Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Fallacy of Fat Shaming: Dr. Laura and Internalized Weight Bias

One of my guilty pleasures is listening to Dr. Laura because I love how her razor sharp mind slices to the root cause of people's problems. For instance, when a Bridezilla calls and complains her future mother-in-law is a controlling female dog, Dr. Laura helps her see the real diva is the woman staring back at herself in the mirror.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger
But Dr. Laura and I don't agree on everything; and one of my biggest beefs with the advice queen is how she handles women who mention they are overweight. She basically tells them they are lazy slobs who need to get off their duffs and eat less food.

In other words, she fat shames.

The fallacy, of course, is that when someone makes you feel bad, you typically use food to comfort yourself.

And the merry-go-round keeps spinning.

We have Dr. Barbie, astronaut Barbie,
Hispanic entrepreneur Barbie....
The only thing Barbie can never be
is plus-sized.
But don't just take my word for it. Results from a fascinating study on internalized weight bias to be published in the December issue of Obesity Surgery suggest that people who undergo weight loss surgery are less likely to be successful after 12 months if they feel ashamed about their weight prior to the procedure.

The study measured "the degree to which people undergoing weight loss surgery translate 'anti-fat' attitudes into negative beliefs about themselves," said Michelle R. Lent, Ph.D., investigator and clinical psychologist at Geisinger's Obesity Institute in an official press release. The researchers found "these negative feelings make people vulnerable to low self-esteem, depression and binge eating,"

Which means those with the most body shame before the surgery had the least success after the surgery.

Kind of like a mom telling her daughter she's stupid and then expecting her to ace the test.
One person's funny
is another person's fat shaming

Not surprisingly, feeling bad about yourself -- which includes being shamed about your body weight -- is not a great motivator to melt fat. More likely, the opposite will happen.

Speaking from personal experience, the less a woman feels pressured by external sources to lose weight -- whether it be her doctor, her husband or Dr. Laura -- the more likely she will feel empowered to take positive action if, or when, she feels like it.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for less cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast Custom Order - You Choose ANY 10 Boxes

More from Diet Skeptic:

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Medifast Centers Vs. Take Shape for Life

Planned Exceptions: What Is Your Pie Policy?

Wabi Sabi Dieting & Renee Zelwegger's New Face

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1 comment:

  1. I had an acquaintance who had weight loss surgery. When we went to lunch she ordered five plates of food...then only took one bite of each thing. It was clear she still had the same patterns even after the surgery...so I see how someone could still carry the same shame even after the weight loss. Shows one has to address more than just the physical when losing weight.