This is Thin Privilege

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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.

TW: eating disorders

Thin privilege is having doctors believe that you have a restrictive eating disorder, rather than being told that you must binge because of your weight.

Thin privilege is not being triggered to restrict and exercise while in the hospital because the doctors pick on your weight.

Thin privilege is having your heart palpitations, dizziness, and weakness taken seriously.

Thin privilege is not being sent running shoes and sugar-free gum as a birthday “present” by a parent who knows you are trying to recover from your eating disorder.

I read many stories about doctors telling patients to lose weight. Do they generally recommend patient-specific weight loss plans, refer to nutritionists with relevant expertise, or just stop at the assertion that weight loss is recommended? I am sure it depends on each doctor, but I never read any stories about what the doctor is recommending in terms of weight loss plans. I am surprised, as doctors aren't just suppose to diagnose but also prescribe based on specific patient conditions.

Asked by
pmardie

maggiemunkee:

thisisthinprivilege:

I don’t know. On this blog I’ve heard of doctors recommending WW, and stomach surgery (including lapband). Sometimes they refer to dieticians/nutritionists. Sometimes they just give the ole “eat less move more” lecture. It seems to be a mix. Followers, what kind of weight loss advice have you been given by your doctor? Was it specific, and did it mention brands/methods in particular? Were you referred, or did they try to sell weight loss surgery (including lap-bands) to you?

-ATL

Generally I’ve gotten the “do more eat less” lecture like it’s some kind of profound secret they’re letting me in on. My old PCP recommended medifast, as she started supplying it directly to her patients. The surgeon who did my gallbladder removal suggested I strongly consider a lap-band or gastric bypass, as those were her primary procedures.

I had a doctor tell me once that there were so many calories in sugary drinks, and that people don’t even know how much they’re consuming sometimes. I was nodding along, not really knowing where he was going with it, and then it dawned on me: “Oh he means he thinks *I* drink a bunch of sugary stuff.” My main drinks at the moment were milk, coffee, and seltzer (the unsweet version).

Of course, I was lucky enough on another occasion to having seen the most amazing nurse practitioner with whom I had a long conversation about HAES-type stuff. She was awesome. Though the likes of her are rare.

-ATL

To the person asking about recommended weight loss: My doctor has, for years, told me one simple instruction: "Lose weight." That's it. The end. That's the plan.

Asked by
the-healing-butterfly

Huh. Eight years of med school really pays off, I guess. 

Further proof that no, doctors aren’t gods. Some of them (not all of them, but some of them) are shitty people, suck at their job, and/or are lazy. It’s not like superior kinds of people become doctors. They’re just as fallible as everyone else. And if anyone thinks that eight years of school is a foolproof protection against wrong ideas and ignorance, then you know nothing about academia. Or how science is done.

-ATL

Shitty Doctor Shakes Me up then Tears Me Down

Trigger warning, self harm, suicide, shitty doctors, and fatphobia

http://ninapotts.com/2014/03/04/shaken-up/

I’d been told by my doctor and a neurologist to see a rheumatologist, just to rule anything out. Having migraines for this long, I get sent to all sorts of doctors and tried on all kinds of medications, so this wasn’t a surprise.

We saw this doctor twice. The first time was bad, the second time was a million times worse.

The first visit she went over all of my tests, said that I just have migraines all the time, and thats it. She asked some questions about how various pressure points feel, but said she wasn’t going to test them since she was sure I didn’t have anything.

She then went on to tell me I have severe psychiatric issues and thats probably why I have migraines. After that she described in detail her sisters illness, along with how she thinks her sister is too weak to deal with having an illness, and some people are like that. I was told I am one of those people, that I am just not a strong enough person to manage being chronically ill, so I shouldn’t expect anything of myself. I should deal with this is how my life is, and according to her I’ve always been sick, so what more did I expect? Also, I should also do an exercise program. Even if it makes my migraines worse and makes me sick, I need to get over it, because exercising is more important than being sick.

She ended by saying my gynecologist didn’t do his job right and reordered a bunch of tests done. She said when I came back she would give me a refferal to a neurological center that I’ve been trying to get a refferal to.

A week later, after submitting to the testing, I went back.

This time, she commented on how short I cut my nails. When I told her it was from an anxiety issue I have, she proceeded to tell me I need to find other ways to deal with my anxiety, and that my migraines are from severe psychological issues. That I need to see a psychologist all the time, and not see a psychiatrist, because I should not be on any medication for these issues (which I am taking medication for).

Next came that my blood work was good, that all of my organs are in great shape, including my liver and kidneys. It seems my only real issue is my migraines, which might come from fibromyalgia, but she doesn’t think so. Again, she didn’t do any testing other than looking at my hands, and that was the extent of any physical exam.

After that was the information on how I spend my day. I was told pointedly that I need to spend more time alone, doing things for myself. One of those things needs to be intense exercise. Even if I get physically ill, I need to start something right now. Overweight people need to work out, no matter what illnesses they have, its not an excuse. I need to spend even more time alone, in particular, without my pets. Having them around is just too much for me, and by being ill and having pets, I don’t think I’m abusing them but I really am. I can’t give them what they need because I’m sick, its not fair to them or me. Even if they’re happy and healthy, its not true because I am not caring for them properly. She then told me to get rid of all of my animals, I absolutely had to. We argued about this, she ignored my partner and any mentions I made of how she helps care for our pets as well. Next it was that I’m a smart girl, and I’m wasting my time trying to not feel sick from my migraines all day. I need to do things, like get a job I like, like she does, that will make me feel better. I need to stop laying around all day doing nothing. Last, even though my tests all look good, being overweight means I will need a liver transplant when I’m 40 (which is in about 6 years by the way). Every fat person in the country is going to need a liver transplant, and we all could avoid that if we just would do some exercise.

This was all said in a matter of fact, but very concerned and sincere way. If I tried to explain my side or that what she was saying wasn’t true, she argued and eventually changed the subject. She said she would give me the neurological referral only if I got worse.

It wasn’t until we left and were driving home that it all hit me.

On the freeway on the way home all of it kept repeating in my head. Despite everything I’ve done to accept who I am, to deal with the fact that I am sick, that I have limitations, it didn’t matter. I had never really hated myself for being fat, never felt ugly or disgusting because of it, but now I did. Now I’m going to die from being fat anyways.

By the time we got home I had pretty much resolved to kill myself. I didn’t want to be this fat sick burden on anyone. I can’t get over how awful my head and body feel all the time. I thought we took good care of our animals, one of the few things that make me feel better, but now I’m just an abusive hoarder. I wanted to not be here anymore, or to cut myself until I didn’t hurt anymore. I couldn’t figure out a way to kill myself that I was sure would work. I was feeling worse just sitting here not doing anything about it. I can’t get better, I can’t kill myself, what is the point of me being here, giant useless burden that I am. I cried for over an hour. I didn’t want my partner anywhere near me, or even looking at me, I felt like a disgusting fat thing. I didn’t want the dogs or cats near me, since I’m just hurting them anyways. I spent the night crying on an off, ate dinner even though I was too depressed to eat, and forcing myself to do thing that made me feel better, even if I felt like I didn’t deserve them. I told one friend what was going on. Now I hope that I’m telling more.

Its been 24 hours since that appointment. I still feel sick to my stomach. I still hear what was said, and I can’t make it stop. I’m trying to get back to where I was before that, where I loved my body, where I knew my animals the way people know their children, where I concentrate on getting better, not doing stupid things to make myself worse. I keep reminding myself she is a shitty doctor, I am not a shitty person. I’m not going back there (obviously), and I’m not leaving.

On the subject of eating disorders

I’ve noticed if a larger person says they have one it’s always ”oh you just eat too much/you want attention/not thin enough/stop lying”.

I watched a good friend of mine go from a large woman into a small one very drastically, it was obvious she was sick and needed medical help, but almost everyone was saying well done to her
”Oh wow you look so much better now”
She’d honestly be passing out and missing periods and people would still insist that this was better than her being fat. Which is twisted, what kind of a person would rather someone was sick and very thin than healthy, happy and over weight?

Pregnancy and thin privilege

Thin privilege is not being dumped into a higher-risk group and being told by your board-certified midwife that she has to make you see the doctor “at least once” during your pregnancy despite perfect blood pressure/sugars/iron/etc., healthy weight gain, a perfect baby on ultrasound, and a history of one previous uncomplicated vaginal delivery. All because of a certain BMI. (Note: I was “luckier” than most in that my midwife was understanding and apologetic, but her hands are tied because her certification is bound up in rules based on draconian obstetrical practices.) 

Thin privilege is not being told you have more of a chance of having Pitocin, an epidural, or a c-section because of your weight, despite (again) all evidence showing that you’re having a healthy pregnancy and proof that you’ve done it without needing interventions once before. 

Thin privilege is also being 31 weeks pregnant, as big as a house, and not having your hairstylist say, “You’re pregnant? Really?” and then, five minutes later, having a shopkeeper in the same mall ask if you’re sure there aren’t twins in there. 

Thin privilege is having your big, round basketball belly put on a pedestal of beauty, while the type of beautiful pregnant belly that grows on a fat person is either not even noticed or commented on like the person has “let herself go.” It’s having gorgeous, ethereal, half-nude maternity photos done of yourself without the worry of someone calling it anything but beautiful. 

Thin privilege is being able to buy stylish maternity clothes at reasonable prices, rather than having to shop from five different items in the largest size at a single maternity store. (Note: I’m a pre-preg size 24, which is not a terribly uncommon size.) It’s also being able to find a comfortable, beautiful nursing bra in your size. 

Sorry for the long post (this is my first!) but I’ve been getting pretty down lately because of this stuff.