How to deal with weight stigma in health care

Maggie sits on a bench outside wearing a pink blouse
It comes back to the idea that health is defined by smallness

Episode 26: Can I be assuming for just a minute?

I'm going to assume that your annual trip to the doctor's office is the anniversary you dislike the most.

Hopefully, you only have to go through the shameful routine once a year...walk into the office, check-in, get called back by the medical assistant, step on the scale in the hallway, get the unhelpful printout that gives you a bunch of numbers like your weight and neatly calculated BMI telling you (falsely) how healthy or unhealthy you are - before you've even seen the doc, tell anyone your story, or have blood drawn!

That unhelpful printout, telling you your health status based on your weight is an example of weight stigma - which is the assumption that if you're smaller, you're healthier, and if you're larger, you're unhealthy - and if you're not unhealthy yet you will be!

If you dread going to medical appointments, thinking "ugh, the doctor's office again" remembering being weight shamed the last time you went for your annual check-up and left with a long list of weight loss tips...

This Savor Food and Body Podcast interview with Dr. Maggie Landes MD will put your mind at ease by giving you simple strategies to help navigate diet cultural-isms (aka weight stigma) in health care.

In her own words, Maggie has the mind of a doctor, the heart of a foodie, and the guts of someone ready to change the world! She is a physician with master's degrees in public health and nutrition, and a health coach helping women fix their food overwhelm and reduce stress with eating so that they can love food again without confusion, achieve their health goals, and get out of their own way!

Listen to the episode to learn:

  • How Maggie became a Heath At Every Size® doc after spending 20+ years in the field dishing out traditional weight-centric health information and why she's so passionate about helping women change the cultural narrative about health and health care - one doctor's visit at a time.

  • How, when you follow the money of the multi-billion dollar diet-wellness industry, "it all comes back to the idea that health is found in smallness." In reality, health represents how a body is functioning (or not) - something weight and BMI will never be able to do...assess functioning.

  • As a physician, Maggie shares why using weight and BMI as markers for health is flawed and how, in reality, using those numbers contributes to increased weight stigma and poor health outcomes.

  • Finally, Maggies shares her top 3 strategies that you can use when going to the doctor to help reduce the impact of weight stigma on yourself and anyone who comes in the office after you.

Maggie created her signature getEATfluenced® coaching program to help women who are exasperated with chronic dieting, be able to fix their food overwhelm and live a full and unrestricted life pursuing their own version of health without the distraction of rigid eating behavior.

She's also the creator and host of “The Eatfluencer Podcast” where she and her guests dig into the mindset work required to construct a healthy, complete, and high-quality life unlimited by the oppression of diet culture.

Maggie believes that every woman is influential and worthy, and by empowering ourselves to have confidence and control of our thinking and leaving behind our obsession with dieting, we can show that value to the world. All of her personal coaching and programs support the Health at Every Size® philosophy, the framework of Intuitive Eating, and a weight-inclusive, body-neutral approach to health and wellness.

Learn more about Maggie's work via her website

If you're in need of wrapping up the year with a doc appointment or two before your deductible starts over January 1, this episode is a must-listen.

Like what you heard? Don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review in Apple Podcast, Sticher, or Spotify. Doing so helps others find the show too!

Want more strategies to live your healthiest life without diet culture? Download this guide.