Home > NewsRelease > Fat Shaming Meets Obesity Drugs, But Is Medication the Answer?
Fat Shaming Meets Obesity Drugs, But Is Medication the Answer?
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Friday, April 28, 2023


Weight, obesity, and fat shaming are reasons for concern now that medications appear to offer the “magic” solution to all of them.

Fat shaming is a widespread issue that negatively impacts people’s psychological and physical health, leading to self-blame and delaying the receipt of necessary medical care. Stress brought on by weight discrimination makes overweight and obese people may consume more, which in turn causes them to gain more weight. In different contexts, such as medical offices and workplaces, weight stigma exists. And increasing the number of diets that have been tried and failed, only makes matters worse, not better.

Those who have been the object of fat shaming are always hoping the answer to their problem lies in the next diet or, now, the new medications. Is it the answer for which they are hoping? Time will tell, but Mother Nature isn’t easily fooled.

“Failure” is the operative word here, and TV commercials with well-known entertainment stars are eager to get customers on another diet plan. Did all those stars have weight problems that were “solved” with these “diet systems"? I truly doubt it, and I find this disingenuous hawking of expensive food plans disagreeable in the extreme. Yes, in the extreme.

How many of those stars had trainers, chefs, elaborate home gyms, plastic surgery, and lipo to prepare them for the commercials?

According to a major study of American people, this stigma has taken some form in varied domains. Inequalities in healthcare, employment, and education have also been caused by fat-shaming, especially when it comes from healthcare professionals. Put that one to bed; it exists.

I once had the misfortune of working briefly with two diet plans: one at a PR agency and one as a consultant for a group meeting of diet plan members. One woman was so addicted to the idea of losing weight that, when she had lost over 100 lbs. and was refused more of the drink supplement, she said she’d buy it “on the black market if I had to.” She was spiraling into malnutrition but didn’t care. If she were to die, it was going to be thin. The new weight-loss medications may be something she’ll turn to next after being refused the shakes diet.

Another woman, who had metastatic cancer in multiple organs, said, “The only good thing about cancer is that you lose weight.” Gallows human, if ever I heard it. Her weight was the bane of her existence for her entire life.

We know that weight gain and disordered eating can result from fat shaming’s psychological and emotional harm. The stigma associated with obesity has been linked to sadness, low self-esteem, and unhappiness with one’s physique, endangering both psychological and physical health.

While some contend that gluttony and laziness are to blame for obesity, research has revealed that the issue of weight is complicated and involves several variables, including heredity and socioeconomic background. If you live a life of food insecurity, what could you buy that would be relatively cheap? Of course, the answer is junk food, and that not only sparks an addiction to the food, but it may be the only food you can afford.

There are other factors besides food addiction or food insecurity that may contribute to obesity. More than six million obese and morbidly obese people are likely to have experienced physical, sexual, and/or verbal abuse as children.

Some people argue that weight-control medications can be helpful for those who are obese, while others contend that they can have unfavorable side effects and that lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight. How do you eat a healthy diet if you can’t afford it? The vicious cycle of inadequate funds and shaming is relentless, and serious mental health issues can result.

One of the major problems we face today is that the extreme desire for a quick-and-easy way to lose weight lies in new medications coming onto the market. The push for them has led to scarcity for those who need them for medically recognized disorders and not simply for slimness or a “beach body.”

What Are the Common Side Effects of These Medications?

There are numerous weight-loss drugs on the market right now, and each drug has a different set of negative effects. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort, and headaches are a few of the side effects of weight-loss drugs that are frequently reported.

A new family of weight-reduction medications has been developed as a result of Ozempic, a medication primarily used for diabetes but also taken off-label for weight loss. Constipation, diarrhea, and nausea are its most frequent adverse effects.

Some of these medications are known to induce substantial psychiatric side effects, including depression, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts. There may also be liver damage, which is made worse by alcohol usage.

There have been reports of negative effects from prescription drugs now sold over-the-counter in decreased potency, including headaches, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Moreover, it has been discovered to result in only minimal weight loss.

Last but not least, there are a number of additional weight-loss drugs that are either now undergoing clinical trials or are in the early phases of research. Before beginning any weight-loss drug, it’s crucial to speak with a healthcare professional and to keep a close eye out for any potential adverse effects.

Given that some celebrities openly disclose their issues with weight loss and body image, the celebrity element is prevalent in talks of fat shaming and weight control. Yet, it’s important to understand that each person’s weight reduction journey is different, and the experiences of celebrities may not be indicative of everyone’s experiences.

The classification of people based on their BMI will change as a result of the revised BMI recommendations, which will have an impact on obesity and weight control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies those with a BMI above 30 as obese, while those with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight.

According to the revised recommendations, BMI measurements should be used annually to screen all adults for overweight and obesity. Obesity and overweight raise the risk of numerous major illnesses and medical disorders, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

Notably, updated BMI recommendations might have an impact on weight loss surgery. The BMI cutoff for weight loss surgery was recently lowered from 35 to 30 under the recommendations of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Diseases (IFSO).

A few questions regarding BMI remain, including: what is the ideal weight for a person? Is it true that the recommended BMI is for everyone, or is there an individual BMI that is the healthiest?

It’s the same with blood pressure readings; what is a “normal” reading for an individual, not what is the suggested reading? There is a range for everyone. As one supervisor once told me, everyone is an “N” of one and that’s what we have to consider in our research.

Numbers are not the secret to research conclusions. Patients and healthcare professionals alike view the guidelines as somewhat rigid, and that may not be in the best interest of the best medical treatment.

But how do we come to what’s “right” for every individual? Perhaps AI (artificial intelligence) can help with that in the future if we avail ourselves of its incredible abilities to scour all our medical records and ailments and come up with our “magic” number. It is already being used for EHR reviews in major medical centers and all we need are the correct AI prompts to dig out what we need regarding weight and emotions.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

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Medium page: https://medium.com/@drpatfarrell

Twitter: @drpatfarrell

Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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