Educate. Don't Shame.
Hello there, Beautiful People!
I came across a few articles on the topic of “weight-bias internalization” recently that spoke to my soul, as a health and wellness professional.
Basically, the breaking news (being sarcastic) that researchers found, is that making someone feel bad about being overweight doesn't really help them achieve their goals. I, for one, was not surprised by these results.
The ill-effects of weight-bias internalization include prompting individuals to actually overeat and be less physically active. Additionally, being stressed out about your weight and how much of it you need to lose causes physiological & metabolic stress in your body that makes it more difficult to lose weight. Jeez!
The thing is, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine making someone feel lousy about themselves for their body weight and/or diet and exercise habits, will not help them!
Shame should never be used as a tactic to prompt individuals to lose weight or instill any diet change.
Frankly, my non-judgmental and kind approach with clients in need of weight loss or any dietary/lifestyle change has been of great assistance to them. I remember one of my first outpatient nutrition clients telling me I was the first person not to “judge” her for her weight and current dietary patterns (as indicated in a 3-Day food journal). I couldn’t imagine being anything other than supportive and non-judgmental towards someone embarking on a health journey. It’s a big deal — not to mention a very personal matter.
My role as a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer is to provide diet and exercise education, encouragement, and support. They all go together.
Please remember that changing any ingrained habits is HARD - especially when we are talking about those revolving around dietary habits that have social, cultural, and psychological ties. Take it one day at a time.
Healthcare professionals: Don’t shame clients for being overweight...it doesn't help!
Individuals trying to lose weight: Choose a healthcare team that you feel comfortable with where you are not judged or stigmatized. Then, you get the support you need and deserve while embarking on your weight loss journey. Having a supportive person overseeing your progress is invaluable! And, try to stick around people in your life who support your health goals and cheer for your victories (no matter how small).
Until next time...