Our society tends to “fat shame” and associate higher body weight with laziness. Maybe that is a cause of our thoughts that weight is as simple as calories in and calories out with no other involved factors. While, in theory, weight may be as simple as this equation sounds, there are many other factors to consider when trying to lose or maintain weight.

Food isn’t just something we consume for survival. It has become, for many of us, something we associate with emotion or something we actually enjoy doing. Some may over indulge on foods once in awhile, but those with emotional connections to food encounter a repeat struggle throughout the day…do I continue to eat even though I am full? Will this make me feel better? Will this take the stress away? Will this make me happier?

There are also other factors to also consider, such as genetics, ability to exercise, knowledge of nutritional and caloric food/beverage values.

At the end of the day, people’s weight isn’t up for others judgment. Like any other “not so nice” behavior “fat shaming” can be very destructive for children as well as adults. We are all humans and have feelings; it is important to remember that. Think of any person that is different than you as a member of your family. Would you want someone to be making fun of them? If not, (hopefully not) you should reconsider saying anything. Like my parents always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

“Better” ways to motivate overweight individuals is to focus on positive behaviors that will get them to their goals, including short-term goals that don’t focus on weight as well as letting the individual come up with their goals – long and short term. All these together will help the individual focus on lifestyle changes and take the focus off of weight, setting them up for success now and in the future. The scale is going to fluctuate, but that doesn’t mean your success or efforts have gone to waste.

For more thoughts on fat shaming, read Fat shaming and body criticism hurts us all (Northwestern Medill News. By Debra Lipson).

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