Over the past few days a Washington Post article about patients requesting not to be weighed at the doctor’s office is making the rounds on social media. It’s done a wonderful job rallying the anti-fat trolls. Seriously, don’t they ever sleep?
I’ll summarize the article for those who don’t have access or time to read it. A few years ago, Ginny Jones, an eating disorder coach who is herself in recovery, developed business cards that read “Please don’t weigh me unless it’s (really) medically necessary: if you really need my weight, please tell me why so that I can give you my informed consent.” You can buy them on her website here. The article goes on to present perspectives from patients as well as doctors and does its best to be balanced. The internet hive mind, on the other hand, is vociferously against these cards, at least in my feeds, which I thought were pretty body positive.
I unfollowed most of the people I’ve seen post about this article – including some in the keto community – because they reinforced the idea that weight equals health and without knowing your weight your doctor can’t know if you are healthy. “Give me a break!” scream some of the trolls. “Denial!” shout others.
I don’t know how I can say this more clearly… For nearly 30 years I lived with an undiagnosed fat disorder. Every doctor I saw weighed me. Every doctor I saw mentioned my growing weight. None of them diagnosed my lymphatic and fat disorder. The doctor who finally recognized my lipedema, and who has treated me with great success the past two years, never once weighed me.
So how can my doctor possibly know how I’m doing?! We talk about my symptoms, self-care regimen, and concerns. She listens, examines my body, and gives me her advice. I drive 15 miles out of my way, past many other doctors, to see her because she trusts me as a partner in my own health and as a reliable source of data on the state of my body. How revolutionary is that?
The people who are truly in denial here are not the patients – many of us have long suspected something was off about the simple calories-in-calories-out weight arithmetic peddled in diet books – it’s the greater medical community that needs to wake up. Too many of our doctors are in denial about how woefully little they understand weight and what makes people fat. (Hint: not always too much food and too little exercise!) That’s the real fantasy that needs to be shattered. That’s the denial we need to confront.
In the meantime, no, you don’t need to weigh me.