As Bariatric Professionals, I think we can all agree that health and happiness is more than a number on scale.
Having a sense of inner peace, pride and self-worth, being loved, prized, earning the respect and approval of others, these are some of the basic human conditions inherent in happiness.
But by being “fat” in a hostile weightism culture, by default, you are not entitled to these inherent human conditions of happiness. Our cultural distain for obesity simply does not allow obese people to be happy.
This is the unspoken tormenting psychological burden that many/most patients endure and a very powerful motive for wanting to escape obesity.
Is our job merely to help them attain their aesthetic ideals so they could finally win the approval of the very same culture that created the social injustice of weightism? Isn’t it also our job to right the wrong of this injustice? If we are to be the professional and caring agents of change our focus requires attention to their happiness and wellbeing and not just their weight.
Obesity is a chronic condition and many patients (surgical or non-surgical), will not be able to permanently lose weight under our care. But by prizing patients at every size, what we can help them lose is the tormenting psychological burden of the injustice of weightism. Health and happiness in not a number on a scale.
Excerpts from: The Weight Of The Nation: Stigma- The Human Cost of Obesity