If the thought of being weighed at a medical appointment terrifies you or makes you want to avoid seeking medical help altogether, then you are not alone.
Fat patients are less likely to seek medical care and more likely to interrupt their healthcare to shop around for other providers because of the weight stigma they receive from medical providers. The weight stigma starts at the weigh-in and leads right into a weight loss discussion, regardless of what issue the person needs to be addressed. Almost all fat people have a story where they saw a provider for a non-weight related issue and they were lectured about weight loss. For me, it was an earring stuck in my ear at an urgent care and the provider asked if I'd "tried losing weight."
Now, most people don’t know you can refuse to be weighed when you go to a medical appointment because we've all been weighed since birth, but also providers will tell you they have to weigh you because it is a "vital sign" and this is true. It is considered a vital sign, but it's not one they need to get at every appointment. If you want to learn more about the exact reason weight is considered a vital sign and why providers weigh you check out my previous blog post: Why Do Medical Providers Weigh You?
However, not everyone can refuse to be weighed or want to go through the hassle of refusing to be weighed. So, a great alternative to weight refusal is blind weighing.
Blind weighing is the practice of allowing a medical professional to weigh you without showing or telling you the weight number. This is how I choose to be weighed when I am feeling in a good enough space. You turn around and face away from the number and you can ask your medical provider to omit/remove your weight from your visit notes. It is also important to remind them that you don’t want to know the number or be counseled about weight loss.
Even though you are explicit with providers that you would not like to see your weight, sometimes they forget to black it out or delete it from your discharge paperwork. So, you’ll see it at the end of the session or through an online portal. Be explicit that you’d also like it removed from those places, so you don’t see it.
If you have to be weighed for a medical condition or feel okay about stepping on a scale, this is a great option. It allows the medical professionals to get the ‘vital sign’ they need and you can continue your recovery journey. It is also totally fine and within your right to refuse to be weighed.
Check out my Free PDF for more on weight refusal.