Obesity and Health Care Bias

I'm a pretty even-keeled person. I try not to get into fights, I try to be constructive. But sometimes someone comes along that says som...

I'm a pretty even-keeled person. I try not to get into fights, I try to be constructive. But sometimes someone comes along that says something that I can't even reply to because it's so wrong.

Enter Facebook/The Internets.
I posted a status message on facebook:

FatGirl VsWorld Okay, what's it with people wanting "extreme weight loss" -- just a reminder that it's been proven time and time again that the slower you lose the weight (a la behavioral change) the more likely it is to stay off. Just sayin...

Which... if you know me, and have read my blog, you know I'm a proponent of healthy weight loss that is based not in gimmicks or fad diets, but maintainable behavioral change...

Then enter The Antagonist!
[Name Withheld] What does that [psychological issues] have to do with losing weight? If you stop eating unhealthy and exercise just a bit, you will lose weight. Unless you have a medical issue such as thyroid disease. I'm a nurse, I've seen all kinds. Mostly excuses and sob stories. Not trying to be rude or whatever, but it drives healthcare professionals crazy.

Excuussseeee me? 
You're a health care professional that things obesity is purely a physical problem?
How many people who read this blog would beg to differ?

Almost every and any person I know that's obese (not merely overweight) has some sort of psychological trauma (not just an issue, but a trauma) that they can connect to their obesity.  And if it's not a trauma, it's definitely a psychological issue (such as depression)

To me, that's kinda like her saying that all an anorexic needs to do is eat, all a bulimic needs to do is stop throwing up, all a cutter needs to do is stop cutting, and all a sociopath murder needs to do is stop killing.

I think Emily said it best:

As a soon to be healthcare professional, someone who lost 93 lbs and an honest person: most overweight people aren't so because they're happy. Robby is right. And even when you're not overweight anymore doesn't mean you won't struggle. It's repetition of habits that count in the long run. It's unfair to devalue someone else's struggle simply because its not yours and you can't identify with it. Everyone has their own, completely valid, issues and crosses to bear (some furrier than others).

But man... I'm pissed.  There's this nurse somewhere who will give second rate care to some obese patient because she thinks that it's only for lack of trying.  Her bedside manner is a punch in the face.

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23 comments

  1. Oh man.....

    Thank god us nurses are not all alike. ;-)

    That one apparently has never had a weight issue in her life and needs to update her education a bit! gurrrrr.... Thanks to whomever you are for giving nurses a bad name!

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  2. well i just inserted the relevant quote -- but apparently there are other quotes also relevant:

    http://www.facebook.com/fatgirlvsworld?v=wall&story_fbid=143611955664640

    The nurse: I honestly don't see the big deal with weight loss. I wanted to love 40lbs before my wedding last year. Picked the day I started, watched what I ate, walked 1 mile a day, and 3 months later I was 40 lbs down. Its been 8 months and I not longe "diet" and haven't gained an ounce back.

    The Nurse: because I had just had my 2nd daughter and I get gestational diabetes. Also, because I've lost 3 babies I am put on bedrest at 26 weeks. So I gain an average of 50 lbs while pregnant.

    The Nurse: Anyway...a thread of such people probably isn't a good place for hardcore honesty...so bye :)

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  3. Crazy. People who don't have problems (or don't think they do) never understand people who do. Many problems people have are psychological or because of chemical imbalances in the body. It's terrible that there are medical professionals that have such a lack of understanding.

    I wish people were less judgmental. I know I'm guilty of it sometimes, but there's never a good reason. Everyone's trying their best.

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  4. I wish people were less judgmental -- or rather, open to the possibility of being wrong.

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  5. FG - you just have to remind yourself that not everyone in the world is as intelligent as us!

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  6. Wow. Even my thoughts inside my head are a little speechless.

    Just stop eating unhealthy? What does that mean to a person that has never had a weight issue? I have friends that have never been heavy. They consider themselves "healthy" eaters, even though they may have grilled cheese, hot dogs, ice cream on a fairly regular basis. If I do those things, goodbye weight loss.

    I don't understand how someone could be so heartless. There are people in the world (myself included) whose lives and emotions are completely controlled by our struggle with weight. People who are extremely depressed; people who truly want to change. Making a statement like hers makes us all look completely insignificant and weak.

    And we aren't. :)

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  7. i would unfriend this person and not speak to them ever, ever again. i cannot BELIEVE that. who the F**K does she think she is?! really!? i totally agree with the bullemic person to eat. while we're at it, why don't we just tell alcoholics to put down the bottle? tell the people over at 1-800 Bets off they don't need their jobs anymore -- all the people have to do is quit gambling!

    while we're at it, let's just tell babies to quit crying.

    WTF.

    UNFRIEND UNFRIEND UNFRIEND and don't give this shit another thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [sorry for all of the french ;) ]

    xo

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  8. I don't even thing it's intelligence (even though we are brilliant)... it's about not making assumptions, having a little bit of sympathy if you can't have empathy. Emotional intelligence.

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  9. Lor -- you'll be happy to know that SHE unfriended ME.

    Amy Jo -- I really like what you said... I really do... We are not insignificant and week. Our potential just hasn't been tapped into yet. It's kinda how I hug my fat belly with love. It's the fuel that will keep me running longer than everyone else.

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  10. This makes me scream ( first great blog by the way just found you and will put you on my follow list...
    I have been judged that way.. once had a doc say to me.. do you realize you are overweight.. NO SHIT ? Was my first thought..ya sure.was my second thought. asshat...was my last thought about him... wishing you the very best on your journey...

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  11. What a sheltered, selfish person that nurse must be. It sounds like she lives in a world of black and white and is not seeing any shades of grey or colour for that matter. It also sounds like she is in the wrong profession. Maybe she should try some office type work, something that requires her to work in a tiny little cubicle that resembles the box that she came out of!

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  12. You know, for as upset as her comments make me -- i"m just going to try and throw out a lot of compassion in the world (1) for her patients and (2) for her children. Hopefully they don't suffer because of her ignorance.

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  13. while we're at it, let's just tell babies to quit crying.


    Oh my...that line just made me giggle, even though I'm mad enough to spit nails!

    People like this unkind, ill mannered nurse are better when ignored. Why waste your energy and spoil a perfectly good day fretting? Unfriend and walk away!

    You keep up your good work, and BTW, I totally forgot to tell you that the bridesmaid dress looks FABULOUS!!

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  14. Angela -- yeah, that line made me giggle as well!

    I am usually the type to walk away when I can clearly tell that I'm not on the same logical foundation as another person -- there will clearly be no meeting of the minds. HOWEVER, there are sometimes when I think it's right/responsible to speak out against ignorance. I'd hate to have one of my facebook friends read that and think that I condoned that opinion.

    and BTW, I think you just remembered :) thank you!

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  15. I had another look at this i still cant believe her attitude but then again it is the same one you get from a lot of people and scarily the health industry.
    New year 2008/09 i was diagnosed as having Sleep Apnea all was good did all the tests no worries i was excited but the Doc just turned around to me and handed me a leaflet and told me to loose weight and no treatment for the condition that was affecting me mentally and physically.
    I do something about my weight and i get abuse, i love cycling and i try and ride as much as possible last summer while riding i had several encounters with people throwing food from McDonald's at me from moving cars as i rode and even the hilarious occasion that 2 women? yelled across at me "OI FATTI"......they were stood outside a McDonald's about to go in and they needed to loose plenty too...Ignorance is not an excuse for what is a form of abuse people need to recognize and understand there is a person with a problem who is trying to overcome it and we need help to just say "loose weight" the weight is often just a symptom of another problem in many cases and one of many in my case. I just hope she does not do anyone any harm.

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  16. Simon -- I can't believe your doctor was so blasse about a life-threatening condition.

    As per the women throwing mcdonalds at you -- I would hunt them down and kick them where the sun don't shine. I am actually trying to have a friend design a logo that says "Go, Fatty, GO!" -- just b/c we're overweight doesn't mean we're unable, weak, or inconsequential.

    For 90% of obese people out there (not just the casually overweight) there will be no success in weight loss until the underlying cause is addressed. You're right hwen you say that the weight is a symptom of another problem.

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  17. It is not right but i am okay, i researched and spoke to others and now i manage it myself and i am doing well.
    We are not weak at all while over weight i competed a 60 mile mountain bike event and i have competed a 12 hour night race as part of a team my strength runs deep even now my personal doc cant believe the good shape i am in for my size.

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  18. Holy lack of punctuation there! Tee hee, Simon!

    Nice accomplishments there!

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  19. I'm actually dumbfounded by this ignorance. I never cease to be amazed by how someone else's mind can be so lacking of good judgement.

    -jafg

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  20. JAFG -- it's more than good judgment. Some people's minds and hearts lack compassion and lovingkindness.

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  21. WOw, that amazes that someone who went into a field to help people is so easily judgemental. What would her advice be for me, huh? I watch what I eat, comsume less calories, and do at least 30 minutes a day for almost a month. Guess what? No weight loss just loss in inches...so it comes down to case by case. I deal with alot of baggage I hide inside myself, it festers. I want to speak it out loud but it is so hurtful I cannot even fathom blogging about it on my own blog. I agree with you, that trauma starts the process. Mine was a series of rejections,self hate, and disrespecting who I was as a woman.

    My husband pushes me because he knows I am better when I exercise. I feel trapped in this body. I am trying to forgive my past but it is hard. The world is judgemental about our issues and problems.

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  22. Jessica -- you might not be able to blog about it online, but i beg of you to find a way to talk about it. A personal journal. A therapist. A trusted friend. Let it out of your body.

    I find that when the world is judgmental, to treat the world with compassion and forgiveness -- not because the world deserves it, but because it's what you need to do to heal.

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  23. You might not be able to blog about it but you can maybe write up a journal or record a short video everyday maybe. Upload the videos onto YouTube or something and you will get a lot of people in the same situation that would want to talk about it with you. Presto

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I'll do my very best to respond to it in a timely manner!
<3 Robby