Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk”

6th August 2010

Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk”

I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy from the overthrow of Prop 8 in California, but there’s other good news to report for this week’s Feel Good Friday.  We’ve mentioned before the blog Operation Beautiful and I’m glad to see it now making more national headlines.  The mission of Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper…  So says site editor Caitlin Boyle, who’s on a mission to leave positive, body-affirming notes in public spaces and invites you to do the same.  Since starting the blog last year, Caitlin has received an overwhelming outpouring of support from people (mostly women) also sick of the constant bombardment of “fat talk” and has now chronicled some of the messages she’s received in a new book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time. MSNBC has posted an excerpt from that book here, which released in stores this week.    You’ll have to go to the MSNBC link to read the entire exerpt, but I wanted to repost some of Caitlin’s basic tips for ending fat talk here.  Caitlin also appeared yesterday on The Today Show — catch that clip here.

Stop your Fat Talk in its tracks! In addition to consciously correcting yourself, try wearing a rubber band around your wrist and give it a firm “snap!” whenever you feel a negative thought creeping in. Think of it like coating your nails in spicy polish when you’re trying to stop biting them! The rubber band technique is a gentle physical reminder of the internal damage you are doing to yourself when you Fat Talk.

Identify the real issue behind your Fat Talk. Is it really about your body or is it about something else entirely — like an emotion you’re having trouble expressing? Many women use Fat Talk as a way to express sadness or frustration. Find a more positive outlet for your emotions, such as talking to a friend, writing in your diary or exercising.

Make a list of your positive qualities — both inside and out — and tape them to your bathroom mirror so you can read it whenever you need a boost. Do not be ashamed to celebrate your amazing qualities!

What are some other ways that have helped you put an end to the fat talk loop in your head?  How do you react to fat talk by others?

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 12:17 pm and is filed under Body Image, Body-Affirming, Rachel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 15 responses to “Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk””

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  1. 1 On August 6th, 2010, JoLaine said:

    I don’t get it. Why would I hurt myself with a rubber band to remind myself not to hurt myself!!! This is the most idiotic “reminder” system I’ve ever heard of.

  2. 2 On August 6th, 2010, Ashley Pariseau said:

    That is such an inspiring note! As for me, I can honestly say I haven’t heard any fat talk by others in my real every day life in a long time. I just now realized this…

  3. 3 On August 6th, 2010, Samantha C said:

    I’ve been having SO much trouble lately, because my mother won’t shut up about her eating habits. She’s training for a marathon, which is awesome, except she keeps talking about how she’s only “allowed” to eat a piece of fried shrimp or something because she’ll exercise in the morning. as if running less than 5 miles would mean that dressing on her salad wouldn’t be acceptable. I want to SCREAM to her that she’s allowed to eat whatever she wants, that no one is stopping her, that no one will take it away or scold her because she’s a grown woman. But I’m not brave enough for her to turn around and tell me that I need to be dieting, too.

    And it’s really hard, because even if she really is only judging herself, I feel judged. If she feels she can’t eat a shrimp if she’s not marathon training, what does the think of me for ordering a steak?

  4. 4 On August 6th, 2010, Anna said:

    One I use is “If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.”

  5. 5 On August 7th, 2010, Jackie said:

    To be honest, I feel like trying to convince people that fat isn’t so “OMG SCARY!”, is like pushing a boulder up a very steep hill, or trying to get past level 8-8 in the original Super Mario Bros, those stupid tiny platforms! It’s difficult to even begin explaining without some, “Ohhh you’re one of those fat acceptance people, *snicker* hahahaha!” kind of remarks. Alright, perhaps that one happens more online than in the real world.

    It’s just people will act like you’re in denial, or don’t know about healthy eating because remember, fat people are stupid! That the whole fat acceptance thing, is a sad attempt at trying to reconcile the fact that I MUST be eating boxes of Dunkin’ Donut holes with abandon at home. I just tire of trying to explain to these fools, that all of it isn’t true.

    Maybe you have some advice for this, recently the CDC came out with a new “OMG OBESITY, AHHHHHH!” report and what do you know, more news stories about how obesity is killing our kids! More headless fatty images and videos! Even worse, now headless fatty videos of kids. Yeah, because we all know fat kids just simply aren’t shamed enough by our society for being fat, we need to dehumanize them more dammit!(sarcasm)

    It’s like spending hours trying to beat a level in a video game, only to lose your last life and start all over again. Well okay, those are more like the past days of gaming before they created a save feature. Yes, I know, most of my references to frustration with this are video game related lol.

  6. 6 On August 7th, 2010, Erin S, said:

    The thing that has always driven me nuts about the “obesity crisis” and the new “obesity crisis kids edition” — even if we bought their garbage hook line and sinker, they are still only showing us pictures (headless or otherwise) of a very very small percentage of “the afflicted”, and portraying them as if ALL of “the afflicted” are exactly that body composition and shape.

    I think the reason it annoys me so much is that I was one of those “obesity epidemic” kids, the ones who had to be shamed all day every day by teachers, gym coaches, the school nurse, and my fellow students. The one who got lectured every doctors visit about exercising more and stopping snacking and how I should put those poison warning stickers on soda to remind me that it was killing me.

    And I wasn’t even fat. Not even a little bit. I have a picture of myself at 12, when that garbage started, and I was probably on the thin side if you were comparing me to most children my height. The problem is, most children my height would have been 15 or 16 — I was easily 5’9″ to 5’10″ by the time I was 12. So of course I was going to weigh more than a more average 12 year old, the fact that I had more skeleton than average alone ensured THAT much!

    Provide ALL children with the tools, space, and time to engage in physical activities they actually enjoy. Which naturally means having the tools, space, and time to have them at least TRY as many different things as possible, without judging them on how well they perform at them! Teach them how to cook, not just what to cook. And not only that, but teach it positively not negatively. Don’t spend all your time focused on scare tactics about avoiding this that and the other thing that will make you fat and disgusting so you never get dates and die young alone with no knees. Don’t even talk about that garbage, it is NOT necessary at this point, and kids are not equipped to handle it anyway. In fact the younger they are, the more damage talking about avoiding sugar, or fat, or calories is going to do, because the younger a person is the more they see things entirely in black and white. Say to avoid fat for instance, and you run the risk of getting a kid who decides that means to avoid ALL fat compulsively.

    Anyway, off to be fat and lazy and eat doughnuts on the couch, which is what fat people do all day every day. Except substitute “going for a hike” and “drinking water, while hiking”. Which is a more accurate reflection of this fat lazy person’s daily life anyway.

  7. 7 On August 7th, 2010, Samantha C said:

    JoLaine, I think it works because it makes you aware of what you’re doing. A tiny inconsequential rubberband snap is over in a half a second, but it shakes you out of the mentalities that linger for years. When you feel the physical reminder pain, it helps to solidify the otherwise intangible emotional and psychological pain that you’re putting yourself through at the same time. It can be a great way to really understand how much you’re unconsciously hurting yourself.

  8. 8 On August 7th, 2010, Jackie said:

    If you don’t like rubber bands, I remember they were selling those Snap Bracelets from the 80′s again at Claire’s. LoL, they don’t really hurt, but they’re good for fooling around with when you’re bored. The sound might annoy people though.

  9. 9 On August 9th, 2010, Willow said:

    To bash the rubber band thing a bit more, if you’re prone to severe anxiety (which I am), snapping a rubber band against the wrist is jarring and tends to direct one towards the ever fun paths of adrenaline release and… anxiety.

    I had a doctor molest me when I was 10. He told my mother to leave the room, which she did (and which I still hate her for doing), because, as I was “so overweight,” he needed to examine me further to make sure I was not suffering some exotic malady due to being overweight. Once my mother left, he took off my pants & underwear and proceeded to madly go about his business with my vagina. Firstly, I’d already been sexually abused by my uncle and sure as fuck didn’t need any more of that. Secondly, my self-esteem was beyond rescue since I had been molested by my uncle, and hearing that I was fat and ugly – followed by being molested AGAIN – trashed it permanently. I still hate myself.

    So, that’s my story relating to doctors and kids who are “obese.” (Which I wasn’t, ironically.) Not sure what you’ll get out of it, but it helped to write about it.

  10. 10 On August 11th, 2010, Jackie said:

    A interesting thing happened the other day when I was on Hello Kitty Online. Someone in my guild said, “I dislike fat people” out nowhere. Now, after I stopped staring at my screen in utter shock that someone would actually say this. I went on a rant about how fat people don’t eat all the time, it’s a matter of genetics ect ect. The person backed down after being confronted with all these facts, that completely obliterated her ignorant POV that fat people eat non stop.

    The thing was she hurt someone else’s feelings regarding this, and didn’t get why. I don’t know if it’s that I’m on an international server, and perhaps in other countries the message of fat acceptance hasn’t reached there yet. The guild leader was just as shocked as I was about hearing it. I feel really happy I’ve researched so much on fat acceptance, so that now I can seriously pwn these haters when I encounter them.

  11. 11 On August 12th, 2010, Jackie said:

    Willow I’m so sorry that happened to you. I hope your uncle and that doctor burn in hell.

  12. 12 On August 13th, 2010, Stephanie said:

    I think that this is very important. We are all our own worst enemies. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the h*ll are you supposed to love anyone else?” Thanks for the post, and keep up the good work.

  13. 13 On August 30th, 2010, Wogglebug said:

    JoLaine, that whole list of ‘stopping Fat Talk’ tips is a parody of standard diet tips. Just read it over, substituting food and eating references for “Fat Talk”, and you’ll see how familiar it sounds.

  14. 14 On September 24th, 2010, Jennifer @ said:

    Fat talk sucks. It makes you feel so bad and does absolutely no good. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older (just hit my 30s) the fat talk slowed down. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of other negative talk going on inside so I have to keep working on that. Love Operation Beautiful! Such a simple, but powerful idea.

  15. 15 On October 27th, 2010, Operation Beautiful « K8's Krazy Thoughts said:

    [...] Feel Good Friday: Putting an end to “fat talk” ( [...]

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