When tennis star Marion Bartoli won the Wimbledon women’s singles title this year, she became the star of a story that was not the usual for a major sporting event. While celebrating her victory, she also had to deal with demeaning comments about her weight.
So how is her weight relevant at all to her success???
In today’s world, it doesn’t have to be. Because weight stigma – judgment or stereotyping based on a person’s weight, shape or size – is everywhere we turn. It riddles our professional lives, planting doubt within ourselves and others about our abilities. It haunts our personal lives, where we are often the biggest perpetrator of the problem for ourselves as we stay mired in body dissatisfaction based on the society-wide belief that beauty and worth is about how we look, and it’s contained in one size, one shape.
It’s past time for us all to wake up to the damage that weight stigma causes for everyone – not just those of us who live in larger bodies. Smaller people are affected, too, as they spend time worrying about not getting fat, which often leads them to behaviors that create ill health. And for all of us, it takes precious time and energy away from the important things in life – things that are meaningful, that contribute, that fulfill us.
Today marks the beginning of the third annual Weight Stigma Awareness Week (WSAW), sponsored by the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). BEDA founded this week in recognition of the central role that weight stigma plays in the genesis and maintenance of binge eating disorder (BED). In the last two years, we have seen recognition of weight stigma grow, as research increasingly validates its existence and the damage it causes. We are thrilled to hear the many voices that are beginning to speak up against the problem.
The stellar events and blog conference planned for this week will take you deep into the many faces of weight stigma, to help you understand how to help yourself and others – whether they be your loved ones or those you work to help in your professional roles – overcome the damaging effects of weight stigma. You’ll hear from some of the top names in the field – researchers, psychologists, authors, blogger opinion leaders, physicians – many of whom know weight stigma firsthand and have made it part of their professional missions to help end this socially-accepted prejudice.
A big thank you to all who have contributed to this week, especially Lizabeth Wesely-Casella, owner of BingeBehavior.com and BEDA volunteer extraordinaire. Without you, Lizabeth, WSAW ’13 would not be the tremendous event that it is this year. Thank you so much for your passion and devotion to helping people overcome binge eating disorder.
I also want to share the brief welcome to WSAW ‘13 video below, from our fearless leader Chevese Turner, founder, president and CEO of BEDA.
I am confident WSAW ’13 will make a real difference in the fight against weight stigma. And in doing that, we hope it will make a real difference in your life, too.
A heartfelt welcome,
Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD – Chair, Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2013
Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD, is president and co-owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women’s retreat in Vermont that pioneered the non-diet approach to health and healthy weights in 1973. For over four decades, Green Mountain has offered compassionate and effective treatment for women who binge eat. For almost 30 years at Green Mountain, Marsha has encouraged the practice of mindful eating as a way to move away from restricted notions of eating that get in the way of achieving and maintaining optimal health. Having recovered from binge eating herself over 30 years ago, Marsha is passionate about helping people find the joy in eating well, the pleasure in moving their bodies regularly, and the peace of living a life free of constant worry about eating and weight. Marsha speaks regularly to both lay and professional audiences, and is an accomplished writer, having written several books as well as articles for major magazines and professional publications. She sits on the boards of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and The Center for Mindful Eating. You can read more from her at Green Mountain’s blog A Weight Lifted or you can contact her through social media at @MarshaHudnall, on the Green Mountain Facebook Page and on Google+ .