Navigating Fatphobia in Healthcare

I recently had the honor (and fun!) of being a guest on the What The Hell Do I Eat podcast. We talked about how to navigate a healthcare system that is largely based on weight stigma and where fatphobia among practitioners is rampant.

You can listen to the episode (and other great guests as well) here!

For printable cards that you can use to help guide dialog with your healthcare practitioners, check out this post.


The Role of Size Acceptance in Eating Disorders Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

My March workshop is about the important of Size Acceptance, including Fat Acceptance specifically, in eating disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery. We’ll  discuss how using a framework of Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size prevents eating disorders and provides practical, realistic options to help those dealing with disordered eating and eating disorders, as well as anyone affected by the damaging cultural messages we get about food, movement, and our bodies, to repair the damage these messages have done, and create strategies that support dealing with them moving forward, including through recovery journeys and beyond.

Plus an unlimited Q&A (I stay until all the questions are answered!) so you are guaranteed to get the information you came for!

Details and Registration:
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login info is on the member page
Become a member here!
A recording is provided in case you can’t make it live on March 24, 5:30pm Pacific (or if you want to listen again!)

Like This Blog? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Here’s more stuff you might like:

Wellness for All Bodies Program:A simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!

Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-members Click here for all the details and to register!
Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00 Click here to register
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization (and I can do it remotely!) You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

16 thoughts on “Navigating Fatphobia in Healthcare

  1. Woah, they’re seriously trying to get people to have bariatric surgery done at the same time as their knee replacements… not the latter after the former, but both at once… and refusing the knee replacements if they won’t agree to the bariatric surgery? That’s beyond messed up, and it definitely puts the lie to their claim the surgery is jUSt ToO DAngErOuS to perform on a fat person, since you agree to their little ass lobotomy and suddenly they’re able to perform your knee surgery just fine, no pre-operation weight loss required.

    1. I saw a similar thing with ORGAN TRANSPLANTS!!!! What the actual fuck, set people up to be severely malnourished while recovering from two major procedures. It is very clear that they want us thin or dead and they don’t care which.

      1. O-organ transplants? Making us choose between bariatric surgery or denial of care is tantamount to forcing us to pick how we die!

        1. I agree, but what I saw was even worse than that (which had been hard to imagine before I read about it.) I’m working on a full piece about it but basically if they decide you are “too fat” for the transplant they put you on a severe restriction diet prior to surgery (because nothing sets you up for successful surgical outcomes like malnourishment) and if that doesn’t work then they give you the transplant and stomach amputation AT THE SAME f*#%*#G TIME! Because if it’s “not safe” to do one surgery, let’s do two, and you can come in malnourished, and then have malnourishment surgically induced after. All. The. Swear. Words.

          1. And add some new swear words. This is seriously Scary. Like Nazi experimentation scary…
            Oh, and they want you to pony up the dosh.

          2. That’s horrifying. I’m intrigued (in a horrified sort of way) to read the upcoming full piece about it.

  2. I may need to revisit this after next week because I have two doctor appointments and I’m extremely anxious about them since I exist in a fat body. The one more so than the other. I’m usually fine with mammograms, but I’m seeing a hemotoligist and I’m just ready to deal with fatphobia. Add me being disabled due to my bad back, arthritic knees, and other stuff, and I just know something will be said. Thank you for all you do!

    1. I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with this. I don’t know if you’ve seen it or if it will help, but Dr. Louise Metz, Tiana Dodson, and I have just launched a site with resources for people who want weight-neutral care. It includes diagnosis-specific sheets and a resource list with links to studies, downloadable advocacy cards etc.
      You can find it at

      Very best of luck to you (and I’m sorry it’s necessary!)

      1. Omg thank you so much! I’m bookmarking this right away. They might not be in my area, but all of the suggestions you give are so good. I’ve absolutely used the “What would you recommend to a thin patient?” before, but sadly I’m one of those people who tends to clam up and just remain silent/disassociate in situations like that. My husband is more than willing to come along with me to appointments (he’s a cis white man so I know there’d be more reluctance to talk to me a certain way), but COVID times limits the people you can often bring with you.

        1. Self-advocacy is really tough, especially in a medical situation. It’s completely natural to clam up, disassociate, get emotional, not be able to think clearly etc. I’m so glad that your husband is willing to be an advocate, and I hope the we’ll be at a point soon when they won’t give you any flack for trying to bring an advocate.

          1. Oh it’s more of a “it’s a pandemic and we have to limit people” thing, but I appreciate your kind words!

            I’m trying to convince myself not to cancel the appointment or just not show up. I know I need to go, but the steps are already hard due to my physical disabilities. Add the fear of medical fatphobia and it’s a lot. I also have ANOTHER appointment the next day at the same place for a different thing.

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