Does the Practitioner Need to be Thin?

A friend who sponsors compulsive eaters insists her sponsees lose weight and get thin. How, she asks, can they be an example that the 12 Steps work if they’re still heavy?

I’m not sure I agree. First of all, what if her sponsee is perfectly happy at her current weight and just wants to stop obsessing about food? If her relationship with food is healthy, does it matter what she weighs?

Being quite thin is difficult for me – it means starving. When i weighed 118 pounds, I would faint from hunger. For some people my height, 5’6, that’s a normal weight. But for my body, it’s way way too thin.

Being relatively thin is pretty easy for me, but my body loves to gain weight. If I don’t pay attention – even though my thinking is very healthy – my weight goes up. Do I need to watch my weight to be taken seriously as a sponsor or if I decide to become a therapist?

The truth is – I did judge when I was in the throes of anorexia and bulimia. How could I trust an overweight therapist? I automatically assumed they were miserable and didn’t know how to handle their own weights. How could they help me heal my eating disorder AND THE VERY MOST IMPORTANT PART IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD – STAY THIN.

I had one therapist who was pregnant. She worried that I’d miss her when she went on leave. I worried that she’d gained an awful lot for carrying just one child. I saw a chubby nutritionist, who kept repeating (without solicitation) that she was heavy because of some medicine she had to take.

I judged them both. But I also judged my thin therapists – one was so pretty I assumed she couldn’t understand what it was like to be me. Another seemed SO incredibly normal – what did she know about being crazy?

And so I wonder, as my weight creeps up for no particular reason – will I be less able to help those who suffer if I weigh more?

4 thoughts on “Does the Practitioner Need to be Thin?

  1. I saw an RD that was heavy and practiced the HAES model (which I have a bit of an issue with, but I definitely believe we all come in different shapes and sizes naturally). Honestly we were there to talk about me, not her, so I didn’t care. Until she brought it up one day. Like, she was pestering me, asking me if I took issue with her being heavy. And I didn’t, but her bringing up these insecurities like that really bothered me. As an ED RD, her asking me to validate her or even bringing up HER body when I was there to talk about my shit, just didn’t sit well. I quit seeing her a few months later. I actually decided I was done with RDs after that. No regrets with that decision, either.

    So for me it was just a total turn off. I try not to judge other people’s bodies anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi there; I really appreciate your comment. It makes sense that her insecurities would take away from your healing. I still don’t understand why there’s some shame or issue with being heavy. How are you doing these days?


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