The day I learned of the blog carnival hosted by Voice in Recovery and sponsored by the Binge Eating Disorder Association, I found myself in an unique position. I learned I was being given the opportunity to design my new office. The first blog topic? Weight stigma.
I had wondered how many times I'd walked into a physician's office and seen chairs, medical equipment, gowns, and restrooms that didn't accommodate a variety of sizes. Too many. I'd also heard painful stories about lectures about weight when a person presented to the physician for a non-weight related complaint. A physician lecture (on weight) often occurs after patients have sat in an uncomfortable waiting room chair; had their blood pressure taken on the forearm due to lack of proper fitting cuffs whilst sitting in a gown 2 sizes too small. These are the people who visit the physician. Others choose to forego health examinations due to the indignities suffered. I have difficulty seeing this scenario as empowering and inspiring healthy choices, yet it happens.
All of this is part of weight stigma. It also includes the assumption that thinner automatically equates a healthier disease free state.
It will be my pleasure to provide a comfortable area for people. People see their physicians to share maladies and problems. Ideally, the visit shouldn't create problems due to logistics. An important part of addressing weight stigma involves empowering people to ask for their needs to be met. Stigma is also only powerful as long as people let it continue to exist. Let's watch our words and take care of each other.
Peace be with you.