Sunday, September 22, 2013

BEDA's National Weight Stigma Awareness Week

This week is BEDA's National Weight Stigma Awareness Week and I am beyond thrilled to be one the featured contributors for this event. 

The other night I showed this flyer to my dad and he didn't really understand what I meant by the word 'stigma.' Now that I have been writing about eating disorders and mental health on this blog and for Libero Network for about a year, I tend to assume everyone knows what the word stigma means, but clearly that isn't true.

According to the BEDA website, "Weight Stigma, also known as weightism, weight bias, and weight-based discrimination, is judgment or stereotyping based on one’s weight, shape and/or size. Weight stigma fuels behaviors and actions by individuals and organizations that include bullying, hate-speech, and exclusions that limit the ability of a person to gain employment, healthcare, and education."

Some people have a misconception that weight solely depends on an individual's self-discipline and ability to control their food intake. There are also several stereotypes that directly relate to body size; for example, automatically thinking an individual is lazy and inadequate based on their size.  Not only is this an external problem, but these beliefs can also be internalized creating poor body image and potentially eating disordered behaviors. What ever happened to being comfortable in our skin regardless of what size we are, and more importantly, not judging others based on their appearance?

 As a strong believer in body positivity and of course, as the creator of freespo, I think it's important to acknowledge the importance of Weight Stigma Awareness Week. My piece on weight stigma on a college campus will be published on Wednesday September 25th, so be sure to check it out!
(Check out the entire schedule for WSAW week here)

To be on the list of contributors for Weight Stigma Awareness Week is a huge honor. If you are anything like me and get excited about raising awareness for weight related stigmas then be sure to get your fill this week - I know I will!



  1. Congratulations - this is an important topic and it affects many many people out there. I think they are lucky to have you on the team!

  2. First of all -- HUGE congratulations yet again, Kelsi!! You must feel honoursed, but at the same time, I hope that you realize that you are more than deserving of being a contributer. I love your writing and believe that you have a humble, yet clear and focused and real view of what's really going on, both within yourself and in the world in general. I can't wait to read what you've put forward.

    On the topic of weight stigma ... It's easy to judge. It's easy to make remarks about how others look -- whether they're large or small, tall or short, old or young, beautiful or with some kind of congenital defect. What isn't easy is stepping into the shoes of the person being judged and feeling how your words will make them feel. No one should be made to feel abnormal because of their size. No one should have to hide themselves under clothes or be afraid to leave their house for fear of comments or criticism. They are people, human beings.

    In my line of work, we deal with patients of all kinds, and we're expected to treat them all the same -- with kindness and respect. Whether they're completely healthy, or have hepatitis or HIV, or if they're overweight, or if they're underweight, or if they're of lower social class, or if they're of a minority race, or if they don't speak English. I don't understand why, for some people in our society, it's difficult to do so. To understand that no matter what someone looks like or what characteristics they have -- THEY ARE PEOPLE. People worthy of love and respect and people who do not deserve to be ridiculed or treated unfairly.

    I think this is a fabulous project because our world seems to be lacking in understanding a lot of the time. Many barriers need to be broken down. I'm looking forward to following the literature this week to raise awareness and to help in any way I can. :)

    1. Totally agree with you, Chels. We live in a very sick society and I often wonder where all of the respect has gone. It's sad to think we even need to have this project, but at the same time,I'm so glad we do! Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it! <3

  3. OMG! I feel like I now know a celebrity in person!!! Congratulations! As I am always surrounded by overeaters for my recovery support(OA), I am so happy that you can see the broader spectrum of eating issues and you are just moving on and on! Am I overreacting? Maybe... Weight is nothing to do with one's ability to do anything in life. Just to remind the others, our national sport is "sumo", and they are huge because that's what they have to become. And, they are extremely flexible and not lazy at all. LOL. I am overjoyed for this news.... xoxo & <3

    1. Hahaha you make me laugh, Kyoko. Thank you! :) I'm excited to be looking at weight in a different light, as well. You are right, weight really doesn't have anything to do with who the person is on the inside. <3

  4. Wow! What a fantastic honor and opportunity! I am also excited to see the blessings that come from this event.