SHAMING OBESITY

fat-shaming-card

A wonderful blogger friend who is working hard and successfully re-balancing his life and achieving better health and happiness posted this photo of a business card. He was understandably angered by its content and “voiced” his concerns by writing an article. When I first read the words, my emotions were pulled in many directions. As I sat back and reflected on the situation, I began to realize the contentious purpose of this encounter.

As a physician, obesity is a topic I have discussed with many patients over the years. There are MANY reasons contributing to its rise in numbers in most countries.These may include: (1) physical, (2) emotional, (3) lack of education, (4) lack of financial resources.

Finding answers to this disease is critical for the welfare of EVERYONE. Sometimes “tough love” is used as an intervention to help recognize and overcome this condition. When this approach is used tactfully with dignity and compassion, it can help the obese individual come to terms to begin a process of healing.

Shaming will NEVER be part of any process with any intent to help the victim. It is a sadistic attempt to add further harm to a person already suffering a challenging existence. The only person to benefit from this perverse approach is the “card giver” feeding their individual needs to cause pain and suffering. This type of person lacks all decency and respect. Their damaged minds thrive on pain; as cancer thrives on sugar, and causes as much harm.

Where it might be natural to feel ANGER and HATRED for these individuals, I believe this too would be a mistake. Anger and hatred are strong emotions that can cause internal harm (both physically and mentally) to ourselves. The card bearer gains greater motivation to promulgate this process because it “feeds” their twisted needs while damaging the health of the “well-intentioned” person. Instead, I believe we need to turn our backs on these individuals and pity their worthless unhappy lives. Without attention these individuals deteriorate into lifeless entities stripping their demoralizing message of any value or meaning.

Obesity IS a serious problem and needs serious solutions. People suffering this condition will need to take responsibility for participating in a process to reverse it. This process, however, will be respectful, courteous, ethical, moral, compassionate and healthful. It must be designed using a positive approach recognizing each individual as unique and special. This method will more likely produce a better and healthier outcome. Shaming individuals sole purpose is to cause further degradation ofย  the individual’s self worth and self esteem. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

I encourage everyone to recognize the pain and suffering that exists in many lives (for those of healthy weight and overweight.) Be compassionate and thoughtful rather than resentful. Helping create positive changes to a life that may already be filled with turmoil is a difficult task. It becomes that much easier when people believe their lives have meaning and purpose. It becomes society’s responsibility to encourage all of us to see VALUE in each of our lives. Together, we are capable of creating greater change than pursuing goals that ONLY satisfy individual needs.

Fat shaming

This is the attitude the obese population faces. This demeaning prejudice will never lead to SOLUTIONS! We can no longer tollerate this disgraceful behavior!

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42 comments

  1. Reblogged this on survivor road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for helping pass an important message on to your readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post. I don’t know if society has always been this way and social media is only making it more visible, but it seems like shaming and rudeness is a bit out of control. And you’re so right, people that do this have a NEED to create hardship, they really do feed off it. All we can do is call them out like you and your friend are doing.

    On a side note, I really do feel for people struggling with obesity. There are a lot of psychological issues involved that must be dealt with compassionately if anything is to result.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. After reading a fellow blogger’s remarks that clearly demonstrated anger and pain, I felt compelled to speak out. I hope this creates more focus on solutions and less focus on blame. After reading many of your stories, I can tell people matter to you. Your posts are very inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yours as well Jonathan. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  3. with no offense meant but sometimes “tough love” has to be practiced to help them deal with their issues…..ut should always start from the immediate people surrounding the concerned one.. at some point the idea of not wanting to hurt can actually cause more damage than help..I have been dealing with metabot related health issue for as far as I could remember..but I am proud to say I managed to stay fit despite of this…how did I do it? tough love from my family…hardwork..lots and lots of hardwork…and extra determination..its been 20 years now..with four children..but I am doing pretty well in terms of my weigt management…really well…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well done for combatting your metabolism situation and still maintaining your fitness. But honestly I think tough love and shame are two different things. Shaming Is never the answer. We all do things we shouldn’t, but obesity is just a more visible problem.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree with you on tough love and shaming issue..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well put. I hope more people realize your point regarding Tough Love vs. Shame after reading this article.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You have successfully achieved a state of health that most people never accomplish. You should be very proud of yourself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe so I did….thanks for your kind words..your posts have been very helpful too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. *pls note: metabolism not metabot*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Superb Post!
    I would like to reblog if Possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on The worlds biggest fridge magnet and commented:
    I don’t think I need add anything to the content of this message.
    I have been banging its drum for many a post now.
    Very well written so please do give a chance. I have never reblogged before but really feel this sums up a great deal of how Obesity is more than just a weight problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for inspiring me to write this article and sharing it with your readers. Bullying (whether children or adults) is never acceptable behavior. Supporting each other unites us and makes everyone’s lives better. This is the road that leads to positive changes.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Here Here!!
        Well said Doc.
        Thank you for letting me reblog.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That card is atrocious! That is not tough love; that’s demeaning and yes, sadistic.

    You’ve always been respectful in regards to encouraging readers to be healthy, and that’s one of the reasons why I visit your blog regularly… well, it;s also cuz of your biceps… ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thank you for your compassion and sincerity, Jonathan. We NEED more doctors like you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad and thankful you take your time to visit my blog site and appreciate all your thoughtful comments. You always find a way to slip humor into your messages which always puts a smile on my face. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wanted you to know I have switch my air supply to nitrogen. Having to find air machines to regularly refill my biceps was becoming annoying. Nitrogen is supposed to last much longer. Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. Stay healthy and happy. โค

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think there is a huge difference between tough love and simply being mean. I don’t think obese people need to be coddled, but I also would expect everyone to be treated with courtesy. The intention behind the words matters a lot and you can generally tell if someone’s heart is in the right place…or not.

    In real life, I’m very direct. If someone asks my opinion, I will give it. My friends know not to come to me for reinforcement, only if they want the truth. Even so, I’ve learned the value of tact and compassion over the years. You can deliver difficult messages in a positive way, it just takes more work.

    Question #1: do you personally consider obesity a disease? When I think of diseases, I think of things that people have little to no control over, not something like over-eating. I can see how it can be tied to emotions, but an actual disease? I’m not sure I agree with that even if insurance companies say so.

    Question #2: what’s this I’m reading about biceps?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tact and diplomacy also helps reduce defensive postures when seeking change. Learning to read the person searching for answers is an important skill to reduce wasted time and effort. Some people prefer direct confrontation; others require a gentler approach. Treating each individual person with courtesy and respect increases TRUST. Without trust, there is great resistance to change.

    Ans. to Question #1
    The answer is tricky. I do NOT consider it a disease like a bacterial infection. I DO consider it like a disease when comparing it to psychological disorders caused by hormonal imbalances. I DEFINITELY believe this condition left uncorrected manifests into a multitude of diseases.

    Ans. to Question #2
    It was a side compliment by a very kind person. One of my posts had a picture of my wife and me. She acknowledged I kept myself in good condition reinforcing the message that I practice what I preach. I was merely self effacing and joking by claiming that I use “air” (to pump up my arms) rather than exercise to stay in shape.

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  11. I agree Jonathan, shaming will never be part of helping those with obesity. Their self-esteem is already compromised. Acceptance, care and education are much more likely to encourage them towards good health. Great information as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine the level of pain a person must experience to potentially cause irreparable damage to another person’s psyche. Many do not realize the level of prejudice that exists. I hope this post makes people more empathetic and willing to offer kindness to those in need.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Galatians 6:7

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
    Over the years I’ve experienced how true this verse is. People that feel it necessary to shame and hurt others will eventually feel the same pain. I think we need to take our Grandparents advise…”You catch more bees with honey than vinegar”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said Frank. People will appreciate your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am very obese and ignorant people do aggravate me…I personally believe if people have not suffered with being obese they will NEVER truly understand our battle. Tough love from skinny people who believe they have stayed skinny as they get older never impressed me or anyone else who struggle with blubber…as for me I know my lack of movement every day is my problem…although I do believe some of us are more prone through genetics or metabolism and hormones to pack on the pounds….this is why I look like my mother who died when I was 7 years old and still became obese with an adoptive mother with a different lifestyle who remained 117 pounds most of her life. I believe the food we have on the shelves are of no help to people like me and the sedetary lifestyle we now have is also a contributor. I have yet to work with a doctor who was just kind and worked with me for my weight…they usually just point out the obvious and tell me “You are fat”…like I don”t look in the mirror everyday.I usually respond with awe until they realize I am making fun of them. I am neither lazy or miss work because I am fat. In fact the skinnier prettier chick in my office is at 20 days and counting. I refuse to get operated on as my last doctor suggested and dismissed him since fitting in with skinny people society does not interest me especially when all my test are normal and he was just treating me for an earrache. I have always held true and will continue to hold true regardless of my weight now or tomorrow that people who are mean to others are not worth the air they breathe and should be avoided at all cost to ensure you can continue to lead a wonderful life. Our time is short and your life should never be equated by how people judge your external self. Thanks for letting post my opinion..

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    1. I believe everyone is entitled to live the lifestyle of their choice as long as it does not impact the quality of anyone else. There are many reasons for weight management issues. Most of the time, genetics plays a smaller role than many realize. I have worked with my patients to achieve BETTER HEALTH; not get “skinny.” Blood chemistry is NOT a good indicator if a person is healthy because many important tests are not part of a standard blood chem profile. Waiting for disease to show up before lifestyle changes are attempted proves futile in many cases. Knowing what to do is an important first step; implementation is the difficult second step. I hope you consider modifying lifestyle to improve your own quality. If you have any questions and want to discuss realistic option, feel free to contact me. Wishing you good health and much happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do my best and have a wealth of happiness and open mindedness to anyone offering their advice and opinions…so feel free at any time to send any realistic tips or recommendations or tips you might have at ikneeta@yahoo.com…the only thing I don’t subscribe too are pills or shakes or protein or anything that would line someones pockets to make me healthy. I want to work with my body and environment to help myself.Much happiness and health to you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The good news is, I do not sell anything to anyone. I understand that profiting can potentially cause a conflict of interest. This should NOT be taken in anyway to diminish the value of people’s knowledge nor their entitlement to compensation for their services or products. My recommendations are provided without ANY secret motives. It is my attempt to offer thanks to a world that has given me so much in life.

          Like

  14. It’s about choices!

    Nice post

    Marcey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, it sure is disgraceful. There is always so much more that needs to be addressed in individuals with weight problems – the weight is usually only an outward manifestation of much larger issues. Thanks for spreading awareness and compassion here!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’re right. It’s a complicated issue that involves multiple components to achieve long term change.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So well said…my heart really broke when I read out friends post, he was so upset and appalled with this, I actually was concerned about his mental health….I have come across these kinds of radicals before and I just smile and move on knowing they are the percentage of people that are really in need of help, not me so much….its sad and a disgrace the way some people view others, and then have no dignity or respect for their fellow mankind…..I am not sure but I think its a type of phobia they have…its just sad……I don’t let this kind of crap, for no better word…get under my skin…great post….thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  18. In a world crying out in anger and fear and spiraling out of control, rhetoric spoken with intent merely to cause further degradation of another human being must be recognized as unacceptable behavior. Their success is based on an emotional response from the rest of the world. Walk away from these people with an impervious attitude and witness their destructive purpose in life implode. An apathetic response to these useless individuals is the kryptonite that weakens them. Without hatred, they are forced to crawl back into the crevices in life they emerged from and live out their eternity in “darkness.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You have tackled a sensitive subject. Destructive chriticism never helps in anything. Shaming is an extension of bullying. I would guess most people with an obesity problem would fall further into the hole of thier bad habits if we try to shame them into changing. I realize the error of my ways when raising my daughter, and I constantly reassure her it is my fault. But now, I tell her she is a yound adult and she needs to take a proactive role in her diet. I try to be supportive and always search for positive messages. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some people mistake “tough love” with “destructive criticism.” Each person is unique, therefore each person needs a personal approach that fits their personality to maximize a positive end result. I believe one of the biggest mistakes we make is focusing on weight management. This is merely the end result of a bigger problem (that typically goes unidentified and unaddressed.)

      We need to realize the problem has MANY different components. It is NOT simply based on too many calories in. The emotional component rarely receives the attention it requires to promote LONG TERM FIXES.

      Regardless, shaming is not a viable solution.

      If you ever need an outside voice to offer encouraging words to help shape new thoughts on approaching better health with the END RESULT leading to weight alterations, feel free to have your daughter contact me. I will gladly provide my phone number or skype address to make the experience (talking with a stranger) a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. You moistened my eyes with this reply. Thanks. I hope you continue to post more articles onthe subject.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. You can’t truly understand someone unless you walk a mile in their shoes. I was 200 lbs and have a chronic mental illness. Now I am slim but I still have a mental illness which is at the root of my eating disorder (too much, too obsessive, too little). I had absolutely no ability to control my eating when obese and when I looked in the mirror I thought I looked okay. It was very hard to lose weight and to maintain it. As a society we are disgusted by what we perceive to be just bad habits (alcoholism, obesity, smoking) but the reasons for addiction are very complex. You can be kind while being honest – “I think you would feel better if you lost weight”, for example. Great post(s).

    Like

    1. Wonderful IMPORTANT comment. The average person can not possibly comprehend the multitude of factors causing and interfering with weight management issues. Mental health is not commonly discussed as a causative factor, yet your words clearly identify the need to include this in the list of factors that need to be addressed.

      Fear is one of the big reasons why some people are so callous. When people do not understand, defensive reflexes leash out and attack in an attempt to protect the aggressor. Those, however, that methodically plan destructive behavior are nothing more than leeches living off other people’s pain.

      Thank you for adding light to this important topic. I appreciate your willingness to partake and reveal your personal experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Curiously, looking better and being slim has given me the confidence to blog openly about my mental illness and weight issues. Terribly ironic and I wish I had the opportunity to receive better mental health care at an earlier age.

        Like

        1. Becoming healthier (with a side benefit of losing weight) has also helped empower yourself to realize a greater self worth. This creates the new level of confidence and willingness to speak out and help others. It becomes a wonderful positive cycle. This country (United States) continues to deny health care policy to improve the treatment of mental health. With all the shootings and court findings, we turn a partial blind eye to the realization of this issue and refuse to confront it head on. It’s obvious that financial benefits are more easily achieved with other health care issues. When will be believe that mankind is more valuable than currency?

          Like

          1. It astonished me when I moved here that there was no community health available for people with mental illness. I used to manage a project in Scotland for that very purpose. We had a telephone help-line and drop-in center where we could get people seeing doctors and into hospital quickly and prevent tragedies – usually to themselves with suicide. This method of health care is cheaper, too. Non-profits like ours are inexpensive and if you can get someone on decent medication it will cost a lot less than a hospitalization. Even Egypt, a third world country, has a basic health system…

            Liked by 1 person

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