After I lost weight, I not only lost about 25 inches off my waist and 150 pounds off my frame, but I also lost a best friend and gained a bunch of self confidence. Many things in my life changed after my drastic weight loss, and almost all of them were positive.
However, Fox News reported on a study that was recently published in the journal Obesity showed that the stigma of weight loss for formerly obese women may remain even after they lost weight. It seems that people have a continued negative perception of obese people even if they had lost weight and deemed them “less attractive” than both thin and obese people who had maintained their weight.
The study authors surmise that one reason for this persistent anti-obesity stigma may be because obesity is widely considered as a controllable problem. On the surface obesity is generally controllable. Of course there are medical conditions and medications that greatly contribute to weight gain, but for many people who struggle with their weight – the condition is something within their control. My obesity was because of choices that I made and my lack of control in many areas of my life, from choosing to eat huge quantities of fast food and sitting on the couch as much as I could. I still don’t like to admit that, because it is a hard reality for me to face.
It makes me sad and a little bit angry that there is still a stigma associated with people who have lost weight. I wonder if people in my life felt that I was still not very attractive after I lost weight or thought they did not really want to be around me because I used to be obese. I will never know for sure, but in my experience, it did seem as though people treated me better once I had lost weight – not worse.
Personally, I do not judge someone more harshly after they have lost weight, but instead admire them for their success and honestly wish them well.
The stigma of obesity still stays strong in today’s society, even though almost 70% of Americans struggle with their weight and are classified as either obese or overweight. When I was overweight I did feel very judged and heard a lot of comments about my obesity from children and adults alike. I know people now who do judge those who are overweight, but do not know if they would still judge those same people harshly even after they lost weight. I would hope not.
How do you feel about this study? Do you think that people still just obese people harshly after they lose weight? If you have lost weight before what has been your experience? Diane