Personal Weight Bias: Irrational Reasoning

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Irrational Reasoning Despite that there are arguable reasons about why my personal weight bias could be rational, far more cases for the irrationality of this type of bias exist. Although physical appearance often determines the degree of perpetration of weight bias, people who look overweight regularly have healthy BMIs (O’Brien, Latner, Ebneter, & Hunter, 2013; Steenhuis et al., 2006). Women especially tend to overestimate their weight. In a study by Steenhuis et al. (2006), women who thought they were overweight actually averaged at a BMI of 23.7, which is still well within the healthy weight range of 18.5 to 25. Media’s portrayal of “healthy weight” promotes this inconsistency of perceived versus actual weight, even though women …show more content…

If fat cells in extreme excess can become a factor for the development of health problems, the most logical next step in my mind would be to get rid of it; however, weight is not nearly as controllable as I think it is. Media plays a large part in how society perceives the malleability of weight. With shows like “The Biggest Loser” and numerous commercials advertising fat loss strategies, weight is not only further stigmatized, but also made to look highly manageable (Black et al., 2014). When society buys in to this farce of controllability, society then tends to blame people who are overweight or obese for their own condition, labeling them as lazy, incompetent, and apathetic (Lee et al., 2014; Black et al., 2014). In actuality, weight encompasses combined genetic, biological, sociocultural, and sometimes emotional factors, and each factor differs in its level of tractability (Lee et al., 2014). For example, one person may be taking medication for a thyroid disorder, but struggle with a binge-eating disorder and live in a food desert. For this person, only one of these factors influential to overweight or obese weight, the thyroid disorder, is completely controllable with medication. Even without a binge-eating disorder, this person has to navigate a sociocultural environment that does not provide easily accessible healthy …show more content…

Honestly, I do not think it is enough to detachedly watch documentaries about people dealing with the consequences of weight bias; therefore, my final strategy to decimate my bias involves putting faces to actual people in my community who struggle with their weight. Based on information from Alperin et al. (2014), contact with people who are overweight or obese increased empathy and decreased bias in participants who originally pre-tested as having high weight biases. Hearing the stories of real people from my community would engage me personally and authentically in a way a documentary could not. Creating relationships with people who struggle with their weight would greatly foster and increase my empathy and sensitivity for people who are overweight or obese, thus hopefully lowering my bias (Alperin et al., 2014). If possible, I would like to sit in on meetings of Binge Eaters Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, or other groups that could potentially include members who are overweight or obese. Additionally, I have contemplated joining an eating disorder support group to encourage more healthy dialogue surrounding weight and body

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