This is Thin Privilege

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Here are two for the moms

[tw: eating disorders]

1) I had surgery while pregnant and was given several days worth of antibiotics. My digestion was destroyed and food went right through me. In less than a week I lost 15lbs. I was 30 weeks pregnant which is when my baby was supposed to be rapidly gaining. Both my midwife and surgeon said it wasn’t a problem because I had so much extra weight anyway. Ignore the 6 bowel movements a day, I was fat and it’s always acceptable to lose lots of weight very quickly, even when pregnant.

2) Despite my best efforts, postpatum depression has crept in under the radar. Despite being in the fat acceptance community since 2005, I still struggle with hating myself. And after months of hardly eating, to the point I was having chest pains and dizzy spells, I still didn’t see anything wrong with it. I had energy, I wasn’t sullen, just overwhelmed with motherhood and financial problems. Then one day I wondered about the side effects of anorexia and if “they” (thin anorexics) experience the same symptoms as me. Then I saw almost all of the same exact signs and symptoms that I have, the things I’ve been doing for months and never even knew it. I didn’t believe anything was wrong with starving myself because I’m fat. As pounds came off, I was actually happy, despite all the harm it was doing. I’m supposed to be making milk for my baby, I’m supposed to be running around and enjoying my children, but all I could think about was the food I wasn’t eating and having to take more pills to force my body to make milk. And then I would get so hungry, and so emotional, I’d binge. I couldn’t have anorexia, I’m incredibly fat. If I were to have an eating disorder, it would be overeating, right? The binging, that was really my problem! No, I had somehow developed anorexia and didn’t even realize it, I didn’t even know how much I need help. A lot of my problem is that I refuse to ask for help, I don’t deserve help, I don’t deserve to eat food.

Thin privilege is having both medical professionals and yourself inherently understanding that you deserve to eat food and that sudden dramatic weight loss is a bad thing. Thin privilege is not having your baby’s life and wellbeing put at risk because of bias.

Thin privilege is getting the “at least you’re not fat as well” speech from doctors.

I’m a naturally thin person who suffers joint pain and stiffness as a result of developmental hip dysplaysia (DDH). For the past six months or so I have also been underweight as a result of another medical condition.

Every time I see a doctor about my hip pain I get a little speech about how it will all be OK because I don’t weigh much so it won’t get worse as quickly as it would in a larger person. (I have no idea if this is true or not, it’s just something I get told a lot. Even if it is true, weight loss would not fix the underlying issue and treatment would still be needed.) Of all the doctors I have seen since being diagnosed, all but one have mentioned my weight in this context.

I also hear similar things from other people with my condition. Every time I’ve spoken to someone else with DDH in person they have either commented on my weight, or mentioned that doctors have commented on their weight.

I hate to think how this would play out for someone who is considered to be “too large” by doctors. It’s taken me twelve years to get even the promise of treatment and I wasn’t asked to do anything difficult or impossible before other options were considered. Good luck to anyone who has been asked to lose weight as a “treatment” for DDH or related conditions. I hope you find a doctor who takes you seriously and doesn’t get hung up on weight loss.

[tw: abuse, fat phobia, eating disorder]

Thin privilege is being worried about if you have an eating disorder.

I never ate right, I eat maybe one meal a day and for two weeks, I didn’t eat. I lost twenty pounds. People congratulated me.

I had been malnourished, and I was weakened to the point of exhaustion when I walked to class.

Of course, it was assumed I was lazy. I’m was actually stronger than most of the student body. 

Not to mention my doctor telling me that I /had/ to lose weight.  She didn’t care about my state of health, she was “worried” about my “obesity.” I’m 180 and 5’3”.

The only person who mentioned that I should eat /more/  was my therapist.

Even the church I went to had people passively saying I should work out or do this or that.

I did.

That’s thin privilege.

I was talking to my university halls’ resident tutor (like a DA) yesterday and we were both talking about our weight since we both had insecurities about it (I’m short and about 140lb, I wouldn’t put her as more than 20lb bigger than me if that). She mentioned the last time she went to the doctor for a sports injury completely unrelated to her size and how he’d said to her “you’re not the thinnest patient I’ve had today” and “I can’t say this because you’re a woman and you’d get offended by it, but if you were a man I’d say you were fat”.

[TW: ED]

Thin privilege is being taken seriously at the doctor’s office after developing bulimia. 

At the age of sixteen, I was considered to be of average size(5’9, 185 lbs, size 12; technically overweight according to the BMI scale, which is flawed to begin with). At a check-up with my general doctor, my mother told her about how I had developed bulimia; she proceeded to advise me to change my diet and suggested that I try loosing weight in a healthy way. Never once did she take my ED seriously, simply because I wasn’t thin. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that bulimia affects men and women of all sizes. Long story short, several months went by; I lost a significant amount of weight and was diagnosed with anorexia by the same doctor who completely minimized my ED months prior.

Dancing again!

This is a healthism story with a fortunately happy ending. 

I’ve always been big, but over the past few years, pain has taken over my life and I’ve gotten even fatter.  A very large fat.

Every doctor I’d been to had been dismissive about my pain, and especially of the pain in my feet.  ”It’ll get better if you lose weight” is probably the most common result of a doctors visit for me.  ”How can I exercise when I hurt so much and feel so awful?” seems to puzzle doctors.  

I finally fired my GP last year, although it costs more to use anything but the clinic at my workplace, my new nurse practitioner is worth every penny to me. I finally got up the courage to ask about the pain after she’d been seeing me for more concrete things for a few months and she listened!  Last month, I got a referral to another rheumatologist and, guess what, I’ve had some kind of inflammatory arthritis for the past 5 years!  

I’ve been on prednisone now for about a week and, even though I’ve got bronchitis, I can’t help but to get up and dance around every so often on my feet that look like feet instead of swollen pink blobs.  I can walk to the bathroom without crying in agony! My hands also look more like what I remember with fingers instead of sausages and I can see my knuckles and open bottles, etc.!

I’m so happy, but I’m also angry at my old doctor for blaming everything on my weight and causing so much suffering.  I’ve still got plantar fasciitis and that probably is my weight, but it really doesn’t bother me much compared to whatever else was going on in my foot joints.  

I’ll go back next week for my official diagnoses, but all it took to make me feel better was this common drug.  They also tested me for some other common things and found out I was anemic and low vitamin D. 

This blog was the thing that gave me the energy to switch doctors, the courage to bring it up again with my new nurse practitioner and the confidence to feel that I deserved to be helped despite what others thought about my weight.  Thank you and this goofy nerd dance is for everyone else who shared stories about their doctors!

I was referred to a rheumatologist for a genetic condition, and when I arrived at my appointment the receptionist barely glanced at my chart and told me to go sit in waiting area C.  I went over and sat in the seating area she told me, and sat right under a sign that said “Dietician.”

Five minutes later a nurse came over from waiting area A and said, “There you are. Your doctor is over by waiting area A,” and showed me to the doctor’s office for my appointment.

The receptionist had taken one glance at me and assumed that I was there for the dietician, never even considering that I might be there for some reason other than losing weight.

Last year had a health issue that paralyzed one of my eyes. I was in hospital for a fortnight, and towards the end I was told I had to see a specialist who was a few towns over.
The hospital supplied transport, and I wasn’t told that I would be in a waiting room full of people for hours at a time, so I wore my hospital gown.

The opthamologist took one look at me and told me the only way to stop my illness was to lose weight. He suggested I lose 40+ kilos as quickly as possible (about 90 pounds), and that eating oranges and drinking green tea was the best way to do it. He lectured me about not eating anything with more than 10 grams of fat (per what? He never mentioned). All this was without even asking how I already ate. Then he gave me eye drops that made my eyes so blurry I couldn’t see at all- without telling me what they would do- and had me sit in a waiting room for 45 more minutes.

Thin privilege is not being lectured and abused by an eye doctor about your weight when you’re already afraid of going blind.

(p.s. I lost ZERO weight and my health has never been better.)

My S.O.

When I was in college I had to do a major paper on any topic I wished. Of all the topics available I picked weight bias in the healthcare industry. 

My paper and my research were impeccable. In fact I got an award for most thought provoking paper and classmates complimented me extensively.

The only reason this happened is because I’m a Damn toothpick. The only reason my paper and presentation were well received was because I’m small.

But I wrote the paper and did the presentation because of my husband. Because he weighed over 300 pounds. I wrote the paper because his self confidence is awful. I wrote the paper because his Damn boss made fun of his weight. I did the paper and presentation because he is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. 

He’s fantastic at his job. Received over 5 merit raises. He knows his department, he knows his employees. His area only runs at max efficiency because of him. 

His boss has no right. People have no right to make blanket misstatements about a person based on their weight.

Thanks for this. I hope to one day convince my husband to not be ashamed of himself. I know this blog helps me toward that goal.

Thin privilege is doing a research paper on weight bias and being taken seriously.

Thin privilege is having weight gain as a side effect of birth control taken seriously.

I’ve always been around 20 pounds overweight for my height/age. I started taking birth control and over the course of the first year being on it, I gained between 10-15 pounds. My diet and exercise routine was consistent throughout being on the pill so it was odd that I put on weight.

When speaking to my gynecologist about the weight gain and asking to be put on a different amount of hormones, she told me that it was VERY unlikely that I put on weight because of the birth control. She put the blame on me and said I didn’t exercise enough/ate too much.

My naturally skinny sister and I have the same gyno and I asked her to tell the gyno she had gained weight as well. The gyno immediately said that they could try a different pill in order to combat the weight gain. Because she was naturally thin, the gyno believed her on her claim of weight gain. But because I was already overweight to begin with, she assumed it was my fault that I had put on weight!

I kept putting on more weight over the next few months and had read online that birth control can cause cysts in both the ovaries and on the thyroid. A few ultrasounds later, a cyst was discovered on my thyroid. The cyst was so large that it was causing my thyroid to act abnormally which caused my weight gain. (The thyroid basically controls metabolism)

If my gyno had believed me initially, the problem could have been dealt with sooner. But because of my weight, I had to wait more than 10 months to find out what the real problem was. I stopped taking birth control, the cyst disappeared, and I’ve been slowly losing the nearly 25-30 pounds I put on from being on birth control for two years.

Thin privilege is being taken seriously when you claim you’ve gained weight from a medication.

DOCTORS ARE LITERALLY THE WORST.

Following a pregnancy scare I went to a doctor. It was an awful experience. The first five minutes was spent giving me the “protected sex” lecture and explaining that I may need to take a blood test. I agreed, I had been pretty dumb. What followed though was 45 minutes of him telling me to lose weight. I’ve always been a bit bigger and most of my weight is muscle, making me a pretty dense person. He told me things like, “I don’t even need to weigh you to know that you are at an unhealthy weight” and “Do you even excercize?” “You’re obviously eating unhealthy.” I don’t eat the healthiest. I’m a COLLEGE student. I’m lucky I eat at all. But I do excercize. I tried to explain that what he was saying was pretty triggering as I had suffered from anorexia in middle and high school. He continued on, telling me to eat less and work out more. When the visit was over, I cried and tried to move on with life.

He called me to tell me the results of my blood test, I thanked him and went to celebrate, and then he asked me if I was eating healthier and working out. I hung up. 

Thin privilege is your doctor believing you when you have restrictive eating habits, bulimia, and “chew and spit.”

My best friend is struggling with an eating disorder, and I’m so afraid that she’s going to kill herself one day. She’ll eat 700 calories a day, then her body gives up and a binge is triggered. She ends up purging and feels awful. She has tried to get help, but her doctor doesn’t take her seriously because she’s about 280 lbs. I just love her so much, and I don’t want to see her die early because her fucking doctor won’t get her the help she needs…

I wasn’t able to see my usual doctor today to get my prescriptions renewed so I had to see one of the other doctors who was, at most, 2 years out of medical school.

Now this intersects with ablebodied-privilige so apologies for that - but having him tell me that I don’t “need” any painkillers because if I just ‘went to a gym and took up jogging’ I’d lose weight and wouldn’t suffer any pain again caused my jaw to just drop.

I’ve got an effing BROKEN SPINE. MRI scans show holes where bones should be. How on earth is making that stuff rattle around on a treadmill supposed to make me feel any better?

(On a good note I demanded a second opinion and got one of the other GPs who had no problem with prescribing my meds. Thank you nice lady :) )

Doctors rarely ask me what my diet is like before telling me to change it. Sometimes it’s a pamphlet with some patronizing “go, slow, no” chart on it, and sometimes it’s an eyeroll accompanied by something to the effect of “you know how to eat less”. Often it’s just a featureless assertion that I should lose weight. When I do get to describe my diet and exercise habits, they are either OBVS inadequate and I’m told I need to do x more exercise (after my habits being classified as a “moderate to high activity level” when I described them over the phone, before anyone saw how fat I was), or they just assume I must be lying, and insert their own assumptions.

[tw: weight loss talk] Thin privilege is only having to make one visit to your doctor to obtain meds for an ear infection or strep throat.

I have a long history of ear issues, including four surgeries. On many occasions, I would go to my GP to get meds when an ear infection flared up, when I thought I had strep, and even when I thought I had bronchitis but it was actually pleurisy. On each visit, she’d spend the entire time asking about my diet and workout routine, give me sample menus, etc. By the time she finished her spiel, she’d be out of time and would insist I come back at a later time. It wasn’t until I caught strep and had to visit an ER that I met an ENT who checked out my ears. Thanks to my GP’s obsession with my weight, I had an ear infection that extended beyond my middle ear. My ENT actually cried when I told her how many times I’d visited the GP and how often I’d been told to simply lose weight for my ears to get better. If I had been thin, the doctor would have been forced to treat my ears on the first visit, and I wouldn’t have gone years with an infection.