Are you accidentally biasing as a Health, Wellness, or Fitness professional?
So what is Weight Bias anyway?
Weight bias refers to negative attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, judgments, and even discrimination toward individuals with larger bodies. (1)
In the Health & Fitness Industry, this is a problem more than you realized and we NEED to do better!
We need to do better in reducing the weight stigma in our field. We need to do better with listening to our clients and not quickly assuming because they are larger-bodied, that they need to lose weight, are new to working out, or they do not eat healthy. Definitely, we need to do better in making them feel heard. We also need to do better on making them feel they are in a safe or comfortable environment in the studio, gym, or online training studio.
Weight bias can also expand from not having diverse shapes and sizes in ads, social media, or websites. Or constantly posting or running ads of before and after photos that make clients fill that the smaller body is more “desirable” and the larger one is “undesirable.” Making it seem like the smaller size is the only best outcome. This tells the client that their body is only praised or valued when it’s used to represent the need to decrease it. Weight stigma can also show up in the wording of challenges, programs, or online using “Binki body,” “Get Summer Ready,” “Little Black Dress Approved,” “Get those 6 pack Abs”, and more.
Weight bias and weight stigma can negatively affect a client’s outcome worsening their mental and physical health struggles and causing more harm.
We need to start working on going forward, acknowledging the problem, and consciously shifting our business within our programs, online presences, marketing, and within ourselves, making it a positive force for the health of ALL our clients. Let’s focus more on transforming lives, not just bodies.
Time to reduce the weight stigma and bias within our industry. It’s time to create more equality for larger bodies in Health, Wellness, and Fitness field. Remember, Healthy and Happy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.