Did you miss out on being the manager at your company because you were overweight? Did your boss hire a slimmer woman than you for an overseas visit to a client because of the baby fat after the birth of your newborn? This social stigma of not being accepted as being fat is proving to be a deadly health risk combination with chronic stress, a new study has shown.

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This is how the society responds to weight discrimination at places of work or in social circles. With many of us obsessed with the ‘size zero’ fad, some frequently resort to unhealthy weight loss programs, without realizing they are setting a very unhealthy example to the society and possibly upping their own health risk as well.

The findings of the study published in the journal called Annals of Behavioral Medicine have led researchers to believe that the weight loss programs and health campaigns conducted by public health authorities should focus on reducing the weight stigma than on the physical aspects of suffering from obesity and weight control.

The researchers focused on the data obtained from the approximately 1000 people who were reportedly discriminated for their weight,were made incompetent and inferior or called names, which reflected as a significant effect, Dr. Vadilevoo, lead researcher has exclaimed.

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The message the study is trying to give us is that one should be aware of how we treat people, as our behaviour can have a much higher negative impact than we imagine. The scientific paper also sheds light on the aspect of understanding and  sensitivity while dealing with obese people when we are developing public health campaigns.

Fat shaming begins as early as the recruitment process where overweight women are less preferred than those who are lean and slim for a particular job for which they both were equally qualified.

Weight gain in female job applicants is detrimental for future job prospects. Some think that body shaming a woman at work would help her to eat less and may be she would finally start to shed some weight to move up the promotion ladder, but the psychological damage  done is much worse. The effect of this stigma is detrimental to her self esteem.

Recruiters assume a slimmer female would help in the company’s growth as people associate a pretty employee with a good company subconsciously. This penchant of hiring a lean and slim woman shows the one sided notion of our society’s  perception of feminine beauty.

Vadiveloo conducted the study with Josiemer Mattei, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health using weight discrimination data from the long-term national study known as Midlife Development in the United States.

The research found that people who had experienced discrimination due to body weight over 10-years had 2 times higher risk of high allostatic load, a sum total dysfunction of various body systems owing to chronic stress. That stress leads to heart disease, inflammation, diabetes, and other chronic disorders, ultimately increasing the risk of death.

This research comes in time when weight and body shaming are all the rage today. Recently, Democratic party Presidential nominee Donald Trump was negatively criticized for calling former  Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado fat and calling her “Miss Piggy”.

Need a plan sorted out for quick weight loss for faster results? Well, here’s how you can get into a shape other than round.

But before doing that, face it. Skip those fad diets, their results won’t last long. Look out for healthier options that will help with weight loss gradually along with an elaborate exercise plan.

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Tips for weight loss:

  • Include more raw fruits and vegetables in diet, you will feel full sooner
  • Drink lots of water (read 8-10 glasses)
  • Keep all the foods you can’t resist away from your kitchen and fridge
  • Eat only from the plate, without looking at the refrigerator from the corner of your eye
  • Do not skip meals at any cost
  • Keep a food journal to keep track of what you have eaten all day
  • Avoid all fad diets, pills, and laxatives, they only end up depriving you of the nutrients you actually need.

Exercising for weight loss:

Move it! Maintaining a healthy exercise routine or doing regular 45-minute cardio activity is a must for weight loss. Later, you may add some strength training.

Author

General physician, MBBS,8+ years experience

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