My butt is too big. I look so fat. I hate my body. She’s too fat to be wearing that dress. You look great — have you lost weight?
Sound familiar? If you’re a woman, chances are good that you’ve either regularly heard and/or even engaged in such toxic self-loathing otherwise known as fat talk. Studies have confirmed that women bond over fat talk and the more we partake in it, the more “normal” it becomes — but it doesn’t have to be. Today’s the first day of Fat Talk Free Week, a public awareness campaign organized by Tri Delta. Want to start trimming the fat from fat talk? Here’s some ways how:
Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you each like about yourself.
Keep a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do (e.g., sleep well and wake up rested, play tennis, etc.).
Pick one friend to make a pact with to avoid Fat Talk. When you catch your friend talking negatively about their body, remind them of the pact.
Make a pledge to end complaints about your body, such as “I’m so flat-chested” or “I hate my legs.” When you catch yourself doing this, make a correction by saying something positive about that body part, such as, “I’m so glad my legs got me through soccer practice today.” Sign the “Today I promise to eliminate fat talk” pledge (and Harriet Brown’s I Love My Body pledge).
The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting (“No, I’m so fat”), practice taking a deep breath and saying “thank you.”
It can be difficult not participating in fat talk — even I catch myself sometimes doing it with a coworker. Fat talk can feel instinctual, impulsive and sometimes even obligatory, so in the spirit of Joy Nash’s fabulous Staircase Wit, I thought it’d be nice to have a list of snappy comebacks and shut-downs handy. What are some effective ways to answer responses like these:
My arms are so fat. I hate my batwings.
Ugh, I need to lose XX pounds.
I can’t eat that — I’m on a diet.
My thighs are ginormous!
Everything I eat goes straight to my hips.
I could never pull that off — I’m too fat.
You look great — have you lost weight?
Please feel free to contribute other forms of fat talk you’ve heard and your suggested responses to them.