Judgment from others is a difficult experience for many members on MyObesityTeam. Sometimes members worry that people are negatively judging them for their weight. Members also grapple with rude and unsupportive comments from strangers and family members alike. Judgment about obesity can take a toll on members' emotional well-being.
Many members feel judged when they’re out in public spaces. “I just got back from a walk around the block, but I do not feel very good about myself because it felt like every car that drove by me was staring at me,” a MyObesityTeam member wrote. “I hate the feeling of people judging me because of the way I look.”
Fear of strangers’ judgment about obesity can lead to social isolation for some members. “I'm unhappy with how I look and I feel like any one who sees me will judge me and make fun of me, so I'll just stay home,” one member wrote. Another member agreed, “I don’t feel comfortable going out anymore because of people staring or being rude to me, and it hurts so much.”
Avoiding public spaces can increase feelings of depression and curtail exercise opportunities. “I don’t want to go to the gym because I’m afraid of being judged,” a MyObesityTeam member commented.
Finding supportive gym or exercise environments can help members overcome fear of judgment and motivate them to be active. A member who started swimming at her local YMCA shared, “I felt so good to be in an environment that didn't judge me when I was in there. I plan to go again this week so I can get my body moving again!”
“This week I started at Curves [a women-only gym] again,” another member wrote. “This is the one place that in the past has made me feel very comfortable. I genuinely like the type of women that end up at a Curves. No one is stuck up.”
Sometimes judgment about obesity comes from family members. One member vented, “My cousin makes feel like I’m disgrace because he says it would be so easy to lose the weight.” Another member worries about judgment from her parents: “I am seeing my parents on Friday, and I'm a bit nervous. They are very judgmental, and since I haven't lost much weight since I saw them last, I'm afraid they will be mad at me.”
Members of MyObesityTeam offer suggestions and encouragement to others struggling with judgment. “Someone once told me that what other people think of me is actually none of my business,” a member shared. “It sounded odd to me at first, but that is true. We spend too much time thinking and worrying about what people think. Spend your time thinking about better things than some ignorant, rude person.”
A member who struggles with judgmental family empathized with a member in the same boat, “Sorry that your parents are judgmental. Any negative feelings from being judged can cause cravings and slip-ups. Try to not let their negativity affect how you feel. Easier said than done I know.”
Even when society is judging, members take heart in the accepting environment on MyObesityTeam. A member reluctant to share pictures of herself on other social networking sites wrote, “At least here I feel more safe to [share my profile photo] and not be judged.” An active poster welcomed a new member to MyObesityTeam with the reassurance, “There is no judgment here, as many are going through the same things.”
On MyObesityTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with obesity, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Judgment from others is among the most discussed topics.
Here are some conversations about judgment from others:
Can you relate? How have you coped with judgment? Share your experiences in the comments below or on MyObesityTeam.