Bias. Stereotyping. Prejudice. Discrimination. Bullying.
These ugly words describe a serious problem: weight stigma. Whether subtle or blatant, weight stigma is broadcast into our living rooms and shows up in classrooms, break rooms, and exam rooms. For many of us, weight stigma hits even closer to home: right between our ears.
By internalizing this cultural bias, we condemn ourselves to living within its limitations. We allow the bully to move into our brains. I'm not letting the bullies off the hook, but if you believe them, you become them. For example, you may have old tapes that sound something like this:
- I'm too embarrassed to be seen exercising.
- I can't go to the gym until I've lost some weight.
- I'm trying to eat healthily but I'm not losing weight"”it doesn't matter what I eat.
- I'll get diabetes because I can't lose weight, so why change the way I eat?
- I can't eat what I love in public, so I'll binge later in private.
- I'll never look like I did in high school, so why bother with healthy eating and exercise?
- I don't deserve someone who loves me because I'm too fat.
- I don't feel sexy because of my weight.
- I don't see how my partner can think I'm sexy so I thwart his/her attempts.
- I don't believe my partner when he or she tells me I'm beautiful.
- I don't want to go to the doctor because I regained the weight I lost.
- I don't take my blood pressure medicine because I know I should lose weight instead.
- I won't buy new clothes until I reach my goal weight.
- If I were thinner, I would ask for that promotion.
- I'd love to travel, but I want to lose weight first.
- I love going to the beach but I hate putting on a bathing suit.
- (Add your own here.)
What if, instead of waiting on your weight or the world to change, you booted the bully from your brain? Ask yourself, "How could my life be different if I didn't buy into those limitations?"
- I'm exercising.
- I go to the gym.
- I'm trying to eat healthily.
- I'm at risk for diabetes, so I'm changing the way I eat.
- So what if I don't look like I did in high school; I'm eating healthier and exercising.
- I eat what I love.
- I deserve someone who loves me.
- I feel sexy.
- My partner thinks I'm sexy.
- My partner tells me I'm beautiful.
- I go to the doctor.
- I take my blood pressure medicine.
- I buy new clothes.
- I'm going to ask for that promotion.
- I love to travel.
- I'm going to the beach.
- (Add your own here.)
Take your power back! Boot the bully from your brain"”then join me in booting the bully from your block!