BEDA’s National Weight Stigma Awareness Week


Join us in supporting a cause that is very close to our hearts: the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) 3rd Annual Weight Stigma Awareness Week (WSAW) from September 23 – 27, 2013. WSAW attempts to increase awareness of the pervasiveness and destructive nature of weight stigma, and to provide effective strategies for combating it.

We are pleased to share an excerpt from Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt’s blog post for this outstanding event below. For full reading and to learn more about BEDA’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, please visit here. For more information about Wendy and Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please visit our website.

Let’s Define the Conflict We Are Faced with…

Our culture places significant importance on our appearance, and we experience pressure to be unnaturally thin. Low body fat is equated with “fit,” which is somehow then tied in with “better,” or maybe “more worthy” or more “in control.” Society tells us that dieting (defined as restricting our calorie intake, and ignoring inner cues) is the way to be thinner, fitter, and healthier. In fact, in our culture, hunger is viewed negatively; we pay money for drugs to suppress our appetite! We are bombarded with food and we don’t know what to do about it. The grocery store line says it all. On the right, there are the Cokes, Sprite, M and Ms, and other candies; and on the left, the airbrushed models with fake bodies and smiles that stare at us, leaving those who are vulnerable with a feeling of inadequacy and shame. The thinking is, “Somehow I will be better, do more, and be more lovable if I am thin.” So we diet and restrict. And our intentions are good.

The “war” on obesity is one of those situations where the concept, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions,’ comes to mind.

Binge eating disorder (BED) patients live in a culture which shames them on a daily basis (if they are among the 70% of BED patients who are labeled as a larger size, overweight, or obese). And the attack on the larger size person in our society places enormous pressure on those who happen to be bigger, to diet and to restrict their caloric intake. A quote a patient once told me she heard from a doctor was, “You are fat every day, so you should eat less every day, and exercise more every day.” This statement, (which sadly rings true of what the medical community and society tells heavier people each day), may be well-intentioned, but I would argue does not pass the test of “First do no harm.” It’s time to talk about it.

(c) Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD, FAED, CEDS,  All rights reserved.