The next time someone asks you if their bum looks big in this, one self-appointed ‘weight loss expert’ thinks you should say yes — and let them know the clothes aren’t the problem.
UK personality Steve Miller — a TV host, author, hypnotherapist and motivational weight loss master, according to his Twitter profile, and no relation to this guy — has proposed that this Wednesday 7 January should be ‘Warn A Friend They Are Fat Day’ in the UK.
“[It’s] not about being cruel,” Miller wrote in The Huffington Post when he first proposed Warn A Friend They Are Fat Day last month. “In fact it is the complete opposite. It is about sensitively and tactfully talking to overweight friends and family members about our concerns for their health. In fact is is a day that could potentially save thousands of lives and at the same time heighten our friends and families’ confidence as they are encouraged to take action to lose weight so that they feel better and more confident about themselves.”
Miller claims Jeremy Hunt, the British Secretary of State for Health, is considering making Warn A Friend They Are Fat Day an “annual event”.
Warn A Friend They Are Fat Day set for January 7th. Supporting those we care for. @Jeremy_Hunt considering making it annual event.
— Steve Miller (@Steve___Miller) January 4, 2015
Late last year, UCL (University College London) research funded by Cancer Research UK found that ‘fat shaming’ doesn’t actually encourage weight loss.
In a study of 2,944 UK adults over four years, those who experienced weight discrimination gained more weight than those who didn’t. On average, people who experienced weight discrimination gained 0.95kg, while those who didn’t lost 0.71kg (that’s a difference of 1.66kg).
The research, published in the Obesity journal, contradicts the common perception that ‘fat shaming’ — like, say, telling a friend they’re fat — might encourage weight loss.
“There is no justification for discriminating against people because of their weight,” said lead author Dr Sarah Jackson. “Our results show that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss, and suggest that it may even exacerbate weight gain.
“Previous studies have found that people who experience discrimination report comfort eating. Stress responses to discrimination can increase appetite, particularly for unhealthy, energy-dense food. Weight discrimination has also been shown to make people less confident about taking part in physical activity, so they tend to avoid it.”
Senior author Professor Jane Wardle said the study proved that weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem, not the solution.
“Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals; and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight. Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment.”
What do you think? Would you warn a friend if they were getting fat? Should we introduce ‘Warn A Friend They Are Fat Day’ in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!