Even though weight stigma is a year-round nemesis that never takes a day off, this week is specifically designated for Weight Stigma Awareness Week to shine a spotlight on the issues.
Creator of WSAW Chevese Turner and her team have brought together an amazing lineup of different speakers into a FREE online presentation series that starts today and has different sessions every day this week. Register for sessions and recordings at this link:
Not sure what weight stigma awareness is all about?
The simplest explanation is human rights. The right to exist without being bullied. The right to exist without being harassed, excluded, discriminated against. The right to clothing, housing, seating, medical care. The right to take medicine that has been tested for you AND the right not to be subjected to questionable or harmful treatments “for your own good.”
Would you want to live without even one of these rights?
No one should have to. Yet here we are in 2023, needing an awareness week to make these points.
Everyone reading this is aware of weight stigma, probably actively working to solve it. Like me, you’re probably shocked every time you realize that SO many smart, educated people (and by extension the institutions, practices and organizations they gatekeep) don’t think it’s a problem and therefore keep it going. They can come up with justifications all day long, and I know you’ve heard them all, but the bottom line is weight stigma is a human rights violation.
One of weight stigma’s toxic tactics is of course Bullshit Meaningless Information, AKA BMI. You already know it’s racist, passe, unsubstantiated by science, and medically unsound. You don’t use it as a proxy for health, a reason to do or deny surgery (I can’t make it make sense), or a reason to say someone “can’t” have an eating disorder. You don’t prescribe it as a solution for everything from ingrown toenails to depression.
What you may not know is a movement is afoot to stop the use of BMI (their classier word is “de-implement”) in schools and as an insurance metric. Ideas from brilliant minds are summarized here.
One way you can support the rejection of weight stigma is to submit a comment about your experiences with weight stigma in eating disorders to government regulators of health insurance.
When you type a comment at that link (https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/EBSA-2023-0010-0001), tell insurance regulators about how insurance denies your patients’ care because of their weight, and how mad you are about it. Mention that no other mental illness uses weight as a gauge.
No insurance reviewer says, “We can’t cover your OCD because your weight is fine,” or “Sorry, your depression isn’t covered because your BMI is normal.” Write about a specific patient that you’re still grieving about or write about how often this bullshittery occurs. Just remember that the portal closes on October 2nd, so write something now, or at least very soon.
You can also share this message – the more eyes who see this info and people who send their thoughts means the more insurance regulators know what needs to change.
Reminder: Eating Disorders Boot Camp is available for instant download any time.
Recent comment from a colleague: “I started this executive director position and wanted a boost in my eating disorder skills. Your Boot Camp was AMAZING. Now all the RDNs have taken it, we refer to it all the time.”
In need of more specific help? Losing sleep or ready to quit? I’m available most workdays by zoom or phone. Specialties are CEDS supervision and super-stressful, challenging situations. Day one RDNs to Supervisors. Click here for rates or email me at [email protected] and let’s schedule ASAP.
P.S. – Free continuing education listed below. And thank you for all that you do.
- Alaska Eating Disorder Alliance 4 session ECHO series
- Ethics and Boundaries: The Messiness, Difficulty and Dilemmas 9/26
- NEW: Let’s Talk about Eating Disorders in Racialized Communities
- Trauma and Self-harm 10/2-3
- Strategies for using trauma informed care when discussing weight in clinical practice 10/4
- Hiding in Plain Sight: Eating Disorders in Cis Males 10/5
- Underrepresented: Wisdom and Discussion with BIPOC ED Professionals 10/6
- ConnectED virtual Learning Day: An opportunity to learn from eating disorder thought leaders from across the nation 10/6
- Nutritional Healing Approaches for Substance Use, Trauma, Mental Health, and Eating Disorders 10/6
Please let me know if you have any upcoming free events to share. [email protected] or reply to this email. Jessica