Shrink

The psychology of weight loss.

The Phrase We Should Never Say Again

How this common phrase perpetuates everybody's negative body image

"Boy, she could really use to lose a few pounds."

We've all said it one time or another. This post is a call to put an end to this phrase for good. We need an all out ban to this type of conversation. In public. In private. In front of our children. And even in our heads.

The latest victim of such unsolicited commentary is First Lady Michelle Obama. Fox News host and psychiatrist Keith Ablow (yes, this guy is a medical doctor!) announced this week that the First Lady should "drop a few pounds" on a talk show the other day while discussing her efforts to make school lunches healthier. Her weight is not relevant to this discussion. The comment was clearly an attempt to undermine her message and credibility. Critical comments about someone's weight virtually always serve this function. Not only do they diminish others, but they reinforce our collective obsession with the ideal body. People who make comments like this about others are likely to be silently passing the same diminishing judgment onto themselves.

Think about it. Have you said this about someone else?  Have you thought it about yourself?

Let's stop.

Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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