People who are obese need support, not shame, from Government to tackle UK’s weight crisis

The Mind Your Language report, commissioned by Slimming World in January 2020, demonstrated the impact that critical language around weight and body image has on self-esteem. Participants in the research, who struggled with their weight, reported using words like ‘failure’, ‘shame’, and ‘hopeless’ to describe how they felt about themselves, their weight and body image. Far from helping with motivation, the report found that this self-deprecation can be exacerbated by external negativity and fat shaming, creating a vicious cycle of self-criticism that is difficult to break. However, Slimming World members reported that being a member made them feel more positive about themselves (91%), 89% said losing weight had helped them feel more positive, while 72% said their Slimming World group makes them feel like they are not alone.

Jenny Caven added: “Slimming World’s understanding of how people who struggle with their weight feel and, the challenges they face, underpins all aspects of our programme, which is based on a highly-developed support system to facilitate changes in behaviour to diet and activity, and provide members with the tools to be accountable for, and control of, their health. Our 19,000 in-person community groups are temporarily suspended, but we are poised to reopen our doors as soon as it’s safe to do so. Meanwhile, members continue to meet in a virtual group to receive care and support to lose weight and remain slim for life.”

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