392-Fatphobia: How I Handle It

by | May 27, 2024

Fatphobia: How I Handle It

Fatphobia: How I Handle It

In this powerful episode of the Feminist Wellbeing Podcast-It’s Beyond The Food, I share my personal journey with fatphobia and weight discrimination.

My Encounter with Fatphobia Began at 12

The Roots of Weight Stigma

At just 12 years old, I was directed to Weight Watchers by an adult. This marked the beginning of my experience with weight discrimination. I was shamed publicly for not losing weight at such a young age. Being ridiculed and singled out for my body size as a child was extremely damaging.

Living in Two Worlds: Dieting and Fatphobia

The Cycle of Weight Loss and Regain

Throughout my 20s and 30s, I lived in two worlds – dieting and weight regain. During periods of weight loss, I experienced temporary reprieve from fatphobia. Society treated me better when I was in a smaller body. But once I regained the weight, the harsh judgment and discrimination resurfaced. This cycle was mentally and emotionally exhausting.

The Toll of Internalized Oppression

Compliance as a Coping Mechanism

To protect myself from rejection, I adopted coping mechanisms like overworking and people-pleasing. I became the perfect employee and excelled academically to offset being judged for my size. This internalized oppression and constant need to compensate took a severe mental and emotional toll, eventually leading to burnout in my early 40s.

My Transformation: From Compliance to Body Liberation

Step 1: Setting Boundaries
The first step in my journey was setting firm boundaries. I avoided situations that could trigger weight stigma to give myself a much-needed mental and emotional break. This meant declining travel to avoid being mistreated on airplanes.

Step 2: Seeking Professional Help
Next, I invested in coaching to build the mental and emotional capacity to deal with fatphobia healthily. This additional cost and labor highlights an unfortunate reality – fat people must often pay more for services to be treated with basic human dignity.

Step 3: No More Compliance for Safety
Instead of complying to feel safe, I learned to create safety for myself through self-compassion and nervous system regulation techniques like breathing exercises.

Step 4: Changing Thoughts and Beliefs
With a solid foundation, I could change my thoughts about fatphobia’s impact on my life. I acknowledged its existence in society but decided how much power it would have over my personal experience.

Fatphobia: How I Handle It – Living Powerfully

Setting Boundaries with Healthcare Providers
Today, I proactively set boundaries with new healthcare providers to ensure respectful treatment. Before my first appointment, I outline my needs on paper. If the provider cannot comply, I leave and find a better fit. While frustrating, this extra labor allows me to access quality care.

Using My Fatness as a Catalyst for Change
I now use my fatness to provoke conversations and get hired for speaking engagements centered on body liberation. But this was only possible after the hard work of healing internalized fatphobia. I’m able to make a powerful impact by showing up wholly and visibly in my fat body.

What you’ll learn listening to this episode on fatphobia-how I handle it:

  • The harsh realities of weight stigma in society
  • How I overcame internalized fat-shaming
  • Practical steps to deal with fatphobia powerfully

Mentioned in the show:

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Podcast Stephanie Dodier

Welcome!

I’m Stephanie Dodier – Non-Diet Nutritionist and Coach. I help women fight diet culture by reshaping their mind not their body. I have been hosting a million downloads podcast- It’s Beyond The Food for over 8 years and created the Going Beyond The Food Method™️, which was born from my own journey with a 25 years dieting career  and has since grown into a global movement.

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