off the drugs and suddenly discontinuing them can lead to serious health issues.

But again I really worry that the misuse of anabolic steroids is another consequence of the pressures we put on ourselves and others put on us.  It’s bad enough when sports people use them to enhance performance.  But when they’re used to improve image that’s another symptom of our image-obsessed society.  But it’s a society that does not have a positive body image.

#Strongnotskinny

#strongnotskinnyAn interesting article published in the Huffington Post last month considered the unhealthy heroin chic of the 90s.  Katie Bishop asked if Heroin Chic had simply been replaced by an alternative equally unattainable culture of #strongnotskinny.

The blog points out that for most of us, sculpted abs and well-defined butt muscles are not the norm.  While mermaid thighs are more realistic than a thigh gap; the #fitspo movement has created another unobtainable body form rather than a positive body image.

I largely agree with Katie Bishop, that positive body image is complex.  But for me it’s all about getting our mental and emotional well being right.

That basic education has to start in the home for young children, who need to be given positive role models and attitudes towards food and body image.   Fads about food and attitude to body image can and will be picked up by impressionable young minds.

As a Society we need to change our attitudes to many things so that young people have healthier role models to follow.    Schools, communities and media all have a part to play.

We’ll never totally eradicate our perception of an idealized body shape. We’ve got some very basic instincts that program us when we’re looking for a mate.

But we can choose to accept a positive body image and be more accepting of our bodies regardless of shape and size.   Let’s make this the new ‘style’ for body image and not a fashion.   Fashion fades style is eternal – Coco Chanel.

It’s ‘Simple’ Really!

The bottom line is that we need to retrain our thinking and learn a healthier approach to encourage positive body image.

If you’re struggling to love your body, why not download my 3 Awesome Tips to Body Confidence, which will help you have a much more positive approach.

 

 

 

 

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