Anybody Else Feel Ashamed To Step on The Scale At The Doctor?

by Cookie

Anybody Else Feel Ashamed To Step on The Scale At The Doctor?

Can we just acknowledge for a minute that skinny people get sick and have health problems too?

Can we also acknowledge that carrying extra weight is not synonymous with being lazy, or sedentary, or somehow worth less?

Last year I skipped my annual doctor’s appointment because after suffering a back injury in the summer I hadn’t been able to work out in three months. I knew that I had gained some weight, and I didn’t feel like being reminded about how much better my life would be if I just lost weight and exercised more. Not being able to run or swim or bike or hike all summer was reminder enough.

The year before I had been in the best shape I’d been in since having kids. I was running 5km three times a week. And still my doctor dismissed that accomplishment to remind me yet again that I was simply just too fat.

So, I just didn’t go last time. Stepping on that scale annually is somehow a demoralizing act. Even when I know exactly what the number is. It’s like being scolded by a parent and feeling like you need to explain why you didn’t do your best and being shamed into promising to try harder next time.

This year I did go because it was a Pap year, and no woman wants to miss that fucking party. At the very least it gives me a reason to shave my legs in the fall, amirite? I’ve been super active and eating really well trying to heal a bunch of nagging injuries. I lost a significant amount of weight this year as a by product of the Covid lockdowns, because exercise is how I cope with stress.

And still, no acknowledgement from my doc.

I get it. She is actually a really excellent physician who I have had since I was a teenager. She delivered my babies and takes excellent care of them. Her job is to remind me how to take care of my body and prevent risk factors for disease. I trust her with those things.

By why do we always pretend that the number on a scale is the only thing that identifies those risks? Why is someone who doesn’t eat sugar, or junk food, or even a potato a target for shaming about their assumed lifestyle and not a thin person who drinks 5 cans of pop a day and eats out 6 times a week?

Two summers ago I had a body composition test done which showed a higher than average amount of lean muscle mass, despite my extra body fat. It ALSO showed that the body fat I do carry was not visceral fat. That kind of body fat is the dangerous stuff, and can be indicative of higher risk for things like cardiovascular disease.

But nobody talks about that. They just see someone who isn’t skinny and assume assume assume.

It’s so annoying.

I am a beautiful human. I work hard, and am worth more than an assumption made by medical professionals rather than the actual facts.

It’s frustrating and degrading, and is the wrong precedent to set as per standard of care. What if the fact that I didn’t go for my checkup last year led to a missed lump in my breast or missed high blood pressure or catching a funny mole? Who would be to blame for that?

Would we automatically blame my fatness? Or would we blame the doctor for unintentionally shaming me into avoidance?

Bias is a naturally occurring thing with humans. We factor in our unconscious biases into our decision making all the time. But shouldn’t we be training our medical professionals to be aware of them so they can work around them?

Signed,

A Frustrated, Fit-Fat Woman Who Is Actually Trying Her Fucking Best