Despite our strides in, and inclusion, weight stigma is still prevalent. It’s one of the forms of prejudice we continue to tolerate in our society. is the bias toward overweight people and their perceived moral failing.
We’ve all heard it before — “just lose weight.” As if there is only one ideal weight to strive for, and if you’re not reaching that goal, you’re just not doing it right. This mindset puts too much pressure on the scale and teaches people that weight loss is the key to self-worth. Weight-based discrimination is more than just whispers or side glances; there are tangible implications on a person’s health and treatment.
Weight is just another fact about a person’s body — like hair color or height. Why do we allow a number to hold so much significance for our well-being? And what would happen if we just didn’t?
Why fad diets continue to fail and always will
When people say, “just lose weight,” it’s condescending and often misinformed. The speaker assumes the person’s weight is a shortcoming that is fully under their control and needs to be corrected.
Many weight loss diets don’t work and sometimes result in more weight gain in the long term, especially if someone, stops and then starts over again. This happens for several reasons. First, when your body loses fat or muscle, it naturally produces more of the appetite hormone ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone.” So you’ll feel more hungry, making it more difficult to lose weight. Your metabolism also slows when you’re on calorie-restriction diets, which means you burn fewer calories.
I’m not saying that all diets are bad. However, there are many times diets become unrealistic standards that are either unachievable or unsustainable. Dieting will have varied success rates for everyone. Other factors, aside from food, may make it easier for some people to lose weight and harder for others.
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4 things affecting your weight that you can’t always control
Many people believe that how much someone weighs is completely within their control. But if that were the case, everyone would click their heels and have their ideal body. Things are going on in your body that can cause weight gain or make weight loss tough.
- Genetics: According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 50 genes that have implications for your weight. They can influence your appetite, metabolism and body-fat distribution. Studies suggest that genetics can also predispose someone to be overweight. One popular approach to body weight is set point theory, which states our bodies have a baseline weight range based on our DNA. And our bodies have biological controls that will keep us within this range. People naturally have different set points, which explains the diversity in body shapes and sizes.