Visiting the doctor — whether for yourself or for your kids — can be difficult when it comes to weight, especially if you’re in recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating. The use of weight and BMI as a measurement for health has been proven time and time again unhelpful and often harmful, yet most of our medical practitioners are still operating in the “thin = healthy, fat = unhealthy” paradigm, recommending dieting behaviors to little ones sometimes as young as 2 years old!
But we know it can be difficult to take a stand against recommendations for weight loss or unsolicited nutritional advice, especially because in our culture, doctors hold power and authority. We’re taught to place our trust in them and heed their advice. Which we should! …Except for when it comes to recommendations around weight loss.
We may feel at a loss for words, or afraid to speak up for fear of being met with shame or weight-stigma. But especially when it comes to our children and teaching them to accept and respect Every Body, advocating for a well-visit free of diet or weight talk is vital for their relationship with food and their body. That’s why we’re loving what this passionate mom did at her most recent visit to the pediatrician.
This letter comes from Valerie Eliad of North Carolina, one of our Education and Empowerment Certificate Program alumni. She handed it to the nurse to give to the doctor ahead of time, before they came in the room. When she shared it with us we knew we had to share it with all of you because it’s such a tangible tool that clearly, yet kindly, advocates for a weight-neutral experience at the doctors’ office. We hope you can take this, make it your own, and use it next time you or your little ones visit the doctor.
Thank you for taking such good care of my daughters! I am hereby respectfully requesting that we do not discuss my daughters’ weights or BMIs during our visit/in front of the children today. We are a body/weight neutral family, we do our best not to comment on the sizes and measurements of our bodies in any way other than neutrally. With one daughter in middle school feeling lots of pressure recently to meet certain unrealistic “beauty standards” we are especially conscious of the messages she is receiving during this time.
Thank you in advance for respecting this request. Should you feel it is necessary, or if it is required of you to share any numbers with me as their parent please do so in writing and give it to me directly - on this page or anywhere that is most convenient for you. If there is additional information that needs to be discussed, I will be happy to set up a separate time to connect with you on those topics.
I should also mention that our family does value physical health and we do our best to make conscious choices that support the wellbeing of the whole person. Recently we are focusing on enjoying movement as a family with family walks, swims, bike rides, etc., as well as adding more nutrient rich foods to our meals and snacks!
Should you need more information or need to speak with me you may reach me at (insert your phone number here). I am so grateful for all that you do for our children!