Enough with the Fat Talk

September 6, 2010

“I feel fat…”

How many of you have said these words to yourself?

How many of you look in the mirror and instantly criticise what you see?

How many of you catch a glimpse of yourself and think negatively? “I hate my stomach!”…”My legs are so fat!”…”My butt looks huge!” Does this sound familiar?

We are all guilty of speaking this way to ourselves. Ask yourself, how many times a day does the thought “I feel fat” pop into your mind? For some, it will only happen occasionally. However for others, this dialogue is far more common. No matter how frequently you do it, it is not ok.

You might not think speaking this way is such a problem, that it is just a little comment. The fact is, speaking to yourself this way is a big deal. It is unnecessary, it is unkind, it is wasteful and it is mean. Yes, you are being mean to yourself. You are bullying yourself. It doesn’t make you feel better about yourself, so what is the point? This fat talk needs to stop.

So many people (especially women) engage in ‘fat talk’, a term used by blogger and author Cailtin Boyle. Through her book ‘Operation Beautiful’, and website (link), Caitlin is trying to create a body image revolution. By leaving post-it notes containing loving messages and positive affirmations in random places (such as gym bathrooms) Operation Beautiful is encouraging women (and men) to be kinder to themselves and to quit the negativity. I am in full support of this mission. What better time for you to join this body image revolution than now, during Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness week (5th-11th September, link, link).

Instead of wasting energy hating on yourself, focus on something positive. What is it you like about yourself? When you look in the mirror, force yourself to say something nice. Replace the fat talk and negativity with something else, something valuable and loving. Why should we do this? Because we have a real problem on our hands.

We have a huge body image crisis, and more and more individuals are falling victim every day. Fat talk is damaging not only to yourself, but to those around you. More and more children are engaging in fat talk. Saying, “I feel fat”, after a meal or, “don’t show my fat tummy”, when a photo is being taken, puts a disproportionate level of importance on one’s external appearance, and creates an air of negativity. Children who grow up hearing someone they love and admire use these words and speak in this way, may grow up to feel this way about themselves. Girls as young as seven, who are of a healthy weight, are saying to their mothers that they think are fat! Where does this idea come from…The fat talk has to stop.

There is no point to fat talk. It is unproductive and incredibly wasteful. Speaking this way is not going to make you thinner or prettier. It is not going to get you any closer to the already unattainable thin ideal that is promoted by the media. Striving for this only further perpetuates the cycle, and encourages more and more individuals to fat talk and hate on themselves. Focus instead on being healthy.

Fill your body with good food.

Eat well.

Be active.

Live life.

Have a piece of chocolate, enjoy it, get rid of the guilt and start to treat yourself and your body well.

Strive for health and happiness.

Stop wasting time with fat talk and start being kinder to yourself. Only then will you develop a healthy relationship with food and eating. And only then will your relationship with yourself, and your body image, start to improve.

That is my two cents.

Heidi xo

P.S. I realise that it was more like fifty cents worth of thoughts 😉 Thanks for bearing with me whilst I address an important issue that I am very passionate about.

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  • Chanel11 September 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I agree with everything you said – I no longer use the word fat as I don't want my daughter hearing me say that about myself. We should stop being our own worst enemy.

  • Heidi September 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Yes, we should! 🙂 Good work. Thanks for your support xo

  • The InTolerant Chef September 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Hi and thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I don't use the word fat with my daughters, Our motto is, make the most of what you've got. Everyone is beautiful. My mother used to tell me I had huge thighs back whin I was only 45kgs, now she tells me she isn't as embarrassed by my weight now she can tell her friends I'm a chef! Sigh….

  • Heidi September 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Sorry to hear that, lovely! It must be really tough. You're giving your daughters a great gift by not doing the same 🙂 xo

  • Hampers September 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Too true! My two daughters are eating everything we present to them without being fussy.
    It is a blessing and we need not ever mention the dreaded FAT word.

  • KittyCate September 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Awesome post Heidi! So well-written, and I completely agree with everything you have said. My mother passed on really fantastic, healthy, positive body image to my sister and I – we are all quite small, but its not just about "fat" IMO. Let's just say I was never the "attractive" girl in highschool with a sexy figure and blonde hair and a tan – I was bony and pale-skinned, I have a beaky nose and I wore glasses and braces LOL. But my mum always told me how beautiful I was, and it really worked! Even now at 28 I still feel beautiful because my mum told me I was when I was younger, and my husband tells me I am now 🙂 I think its the best thing you can do for your children.

  • Heidi September 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Hampers – that is fantastic, good work.

    Cate – Thank you so much. I too was really fortunate. I never heard my mum say anything negative about her appearance, never heard the word 'diet' – very lucky. And you are beautiful, inside and out, so I can understand why your mum & husband say that about you!


  • Danielle (Runs on Green) September 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I loved hearing your 50 cents 🙂 And yes, fat talk *is* a big deal because it really boils down to how you view yourself/your self-worth/happiness. And that should always be a priority!

  • Leah September 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Another great post Heidi! I agree we need to stop the fat talk. I can't stand when I hear my friends, who are slim and gorgeous talking about their 'fat' bodies. I stopped torturing myself many years ago, and now eat what I want, when I want within moderation. And stopped looking at food like it is 'good' or 'bad.'

  • Heidi September 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks, Danielle 🙂 I so agree!

    Leah, that is so key. No more 'good' or 'bad' food! xo

  • Iron Chef Shellie September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    So true. Have been engaging in a lot of fat talk as of late. The boy feels fat, so I'm trying to watch what he eats, I am trying to drag him out to be active!

    Why waste my life hating the way I look… life is too short!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    It's such a complex issue isn't it. Great pep talk Heidi! 😀

  • Amy @ cookbookmaniac September 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I agree with your whole heartedly. The word "fat" has been used inappropriately for far too long.

  • Kath September 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Very well said. Nothing to add. 🙂