Fat Shaming at Work
The whole world has gone mad! I was recently discussing the issue of health and wellness with a business owner. He told me that his company was doing great with their health and wellness programs. It occurred to me, knowing this individual, that he was significantly overweight. I thought to myself, I am not sure that your health and wellness is going great? Then I paused. I remembered a recent article that I had read about fat shaming.
I thought about the article, which accused physicians of fat shaming their patients and provided proof that being fat was not associated with illness or disease. I remember thinking what a complete lie! This is a perfect example of the trouble in health and wellness today.
On the one hand, no one and I mean non one has the right to pick on, ridicule, shame or put down anyone who is overweight or obese. Being overweight and obese is a very complicated health issue that requires a sincere and kind approach to correction, if it is desired by the patient or client.
On the other hand, anyone or any organization that says that being overweight or obese is NOT associated with health problems or chronic disease is OUT OF THEIR MIND. They are lying through their teeth. The only possible motivation that could explain an article like I read, in a major periodical mind you, is that they wanted click bait.
All of us have bias. This is the vantage point by which we see the World. Everyone has experiences, interactions, and history that influence their viewpoints. For those of us who struggle with weight, our history is often that of being shamed picked on or ridiculed. We often then feel insecure about our weight. While most of my life I have been thin, I put on some weight when my second daughter was born and I had a glimpse into this life, meeting relatives and others with criticism.
Our bias, unfortunately, dictates what we WANT to hear. This means that when a periodical publishes an article about how being overweight is not associated with any health problems, we all stand at attention. Deep down, I think most of us know that articles, like it, can’t be true.
Deep down, we all know that sugar, fat, processed foods, dairy, meat and salt are not good for us. We all justify our lifestyles with “everything in moderation.” But, for most of us, moderation is impossible, thus we become overweight. In large numbers, mind you! ¾ of US men are now overweight or obese. ⅔ of US women are now overweight or obese and ⅓ of US children are overweight or obese.
That’s a major problem folks. Fat shaming will NOT fix the problem, but lying about the problem by suggesting that weight is not a problem is flat out denial. This only fuels the problem further, as we then cling to lies to justify the problem in the first place.
We have to ALL agree that the epidemic of obesity and being overweight in this country is a true epidemic. Then, we have to start with love, acceptance and caring for each other. Some of us have the privilege of having a doctor who genuinely cares about our health and wellness, but most of us struggle to find that person. Doctors who don’t care will NOT fix the problem of weight for patients.
Doctors have to care about patients and patients have to care about themselves. It starts with self-love and spiritual connections. When we feel part of something greater than ourselves, when we identify our purpose in life as something more than us, then we can make sacrifices to find health. If we view our bodies as irreplaceable gifts and we see ourselves as participants in the spiritual web of life with others who are dependent on us, then we find the mindset necessary for achieving weight loss.
When we reach the point of self-love and spiritually connected, then we can make sacrifices with our diet, push ourselves hard with our physical activity and take the time to take inventory of our toxic exposures. This stuff takes time folks. There is no magic formulation. If it sounds too good to be true it ALWAYS is. I mean that. Diets don’t work. Supplements don’t work. Pills don’t work. Meal plans alone don’t work. The problem runs much deeper than what you eat. It’s in your hearts and minds. We have to get this part right first.
Back to the example of my business-owner friend. We have developed such a warped sense of health and wellness that we are out of touch with reality. We spend $8 billion on wellness in the workplace, yet less than 10% of the programs have shown any benefit at all. It’s become a line item on the accounting sheet. Employers that care would be beating down my door to find out why their programs aren’t working. Instead, even people I know are bragging about how well their programs are working.
The next time you are at work, look around. If people are overweight or obese, if they are stressed to high heaven, if they are unhappy, then they are sick. Whatever you do, don’t ever fat-shame, but we can’t act like this is ok. If your neighbor had a drinking problem, you would do what you could to help. If you neighbor had cancer, you would do what you could to help. Why is weight so different? We all need wellness that works. Ask yourself this, do the people in decision-making positions at your place of work care enough to make a change or is your health a line item on an accounting sheet?
Companies that understand that health and wellness are work are a worthy investment, even when the ROI isn’t there immediately, will not only get weight-loss at work, they will improve lives. They will have better job satisfaction. They will have improved energy. When we look at the missions of our organizations, we would be wise to understand that we don’t exist just to make money, but to provide value to the World and to each other.
My hope for workplace wellness is that someone reading this will make a change at their workplace or share it with someone who cares to make just one place of employment better for everyone. Let’s stop with the labels and the bias manipulation, let’s admit we have a problem and care enough to try and fix it.
If you are curious about the Doctor of Living philosophy, check out Find the Fruit in Your Life-A Complete Guide to Healthy Living, link below….