My Story: Experiencing Weight Shaming at the Doctor

By Anne Dufault —

LS discusses negative experiences at the doctor’s office and feeling ashamed of her body.


LS: I feel like I kind of have grown up with this anxiety about just going to the doctor for a regular physical. I didn’t really start thinking about it until last year, and then I realized that so much of that fear was wrapped up in being weighed and talking to my doctor about weight. Because ever since I was probably like nine or ten I remember feeling anxious about like getting on the scale and then my doctor talking to me, and I remember when I was, I think eleven or twelve years old, my doctor like weighed me and then said I was in like the 99th percentile or something, and I got like really anxious and then she started talking about you know what am I eating, what am I, like what are my exercise routine, and then she told me that I should eat only like half a sandwich at lunch, and that memory sticks with me to this day because it’s just an insane thing to tell a twelve year old.

And because of what my doctor was telling me—not anyone else in my life, just my doctor—I started like using those calorie-tracking apps, trying to diet, trying to create workout routines when I was just twelve or thirteen years old. Because my hope was that the next time that I would go to the doctor, the number on the scale would be lower, and I remember like I would go extra hard on these like diets that I would create in like the month before going to the doctor. And kind of thinking about it I’m like, well I’m sure there are other parts of my life that, I know there are other parts of my life that were kind of pushing diet culture and all these things on me, but why was it so extreme for like when I would think about the doctor and the medical field when that those are the people who are supposed to be caring for me, helping me, working with me to make me like feel good and healthy.

So that’s just kind of my thought process around the doctor and like, as in the past year I’ve just been thinking a lot about it and kind of what I want to look for in doctors going forward and how to kind of deal with people who are in this position of power over you because you kind of see them as more intelligent or just like having better opinions than you regarding your own health. At least that’s kind of how I was raised to see doctors. So yeah, just it’s crazy to me to think about how like how I’ve grown up with doctors just telling me how I should live my life when the whole time I was perfectly fine in whatever track I was going on.