5 Things on Body Shaming

Body shaming is inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size. OR criticizing your own appearance, through a judgment or comparison to another person.

Body shaming can happen anywhere, to anyone, at anytime – media, family events, gym, workplace, school, or at our own house. It’s ubiquitous, sometimes more apparent than others. People may say things subconsciously with a good intention but regardless, it is demeaning, hurtful, and an issue we need to talk more about // raise more awareness //  put a stop to body shaming altogether! I was slightly overweight than most kids while growing up and I still remember comments from others about the way I looked or things I ate..Fast forward two decades, it is still ongoing although it is now on the opposite spectrum – “you probably eat only salad // do you even touch dessert?” I am sure you have experienced it yourself or may have  taken part in body shaming (knowing or unknowingly) – it happens more often than we realize. I am going share 5 Things on Body Shaming as I have learned as a person who’s been body shamed /// as a dietitian /// as someone who has body shamed others.





Body Shaming Is Not Only For Women : Despite the popular belief that body shaming affects only females (particularly overweight ) that is not always true. Everyone regardless of the age, gender, body shape/size gets affected by body shaming to a certain extent. We live in a society where thin or a certain size is constantly endorsed, people often do not think twice before commenting on someone who are naturally on the thin side. Comments such as ‘skin & bones’,  ‘like a stick’, ‘such a tiny thing’ are not acceptable either – it’s drawing unwanted attention to a person’s body shape/size. And, you don’t know the struggles they are going through. Men go through body shaming too as they are criticized for their lack of muscle, abs, not being able to grow a beard, too skinny, or fat. What breaks my heart the most is when children are body shamed by their parents, coaches, peers, siblings. Kids absorb everything they hear and see from their environment and media – so teaching kids to hate their bodies, judging others based on weight, or sending negative message about body image is NOT okay.

Body Shaming & Culture : Icome from a culture where people do not hesitate to comment about your weight, what’s on your plate, or the number of pimples on your face. Been there people. In many South East Asian culture – fair skin, long dark hair, and slender body type is favored for women and if you fail in one of those areas – prepare to be shamed. It sounds ridiculous but if you were chubby or dark-skin as a kid, they straight up give your nick name ‘fat’ or ‘dark skin’ in one’s native language. Not to mention, added mockery and comments from others on the street side, by teachers, and random strangers. Body shaming is prevalent is all culture; the way body shaming is channeled may vary but regardless it’s a huge issue. Most people including me shrug and say it’s in our culture or these people are not going to change. I need help on how to educate people twice your age without pissing them off that ‘they are body shaming’.

If You Can’t Be Supportive – Keep Quiet :  No matter what goal (s) you are working on, it is always helpful when you have a solid support from your loved ones – friends, families, and your significant other. This is again one of those things where people subconsciously hurt their loved ones without even realizing it..or people are just jerks making negative comments about other’s weight, body shape, size etc. Very recently (real reason what prompted me to write this post), I saw one of my friend’s husband post a body shaming related meme on her facebook. I didn’t find it funny at all instead it made me angry because how is that supportive or helpful to her in anyway?. I had a patient long time ago who gave up on her weight loss journey because her boyfriend was constantly mocking her, got upset when she ordered a salad (because why eat rabbit food for the same price when you can have burger + fries), and thought paying for the gym membership was such a waste of money. It infuriates me when people are so insensitive, unsupportive, and just plain scornful because they think their sarcastic comments will help others make changes.

Choice of Words Make a Difference : There is nothing more empowering than receiving compliments from other people but the way it is expressed can make a big difference. This is an area I struggle the most because I don’t want to offend anyone // make them feel like they didn’t look great before // draw attention to something unnecessarily. I think a lot of it depends on the relationship you have with that person because an aunt of mine was legit upset because in spite of her weight loss, no one complimented her…

Let’s Own It :  Even though the post is more geared towards body shaming by others –  body shaming ourselves is pretty common. We are our biggest critics – dissatisfied by our own body parts, comparing ourselves to others, and having a negative body image conversation in front of the mirror. A lot of it stems from allowing the media, society, or people to ridicule the way we look or set standards for how our bodies should look like. Things like makeup & photoshop has set an unrealistic expectations of flawless skin, perfect body but that’s only great on magazine covers and music videos. Let’s learn to love our body – Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it // Count your Blessings, not your Blemishes.

I’d love to hear your experience on body shaming? What are some ways to compliments others? How do you educate

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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