Imagine losing 50, 60 or 100 pounds and finally being able to slip into those coveted skinny jeans, only to still be considered "the fat girl" by your friends and colleagues. Kind of discouraging isn’t it?
But that’s the reality many female dieters face according to a new study published in the journal Obesity. Researchers found that even after a dramatic weight loss female dieters are still stigmatized as fat, reports The Globe and Mail.
Participants in the study were asked to read descriptions of women who had either lost 70 pounds or remained at a stable weight and give them ratings based on attributes such as attractiveness. Overall, participants rated the previously heavier women as less attractive.
"We were surprised to find that currently thin women were viewed differently depending on their weight history," says Janet Latner, study leader at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Those who had been obese in the past were perceived as less attractive than those who had always been thin, despite having identical height and weight."
The authors of the study suggest that the obesity stigma persists long after an individual has lost weight. "Descriptions of weight loss, such as those often promoted on television, may significantly worsen obesity stigma," says Dr. Latner. "Believing that obese people can easily lose weight may make individuals blame and dislike obese people even more."
Why do you think society continues to judge a person even after they’ve lost weight? Do dramatic celebrity weight loss stories and reality weight loss shows contribute to the view that it’s easy to lose weight?