“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.
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.
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.