Hello, happy Sunday, happy fall, all that good stuff! This last week was NEDA’s first-ever Weight Stigma Awareness Week; an effort to bring awareness to this aspect of ED’s that often goes unnoticed. This post is all about raising awareness, sharing my story with weight and, once again, b r e a k i n g t h e s t i g m a. I read a quote from NEDA’s Instagram that said:
“Trying to prevent and treat eating disorders without directly addressing weight stigma will always be like trying to get rid of weeds by cutting off the tops. In order to truly prevent and allow full recovery from eating disorders, we must attack the problem at it’s root. And that root is weight stigma.”
That could not be more true. I don’t believe, and I don’t think other people believe, that weight stigma is the cause of eating disorders, but it definitely doesn’t make recovery any easier. BMI is not a measure of physical OR mental health, it’s an algorithm created by and for white men decades ago to measure the ratio between height and weight, not taking into account any other factors. When we define others, or even worse define ourselves, by the number on the scale or our BMI ratio, we’re taking an unrelated figure and allowing it to dictate our health. And people always say ditch the scale or don’t think about numbers, but weight has taken on a life of it’s own, and it goes way beyond the scale. Weight and appearance have become one. If you look heavier, you weigh more. If you look smaller, you weight less. People make these assumptions without knowing anything more than what you look like. And that’s dangerous beyond words.
And how can we blame anyone for how bad weight stigma has gotten. It’s penetrated our world, everything is about weight. It’s everywhere. Advertisements are constantly reminding us all that we must be under a certain weight to wear their clothes. Brands that have one size clothing that are equivalent to a size 2-4 create their brand around people who are under a certain weight. When we run into an old friend, the first thing we say is “you look so good!”. WHY. Why is the first comment we make to a friend after a long time apart about their appearance. Why can’t we praise people about anything other than their weight and appearance. It’s all just adding to the weight of weight stigma (no pun intended).
Honestly, I feel a bit hypocritical saying these things because I’ve never found peace with my weight. The scary thing is, I’ve been at my highest weight and I’ve been at my lowest and I’ve never been happy with how I look or how much I weigh. I’ve been at the point where people have straight up told me I look like I’d gained a lot of weight, and I’ve been at the point where people have gushed over how great I look after purging my brains out to lose weight, and none of these have ever made me feel good.
My natural body type is prone to heavy weight fluctuation. Day-to-day, week-to-week my weight goes up and down so easily. I would love to say that I am confident enough to not let me weight affect me, but that would be a lie. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I want to do is check what my body looks like in the mirror. How bloated am I, how defined are my abs, how flat is my butt looking; it’s so easy to get sucked into all of that. Some days I look at myself and feel AMAZING and other days I look at myself and just want to cover it all up with leggings and a big sweater. Sometimes I let me weight control me, sometimes I don’t. But I have never gone a full day without thinking about my weight. It’s something that has controlled my life (I’ve learned that it truly is the voice of the ED) for so long. So while I would love to come on here and say everything is perfect, that wouldn’t be real.
It’s okay to have days where I don’t like how I look, it’s part of being human. But it’s not okay to just sit back and allow everyone to become consumed by that number on the scale. We are more than that, and that does not define a n y o n e. Bodies are beautiful. Bodies allow us to do so much. Bodies are allowed to carry weight. But it shouldn’t have to carry the expectations that other people put on us.
Instead of telling someone how great they look, tell them you’re proud of them for starting a new, exciting project. Instead of commenting on someone’s weight or size in a photo, tell them how happy they look. Instead of commenting on their muscles, fat or anything else about their bodies, tell them they look healthy. Because at the end of the day, what does weight actually mean. As long as your healthy and happy, both physically and mentally. That’s all that matters.
Let’s use this week and all the inspo that came along with it to smash the stigma. We can do it, we are stronger than it.
Sending all the love, joy and positivity for the best week ahead. Lots of love xx