Why Fat Shaming Does Not Promote Healthy Habits
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Health and Wellness

Why Fat Shaming Does Not Promote Healthy Habits

It's more destructive than you might think.

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Why Fat Shaming Does Not Promote Healthy Habits
Berkeley Wellness

Society is evolving and generally becoming more accepting of everyone’s individuality. One area in which this is seen is body image as presented in the media. With growing weight minimums for models, changes in clothing advertisements, and even Barbie’s varying shaped dolls, body positivity is a movement that is quickly spreading. But as support for this movement increases so does opposition among those who believe that supporting specifically heavier body types is encouraging unhealthy lifestyles. It’s certainly okay to have differing opinions, but let’s get this clear: fat shaming does not promote healthy habits.

When you accuse someone of not taking care of themselves, when you stop someone on the street or message someone online to criticize their body shape, you are disregarding all possible contributing factors. Of course, there are many medical and mental health conditions that are linked to obesity. A body weight that fits society’s standards is often difficult to attain. It's sometimes out of the person’s control. Rather than shame, someone for their appearance, help raise money and awareness to treat these conditions.

Poverty is another culprit. We have all seen the price comparison of processed foods to natural foods. At the end of the day, poverty makes it nearly impossible for many to afford healthy meals. The decision is between having enough food to stay alive or healthier food that may not keep you fed. Use your energy to fight the corrupt food system, not to fight a person’s body image. Beyond these, there are countless other factors that may contribute to a person’s percentage of body fat, and it is no one’s job to make assumptions.

“We need to stop making excuses for fat people’s bad health,” some say. The word “fat” has become incredibly derogatory. Associating bad health with a person’s weight is ignorant thinking because this limits the definition of “health” solely to a person’s body shape. While there are many other contributing factors to a person’s physical health, there are many other segments of health entirely. If you praise yourself for calling others fat, believing it will motivate them to better their own health, you are mistaken. Fat shaming is often very far from encouraging, and when it does cause someone to lose weight, it is often for the wrong reasons. Listen: promoting physical health by fat-shaming is also promoting poor mental health. A fit body and a broken mind do not make a healthy person.

There is nothing wrong with promoting a healthy lifestyle, as long as you are promoting a healthy lifestyle in all areas. Despite popular belief, fat-shaming is never the option; regardless of what it does to physical health, it is incredibly dangerous to mental health. The body positivity movement isn’t promoting negative physical health; it’s promoting positive mental health regardless of a person’s state of physical health. Just remember that both mental and physical health are important to well-being.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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