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Sizeism/Weightism: How to Cope With it, and How it Affects Mental Health

By HERWriter
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The whole event leads these women to feel bad about themselves and frustrated."

Perlis continued, "I often have recommended that they do something surgically, like lap banding, as I have seen patients change their entire health and life losing weight. I feel in our society it is much easier to be liked and valued, being [at a] normal weight. It gets you in the door, as first impressions are made in 60 seconds.”

<< Solutions >>

Chastain suggests more awareness can be a solution to weightism.

“We need to recognize that bodies come in many sizes for many reasons,” she said. “We need to see that the claim that fat people choose an unhealthy lifestyle and are therefore deserving of societal vitriol is inconsistent with the fact that we are OK with people jumping out of helicopters wearing skis, choosing stressful jobs, getting drunk, not getting a proper amount of sleep, and climbing Everest even though those things don’t prioritize health.”

There are a bunch of inconsistencies in how we view health, and also how we judge and treat others, and it’s only a matter of realizing this and shaping up our thoughts and actions.

“We’re also OK with people eating poorly and being sedentary as long as they don’t get fat,” Chastain said. “We need to realize that basic human respect is for all humans, not just the humans who do what we think they should do or look how we think they should look, that people each get to choose how highly they prioritize their health, and what path they choose to meet their health goals, and finally that other people’s bodies are none of our business.”


Setnick, Jessica. Email interview. Feb. 7, 2012.
Chastain, Ragen. Email interview. Feb. 7, 2012.
Perlis, Cheryl. Email interview. Feb. 8, 2012.
Heart, Mikaya. Email interview. Feb. 8, 2012.

Reviewed February 9, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.