What is fat talk? Fat talk is any disparaging dialogue used to describe your body or weight. These can either be negative comments (“I hate my stomach”) to positive comments (“ugh, thank goodness I lost weight so now I can fit into my skinny jeans!).
Fat talk is a contagious type of conversation that most girls/women engage in. If we’re not directly disparaging our bodies, then we listen to other women do it. We participate in conversations that focus solely on our bodies, not our minds.
Fat talk is really about wanting to be someone other than who you are right now. Fat talk is the OPPOSITE of feeling empowered.
Fat talk leads to all sort of negative internal dialogue such as: “I wish my nose was straighter, my hair curlier, I wish I was taller, skinnier, blonder, tanned….I wish, I wish I wish.” I wish I was different. Because for some reason you think your life will be better if only you obtained those things.
Right now, stop and think about how often you engage in these types of conversations on a daily basis? How often do you negatively comment on your appearance?
These types of conversations occur among women all the time. At parties, in the hallway, on the bus, in the grocery store, at the gym, in line at Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, and it definitely occurs in the change room of the GAP or Forever 21. We use fat talk as a way to gain validation from our peers, in hopes that they’ll say “Oh, no you’re not fat.” We also use fat talk to fit in.
The more often you hear fat talk, the greater the chances you’ll engage in it, and the greater the chances you’ll start really believing this nonsense.
We are obsessed with our bodies and social media only fuels our insecurities. Our quest for the thin ideal has restricted our topics of conversation to the body. We are more than just our bodies.
Never, ever fat talk in front of your children. It’s damaging beyond belief.
Stop comparing your body and your features to other people. (I know it’s easier said than done). Be aware of what you’re feeding your mind (photoshopped images, unrealistic celebrity weight loss stories).
Start talking about other more important issues with your friends. Turn fat talk into career talk. We are capable of discussing issues beyond food, nutrition, diet, our bodies, and skinny jeans. Let’s talk about fulfilling our potential, working on our dreams and hanging out with women that inspire us, not just women we want to look like.
Participate in the “friends don’t let friends’ fat talk” movement which aims to replace negative talk with more useful positive affirmations.
Recognize that fat talk is harmful, it leads to body shaming, body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors (see 2012 articles in Psychology of Women’s Quarterly or Sex Roles by Renee Engeln).
When you get a compliment, don’t deflect, don’t self-deprecate, just say thank-you.