Some believe that making overweight people feel ashamed of their weight or eating habits may motivate them to get healthier. However, the truth is, people who are overweight become more vulnerable to illnesses. Fat shaming makes them feel terrible about themselves, causing them to eat more and gain more weight.
What Is Fat Shaming?
Fat shaming involves criticizing and harassing overweight people about their weight or eating habits making them feel ashamed of themselves.
The belief is that this may motivate people to eat less, exercise more and lose weight. In the majority of the cases, the people who fat-shame are slim and never had to struggle with a weight problem. Research shows that much of the discussion on obesity on social media involves fat shaming, which often turns into harassment, and cyberbullying especially against women. In fact, there are entire online communities where people gather to troll overweight people. However, stigma and discrimination against overweight people cause major psychological harm and worsen the problem.
What Causes Overweight People To Eat More?
Discrimination causes stress and negatively affects people. In the case of overweight individuals, this stress can drive them to eat more and gain more weight. They have less or no control over their eating habits. Fat shaming causes overweight people to eat more, consume more calories and gain more weight.
Harmful Effects On Obese People
The harmful effects of fat shaming go beyond increased weight gain — which is serious enough.
• Depression– People who are discriminated against due to weight are at a higher risk of depression and other mental issues.
• Eating disorders– Fat shaming is linked to an increased risk of eating disorders, such as binge eating.
• Reduced self-esteem– Fat shaming is linked to reduced self-esteem.
• Others– By causing stress, weight gain, increased cortisol levels, and mental problems, weight discrimination may raise your risk of various chronic diseases.
The Bottom Line
Weight discrimination — including fat shaming — leads to stress and causes overweight and obese people to eat more. This form of bullying may not only cause additional weight gain but is also linked to depression, eating disorders, reduced self-esteem, and an increased risk of various other mental and physical problems.