Banishing self-stigmatization is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves.
For people who are working on regaining control over food, internalized weight stigma can make recovery more difficult. Self-blame, shame and criticism on the basis of body shape and size is a hurtful behavior that has been taught to us.
Getting free from weight stigma is a critical aspect of food addiction recovery. Studies reveal that self-stigmatization creates a harmful barrier to getting proper support to regain control over food, and may also drive eating disorders. Research has revealed some of the major causes of weight stigma.
8 Drivers of weight stigma:
Research reveals that health awareness programs can reinforce weight bias. Programs that focus on body size and shape as a measure of success, reinforce self-stigma and drive negative self-image. Weight alone, as a measure of health, is a false paradigm. The solution is to find a support program that fills your head with positive self-thoughts, kindness and compassion. This drives self-acceptance and self-love which in-turn, fuel long-term control over food.
Research shows that the lack of public accommodation of all body shapes perpetuates self-stigma even after weight normalization. Airplanes, movie theatres and lecture auditorium seating are just a few ways that society does not easily accommodate people who are overweight. These demeaning situations leave people believing that if they could just change their body shape, they would fit into the world. Effective support programs must provide the necessary tools for positive reframing of self-worth and help build positive thoughts of self, that go beyond body size.
Studies show that overweight people who are around people who are considered “normal” weight have higher weight concerns. This is tied to cultural bias. People compare themselves on the basis of body shape. People with smaller bodies are often lauded or rewarded while overweight people are discriminated against, even in the workplace. This bias, coupled with the media’s glamorization of body shape, leads to unhealthy comparisons and deeper self-stigmatization.
Studies also reveal a negative bias by health professionals toward overweight patients. Condescending and cruel discrimination places blame on the patient for their health situation and leads to shame. Most health professionals simply lack training in food addiction and don’t have the necessary skills to assess, diagnose and treat severe food addiction. Ensure that your recovery support program includes helping you to develop the skills and confidence needed to speak to your health professionals in order to get the treatment you need.
A further study reveals that people who frequently exercise, are overtly demeaning and condescending to overweight people. It would appear that their own body obsession causes them to be more cruel to people who are overweight. Exposure to treatment, particularly prevalent in public fitness centers and workout groups, can further deepen self-stigmatization and create barriers to movement. Find a support program that helps you to develop a movement routine that protects you from the cruelty of others. One that builds your confidence to explore movement in places and spaces that you most enjoy and where you feel safe.
Studies also reveal that binge eating severity is related to the degree of disconnection and rejection that we’ve experienced. Find a program that emphasizes inclusion and belonging to heal the effects of rejection and teaches self-acceptance and self-kindness as an integral part of recovery.
Research reveals that overweight people are hurt by labels. Labels related to body shape and size lead to shame. Long-term recovery from self-stigmatization requires letting go of labels and reframing them.
Studies show that labelling children as ‘overweight’ predict weight gain. Be in a program that helps you to heal from the trauma of childhood labels. An effective support program also provides you with the language and tools to protect your own children from hurtful labels, while helping you to control food cues in your household, minimizing the risk of children becoming food addicted or overweight.
Understanding the causes of weight stigma and the sources of self-stigmatization is an important step in taking back control. Accepting that you were influenced into negative, false thinking by a cruel culture of weight stigma, allows us to escape the mental prison of self-stigmatization. The Addiction Reset Community provides support that is rooted in the scientific understanding of what drives self-stigmatization and how to recover from it.
“I am so thankful for Joan Ifland’s program. For the first time in my life, I have found a group that understands my relationship with unprocessed foods and even more importantly, has a solution. Joan’s expertise is astounding. She has such a welcoming nature and understands that each person is an individual coming from a different platform. Although I realize this is just the beginning of healing my compulsive overeating after 45 years of searching I am so thankful for the program."
I have struggled with low self-esteem since childhood. Long before I became overweight, I felt awkward and struggled to fit in. This definitely became worse as I gained weight in my early 30s. My self-esteem has plummeted further over the years. Could this be linked to the food itself? I have been addicted to sugar and processed food since childhood.
I am so sorry that this has been your experience over the years. Yes, scientific studies reveal that processed foods 'downregulate' the parts of the brain that make us feel good. We stop feeling good about anything, including ourselves. We often hear reports from our members in the Addiction Reset Community, who are recovering from addiction to sugar and processed foods, of improvements in their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Recent copies of Dr Joan Ifland's Blog:
Issue 01 | Issue 02 | Issue 03 | Issue 04 | Issue 05 | Issue 06 | Issue 07 | Issue 08 | Issue 09 | Issue 10 | Issue 11 | Issue 12 | Issue 13 | Issue 14 | Issue 15 | Issue 16 | Issue 17 | Issue 18 | Issue 19 | Issue 20 | Issue 21 | Issue 22 | Issue 23 | Issue 24 | Issue 25 | Issue 26 | Issue 27 | Issue 28 | Issue 29 | Issue 30 | Issue 31 | Issue 32 | Issue 33 | Issue 34 | Issue 35 | Issue 36 | Issue 37 | Issue 38