Health

Stigmatizing obesity causes weight gain

The issue of political correctness is a struggle for me. It’s not that I personally try to offend anyone, but rather I look to entertain. See, I firmly believe in the wisdom of Johnny Carson: “People will pay more to be entertained that educated.” When it comes to writing about fitness and weight loss, I endeavour to do both.

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The issue of political correctness is a struggle for me. It’s not that I personally try to offend anyone, but rather I look to entertain. See, I firmly believe in the wisdom of Johnny Carson: “People will pay more to be entertained than educated.” When it comes to writing about fitness and weight loss, I endeavour to do both.

I understand that some read my articles because they want to garner new facts about fitness, whereas others are just looking to kill time in what I hope is an entertaining fashion. Some look for both.

However, weight loss is a sensitive subject, so I have a fine line to walk. Mel Brooks said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

So I try to entertain, inspire and provide good information without ever engaging in that tried and true comedic method of poking fun at people for their differences. The reason is simple: It will totally backfire and completely undo everything I’m trying to accomplish.

I was not the least bit surprised to learn of a recent study showing that the stigma of being overweight can lead to weight gain. Some believe you can guilt people into weight loss, but this is an exercise in futility and counterproductive to boot.

Here is a quote from the link above featuring renowned obesity researcher Dr. Arya Sharma: “The biggest myth out there is that if people would just diet and exercise, nobody would be obese. And that’s complete nonsense. If we don’t stop looking at obesity as a character flaw instead of a complex health condition, then we won’t be addressing the underlying issues. Shaming, blaming and taxing aren’t constructive or positive strategies.”

I recently came across a weight loss book by someone with excellent credentials that had the facts about weight loss, fitness and health correct, but the title, the cover image and the content were all one big exercise in stigmatizing the obese. This book will help no one, and it’s too bad because the basic information was good.

I guess what I’m saying is, if I ever crossed that line, I’m sorry. With over 300 articles published and a lot lessons learned during that time, I know I’ve been insensitive. I understand obesity is a complicated issue. I was just trying to bring some lightness and fun to a serious situation. One area I know I’m on safe ground is poking fun at things like the Shake Weight, weight loss underwear, the Bowflex or even myself.

To any of you who are struggling: Fatism — prejudice against the overweight — is just like racism. If people try to make you feel bad for your weight then you should actually feel bad for them for being so closed-minded and bigoted.

Ignore what they say and focus on you instead.

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