Is Fat-Shaming the Cure to Obesity? Don’t Be Ridiculous

Sophie Bond - Writer

Note - This article discusses issues of weight and eating disorders.

We all know Good Morning Britain as being a bit problematic because of the controversial Piers Morgan, but they really do manage to find some interesting characters to speak on the show. One of the most problematic topics of conversation that has recently come up is the notion that fat-shaming is the best way to lose weight. The worst part about it? This woman is a fitness instructor.

Danielle Levy announced on public morning television that “the more we fat shame, the more people will keep their mouths shut and stop overeating”. Seems like a comment coming from a woman seeking some attention, right? There is no way that making someone feel so ashamed in their own body would lead to a healthy weight loss, if any at all. James Corden said that this approach to weight loss will just make less likely to lose weight. I know if it were me I would feel no motivation whatsoever to get back into a healthier shape and lifestyle. Beating someone down until they can’t get back up is not the answer to the UK’s obesity problem.

It is important to not forget that body image issues are incredibly prominent in this social media led society where photoshop and editing are commonplace. One small knock, so much as a ‘you’ve let yourself go’ or, especially for women ‘you’ve just got a broad build’, can lead to a spiralling of self-depreciation and end with something as serious as an eating disorder. Statistics show that in March 2019, one in five adults felt shame and just over one third felt disgusted by their body image in the last year. In fact, one in eight had suicidal thoughts over their body image - and you still think it’s acceptable to fat shame? This is an unfair and outrageous perspective to have, especially when there are people trying everything they can to become a healthier person. The article in the mail online shows tweets from outraged public members, including one woman who expressed that fat shaming led to her suffering with anorexia. This is not the kind of environment we want to be living in.

Then, of course, Piers Morgan had to jump on the fat-shaming bandwagon, because no show is complete without his controversial opinion. He unsurprisingly agreed that every person has the power to lose weight (except in medical conditions), much to Suzannah Reid’s disgust. This is an uneducated, toxic and close-minded view to have, especially in a society where anyone above a size 10 is considered plus size. People who have been fat-shamed may turn to binge eating because of their low mental-state, making weight loss even harder. Not everyone, who is not the current ideal weight, aims to lose weight and no one who is outside of that threshold should be degraded because of how they are happy. This constant battle to try and reach the slim, flat tummy, toned body seems to be destroying any self-confidence this generation still had in themselves. Therefore, shaming those who do not fit this description is going to cause mental health and body image issues that will stick to these people for years.

Whilst obesity is connected to many health complications, there are many other contributing factors to diseases and other health issues that are not related to weight. For example, smoking and alcohol have the potential to cause cancer and heart or lung disease, but somehow we accept these into our daily lives. This reflects incredibly unhealthy societal norms that outline many of our socialising activities, because if the damage is not visible it seems to make it okay. Maybe this is because it is easier to ignore invisible damage, like we ignore mental health issues unlike physical issues. It appears that as a society we need to become more perceptive and, therefore, look beyond the obvious.

With eating disorders on the rise, it is important that we start to phase out this toxic mentality and start to become more accepting as a generation and society. A BBC article from 2nd January 2020 states that hospital admissions for eating disorders have increased by more than a third (37%) across all age groups in the last two years. I don’t know about you, but I find this incredibly scary, especially with the popularity of social media continuing to rise. The fact that we are ignoring the connection between fat-shaming culture and the mental health crisis is a big red flag. Are we going to let it get to the point where no one can comfortably leave their house or wear what they want from fear of fat shaming and judgement?

Ultimately, I think that Danielle Levy is an enabler of a toxic mindset and shouldn’t be allowed to train people in fitness. Compromising people’s mental health for physical health is not a practical or healthy way to be teaching people to live, having consequences that could potentially be fatal in extreme cases. Therefore, fat-shaming most definitely is not a cure to obesity and is an outrageous claim to make.

BBC article:
Fat shaming video:
Photo: Tyler Nix -


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