I might not be slim but I’m healthier than you – doctors & nurses stop judging

Walking down the street, perhaps passing a few girls. Contingent, perhaps, on their own body image issues, they might through you a few glances checking you top to bottom. If you carry a few extra pounds or got for bit don’t wear body-pleasing clothing you might get their critical eye.

Now, if you are confident, love your body and feel comfortable in your body and know your self-worth isn’t based on looks you can care less.  Many women, however, might view such critical looks are confirmation that indeed their body is flawed, or worse, ugly.

Don’t judge me by my weight,

judge me by my lifestyle!

As society, we continue to make the same mistake – we judge people by their weight even though we should know not to judge a book by its cover.

It’s worse though when it isn’t judging per say and comes from friends. Many women (sadly) compare themselves, their body to their friends posing their bodily insecurities onto others. It’s just as bad if they are fishing for confirmations, like „you aren’t really flabby“ or „you didn’t gain weight“.  What bothers me personally is the competition many women portray about weight and shape and the sense of superiority for having thinner thighs (really, who wants that?) or having reached their dream weight (let’s see how long you can keep it, if it isn’t in line with your body & genetics). Okay, but thankfully we can choose out friends or perhaps support them in reaching a healthy body image themselves.

 

Judge me by my weight – a number focused society

It’s frustrating and mind-boggling, however, when even doctors and nurses make this mistake. Yes, at the medical office we, too, are judged and often mistreated for our weight (hence looks) or better put the shape of our body.

man stepping on a scale, must lose weight, judge weight

How particularly the medical field forgets that health is a behaviour and that lifestyle matters more than weight is beyond me.

Contingent on your weight and shape, how often have you gone to the doctor’s office just to feel shamed, misunderstood, and ridiculed after stepping off the scale?

If your weight is on the higher end, the comment “you must lose weight” sounds familiar and might bring back some painful memories. If they’d only understand your struggles, your day to day healthy habits, they clearly wouldn’t make such thoughtless, primitive remark.

But, similar to a computer, medical staff seems programmed. Many respond to the number they see on the scale completely oblivious to the patient’s lifestyle or health efforts.

More often than not it seems, human touch is gone. So is empathy. The possible effect of such ignorant comment (and others) on a person’s mental state is irrelevant. So are our health efforts.

 

Slim people are healthy, overweight people are….

Our lifestyle choices as well as successes and failures tell a story

A story our doctor(s) should be interest in.

Shouldn’t first, before even judging anyone based on what the scale states, the doctor or nurse inquire about our lifestyle, eating and activity habits and/or challenges?

Don’t these aspects tell more about how healthy we are than a number on the scale or a disapproving look at the shape of our body?

 If we, in spite of living an active lifestyle with healthy nutrition a cornerstone of our diet, are unable to lose weight (fat!) shouldn’t our:

  • doctor dig deeper to get to the core of the (weight) problem or at least refer us to someone who could help us, particularly with our challenges?
  • efforts, regardless how (un)successful given society and our environment, be recognized?

Although health behaviour is a personal choice, it should be considered before weight.

Weight is only one piece of information. Blood work another, even though most doctors aren’t really trained to truly understand (!) all the blood indicator puzzle pieces that give us a clear health indication.

 

Weight matrix – our go to tool to judge one size fits all

What is it about weight?

Weight doesn’t tell us everything and certainly shouldn’t be the reason to discriminate or ridicule people – yet it happens a lot!

(although more often than not I think a nurse’s or doctor’s own insecurities and self-critical, harsh attitude play into it)

By the way, if you want the true weight of someone, don’t weigh them fully clothed, even with shoes, as it is customary in many doctor offices. This just adds insult to injury.

Based on what the scale states many doctors and nurses, perhaps annoyed, overworked and underpaid or worse privileged never having experienced weight problems jump to conclusion while aspects such as a patient’s:

  • lifestyle factors, activity habits, weight loss efforts
  • muscle mass and fluid retention (I’m not talking about people with a very high BMI….although even here such aspects could influence weight to some small extend)
  • personal challenges such as monetary, family or work
  • feelings
  • relationships with food
  • mental health, self-destructive behavior, …..

are completely ignored.

Worse, the medical professional fails to consider how his or her comments sit with us, the patient.

Harsh statements and unkind treatments WILL have an influence on our future behaviour – certainly NOT working in favour of health supporting lifestyle or weight loss efforts.

I’m certain there are many people out there who can’t (yet) win their personal fight against weight, against marketing, food manufacturers, will power, their hormones, and their personal life challenges.

I’m quite certain the current response is NOT the way to go.

To the contrary, health professionals must respond differently to weight – I’m sure most patients are aware of their personal weight (gain). Just as sure I am most patients aren’t too happy about it. Stable weight might be a success (for now).

 

Judge me by my weight – Not

A shift in focus although prevention remains key

We need to find a way to support people/patients in their efforts. After all, isn’t that the reason doctors, nurses and others went into the medical field in the first place? To help people get healthy?

question, frage

 

If doctors & nurses make people feel ashamed of their weight, undermine their effort or discriminate them under the assumption all bigger people are lazy and eat junk, how likely is that person to care about his or her health?

How likely is it for him or her to come in for preventative measures in the future?

Would you go back to a place that makes you feel this unwelcomed?

As if all slim people are healthy. I don’t think I need to address the issue with skinny fat, or?

It’s like all pretty people are nice or successful.

Let’s keep the discrimination coming.

If you are a doctor or nurse:. put yourself in the position of others. How would you feel being perhaps criticized on something you fail in, something you have struggled with your whole life?

How would your behaviour be influenced, subsequently? Would you feel empowered, in control, and positive about yourself?

Consider this a wake up call. And shift your behavior.

Prevention is more important than ever-

particularly since weight loss for many is a life long struggle.

 

So, before you judge anyone for their weight or shape, before your ignorant, harsh response might send them off in a downward spiral leading to self-doubt, more self-criticism, and possible binge eating attacks or other self-destructive behaviour

I dare you to ask how active they are or what their diet looks like.

You might just be surprised that some people:

  • are more active
  • live a more balanced life and
  • eat a healthier diet than you do.
  • (and compared to soo many doctors and nurses who still smoke in Austria, they might be non-smokers)

2 overweight men running, exercising, sunset, judge, weight,

 

Unlike, perhaps, you they just don’t look the part – shame on them.

 

And if they don’t I dare you to truly have a relationship with other health care workers, coaches, and trainers to refer them to.

 

It takes a village to raise a child.

It takes a community of passionate health experts to make health to easier choice & achieve healthy weight loss ( & maintenance).

Most people don’t choose to become overweight or obese. Our food environment and society, unhealthy eating habits, years of dieting, emotional problems, stress, lack of access or opportunity or knowledge, among many other factors, get us there.

And crawling back out, that’s the hard part.

Weight loss is easy.

Weight loss maintenance is the true challenge.

A challenge many people are NOT equipped to handle. Why – because society doesn’t support us in such (daily!) struggle.

That’s why we need to shift focus.

So, next time you (dear doctor or nurse) see someone stepping off the scale, don’t let the number influence your behaviour.

I’m quite certain the person would prefer to be at a different weight as well.

More though, if you were in that person’s shoes living perhaps as healthy a life you can (given personal challenges):

  • How would such comment (you must lose weight) make you feel?
  • What would you want to hear?
  • How would you like to be treated?
  • What would empower you?

All I know: we don’t know anything.

Let’s stop assuming and start being supportive; especially in the medical field where I’d like to believe the goal is synonymous: support health and health behaviour.

Stop discriminating. Some overweight people care about health.

See me for me and NOT the group you place me in based on the shape of my body.

Don’t judge me by my weight, judge me by my lifestyle!

Thanks for reading. s always feel free to share, like, comment.

 

Other articles you might like:

Keep the weight off for real – secret tips to not gaining it back

Diets don’t work? Heck- let’s make them work! I show you how

 

 

Veröffentlicht in Behavior, awareness, society und verschlagwortet mit , .

3 Kommentare

  1. Pingback: Without society judging, can you be fat but healthy?

  2. Pingback: Diets don't work? Heck- let's make them work! I show you how

  3. Pingback: Thinking about having a child - nutrition tips for Moms to Be • FiEnergy-Fitness trainer & health coach, Wien

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