Written by James Zervios, OAC VP/Chief Operating Officer

Recently, prominent singer and talk show host, Kelly Clarkson, admitted to taking medication to help with their weight, and the world lost its mind, again. It seems more and more these days the “admission” of taking medication to treat a serious chronic disease is met with backlash by anyone really. Whether it’s family, friends or fans, admitting that you are taking medication or utilizing another treatment option for your weight is a green light for criticism. My question is, “Why do we feel so comfortable as a society to criticize and ridicule someone for addressing their weight?”

Obesity is a disease. It’s something that should be diagnosed in a medical setting by a licensed healthcare provider. As such, it’s a private matter as well. With that said, it’s also one of the few conditions that is “visible” to the human eye, so we seem to feel more obligated to speculate, judge and, with the admission of treatment, shame someone for addressing their weight when we see a physical change. But again, why?

People with obesity have experienced shame, blame, bias and stigma in EVERY facet of life. Yes, every one of them. Education, employment, relationships, healthcare and MORE! And guess what! Now, we have a new one – shame for treatment. “You need to lose weight.” “Are you going to eat that?” These are just some of the inappropriate statements made on a daily basis to people living with obesity. And with today’s news of a singer admitting they utilized a medication for weight loss, we now see “I knew it!” “She lied to us!” “I figured she was on something.” Guess what, she didn’t do anything to you. She doesn’t owe you an explanation. She doesn’t have to justify why she made the decision to address her weight. Simply put, she just needs to do what’s best for her.

Obesity is a personal issue, and the ease in which judgement is conveyed today by social media and comment sections of news articles is toxic. We, as a society, need to rid ourselves of this inherent nature to judge someone for their weight, weight-loss, weight gain. Living with obesity is a journey filled with many ups and downs, and not just those depicted by a scale. Life events (both happy and sad), stress, joy and so much more can influence our health, even beyond our weight. It’s time we start prioritizing the downgrade of judgement, blame, shame and weight bias. Instead, let’s stop weight bias, and stop judging each other for our weight.