Self-Love Reflection: Stop Fat Talk

Posted: May 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hello to my new readers! So great to have you! Be sure to say hello so I can come visit you too. :)

For those newer to FFF, I hope you enjoy the weekly installment of my Self-Love series. Each Sunday, I re-post one of the topics discussed during the 30 Days of Self-Love movement I hosted last year. This week – Stopping “Fat Talk”. Enjoy!

Today I want to emphasize exactly how I feel about this topic. STOP. IT. NOW!!!! Stop what? Putting yourself down or “fat talk” as this dialogue has been coined.

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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.

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. Yet, 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.

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

  • Remember how the part you criticize works for you.
  • Replace with a positive.
  • Be realistic.
  • Reaffirm yourself. Think outside the physical quality or whatever you are tearing down and consider your strengths.
  • Tell someone who you trust will support you and not turn it into a game of “who has it worse”.

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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.

What do you do to stop fat talk? From yourself or from others?

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42 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: Stop Fat Talk”
  1. Alurah says:

    I just read your guest blog on binge eating. I was once a binge eater myself and really relate to your story. Thanks for putting this information out there to help others! It is important to help women have a better view of themselves both physically and mentally!

    • Tina says:

      Thanks! I feel like its something many have faced or do face, yet we don’t really discuss it much. I appreciate your appreciation. :)

  2. “Stop. You’re smarter than to put yourself down like that.” SO TRUE. That’s such a wonderful thing to say to someone, because when you tell them “oh you’re so beautiful! it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” they think you’re just being nice or cliched. A no-nonsense approach is way better! I feel like it’s so NORMAL for women to fat talk each other, when it’s really not normal at all. I mean, women will fat talk themselves to complete strangers! “Do you want cream in your coffee?” “Oh, God no, have you seen the size of my thighs?” It’s sad that so many women feel like it’s all they can relate to other females about. I try to do my part by not fat talking to others.There’s no need to bring up comparisons by saying what I dislike about myself!

  3. It is sad how often I find myself engaging in fat talk — it is crazy how badly I treat myself sometimes. Usually I catch myself thinking or saying self doubt things and think that I am better than this and I know that isn’t true.

    What I have a hard time with is stopping others when they are engaging in it — I tend to just get really quiet.

  4. Lee says:

    My mom is seriously the worst about this. Every time I talk to her on the phone, she tells me how she’s gotten fat or she needs to lose 5 pounds. Every single time. She’s not even overweight.

  5. Fantastic post! I’ve struggled with so-called fat talk, but I’ve gotten a lot better in recent years. Now I find myself being much more attune to other peoples’ fat talk, and I like your method for putting an end to it without doling out compliments that just feed their insecurity. One of the things I’m the worst at is “outsourcing approval” to my husband or other people, like asking, “I look fat, don’t I?” Not sure why I engage in this because I AM smarter than that, but I’m a work in progress! :) Happy Mother’s Day, beautiful!

  6. vivoir says:

    I posted about my thoughts on this topic last week (http://vivoir.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/treat-yourself-like-youre-your-best-friend/) and I think that it boils down to the fact that we simply need to sometimes step back and think about how vile we are being to ourselves. I’m trying to silence my niggling inner-voice by stopping and thinking if I’d speak to a friend like that…

    Doesn’t always work, but hey, even a 1 in 10 success rate is better than nothing!

  7. Just wanted to stop in and wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, Tina! Hope you have a wonderful Sunday with your family :)

  8. I too am still guilty of it but lately I’m proud to have the ability and opportunity to stop it. When I think bad thoughts about myself, I also remind myself of my strength and other positive qualities. And when my friends do it, I compliment them on another positive attribute and change the topic to something not about physical characteristics :)

  9. Tiff says:

    Thanks for the tips on stopping the fat talk. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say when I hear it, but I’ll work on being more prepared! Happy Mommy’s Day

  10. I’ve started speaking up to people who say things like, “I’m eating this-or-that, I’m so bad today” or “I’m going to be good and not eat a cookie even though I really want one”, and telling them that they are not good or bad depending on what they eat. Food is not good or bad. It is, however, healthy/helpful, or unhealthy.

  11. Great post Tina!! I LOVE the idea of just telling them to stop! Not encouraging it, but yeah just showing them you care! Love it :)

  12. this is so necessary to remember sometimes! my worst habits is saying stuff to my boyfriend, but it makes him so angry that i’ve stopped, which in the long run is a good thing! so important to remember to STOP!

    • Tina says:

      I think it is so easy to express those feelings to significant others. Then, I realized that is also undermining the affection they try to show us. No wonder it frustrates them so mad!

  13. Lauren says:

    This is so relevant – one of the sororities on campus just put up a “friends don’t let friends fat talk” banner during greek week. Last year, they all made a pledge to not fat talk during the week. It’s hardest for me to know what to say when others fat talk.

  14. Bobbi says:

    Hi Tina! I found your blog through the guest post on Julie’s blog. Anyway, I’m excited that I found you and look forward to reading more. This post resonates with me so much because I have had such difficulty controlling myself when I “fat talk.” It puts a damper on everything in my life when I let it get the best of me, but I just continue to try to think more positive thoughts. I think it’s better to realize you have the negative thoughts and affirmatively push them out of your mind then to act like they aren’t even there. :)

    • Tina says:

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

      I agree that its best to recognize the thoughts than just hide from them or pretend they don’t exist. Funnily enough – I JUST wrote a post for tomorrow that relates to that idea.

  15. LauraJayne says:

    Happy Mother’s Day! You are one of the most inspirational mothers I know (other than my own, of course)! I loved your guest post and I love this post about ending fat talk! It’s definitely something that I work on daily and want to emphasize to all of the women in my life!

    Have a great day!

  16. Fat talk goes in the same category as all self-hating talk. One thing I do is just call that the “mean brain” and literally tell it to “SHUT UP!” either in my head, or honestly out loud sometimes if I am alone. So, “shut up mean brain, stop being mean to me!” is what I say and it often helps!

  17. Jill says:

    Hello! I am new to the blogging world. I am seeing that it is a fabulous community of caring and supportive people. I really look forward to reading your posts! So inspirational! Some advice that was given to me once in regards to “fat talk” was-don’t ever say something to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your friend. We would never say to a friend, “I can’t believe you ate that whole half gallon of ice cream you fat pig”! We would talk to them kindly and gently with love and respect. That is how we need to talk to ourselves. Thanks for reminding me!

  18. Errign says:

    For myself, I usually just tell myself “stop” and I move onto to something healthier, like exercising or school work to take my mind off it.

    For others, I try to block it out, or if it’s really in my face, I will sometimes comment on it.

  19. Fat talk is really hard to banish, especially when it is something that is habitual for most people. I actually have inner conversations with myself when it happens. I think to myself “what the heck are you thinking? YOu’re not fat, etc and you know it. So stop!”

  20. Jolene says:

    Did you choose this one today since you knew I was having a terrible time NOT tearing myself down? I am struggling tonight and I really needed this reminder. Thank you.

  21. Karolina says:

    Great idea! I often talk to my clients about the inner soundtrack that we have. Most of us would walk away from a friend who talked to us the way we talk to ourselves. It’s helpful to know various types of cognitive distortions, gain awareness of how you use them, and learn to replace them with positive and rational thoughts. This goes a long way in developing health.

  22. Thank you for such a timely post.
    The past two weeks have been chaos with eating and running. I live in Tuscaloosa, our church building and MANY friends’ homes were destroyed by the tornadoes, and I’ve been on disaster relief through our church for the past 11 days. I’m not eating well and too exhausted and heart sick to work out. This week has been nothing but negative fat talk and it’s just one more thing weighing me down physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
    I so needed this. You have no idea how much.
    Please pray for Alabama. We need them.

    • Tina says:

      Oh, Katrina! I am so sorry to hear that. Just remember – that this is one season and you are focusing on so much more important things right now. Perhaps the frustration with the eating/exercising is even just a way to deflect some of the emotions you feel after your city faced such disaster. Keep on caring for those people and remember how WONDERFUL you are for doing so!

  23. Missy says:

    Happy Mother’s Day.
    I am so happy you have two reason’s to stop in your tracks with that foul talk and so happy your children have such an amazing role model.
    Be the change you want to see, they say. You are doing it.

  24. Thank you so much for this post and this series as a whole! Self-love is so important, especially when it comes to fat talk! Your blog is so inspirational!

    • Tina says:

      Thanks so much! I try to just share about struggles that I know affect me and that hopefully we can all work together as a community of bloggers to help each other overcome them little by little.

  25. ashley says:

    i don’t think i have any strategy to end self-doubt talk! so yea, i think this post is inspiration for me to start working on that :)

  26. I actually don’t have many fat talks like I use to. I think I did a great job keeping it away from me. Instead, I do other negative actions .

    Like talking a bit too much of what I eat. That s because I m pretty proud of my recovery from ED, a year ago.

    This week, my husband suports me to keep track of my ” eating talks” and to cut them back. I need to be less aware of what I eat in order to enjoy more other ares in my life.

    • Tina says:

      That’s really great you have pushed past the fat talk, but still want to make the most out of your life and work on other things you notice might be holding you back from living fully. What a cool concept to think about how your discussion of food can play a role in that!

  27. I found your blog through julies when you posted about binge eating! i am going through that (even though nobody knows) and i loved reading your post!!

    i love this post as well – it is so true. what are we getting out of calling ourselves fat? i know i’m not considered “obese” by doctors standards so if i want to change, i need to change and stop putting myself down!

    • Tina says:

      It’s amazing how many people can relate. We definitely have to help each other out and uplift each other to help get past the fat talk, food stigmas, and everything else. Thanks for commenting! Can’t wait to check out your blog. :)

  28. Excellent post, Tina! I am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member and spent 15 years a Leader for WW. This is such a big issue. People love to tear themselves down regarding what they do or don’t do in relation to their weight. I try to talk about that sometimes myself on BCDC. As always, you get right to the heart of the matter. Thanks!

  29. I saw your post on PB Fingers & wow, I am incredibly moved & inspired. It’s so difficult for me to stop the Fat Talk but I am learning to love & accept myself, and to WORK on myself instead of just putting myself down.

  30. [...] topic is one of my personal faves: Self Talk! I got the idea to talk about self talk from Tina’s series Self Love Reflection and her discussion on Fat-Talk! If you haven’t read it go check [...]

  31. Ragnhild says:

    Thank you for that great post, and reminder! It is too easy to look down at our selfs. I know I do many times a day! If my friends had told me they sayd these things to them self, I would say they where crazy!
    This is something I need to work on every day !

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