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Fat for a Day

This post is the fourth and last installment of my blog series, WherePoundsandInchesHurttheMost. Follow these links to read thefirstsecond, andthird posts.
Since I am petite, it has not been an uncommon experience for large size clients of mine to be skeptical about my capacity to empathize with the daily disdain and disapproval that they endure. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to experience life at more than double my normal weight, I leapt at the chance. 
I had been an interviewee on Channel 3 News entitled “Fat and Forgotten” which documented the physical and emotional hardships of being a large sized citizen. Many of my patients and members of NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) were featured. A seamstress from Hartford Stage Company was commissioned to make a realistically proportioned “fat suit” which was worn by reporter Barbara Pinto with clothing from Lane Bryant. Since she only went undercover for one day, her experiences were not …
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How a Beholder’s Eyes Have Changed Through the Years

This post is the third one in my blog series, Where Pounds and Inches Hurt the Most. Follow these links to read the first post and second post
Psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair points out the defining virtue for women in the 1950’s was to remain virginal until married, whereas in recent years it is to be thin. Columnist Ellen Goodman has noted that dieting is perhaps the most popular female “sport”. Ninety percent of dieters are females who typically associate beauty, success, personal happiness, and self-worth with thinness. The belief that “you are what you eat” has become a reflection of the new morality. 
We have lost sight of the fact that beauty standards are both culturally and temporally relative. A very large woman recently vacationed in the Caribbean with her average weighted friend. Much to her amazement, she was constantly pursued by the mature men, while her friend was virtually ignored. 
In the Time Travel Diet, author Jennifer Shute chronicles temporal relativity: “L…

How a Large Self-Image Leads to Low Self-Esteem

This post is the second post on my blog series, Where Pounds and Inches Hurt the Most. Read the first post here.
A middle-aged woman sits in my office. She is a successful professional, a mother of three, and has struggled with weight issues since childhood. She recalls being labeled the class “cootie” in fourth grade. Her face is pained, her suffering palpable. Time has not worked its predicted wonders in diminishing the hurt. 
Adults who were fat as children often continue to “feel fat” even when they have no been in years. A “phantom fat”phenomenon may persist due to wounds that have never healed. Writes attorney, Jennifer Coleman, “I finally realized it didn’t matter what I did. I was and always would be the object of sport, derision, antipathy, and hostility so long as I stayed in my body. I immediately signed up for a body transplant, I’m still waiting for a donor.”
It is no coincidence that although there are no gender differences in depression rates among boys an…

Where Pounds and Inches Hurt the Most

Call it “weightism”, “lookism”, or just plain discrimination. The bias against the more “adiposity” challenged members of our society runs very deep and tends to leave them with lifetime scars far more pernicious than the potential medical risks associated with obesity. There’s evidence that obese individuals are denied educational opportunities, jobs, promotions, and housing because of their weight.
Disdain towards fat happens early in life. Both normal weight and overweight grade school children describe obese silhouettes as stupid, lazy, dirty, sloppy, mean, ugly, and sad. When presented with a choice between a friend who is handicapped, disfigured, or fat, the majority of children as young as three and four shun the fat child. Sadly, fat children do not differ from their peers in this regard. When asked by a researcher why he chose the fat child last, one little boy replied, “because he looks just like me!”
The New York Times reported a study conducted by Dr. Collee…