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Roberta's Reflections: Musings of a Psychotherapist

A PEERtrainer Series on The Psychology of Weight Loss and Health

Criticizing The Obese

By Roberta Temes, PhD

I was invited to bring a guest to last week's luncheon. I asked my colleague Carol. (Not her real name; prejudice is so strong I actually have to change her name here.) I thought shed enjoy the smart talk, the quick repartee, and the interesting people. I was right; she did. But, I did not enjoy myself.

My discomfort began as soon as Carol walked into the buffet area at the reception. One sweet lady warned her, "Dear, that salad dressing is full of fat. Do yourself a favor and skip it." Then, a young man approached Carol with advice: "Buy a good bathroom scale and weigh yourself every day. It will help you lose." Later on, my friend Eleanor pulled me aside and proudly bragged, "I didn't say anything to your friend. It wasn't the right time."

During our fancy luncheon, I heard some of the nicest people, the sweetest people, the kindest people, make mean, nasty comments. Oh, they might think they were being helpful, and probably informative, too. They think they're articulating the latest insight. Some of these folks marched for civil rights; they are fair people. Some of these folks have devoted their lives to social causes; they are just people. Yet, they approached my guest, who happens to be very much overweight, with hostility.

Carol didnt take their remarks to heart. She told me that she was not insulted. She said that people speak to her like that all the time; she's become accustomed to it. Fat people are the last group to be discriminated against, Carol explained. She said, Think about it. We could never get away with criticizing any other minority group the way we criticize overweight people.

Why is there such animosity toward fat people?

-Could it be the lingering Puritanism in America that makes us want to turn against anyone who shows signs of self-indulgence?

-Could it be that an obese person is tangible evidence that if we ever stop being vigilant wed go totally out of control?

-Could it be that an overweight person reminds us that becoming fat is a possibility, and we prefer to think it is impossible for us to be fat?

-Could it be that we always need a scapegoat, someone to feel superior to?

Please, let me know what you think. And, please, practice kindness.

Roberta Temes Article Archive:

    Click Here To Read How Roberta Can Help You Eliminate the Psychological Barriers Keeping You from Following Your Diet. Her program comes with an iron-clad 1 YEAR no questions asked money back guarantee and it's easy to order. If you like Roberta's writing style, you'll probably like her approach to helping you lose weight!

    About the Author

    Roberta Temes, (pronounced Temmis), Ph.D. is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, at Downstate Medical School, New York City. She had a private practice in New York City in psychotherapy, coaching, and medical hypnosis for 30 years, and has now relocated that practice to Westfield, NJ.

    Temes is the author of many self-help books and psychology books, as well as the first medical school textbook about hypnosis. She is also the author of the best-selling book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis. Her latest book is called, The Tapping Cure.

    Dr. Temes lectures around the country at corporate meetings, at medical conferences, and at health spas, too. She did a stint as a columnist for a country newspaper where she wrote about acquiring a country house and the trauma of adjusting to fresh air, quiet, and nature. For twenty years Temes wrote a monthly column for True Story magazine. Dr. Roberta, as her clients call her, is now in practice in NJ where she lives with her husband. Her 3 children are grown, with families of their own.

    "The research is mounting: hypnosis can help you lose weight and keep it off longer . . . This set Enjoying Weight Loss has a lot to offer: a warm, fun hypnotist offering sound dietary advice and a variety of trances for a range of issues, from choosing a food plan to avoiding temptation."

    -Jean Fain, Harvard Medical School

    October 2006 Thread Archive. Back to Previous Page

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