EVENTUALLY YOU SURRENDER
When Your Circle Gets Smaller
Not everyone that starts with you in your life will finish with you. We often hear this in life situations as
we transition from high school to college and college into the grown-up world. But this phrase is never
more apparent than when an individual changes their physical appearance.
As much as you may want to believe that your weight is indeed just about you and no one else, you are
sadly mistaken. People derive many courses of action when dealing with others they initially meet. The
first impression one gives to another tremendously impacts how they are treated in many complex
interactions. Women tend to be better at judging non-verbal behavior than men, but it may not be out of
knowledge but rather out of the repeated occurrence. Judgment is given and placed on women by both
sexes more often, and therefore the value set on appearance can often override other qualities.
Obesity bias occurs within healthcare, employment, community interaction, spiritual arenas, educational
endeavors and relationships with and without our knowledge. Studies have been done in marketing that
has shown an overweight individual serving you fast food will deter you from ordering large portions.
Their visual appearance makes one quickly assess their own and whether or not they should be eating so
much. This occurs in a matter of seconds of the interaction.
Still, others have sought out heavy set people for certain positions in a company while others need thinner
people for specific roles. Then there is the mighty beast of healthcare. The largest conglomerate of
individuals who should know better is commonly understood to be instigators of increasing one’s weight
instead of teaching tools to reduce obesity. Many overweight patients won’t even seek health care due to
the treatment and ridicule they receive at the physician’s office. Clearly, they are aware they are
overweight, and it’s impacting their future livelihood and life expectancy. However, repeating this
information in a derogatory fashion with a hope that creating a fear will convince them to diet is not a
solution. You can’t scare most overweight people to stop eating any more than you can scare the drug
addict from shooting up his or her arm. The problem(s) are not being addressed only the symptoms of
excessive food and lack of movement. As a healthcare professional you are just feeding your ego to think
that telling them what they already know is helpful. There are broader issues involved that may be out of
your expertise thus referring them to experienced professionals in the industry as well as mental health
professions is a step in the right direction. Ultimately, it is up to the patient to take the desired steps for
their self-care. But when the window of opportunity presents itself for a medical professional to respond
to the one seeking help, it should be respected.