Stepping on the scale is an uncomfortable and triggering experience for many of us, and doing it at the doctor’s office is even worse. The thought of getting weighed in front of someone else — someone who will then be evaluating you and your health based on your weight — is so anxiety-inducing that many people skip doctor’s appointments just to avoid it.
The alternative — speaking up and asking not to be weighed — can be just as scary, but now there’s another option: “Don’t Weigh Me” cards, available on More-Love.org, an online resource “that empowers parents to raise kids who are free from body hate, disordered eating, and eating disorders.” Ginny Jones, founder and editor of the website, created these cards in 2019 and told POPSUGAR she has verbally asked not to be weighed at the doctor’s office since she went into recovery from an eating disorder. The cards, she said, are a way of helping people advocate for themselves and their needs.
What Are “Don’t Weigh Me” Cards?
“Don’t Weigh Me” cards are just what they sound like: small, business card-sized pieces of paper informing your provider that you’d prefer not to be weighed during this appointment. On the back, the card lists several reasons why you might be making this choice. For example, the card says, many health conditions can be addressed without evaluating your weight, and focus on weight causes stress, which can harm your health.
What is it like to use these cards? Potentially stressful, at least at first, “because we’re trained to follow directions at the doctors office without question,” Jones said. “You’re stepping outside the lines — not following the norms.” In Jones’s experience, healthcare providers can be “surprised and a bit thrown off.” Sometimes your doctor needs some time to adjust to the request, “but nobody has told me they received pushback or encountered a major problem.”
Jones added that she’s open to being weighed if it’s required for her care, and the cards state the same thing. “It’s fine if weight is needed for medical reasons,” she explained, “but if that’s the case, let’s talk about it before automatically stepping on the scale.” While scary at first, asking not to be weighed “gets easier every time,” Jones added.
Why Do People Use “Don’t Weigh Me” Cards?
Jones said the cards have gone viral a few times since she released them more than two years ago, and she hasn’t been surprised by their popularity. “As a culture, we’re finally starting to reckon with weight stigma and the harm it causes,” she told POPSUGAR. “So many people just want to see a healthcare provider without feeling like their weight is being evaluated every single time.”
These cards are a tool to make doctor’s appointments a little less stressful, and Jones has been encouraged to see providers ordering stacks for their waiting rooms. “I hope that these little cards will help more doctors evaluate their own weight stigma and begin to provide more weight-neutral care,” Jones said. It’s also about empowering patients to “speak up and ask questions during medical appointments,” she added. “I think medical visits are healthier if we feel as if we ask questions about our healthcare and advocate for our individual needs. To me, asking questions is just part of taking an active role in our own health and wellness.”
You can order “Don’t Weigh Me” cards for $5 on More-Love.org.