From author and wellness personality Chrissy King, an exciting, genre-redefining narrative mix of memoir, inspiration, and activities and prompts, with timely messages about social and racial justice and how the world needs to move beyond body positivity to something even more exciting and revolutionary: body liberation.
The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by violent systems of oppression
Informed by the personal body stories of the hundreds of people they have worked with, Reclaiming Body Trust delineates an intersectional, social justice?orientated path to healing in three phases: The Rupture, The Reckoning, and The Reclamation. Throughout, readers will be anchored by the authors innovative and revolutionary Body Trust framework to discover a pathway out of a rigid, mechanistic way of thinking about the body and into a more authentic, sustainable way to occupy and nurture our bodies.
By the author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls and a heroine of the body image movement, an intimate, gutsy memoir about being a fat woman. A deeply personal take, Landwhale is a glimpse at life as a fat woman today, but it’s also a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture still treats fatness.
Fat Talk is a stirring, deeply researched, and groundbreaking book that will help parents learn to reckon with their own body biases, identify diet culture, and empower their kids to navigate this challenging landscape. Sole-Smith draws on her extensive reporting and interviews with dozens of parents and kids to offer a provocative new approach for thinking about food and bodies, and a way for us all to work toward a more weight-inclusive world.
Amanda Martinez Beck (she/her) is a fat activist, body image coach, & author of More of You: The Fat Girl’s Field Guide to the Modern World
Aubrey Gordon (she/her) is an author, columnist, and cohost of Maintenance Phase. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vox, Literary Hub, SELF, Health, Glamour and more. Her first book, What We Dont Talk About When We Talk About Fat was released in November 2020. Her second book, You Just Need to Lose Weight and 19 Other Myths About Fat People, is a New York Times and Indie bestseller.
In this book, Da-Shaun takes on desirability politics, the limitations of gender, the connection between anti-fatness and carcerality, and the incongruity of health and healthiness for the Black fat. Harrison viscerally and vividly illustrates the myriad harms of anti-fat anti-Blackness. They offer strategies for dismantling denial, unlearning the cultural programming that tells us fat is bad, and destroying the world as we know it, so the Black fat can inhabit a place not built on their subjugation.
The co-host of the Maintenance Phase podcast and creator of Your Fat Friend equips you with the facts to debunk common anti-fat myths and with tools to take action for fat justice
SJ (they/them) is a Coach, Consultant, And Soon To Be Social Worker Focused On Fat Liberation Based In Anti-Racism And Anti-Colonialism.
Virginia Sole-Smith (she/her) writes about diet culture, anti-fat bias, feminism and health. She is a journalist whose latest book is, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture
Shira Rose (she/her) is an eating disorder therapist, LCSW who operates from a fat positive + Health At Every Size framework
Nia Patterson (they/them) is a queer, fat body Liberation Coach, consultant, writer, speaker, activist, and author
Dr. Asher Larmie is a fat doctor campaigning for an end to medical weight stigma so that everyone can access fair and equal healthcare irrespective of the number on the scales.
Ragen Chastain (she/her) is a Speaker, Writer, Researcher, Board Certified Patient Advocate, ACE Certified Health Coach and Functional Fitness Specialist. She primarily writes about the intersections of weight science, weight stigma, health and healthcare at the WeightAndHealthcare substack
Navigating Weight & Scale-Neutral Conversations With Your Doctor by Sara Remus, MEDA Social Media Manager
While the concept of Health at Every Size (HAES) is slowly making its way into the medical field, finding HAES practitioners remains a struggle. While they do exist, they are still few and far between. That makes it all the more important to know how to advocate for yourself when moving through the health care system, especially as it is very likely that many of your providers will not be HAES informed. In Massachusetts, there are just 14 healthcare practitioners on the official HAES registry.
This doesn’t mean that your provider may not share HAES values. It does mean that you should be prepared to champion your needs when visiting your doctor, and that goes well beyond your physical health. We’ve compiled some tips to help you guide your interactions with your health care team to a place that is safe for your body and mental well-being. Read on for some ideas for having a weight and/or scale neutral conversation with your doctor.
If you have the opportunity to communicate with your provider through a digital platform, use it to start the conversation.
Many health care facilities use secure digital patient portals to schedule appointments, provide test results, and offer payment options. This can also be a great resource for setting expectations when you request an appointment with your provider. Usually, these programs will give you the ability to submit a note when requesting to see your doctor. You can disclose as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. This is an example of how you could potentially make the request:
“Hello, I’m looking for an appointment to be seen for (insert issue and any details here). Please add a note in my request that I would like for this appointment to not involve any discussions around weight, and would prefer to not be weighed. If I must be weighed, due to something like medication whose dose is weight dependent, I request that the nurse and doctor allow me to be weighed with my back to the scale and not share any of my weight information with me.”
If you are comfortable doing so, you can share that you are recovering from an eating disorder, and that these sorts of conversations and having information about your weight tends to be triggering and not helpful in your recovery process. However, you are certainly not obligated to provide this information!
If there is not a patient portal available for communicating with your doctor’s office, you can also offer this information over the phone. If you’re not comfy doing so, you could also draft a hand-written or typed note that you can fax to the office ahead of time or hand deliver to any medical personnel when you arrive for your first appointment. You might find it handy to keep several copies of this note in your wallet or bag, so that you can hand it to a provider in a pinch. If, for example, should you end up in an emergency or last-minute situation where there isn’t time for the conversation to be had ahead of time.
If you have a behavioral health provider, ask them for help.
If you have a counselor, therapist, or social worker that is helping you through your recovery, ask them for advice in navigating your specific needs with a medical doctor. In many cases, your behavioral health provider will be happy to communicate with your doctor directly, with your written permission to do so. These communications typically happen over the phone or hrough a secure platform. You can ask to see what is being communicated between your providers (or not!). Your counselor, therapist or social worker can handle discussions with your provider that you may not feel comfortable having.
If you feel you are being diagnosed incorrectly due to your size, be vocal.
It is a sad truth that some health care practitioners blame weight as the culprit for illness or injury before investigating and addressing other potential causes. We know that weight is usually not the cause of problems that typically lead us to visit our doctor.
If you feel that your doctor is attributing your pain or condition(s) to your weight, try asking them the following questions:
- “If weight were not a factor, how would you go about treating me?”
- “Would you give the same advice to someone who was in a thin body?”
- “It is important to me that we look at all the potential causes for why I am experiencing these symptoms. Can you think of any other causes aside from my weight?”
If they insist that the issue is weight related and refuse to talk to you about any other potential causes, you can request to see a different provider. Having these sorts of conversations with your doctor can be quite uncomfortable, so if you decide not to push back on your provider, walk away from this appointment without answers and go elsewhere, that is completely understandable. It is important to remember that you are entitled to look for other doctors. When looking for a new provider, make sure to ask if they’re willing to have a weight-neutral discussion.
Lastly, if you have ever worked with a specialist for an eating disorder, they can be a great resource in helping you find educated medical practitioners suited to provide you with quality care that doesn’t revolve around weight. You may also find that asking around in your recovery group is a great way to find a doctor you can trust. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If that sounds a little scary, remember that it’s OK to lean on others for support!
Fatphobia is probably something you’ve heard about but didn’t have a name for.
Written by Meagan Mullen, Clinician and Community Outreach Specialist
It is no secret that our society can be judgmental, competitive, and appearance-obsessed. So it’s no surprise that people in bigger bodies can be treated poorly. Most people are probably aware of the fact that being in a bigger body comes with a certain stigma, and having negative attitudes or thoughts about these people is called fatphobia. Similarly, weight stigma is stereotyping people based on their weight.
These types of thoughts and beliefs can often lead to chronic dieting, disordered eating, or full blown eating disorders!
There have been plenty of articles (here and here) that highlight the dangers of fatphobia (and weight stigma!) and showcase how present it is in our society, but what do we do to work against this type of discrimination and unhealthy belief?
There are a few steps we can take to address this issue, and they might be easier to achieve than you think.
1. Recognize your own bias.
Just like with any type of discrimination or unfair treatment, it’s important to be aware of our own biases. It can be hard to live in a society with such apparent judgments on appearance and not catch ourselves slipping up. In a way, we’ve been taught to think certain things that we hear from others, from the media, or even from parents, friends, and family. That being said, acknowledging our own biases is the first step in changing our thought patterns and beliefs.
2. Challenge fatphobic thoughts you have or words you use.
When you catch yourself saying things that might have a negative connotation in relation to someone’s weight or size, STOP! Be patient and kind to yourself as you work against these beliefs that have been ingrained in so many of us. Try using language that is more neutral like “bigger-bodied,” or just drop the body descriptors all together!
Research and engage with communities/resources online or in person to learn more about how toxic diet culture is! Not only will this information help to challenge some of your own biases, it will also provide you with the necessary language and information to educate/share with others.
4. Set boundaries with others in regards to their language.
If you hear someone else making comments that are fatphobic or degrading about someone’s weight or size, speak up! You can always try to educate others about the Health At Every Size® (HAES) movement, or you can simply tell people that commenting on appearance isn’t appropriate and can lead to negative body image and disordered eating. You can also talk with a trusted friend, adult, family member, or therapist to strategize ways to set these boundaries. My personal favorite: reminding people that there are more interesting things to talk about than someone’s body, diet, exercise, etc.
5. Advocate for and work towards body acceptance.
This is a lifelong goal! So many people are affected by negative body image, chronic dieting, and eating disorders. Helping others realize that a lot of what we’ve been taught about weight and size is false can continue the growth of body positivity.
While no single person can change the world alone, there are plenty of likeminded individuals who see the harm that fatphobia does. Working on these small steps in your own life can begin to change your thought patterns, beliefs, and might even improve your own body image!
Written by Monique Bellefleur, Ed.M, LMHC, MEDA Director of Community Education
I hear time and again from clients that they are afraid to go to the doctor’s office. I don’t blame them when I hear their stories: The doctor told them they were eligible for gastric bypass surgery (even though they had not asked about it and have an active eating disorder); They had a heart rate in the low 40’s and the doctor told them they were perfectly healthy (even though they had a BMI of 17 and an active eating disorder); They went to the doctor’s for a sinus infection and the doctor told them they need to lose weight. The list goes on…
However, it remains important to receive medical care. Although we wish the medical community understood more about eating disorders, we unfortunately have to learn to be our own best advocates until the medical community catches up.
Here are MEDA’s 5 tips for speaking to your doctor about their weight stigma and/or your eating disorder:
- Don’t be intimidated: Remember, doctors are just people who have gone to medical school. Yes, they have spent years studying the human body, but that does not mean that they are perfect, all-knowing beings. Even though eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (Smink et al, 2012), a 2014 national survey found that out of 637 internal medicine, pediatric, family medicine, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry programs, 514 did not offer any scheduled or elective rotations for eating disorders (Mahr et al, 2015).
- Use your Voice: Doctors are often overbooked, overworked, and rushing to the next appointment. We all know the overwhelming feeling that comes from listening to your doctor rapidly firing off questions while simultaneously directing you to stick out your tongue, say “ahh”, take deep breaths, cough three times, undress, redress, on and on. It may seem impolite to interrupt this process to ask your own questions, but you deserve to be heard, especially when it comes to your health. Speak up and express your questions and concerns about your care and your body until you feel satisfied with the information you have received. It is not your fault that you have an eating disorder. It is a serious mental illness that deserves appropriate care, and you may need to be very upfront with your doctors regarding your ED. Learning to use your voice is an important part of eating disorder recovery- think of it as an opportunity to practice.
- Confidence is Key: It’s a natural response to respect a person of authority’s opinion, but you are the expert on yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, let the doctor know, including when you feel dismissed. For example, if not seeing your weight is helpful for your recovery, tell the doctor and medical staff directly. If they happen to let that information slip (which seems to happen frequently!), bring it to their attention. If you feel like your doctor is dismissing your condition due to your body size or eating disorder diagnosis, tell them. Doctors take the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”. It may be uncomfortable, but if their comment or behavior harmed you, you can let them know. By educating your doctor on how they made you feel, you may be saving another patient from a similar experience.
- Come Prepared: Have you created a plan with your treatment team for how you will handle your doctor’s appointments? Have you done research of your own on a suspected condition? Bring this information with you. Write your questions and symptoms down in advance. Bring along a friend or loved one if you need support. When you are prepared, you will be less likely to panic and forget your questions. If you have literature to share with your doctor about eating disorders, weight stigma, or any other condition, share it with your doctor and express how important it is to you that they consider the information. They may not have had a chance to learn about these topics in their medical training.
- Connect them to MEDA: MEDA offers free trainings to the medical community on eating disorders and weight stigma. If you feel like your doctor could benefit from a training, connect them to MEDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-558-1881.
Resources to bring to your doctor’s office on eating disorders and weight stigma:
- MEDA Print out for Doctors: https://www.medainc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/MEDA_doctors_print_8.5-x-11-flat-PROD_11.2.17.pdf
- Ragen Chastain’s Health At Every Size Cards (these are awesome): https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/what-to-say-at-the-doctors-office/
- 9 Truth’s about Eating Disorders: https://www.medainc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Nine-Truths-about-Eating-Disorders.pdf
Mahr, F. , Farahmand, P. , Bixler, E. O., Domen, R. E., Moser, E. M., Nadeem, T. , Levine, R. L. and Halmi, K. A. (2015), A national survey of eating disorder training. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 48: 443-445. doi:10.1002/eat.22335
Smink, F. E., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H. W. (2012). Epidemiology of eating disorders: Incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports,14(4), 406-414.