Why we need to say NO to Fat Talk.
Have you ever spent seconds, minutes, hours, or even days judging your body for how it looks? It’s okay to admit it. Most people have. Unfortunately, 93% of women and girls in the United States “Fat Talk” in front of each other, finding commonality in what they think is wrong with their bodies. More than 6 million people (men and women included) have fat talked about themselves online. This can include everything from “joking” about their ‘muffin tops’ to destructive undervaluing of oneself via Twitter or Facebook. Today, fat talk has become part of ordinary conversation, spoken without a second thought. Unfortunately, fat talking can lead to more serious issues like eating disorders and depression.
So why do we do it? What makes us not feel good enough? Why do we say negative things about our bodies and how can we create positive self-talk about ourselves and others? Here are three different perspectives of why we fat talk:
Dalia, age 22 said, "Sometimes I don’t even know that I am engaging in fat talk. I catch myself making a mean face in the mirror, rolling my eyes when my pants don’t fit, or judging myself in a photo online. Fat talking is subtle, but has the ability to slowly really tear apart your self-esteem. It’s like having a character from Mean Girls in my head who judges me all the time. I fat talk because I don’t like the way I look compared to other women I see. I am not obese but I am ‘chubby’ and it makes me feel not good enough.”
Jake, age 27 said, “I don’t necessarily fat talk about being too fat but I definitely talk negatively to myself for being too skinny. I judge myself for not having enough muscle mass and not working out enough. I think men feel pressure just like women do to look a certain way and we are really hard on ourselves when we don’t meet our goals.”
There are ways to say NO to fat talk and YES to self- love-
The first thing to do is to notice when you begin to say negative things about your body. Developing self-awareness is crucial for killing your internal fat talk. When you feel the need to vocalize something negative, take a moment and ask yourself, “Is this thought real? Is it worth giving power to?” Newsflash: You do not have to believe every thought that comes into your head.
Try taking 1 minute every day to look at yourself in the mirror and say the words, “I love you”. This may feel incredibly awkward at first, but overtime, you can deepen your love for yourself by doing this simple exercise. Acknowledge that you have a relationship with yourself, even if you currently choose not to see it. There is a part of you that is doing the talking, the listening, and the observing. Determine how you feel about yourself and what thoughts and emotions come up when you say, “I love you.”
Try creating a phrase, prayer, or mantra that you can always refer to. Here is an example of a quote you can use from Deepak Chopra: “Today I want to belong. I want to feel safe and at home. I want to be aware of what it is like simply to be, without defenses or desires. I will appreciate the flow of life for what it is-my own true self. I will notice those moments of intimacy with myself, when I feel that “I am” is enough to sustain me forever.”
No one else can see the world the way you see it. No one else can feel your life the way you feel it. Because of this, it is impossible to ever compare two people because each person stands on such different ground. You were born worthy of love and belonging and once you realize your beauty, the whole world will be ready to receive your love.