Weight Shaming is Such a Shame
By Lauren Cohen and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
There are a series of phrases out there so vile that I am embarrassed by the following sentence. They include; “thigh gap,” “food shaming,” “FUPA,” and “butterface.” These are just a few of the grotesque ways we have manipulated the English language to diminish the beauty of another person. A person. A person who is made of cells, and matter, and muscle, and fibers, and water, and feelings, and emotions, and self-hate. We don’t need your help to belittle ourselves—we do just fine on our own. But we don’t have to.
Weight shaming—or perhaps better described as body shaming—is something we all fall victim to. It’s easy to accidentally offend. When I was thirteen, gangly and tall with a rough case of acne, a woman pulled me aside while I was bathing suit shopping. I was in a bikini and she asked me, with a soft and serious tone, if I was eating enough and if I would like her to speak to my mother. I was horrified, confused, and virtually naked. I am sure she had good intentions; but I can still feel today that sensation of brutal exposure.
Body shaming is a real life nightmare. It feels like walking into to your high school cafeteria completely nude. The room falls silent and everyone laughs. I don’t need to explain it to you—no doubt you have felt it at one point or another. But… why?
It comes from all over. From our parents and our friends, from the media and from ourselves. As a society, we forget that people are built just the way they are built. Everybody is different and every body is different. Sometimes they’re small; sometimes they’re large. Sometimes busty or curvy or lean or petite. There are extremes, of course, and those often require nutrition intervention for both over and under nutrition. But for the majority of the population—we need to work on some serious body loving.
There is a theory out there—the set-point theory—arguing that individual bodies maintain a certain weight and frame for extended periods of time. If you think of your lifespan as a graph, this would be a plateau. Provided that the plateau is not in an extreme, I like the idea behind this theory. To me, it is a scientific way of asserting that your body is all your own.
Your body is very smart. Think about it. It knows how to take care of itself, when to ask you for more food, when to enforce more sleep, when to suggest an appealing exercise or crave a specific meal. Your body takes care of you—now it’s time for you to take care of your body. Give it some lovin’.
How do you show your body love? What can we do to help prevent body shaming?