You don't have to let other people's critical body comments cause you to critique your own body. Resist the temptation to engage in "fat talk" with these tips
Have you ever been with friends and someone starts complaining about "feeling fat"? Or maybe you are in a store trying on clothes and you hear another customer talk about "how fat she looks in that dress."
It likely triggered a moment of insecurity.
Working in an exercise studio was very eye-opening to see firsthand how critical people can be about their bodies. The second that one person says "I hate my arms" or "my thunder thighs are crashing together" or "I wish I didn't have these love handles" is the second almost anyone within earshot starts to critique themselves even if it's not spoken out loud.
So what if you started out the day feeling pretty good about yourself? Now you're wondering if you look fat, too. No matter how you felt before, it's likely that you'll start to question the state of your own body.
Fat talk is a way for people to bond. Almost everyone has some body part they aren't 100% happy with, so it's easy to relate. This always reminds me of that scene in Mean Girls (I know this makes me sound so basic) where they are all talking about what they hate about their body.
But fat talk is not a way to have meaningful connections in your life.
It's not worth the guilt, shame, and negativity it brings.
[clickToTweet tweet="You don't have to let other people's critical body comments cause you to critique your own body. Resist the temptation to engage in fat talk with these tips. #HAES" quote="You don't have to let other people's critical body comments cause you to critique your own body. Resist the temptation to engage in fat talk with these tips. #HAES"]
Instead of staying on my soapbox about how detrimental it can be to be hypercritical of your body, here are some suggestions for stopping the fat talk:
Consider why you're so awesome
Basing your worth on your body is a surefire way to feel unhappy & feel unhappy often. Think about the other things that are so great about you that are unrelated to your body.
Don't forget that it can be anything; think outside the box. Are you a coupon wizard? Can you create a gourmet dinner with whatever ingredients are in your kitchen? Are you notorious for making people laugh? Do you have mad dancing skillz? Can you write efficient yet witty emails in minutes?
If you are having a hard time with this, ask a friend or family member. I'm sure they'll come up with more reasons than you can count in seconds.
The next time you start to have a challenging day with your body image, remember the great things about you that are completely unrelated to your body.
Appreciate your body
On the same note as remembering why you're awesome, could you come up with 3-5 things that you appreciate about your body?
Maybe your strong arms help you carry all the groceries inside in one trip (yay for one trip!). Or those powerful glutes push your body forward all day long. Or your strong core supports your spine and protects your lower back.
I promise that accepting your body won't make you gain weight.
What makes you say "I feel fat"
Don't minimize the sensation of "feeling fat." You are entitled to feel uncomfortable about your body or a certain body part. However, how you feel about your body doesn't need to determine your emotions.
Maybe you're the one that started the "I feel fat" convo. Why are you feeling this way? Are you feeling anxious in the situation? Are you looking to find a commonality with others around you? What about your body is making you feel uncomfortable?
Get curious on why you are having negative thoughts about your body, and avoid using your body as a scapegoat.
Change the subject
You don't have to continue the fat talk.
I usually just ask a question (completely unrelated to anything body or diet related), and it quickly changes the subject.
Make meaningful connections
What are some other topics you can discuss that have meaning?
Being skinny or looking like someone in a magazine isn't the goal in life (nor is it possible). You could talk about your hobbies, your family, your job, your favorite restaurant, and so much more.
Skip the body shaming; life is a much more enjoyable (for your body & mind) than talking about how unsatisfied you are with your body.
What is your favorite way to change the subject when fat talk starts happening? How do you make meaningful connections with people (as opposed to connecting with people through dissing your body)?
Lauren Harris-Pincus says
Love this. No one is perfect, though we think we have to be. Great conversation starter!
Thanks, Lauren! It can be so hard to remember that, right?!
Yes, yes, and yes. As the mom of three teenage girls, I want to protect them from all the negative self talk about bodies, but it needs to start with the grown ups, since we are the role models. Thanks for this post.
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says
Great post Meme! Fat talk is everywhere - I hear women doing it all the time even when eating lunch. Like Katie, I want to protect my girls from body shaming also, but it seems harder than ever these days. Your tips are great.