I am so sorry for anyone who has gone through being fat-shamed by an ignorant, prejudiced doctor. I am sorry for all of us because we need to deal with other people who think they have the right to shame and blame people for the weight of their bodies.
But, I am particularly disgusted with doctors who make claims about us claiming we need to lose weight when unbiased research shows that this is virtually impossible for 95-98% of the population. Furthermore, when research shows that yo-yo-ing up and down is even worse for your health if a doctor tells you to lose weight, they are essentially practicing MALPRACTICE!
Be Assertive When You Are Fat-Shamed by a Doctor
There are two emotions that cancel each other out:
You cannot be sad and angry at the same time.
Instead of being sad from dealing with this uneducated and misinformed doctor and those like him/her, we must SPEAK UP assertively. I'm not saying that you have to scream at your doctor. The difference is between between aggressive and assertive.
There is no reason for you to be sad. You didn't willfully make yourself fat. And I am willing to bet that you have tried repeatedly to lose weight. But although you undoubtably don't want to believe this, maintaining weight loss is virtually impossible for 95 to 98 percent of the population. And it's NOT because you have a character flaw or are undisciplined. It's absolutely your body's natural reaction to starving from dieting!
Empower The Anti-Fat Movement
We can’t wait for a change in society to come without our own contribution to the movement! Speak up, and be assertive with your doctor! That means challenging their inaccurate and counterfactual assumptions, and prejudiced remarks. It means that fat people need to become activists and insist that doctors’ offices have larger blood pressure cuffs and chairs. It means reporting doctors whose behavior does not meet even basic standards of civility. You may need to turn on your phone’s voice recorder when you visit your physician as evidence.
You can't expect others to do what you are not willing or able to do! That's why it's important to become assertive. It will not only help you with your doctor, but with your "friends" and "family" who fat-shame you. It will help you shut down people who ask you: "Should you be eating that?" or say, "You are so pretty, and you'd look so much better if you just lost some weight".
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Teach Your Doctor
I encourage all fat or heavier people who have suffered from doctors to do a few things that will help you become more assertive and make doctors aware of their misinformation. Have a print out of the research that shows that being over a certain size is NOT unhealthy with legitimate medical citations that you leave with the doctor. Health at Every Size by Lindo Bacon, and her newest book, Body Respect, is chocked full of information that you can print out.
Here are a choice of two pdf copies that explain HAES philosophy to bring to your doctor's office. From Lindo Bacon. From Mosaic Comprehensive Care. Read them, make sure you agree and bring them to your doctor to leave with them.
Christy Harrison has written a great book, Anti-Diet that will educate you about the history of how the view of fat people has changed. She also gives a wealth of information about how dieting actually sabotages your ability to maintain your weight loss.
Don't Be Sad- Get MAD!
Do not stand by sadly and silently. Let the doctor know that you intend to report them for their unprofessional behavior. Post reviews of these types of physicians and medical professionals who act and speak inappropriately. There are many online sites for doctor reviews.
We must get empowered and stop enabling people who are mean-spirited and ignorant from fat-shaming, even if they are doctors.
You may not change others, but you will be changing yourself by speaking up. And hopefully, once you start practicing speaking up against fat-shaming and become assertive you won’t feel that you need a husband or another person to come with you to a doctor's appointment.
You will feel a lot better about yourself instead of standing silently by and accepting their words. It is empowering to advocate for yourself. And, you are also empowering a movement towards eradicating weight stigma in healthcare and everywhere else when you are assertive and speak-up to challenge meanspirited brutes. It begins with each one of us!