Fat shaming has become a prevalent part of our community both online and in person. Not only are individuals shaming others for their body image, but there are many who have begun using shame as a weight-loss tactic.
Those who use fat shaming in an attempt to motivate themselves or others to lose weight need to know that this harmful mindset will only make matters worse.
What Is Fat Shaming?
This term is pretty much self-explanatory. Fat shaming is causing others (or yourself) to feel ashamed of their body image. Just like other forms of bullying and harassment, this harsh behavior has the poisonous potential to damage an individual’s feeling of self-worth, confidence, and belonging.
Fat shaming occurs almost everywhere from all kinds of people: classmates at school, strangers online, coworkers in the workplace, family at home, and ironically enough, members at the gym.
Why Fat Shaming Is Ineffective
Upon recent examination, it has been concluded that fat shaming is scientifically proven to cause psychological damage that prevents victims from achieving their weight loss goals. Causing yourself to feel ashamed of your body image is proven to cripple your confidence and wreak havoc on your self-efficacy -- which is your belief in your own ability to accomplish unfamiliar or challenging tasks.
An enlightening study conducted by the Center for Advancing Health illuminates the harmful effects of a negative body image. In this study, more than 14,000 high school students were analyzed to determine the unnerving connection between BMI (body mass index) and suicide attempts. Researchers discovered that those who are overweight or simply believe that they are overweight run a greater risk of suicide than those with a positive body image.
Try This Instead!
If you have adopted this toxic behavior into your ideals of health and fitness, it’s time to flip the switch and turn toward more positive techniques that are much more effective. Use these methods to improve your state of mind and obtain your weight loss goals!
1. Keep it Simple
With so many different diet plans, weight-loss programs, and unreasonably complex exercise equipment, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the mess and become overwhelmed and frustrated with yourself. Prevent this by making your weight-loss journey a simple one. Skip the rigid and complicated meal plans and make simple dietary choices throughout the day instead. Don’t confuse yourself with wacky and extreme fitness routines; good old-fashioned cardio and muscle training will do just fine.
2. Enjoy Your Exercise
Whoever said that exercise had to be dreadful? If you force yourself to engage in a workout routine that you absolutely hate, you’re bound to saturate your efforts with negativity, which will overflow into your body image.
“Why can’t I just be thin?”
“I’m doing this for nothing.”
“Ugh, I have to work out.”
Sound familiar? Kick the stigma to the curb and start treating yourself to physical activities that you actually enjoy! Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, go for a bike ride in the canyon, sign up for a Zumba or yoga class, or play outside with your kids! As long as you enjoy it and it gets your heart pumping, any activity will do.
3. Be Nice to Yourself
The most important part of your weight loss journey is to be nice to yourself. Start speaking kindly to yourself when you look in the mirror. Focus on what you like about yourself, instead of criticizing what you don’t. Learn to tune out that poisonous voice in the back of your mind, and especially the negative voices of those around you.
No matter your body type, you deserve to feel comfortable in the skin you're in. Turn away from the fat-shaming and embark on a positive, healthy path to achieve your weight-loss goals.