This is something that I’ve been wondering about for a while, and something that has come up in conversation with a few friends in recovery lately. I get the feeling that this is something that people are perhaps hesitant to talk about because we don’t want to be seen as judging others based on body size, etc. I know that’s the case for me anyway.
But, if I’m being totally honest, the body types of my treatment providers DO matter. Obviously they are not the be-all and end-all determinant of whether or not I’ll work with someone. Much more important to me is the level of mutual respect I feel w/ my team members, how easily I am able to trust them, whether or not I connect with them, their views about e.d.’s and treatment, etc. But, at first, their body type IS quite important to me. In therapists, I want someone who is “average,” or even perhaps a little bit above “average.” B/c my set point is a bit on the higher side of normal, I prefer to have a therapist who has experienced what it’s like to move through a thin-obsessed society with a body that is, well, not thin. If I have to go through a weight gain process, I also tend to be less self-conscious doing that with a therapist who is not particularly thin.
Dietitians, however, are another matter. I hate to say it, but, at least when my e.d. is active, it would be a struggle for me to work with a dietitian who was not slender. My first RD was very small (she was clearly just built that way), and that was a bit hard for me because I felt so big in comparison. My current RD is thin, not skinny; she looks like she is a very healthy weight for her frame. Slender, but clearly not disordered. This appeases my e.d. a bit, and it encourages me that one can nourish oneself and not be overweight (something that I absolutely believe in regard to other people, but I have trouble applying to myself). And frustratingly, these kinds of standards, expectations, etc. based on size are in direct opposition to what I believe in my daily life about size, etc. I’m actually a firm believer in HAES (health at every size) and a proponent of body diversity. Yet, when it comes to my treatment team, I have preferences.
What about you? Does the weight/size/body type of your treatment providers matter? If you’re a treatment provider, is this something you’ve considered? Is it something you’ve talked about with clients?
I know this can be a sensitive subject, but in my conversations with others, it seems like it’s something that can be important to people and should be open for discussion. And I’d like to think this blog can be a forum where we can all discuss these matters honestly and without judgment.