Perhaps you read in the news today about Simon Cowell losing a lot of weight. It was a positive story about how he’d made changes to his diet and lifestyle to lose weight and so improve his health. Well done Simon.
The reason for blogging about this is not to talk about his weight but to highlight the coverage of that part of the story that dealt with the suggestions he might have had weight loss surgery. He stated he hadn’t had this and said specifically, ‘If I had I would admit to it.’ I think its the language that most of ‘us’ would use in the same situation.
We notice in our clinics that people often feel ashamed both about their weight, and at the fact they are contemplating surgery to treat it. This is more of an issue with our national culture, rather than applauding people who are obese and take the bold step of taking responsibility for their own health by having weight loss surgery, we choose to shame them into hiding the fact. Those who are suffering with obesity really can’t win, fat shamed when they are obese and made to feel guilty when they choose to have surgery.
Rather than feeling they need to admit to having surgery, as if they have somehow cheated their way to weight loss, we should encourage a culture where people are proud to say they did it. Let’s also remember that those people who pay to have weight loss surgery are removing a huge long term burden from the NHS by bringing their weight into a healthy range.
Let me stress, this is not a negative about Simon Cowell at all, his language is precisely that which most people would use, but with the knowledge we now have that obesity is more about your genes than your willpower, its time we started offering the same support to those who are obese as we would anyone else with a chronic, recurring disease. That’s how we need to start viewing obesity.