It’s nice to imagine there’s some critical period of development when our physiologies can be reprogrammed for thinness. But the same logic applies just as well to the mind as the body. Tell a little kid he’s fat (or obese, or at elevated risk of obesity, or whatever clinical spin you put on it) and you might help him to eat his fruits and veggies—but watch what happens to his bendy little brain. Get in there early enough, and even the best intentions can metastasize into a deep-seated anxiety. What happens in the mind of an adolescent could be inscribed there for years to come.
Atchka at Fierce Freethinking Fatties (in an open letter to Dan Savage):
Which brings me to my second grievance about your handling of the issue of eating disorders. You seem to be one of the people who says, “Hey, anorexia isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t kill that many people. Let’s focus on the fatties!”
…But Dan, do you know what the most common cause of death among anorexics is?
… the risk of death by suicide among by anorexic women to be as much as 57 times the expected rate of a healthy woman.
Likewise, obese and overweight teens have a higher rate of suicidal ideation than those in the normal BMI range.
And an older post from Living ~400lbs that I just found:
This is not a psychiatric disorder. “It’s the way the mind works,” cites an expert in the WSJ. The WSJ’s article focuses on whether reading about a drug’s possible side effects can lead to a nocebo result: If you are told that a drug can cause headache, and you get a headache while taking it, is it the drug, nocebo, or just a headache you’d have had anyway?
I can’t help but wonder: If a fat person is told she is unhealthy over and over, could that lead to a Nocebo result?