One of the most important issues facing weight management, bariatric, dietetic, endocrinology, special interest groups, and other provider groups and practices today is weight stigma. It’s important to update your resources, handouts, training, certifications and other materials to remove stigmatizing language in order to improve patient compliance and positively impact clients.
Here are ten ways to highlight weight stigma and use more inclusive language in your weight management:
1. There is no way to make “weight management” inclusive. The entire concept of weight management is based on a long racist and non-evidence-based history of forcing bodies into smaller shapes to their own detriment.
There is no need for the existence of weight management without weight bias and weight stigma, which are inherently racist concepts.
The foundation of your house is rotten and cannot be fixed with a fresh coat of paint.
2. In case you’ve ever wondered: You are the bad guy. Hurting and killing fat people is evil, and doing it for profit is despicable, no matter what kind of shallow body positive, inclusive or “weight neutral” language you slap on it.
3. You can stop being the bad guy by reading Fearing the Black Body and understanding the banner of hundreds of years of racism that you have taken up and are running with. 4. Then, disband your organization. Right now. No excuses. No more profit from harming and killing fat people.
5. After you do that, take your profits and give them back to the patients you hurt, to the people you made think their bodies and minds weren’t good enough, to the people you denied life-enhancing surgery and the relatives of the people who died from preventable conditions your diets and surgeries forced them into.
6. If you don’t have the gumption to do that, find non-profits related to fat justice and body liberation and donate your profits. NAAFA, The Body Is Not an Apology, NOLOSE and Black Lives Matter are good places to start.
7. Read the book Body Respect. Learn the actual science around fat bodies.
8. Make an honest public apology outlining the harm you’ve done, what you’re doing to fix it and how you plan to honor and appropriately care for fat people in any future healthcare work.
9. Go do something less violent with your life, something that doesn’t involve the racist, sexist, classist elimination of naturally-occurring fat populations.
10. Stop killing fat people.
Image description: Four fat people in summer clothing hold bathroom scales and playfully bite them.