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More Than a Number: Your Weight Does Not Define You

By: Brianna Theus, RDN, CDN, Registered Dietitian at The Renfrew Center of White Plains, NY

Posted on October 01, 2020

I am writing this as a thin, able-bodied, cisgender, black woman.

The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NACABM) defines Weight Stigma as the discrimination or stereotyping of individuals merely for the size of the body they inhabit. Weight stigma takes a mental toll. It can increase anxiety and depression, as well as potentially lead someone to turn towards dieting or bingeing as a "quick fix" or for comfort.

If you have been told your entire life that fat is "bad" and thin is "good," you may start to internalize it and develop a hatred towards your body. Social, cultural and media messaging often indicate that fat is not ideal—from diet ads, to plane seats not everyone can fit in, to a doctor prescribing weight loss when you went in for wrist pain.

Here is a reminder that your weight does not define you, and it is time to #EndWeightHate.
  1. Recognize body diversity is real. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and do not need to be changed or altered to fit societal ideals. Challenge the thoughts that come up about your own body or someone else's.

  2. Respect your body. You are so much more than your weight. Take time to consider all your body can do and start practicing body appreciation.

  3. Your weight is not determined by your willpower, and diets don't work. Your weight is determined by a variety of factors, including genetics, medications, stress, sleep, disordered eating, and more. Your body has a weight range it will fall into naturally, called your set point, and it will fight back when you try to control it.

  4. Set boundaries for yourself and others. Remind people your body is not a topic of conversation and, if you are comfortable doing so, educate them about weight stigma.

Brianna Theus, RDN, CDN, is a Registered Dietitian at The Renfrew Center of White Plains, NY. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Saint Joseph and her dietetic internship through Western Connecticut Health Network. She joined Renfrew in July 2019 to pursue her passion in helping others with their relationship to food and their bodies. Brianna loves working with the BIPOC community and helping them understand the intersection of race and eating disorders.
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