Fat talk assails us in dressing rooms, mirror looking and on the stage between our ears. Frequently and for some of us constantly.
These jeans look terrible on me. My thighs are just huge. Do you think I look fat?
In the NY Times article Fat Talk Compels but Carries a Cost Jan Hoffman writes that “fat talk” is a bonding ritual described as “contagious,” aggravating poor body image and even setting the stage for eating disorders. Some researchers have found that it is so embedded among women that it often reflects not how the speaker actually feels about her body but how she is expected to feel about it.
And while research shows that most women neither enjoy nor admire fat talk, it compels them. In one study, 93 percent of college women admitted to engaging in it.
So if we know that it doesn’t help why do we keep doing it? Fat Talk…
- Makes your body the enemy.
- Keeps you focused on looks and not your whole self.
- Erodes confidence just for conversation.
- Hurts your feelings or someone else’s.
What would happen if we interrupted this ritual and found other ways to greet each other and bond with our friends?
Interrupt your own fat talk and have something to say when someone else is fat talking. Ask:
- When do you fat talk yourself?
- What triggers your fat talk?
- What do you want the fat talk to do for you:
- How much $$ would someone have to pay you to say what you say to yourself to your friend or neighbor?
Here’s what you can say:
- Ooo..ouch! That hurt!
- Take it easy that kind of talk doesn’t help.
- I don’t know about you, but focusing on fat makes me eat more.
What are you willing to try?