You will receive 5 individual business card size (3.5×2) cards with your order
Tens of thousands of people are using these cards, and doctors offices, hospitals, nutritionists, therapists, and personal trainers are handing them out to empower patients who would prefer not to be weighed unless it’s medically necessary.
⚡Cards Mailed So Far: +81,572⚡
About the cards
Because we live in a fatphobic society, being weighed and talking about weight causes feelings of stress and shame for many people. Many people feel anxious about seeing the doctor, and will avoid going to the doctor in order to avoid the scale.
We want to support you in requesting healthcare that is free of weight bias. Getting weighed is an informed choice that we get to make with our doctor. We don’t have to automatically step on the scale just because someone asks us to.
Our “Don’t Weigh Me” cards are a polite and respectful way to assert your preference at the doctor’s office and seek informed consent if weight is deemed necessary for care and treatment. It’s OK to not automatically step on the scale when asked.
An interview with Ginny Jones, creator of the “Don’t Weigh Me” cards:
Why did you create these cards?
When I recovered from an eating disorder being weighed was a major stressor for me. I started investigating whether you really have to be weighed every time you go to the doctor. And I found out that lots of times you don’t. Not being weighed unnecessarily helps me get less stressed when I go to the doctor, which supports my recovery and ultimately my health.
I created the cards to provide something useful to the eating disorder recovery community, and they took off. I put them on More-Love.org in November 2019 and now there are thousands of these cards all over the world.
People tell me they appreciate the empowerment and support the cards give them in questioning the assumption that we must be weighed before every doctor’s appointment. Given the huge demand for these cards, there’s clearly a need for resources to help people speak up if they are uncomfortable with being weighed – and there are a lot of us! What happens next is between each person and their doctor, but these cards are an effective vehicle to help people who feel overwhelmed to start advocating for their needs politely yet powerfully.
I think we all deserve the dignity of having a say in our own healthcare, and if something stresses us out, I don’t believe we should default to being obedient and compliant. We can speak up and at least find out what our options are.
These cards are a very polite way to open a conversation with healthcare providers about whether they really need our weight. And if they do, then we can make an informed choice about that. The difference is that now being weighed before an appointment can be a conversation rather than an assumption.
But don’t people need to be weighed?
I’m not a doctor, and even if I were, this is a personal discussion between an individual and their doctor. The real purpose of the cards is to open up possibilities and start a conversation.
Personally, no, I don’t think most of us need to be weighed before every doctor’s appointment, and this has been proven during COVID-19 when many healthcare appointments went virtual with no negative impact from a lack of weight information.
While doctors do of course sometimes need our weight, many times they don’t. And yet in the U.S. (this is not a global practice) we are still asked to step on the scale regardless of the purpose of our visit. If you’re seeing a doctor for carpal tunnel syndrome, a cold, or a sprain, being weighed is unlikely to improve care. And we know that the stress of stepping on the scale and anticipating an unhelpful lecture about weight keeps many people from going to the doctor. That’s just not healthy.
While there are of course circumstances in which it is essential, weight is not central to many healthcare conversations. But each person needs to talk this out with their doctor. It’s a personal decision. I’m just opening the conversation and the possibility that we don’t need to just put our heads down and be compliant when things feel bad in the doctor’s office.
We can ask questions and make informed choices. I believe we should all feel we have the right to use our voices when we visit a healthcare provider. And I trust that doctors can handle having these conversations with their patients!
Why don’t people like to be weighed?
If we lived in a different society, being weighed wouldn’t really matter. It’s just a number like height or shoe size. But we live in a society that hates fat and blames people for their weight, which is something over which we actually have very little control.
Current estimates say that about 10% of people have or had an eating disorder, and as many as 80% of people actively struggle with disordered eating and poor body image. This can start as young as 5 years old.
Starting every health visit with weight is a trigger and a barrier to care for many people, and I frequently hear from people who say they haven’t gone to the doctor for years because they hate stepping on the scale.
Being weighed before every appointment is a relatively new development in healthcare, and yet we know that BMI is not an effective indicator of individual health except in select cases. Many people who live outside the U.S. don’t understand these cards because it’s a non–issue in many other countries. Stepping on the scale before every appointment, regardless of the reason, is not a global phenomenon.
I see no evidence that getting people’s BMI before every appointment has improved our health or lowered our collective weight, and I see a lot of evidence that it does harm a significant portion of our population.
We have some deeper societal and healthcare issues that these cards can’t solve, but at least they open an important conversation about dignity in healthcare.
You say that being weighed is “stressful,” what do you mean by that?
If we lived in a society that didn’t hate fat and blame people for gaining weight, it would be different. But since we do, most people who are at higher weight and/or gain weight feel ashamed and as if it is their fault. Our societal biases against weight turns something that could be benign – stepping onto a scale – into a highly stressful situation.
What we see is that many people have significant spikes in heart rates, blood pressure, and cortisol, sometimes for days and even weeks leading up to a doctor’s appointment. In fact, a lot of people tell me they avoid making appointments based on their fear of stepping on the scale in the doctor’s office.
It might be worth it if we had data showing that the stress of being weighed is worth it for the health benefits, but quite the opposite is true. While we have evidence that weight stigma is harmful, we have no evidence that weighing patients before every visit improves health.
Stress is toxic to our bodies and minds. And yet we continue to perpetuate a known stressor in the very places that are supposed to be designed to make us healthy. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
Who needs these cards?
There are lots of people who don’t care about being weighed at the doctor’s office. And that’s fine! They don’t need these cards. Go be weighed – that’s cool with me!
These cards are for the people who have or had eating disorders and disordered eating, feel they are discriminated against on the basis of weight, or simply don’t agree with or are stressed out by the practice of getting weighed before every appointment.
These cards are particularly helpful if you’re adopting a body-positive, Health at Every Size®, or non-diet approach to your health.
Who is ordering the cards?
The majority of orders are in the U.S., but I’ve also sent lots of cards to the U.K., Canada, and Australia. These cards are all over the world at this point. I’ve sent them to places like South Africa, Botswana, New Delhi, Peru, and Thailand.
Most of the orders are for individuals, but I also get a lot of orders from doctors’ offices, hospitals, registered dietitians, therapists, and other healthcare providers who offer them to their clients. I think it says a lot that physicians provide these cards to their patients. Many physicians recognize the lack of evidence or value of the BMI in evaluating individual health and are aware of the tremendous barrier to care compulsory/assumptive weigh-ins can be.
These cards have sparked some controversy … some people even say they are dangerous
Yes. And I think that’s really interesting. All the cards say is that I’d rather not be weighed unless it’s medically necessary. And they say that if it is medically necessary, let’s discuss why so that I can give my informed consent.
To me, that’s not controversial at all, and how can it be dangerous? All people have the right and even the responsibility to ask questions and have meaningful conversations with their healthcare providers.
These cards demand nothing but the chance for a doctor and patient to have a discussion. And I trust that doctors are capable of having this conversation with their patients.
Ultimately these cards are a humble vehicle for discussion between a patient and their doctor. What happens next is between each patient and their doctor. The cards have done their work, and now we can trust the individuals and the professionals to make informed decisions.
Created By Ginny Jones
Ginny Jones is on a mission to change the conversation about eating disorders and empower people to recover. She’s the founder of More-Love.org, an online resource supporting parents who have kids with eating disorders, and a Parent Coach who helps parents supercharge their kid’s eating disorder recovery.
Ginny has been researching and writing about eating disorders since 2016. She incorporates the principles of neurobiology and attachment parenting with a non-diet, Health At Every Size® approach to health and recovery.
Ginny’s most recent project is Recovery, a newsletter for deeply feeling people in recovery from diet culture, negative body image, and eating disorders.
Parent-Friendly ❤️ Neurobiology ❤️ Attachment ❤️ Non-Diet ❤️ Health At Every Size®
*NOTE: These cards were free for +2 years. However, due to unexpected demand, in 2021 we began charging $5 to cover our costs.