As BEDA’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week comes to close today, here, in the words of Nicole,a healthy registered nurse, are two very personal examples of being on the receiving end of weight stigma.
A self-proclaimed nutritionist came up to me, where I was giving flu shots, and asked if I was a Registered Nurse.
“Yes, I am”
“Why is it that nurses eat so much? Don’t they know it’s bad for business?”
I said, “Well, I don’t think I am like most nurses, all nurses are different…” He stormed away disgusted. That is when I realized he had intended the comment to be directed directly to me.
I was in the middle of the store. I couldn’t leave the table. There was no one to cover for me. I couldn’t go. I couldn’t let them come. I wouldn’t let the tears that were welling up in my eyes slide down my face. I was not going to let this get to me. I hear it though. At least once a day. Those words. I don’t beat myself up over it but the residual sticks in my head. It was just this blatant attack on a physical attribute. An attack that signaled his insecurities and mentally disturbed issues, true, but an attack non the less.
Another one, another day:
“Do you have high blood pressure?”
“I’m sorry?” I ask
“Do you have high blood pressure? You look like you have high blood pressure.”
A small exchange ensues but it’s not until she is gone that I realize that she made an assumption that because I was heavier, I must have high blood pressure. Last check it was in the 120’s over 70’s.
These people who feel the need to go out of their way to point out the obvious are dealing with issues themselves, obviously. I just don’t like that it’s training generations to accept this type of behavior and act out on it. Discrimination in ANY form is just not cool and needs to be nipped in the bud. Negative reinforcement doesn’t work for anyone. It’s been proven. Hatred and Rage is all you breed with stigma. It needs to stop. Now.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Weight Stigma comment? Tell us about it.
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org