It's time to uncover these myths and dismiss the ignorance.
Okay, I'm really sick of hearing people talk about, if so and so knew what she was doing to her health, she would just stop eating and start exercising, or why can't so and so stop eating, or so and so is setting such a bad example for her children. Let's set the record straight.
Here are the top ten stupid-ass things that I've heard people say (otherwise known as myths):
MYTH #1. Obese women should be educated on how to eat right.
Not true. In fact, because popular society is constantly reinforcing that being a women of size is undesirable, many women of size have a Ph.d knowledge of food, calories and exercise. When you are an obese woman, you are reminded of it constantly. Your doctors tell you that any ailment will be solved with exercise and proper diet, sometimes people yell shitty things at you in the street, friends try to be "helpful" by giving you pointers. Trust me, a woman who has been dealing with obesity knows more than her doctor does about nutrition so having information and knowledge about calories, carbs, fat, etc. isn't what she needs more of.
MYTH #2. Obese women should just get to the gym and exercise.
Totally lame. First off, there is such a thing as being fit and fat. In fact, the Health at Every Size movement tells us that it's okay to stop focusing on weight loss and let yourself be healthy first and foremost. Many women of size are fit and do exercise often. Why don't you see many fat people at the gym or out jogging? Gee I don't know, maybe some people don't like being stared at, or condescended to, "hey buddy good job, you're doing great...you go girl..." Not helpful.
MYTH #3. Obese women are "easy."
This is disgusting. I take a lot of issue with any woman no matter what her size being called easy or slutty or anything like that. I can't even go into why this misperception makes me so angry. A women of size won't just take any scraps she can get just because of her size. Why does that stupid idea persist? I don't know, but I want to go on record saying that a woman of size has as much discretion and intelligence as a skinny woman. Most women want to find a kind, loving partner to be with. And if a woman happens to have a one night stand with a d-bag (who hasn't?) the woman of size happens to stand out more. There are no statistics available that obese women have more promiscuous sex than smaller women.
MYTH #4. Obese women are setting terrible examples for their children.
Being self-hating, self-berating, and self-critical is setting a poor example for their children. She doesn't have to be obese to do that. Making an effort to love yourself and love your children and let your children see you love yourself is a great example. When you love yourself, you will take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself doesn't mean being skinny, it means eating lots of healthy food often and less healthy food in moderation and getting out into the fresh air and being kind to yourself both physically and psychologically.
MYTH #5. Obese women are very unhealthy.
Not true, in fact, women who are considered overweight (according to the BMI) with a BMI between 25-30 have the same relative risk of death as women who are in what's considered a "normal" BMI. You can't judge how healthy someone is by looking at them or weighing them. Blood tests, energy levels and quality of life is a better indicator or health.
MYTH #6. Obese women all binge eat.
Not true. The research says that 20% of obese folks suffer with Binge eating disorder, which means 80% of obese folks are not binge eating.
MYTH #7. Obese women have no willpower.
I'd venture to say that the opposite it true. As I said in myth #1, many women of size have been on multiple diets and willed themselves down over and over and over again. But as we know, restrictive diets don't work in the long term.
MYTH #8. Obese women have a low self esteem.
Lots of women have low self esteems, not because they are fat, but because we are constantly bombarded by a media that tells us we are not good enough. Being thin doesn't make a woman immune to low self-esteem and being larger doesn't make a woman more likely to have it. Self-esteem is an inside job. It's a practice of letting go of beliefs about yourself that the outside world has given you that tells you it's not okay to be you. You don't need to let go of weight to let go of beliefs.
MYTH #9. No one will marry an obese woman.
That’s just f**king stupid.
MYTH #10. Obese women should go on diets.
No one should go on a diet ever. 95% of people who go on diets will gain the weight back. In fact, many people who start out at a lower weight go on diets which then creates eating disorders and weight gain.
This article was originally published at http://bingeeatingtherapy.com/. Reprinted with permission from the author.