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The term fat-shaming may be trending in recent news, but the concept is not novel at all.  Fat-shaming is the idea of placing shame on a person based on weight or body shape.  Fat-shaming could take place at home, work, and school as well as via media.  It is linked to cyber and traditional bullying.  Many people, especially those who are dieting, battle with the psychological and physical impacts associated with fat-shaming and negative body image every day.  Here is what we know about this detrimental behavior:

Self-Confidence

Fat-shaming causes people to lose a lot of self-confidence.  They begin to believe and internalize the messages from people around them and the media – sometimes to the point of preventing them from making better choices.  Self-confidence is also associated with personal motivation, so if confidence is lacking, motivation may be lacking, too.

Negative Health Impacts

Because some people internalize fat-shaming, they tend to believe the stereotypes associated with certain body types.  This is called weight-basis internalization and may explain why people who believe negative messages about their bodies are at a greater risk for heart disease and diabetes than those with a positive body image.  Fat-shaming is also associated with increased stress levels, which may cause additional health issues.

Counteracting Fat-Shaming

The best way to counteract fat-shaming is to develop a positive body image and help others do the same.  This can be difficult when dieting.  Positive body image does not mean that you do not work for a healthier you but to be comfortable in your own skin.  It is also important that you do not perpetuate fat-shaming for the sake of people around you.

Goal Setting

If you feel that you are struggling with some of the negative effects of fat-shaming, develop a positive body image by saying positive things about yourself.  To kick start your motivation, be sure to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based (SMART) goals.  As you see yourself accomplishing goals that you set, it will help you stay motivated.  SMART goals can be applied to many aspects of your life, such as dieting, work, and exercise.

 

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