30 days of self love – stop. it. now!

Posted: September 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

Today I want to emphasize exactly how I feel about today’s topic. STOP. IT. NOW!!!! Stop what? Putting yourself down or “fat talk” as this dialogue has recently been coined. Caitlin discusses it in her Operation Beautiful book at greater length, and while I am not going back and referencing it specifically this morning, some of what I share while writing is likely impacted by that book. If you haven’t read it, you must!

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We all know about fat talk. Even if you have never heard the term, you have experienced it. It lies in that inner dialogue of self-doubt that puts down our image and denies us of our true beauty. I actually like to think of it as “self-doubt talk” because I believe it plays in more than physical appearance. It comes when we commiserate with other women about how “this dress makes me look fat” or “gosh, I’m so stupid to think the boss would like my idea”. Maybe it even hides behind those times we refuse to accept compliments.

Just like Caitlin, I don’t even begin to think we can fully stop such negative thoughts. They will always find a way to creep back in. We need to become more aware of them and work hard to stop them in their tracks. I have more confidence than ever in who I am, my ability to care for myself, that I have much to offer others, and that I am in fact beautiful. I still face fat talk more often than I care to admit. Maybe even to the likes of once a day. The difference is I can stop it in its tracks.

Yesterday for example, while out to eat I went to the restroom which had (for some reason) a set up with numerous mirrors. When standing to pull up my pants, I look in front of me and bam there’s a reflection of my behind. Dun dun dun. Enter fat talk in its evil combat suit.

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You worked sooo hard to get that thing in shape and now its just gotten lumpy pancake disease again. It will never look nice.” “You’ve been eating so TERRIBLE. You won’t be able to lose the weight.” “And just look at how you’re dressed! You don’t fit in here!”   …shake head in realization…

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What are some steps I take to stop the “self-doubt” talk when it begins?

  • Remember those gifts of the body. Remember how the part you criticize works for you. I am not in the best shape right now because I am carrying a child! It would be a sad situation if I was because then I wouldn’t be providing for my baby first.
  • Replace with a positive. My butt may not be looking too pretty, but it will again. And my legs are still in pretty dang good shape. So there! (I think I actually stuck my tongue out to the mirror at this point…I don’t make these things up)
  • Be realistic. I’m not eating TERRIBLE. I know it’s not my best, but its not terrible. Heck! The dinner awaiting  me outside that restroom was hummus, veggies, pita, and one all meat crab cake! The birthday cake I ate earlier? Naturally sweetened apple cake made from scratch by my sister in law. Yea. Soooo TERRIBLE!
  • Reaffirm yourself. Think outside the physical quality or whatever you are tearing down and consider your strengths. I know I will have the drive to care for my health and get back to a comfortable and healthy place for me after this baby. I did it once and I will do it again. I know that.
  • Tell someone who you trust will support you and not turn it into a game of “who has it worse”. After recognizing these thoughts, I later shared them with Peter. He reminded me of the advice I give to others and bluntly told me to take it myself. Touche my man. Touche. It snapped me out of it.

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One last thing – be aware of when others participate in fat talk. Don’t allow them to! It makes it easier for you to participate as well. As women, we should be lifting each other up instead of standing by while we tear our own selves apart. Simply say “Stop. You’re smarter than to put yourself down like that”. I think this works best because you’re not handing out a compliment to reaffirm the behavior. Also, you’re still showing you think highly of the person and want what is best for them.

This post has gone on long enough! What do you do to stop fat talk? From yourself or from others?

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Check out the blogs below for their own personal posts about the 30 DSLR.

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38 Comments to “30 days of self love – stop. it. now!”
  1. Tina I hate fat talk. I have been surrounded by it for all of my life — and I’m still surrounded by it! I do it, my friends do it, my family does it, etc.

    Lately I’ve been stopping the fat talk by immediately following up those thoughts with positive ones. If I start telling myself that my thighs are too big and I my tummy is too jiggly, I immediately tell myself that “my body is strong, my body is beautiful, and there might be a few things to work on, but I am wonderful!”. It really helps me to stop those negative thoughts before they get too consuming.

    When I HEAR fat talk I change the subject as fast as possible. For so long I’d get sucked in and join in on the fat talk. Now I walk away or change the subject when possible. I do find myself getting into it though, and that is something that will (hopefully) decrease with time.

    Great post!

  2. I agree! It makes me so sad to hear my friends put themselves down, and it makes me MOST SAD to hear my mother CONSTANTLY talk about her perceived imperfections (about which she is wrong). There is no reason for it because they are all beautiful on the outside and the inside!

    But then I turn around and tell myself that my butt is too flat and my hips are too big and my thighs are too gross….so I’m not exactly part of the solution. I find that self doubt is very emotionally based, and has nothing to do with the physical. It helps to remember that fact when I feel icky for no reason! It also helps to focus on parts of me that I love and realize that I am cute!

    It is so easy to know how beautiful your friends and family members are and to tell them ALL the time, but sometimes is harder to see your own inner and outer beauty!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’ve realized that a lot of my fat talk is other insecurities in disguise. When I’m really giving into my negative body talk, I try to ask myself “what’s really going on today?” Usually I realize I’m stressed because my house cleaning is neglected or I’m not planned for work the next day or my marking is piling up. Tackling those things makes me feel better which, over time, has helped me realize that I tend to use “I’m fat” as my cover up for other problems.
    However, when the problem really is “I’m fat” I’ve started fighting that voice in my head by silently responding, “Nope! I refuse to call myself fat. I’m in great shape and always working to make it better.” It’s slowly becoming my mantra :)
    And after today’s post I’ve decided to use your “stop. You’re too smart to put yourself down like that!” when my friends start. I thought being sympathetic, giving compliments, and raising my own insecurities was being a good friend, but I think trying to help them stop their cycle of negativity would be better!

  4. I have been going back and forth with fat talk for the past month! I don’t know why I’m having such negative self-image lately but I feel like it has come with avengence. I just need to keep reading positive posts like yours in order to keep my head on straight!! Let’s work together to STOP the fat talk!!

  5. Harmony says:

    I love Caitlyn and her blog. I haven’t purchased her book yet, but it is definately on my “to buy” list.

    I am going to say “STOP” whenever my friends or I start to put ourselves down. If we are going to be confident, loving, faithful women, we need to stop putting ourselves down. I read a book one time that said we should love ourselves as we love our children. Would we let our children get away with saying those things to themselves? Absolutely not!! And neither should we.

    • Tina says:

      I try to think if I would say the same things to a friend and that helps me stop too. I like thinking if I would say it to my children more though. That’s really strong!

  6. I think especially at this time *during pregnancy* it can be easy to hear those voices even more tellling you that you’re not in shape, eating bad, etc. A lot of times a workout will totally change my frame of mind, or like you said, reminding ourselves what a truly special and SHORT time frame this really is! It’s not worth it to dwell on the “negative changes” when it won’t be this way forever.

  7. amy says:

    I’m surrounded by fat talk at work and as a person in recovery from anorexia its so hard. I’ve gotten into weight training and fitness and now want to build muscle and thats all i hear the girls at the gym doing too is bashing their bodies. It makes it hard cause I’m still a few pounds away from my goal weight and sometimes it makes me feel like i don’t want to gain anymore but I just tell myself healthy and fit are much sexier than skinny and sick.

  8. Shayna says:

    I ask my husband how I look! He’s so honest about it and I always trust his opinion. If I feel fat, he’ll tell me, “You’ve been working out so hard, you can tell!” or, if need be, “Well, if you feel that way, let’s not eat at Yogurtland 5 times next week.” :)
    Sometimes, in order to stop the fat talk, I need to accept that I’ve been eating too many treats and that I should curb it, while acknowledging that it doesn’t lessen my self-worth or mean that I’m fat. I think that, at times, my fat talk is my knowledge that I’m getting out of control.

  9. Kelly says:

    I had to laugh reading this today. I did the dreaded jeans shopping yesterday. Oh my. I heard two conversations in the dressing room having to do with some item of clothing making them look fat. I had to hit the Exit Out button on a lot of my own thoughts yesterday. I reminded myself that I am making a lot of good choices for my health and fitness. I have to remember to bring Post-It notes and spread them around the dressing rooms. :-)

  10. Sarah Jayne says:

    This is so well written! Negative self talk can be so so hard to combat- my friend and I were just talking about this the other day. You can receive compliments up and down, all day long…and as soon as you receive any criticism, it’s ALL you can hear/think. We are so much more eager to believe the bad over the good!

    • Tina says:

      I really wonder why that is too. Why can we readily accept bad but not good. And usually the good we hear comes from a more reliable source (like those who truly care about us).

  11. Heather says:

    amen girl. what it really took for me was my husband telling me that i was beautiful, but that i would never believe he thought that until I BELIEVED i was beautiful! haven’t looked back since :)

  12. homecookedem says:

    Fat talk is all around. I have one friend in particular who is always saying SUCH awful things about herself. I always shake my head and tell her she’s gorgeous, but she refuses to listen. So, all I know to do is to pray that she learns to love herself and finds the confidence she deserves.

  13. Ela says:

    Oh my gosh, this is so right on for me – I almost killed myself with fat talk years ago – 75lbs isn’t a good weight when you’re 5ft4 – and still do it to myself every day!

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your story of how you stopped your fat talk in its tracks!

    I’ll comment again later when I’ve written my blog on this for today, but profound thanks for this.
    love
    Ela

  14. great post, Tina! i liked how you pointed out replace the thought with a positive. it doesn’t work to tell yourself “don’t do that” or “don’t think about that” because then that’s all you’ll be thinking about! (lol!) you have to actually replace that thought with a different one. (philippians 4:8 is my fave right now.) anyway, lovin’ the 30 days, thanks again for sharing :)

  15. Jess says:

    I still battle fat talk every single day. Even though I tore through Operation Beautiful and totally took to heart every single message in it. But I still can’t kick the habit entirely. I’m trying. But its a lot tougher than I thought AND I didn’t realize how much I was doing it until I tried to stop. But you’re right, I need to take your approach. As soon as it starts, stop it – say something positive about yourself and move on. Self-doubt is a terrible thing. What a mind game huh?

  16. Ela says:

    Thanks again – what an amazing post!

    Here is my response to it.

    http://ulteriorharmony.blogspot.com/2010/09/confession-of-week-sauerkraut.html
    love
    Ela

  17. stacey heald says:

    I think I may need to tattoo STOP.IT.NOW. on my hand or somewhere that I’d often see it. ugh. You are so right but it is a hard pattern to break. I think tomorrow I will wear my watch (which I NEVER do) and see if my noticing it during the day will remind me to watch what I am saying to myself. Worth a try, right?
    I also just emailed you and then noticed that the email address I have isn’t the one you currently have on the blog so I’m going to resend it to the one on your sidebar. Sorry to bother you with duplicates if you are checking both addresses!

    • Tina says:

      I got your email. I will try to reply to it later today if I get the chance. But I wanted to say I would love to meet up with you again.

  18. Maren says:

    I struggled with fat talk so much before I started blogging at Simply Maren. I had blog journals that were compilations of post after post of fat talk. I talked negatively about myself to my boyfriend, parents, even my very few friends. When I started my food blog I promised myself that it would be a positive place, and only then did the fat talk stop. I catch myself doing it now, just like you did, and I have the tools to stop it now. I don’t know if it will ever completely go away, but I can control it and stop it in it’s tracks. Great post Tina, again you touched me in a way I didn’t know I needed.

  19. Melodie says:

    This is something I am still working on. It is weird, just a couple of years ago I had gotten completely out of this bad habit and it felt GREAT. I was at my sons middle school football game last Thursday and the fat talk was BAD!!! All of these other mom looked so cute and tiny in their clothes, with their hair done, etc. I have been feeling bad for a month and was feeling awful that day (finally went to the doctor the next day and turns out I Have ulcers in my small intestine… no wonder I have felt so bad!), had not really done anything with my hair and felt bloated and frumpy. I hate that I let things like that get to me. I know my worth isn’t based on what I look like… and it wasn’t TOM… so not sure what my deal was!!! Going to work on this this week and try to snap out of it :) LOVE your post! Love Operation Beautiful too!

    • Tina says:

      I hope the ulcers get taken care of easily enough. That doesn’t sound good! And I hear you on sometimes not feeling put together enough.

  20. Jolene says:

    I need to print this out and put it up everywhere – I get stuck in the fat talk thing so much, and HATE IT! Great post.

  21. Kristy says:

    “Be Realistic” – So critical! I learned the long hard way :-)

  22. Holly says:

    I reserved Operation Beautiful at my library….can’t wait until it comes in!

    I’m so glad you touched on the topic of fat talk, because it is SUCH a huge problem right now among women. And what’s sadder is that it’s starting younger and younger. I think it is SO important to be realistic, like you said. Chances are, we are beating ourselves up WAY too much and blowing things out of proportion! It’s also so important to remind others not to engage in fat talk. Everytime I catch someone, I immediately tell them they are beautiful….I hope one day they can see it, too!

  23. [...] Sunday, Tina talked about a problem that has made its way all over society–Fat Talk or Self-Doubt [...]

  24. [...] out this weekend’s 30 Days of Self Love posts!! Stop Fat Talk (including my personal experience from yesterday) and Loving [...]

  25. [...] language. “Italian, French, Spanish?” I hear you ask. “No!” I respond, “Fat talk.”  We all know about fat talk. Even if you have never heard the term, you have experienced it. It lies [...]

  26. Deborah Cook says:

    I’m queen of self-deprecation and well versed in bad-mouthing myself. I know I do it and I now I shouldn’t. And yet….

    It will be hard to stop ‘thinking’ the negative thoughts that pop into my head (uninvited) but I will stop articulating them.

    So.. I will make every effort NOT to speak negatively about myself. And, if I receive a compliment I will just say thank-you. No buts.

    http://dietschmiet.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/30-days-day-19-stop-the-fat-talk/

    Deb

  27. Kinley says:

    I am so bad about this. For some reason, almost every time I look in the mirror, fat talk pops into my head but just this week I realized that it needs to stop because it’s not true. My sister found a website that lets you put in your height and weight and then randomly generates body pictures of people with your same stats and I realized that none of those girls look fat at my height and weight so why would I? It was very eye opening. My sister also tends to talk bad to herself so I have been trying to make her stop without just bossing her around to stop but reminding her how far she has come in her fitness journey. Each day I have also been making a genuine compliment to her to help boost her confidence back up and also remind her that pant size does not equal a healthy inside and I know for a fact that she eats incredibly healthy because she wants to and also exercises because she wants to and that is so much more important! Fat talk be gone!

  28. [...] language. “Italian, French, Spanish?” I hear you ask. “No!” I respond, “Fat talk.”  We all know about fat talk. Even if you have never heard the term, you have experienced it. It lies [...]

  29. [...] having a great weekend! Today’s reflection on self-love was an extremely powerful one for me: not only did Tina raise the ugly demon of ‘fat talk:’ she also gave a striking example of how she had countered it and talked herself out of it. What a [...]

  30. [...] language. “Italian, French, Spanish?” I hear you ask. “No!” I respond, “Fat talk.”  We all know about fat talk. Even if you have never heard the term, you have experienced it. It lies [...]

  31. Xandria says:

    I distract myself with something I love and know I’m good at. So that “fat talk” doesn’t stand a chance. And then when I’m feeling good, I work on those areas I often “fat talk” about, without judgment. :)

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