In light of the recently published Marie Claire article, I feel it’s the perfect time for a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers! Caitlin’s guest post.discusses positive body image, and ways to feel comfortable in your own skin!
Note: I will not be writing a post about the article. I feel I’ve read so many fabulous responses on other blogs already, and don’t need to. I did, however, leave a comment on Marie Claire’s Facebook wall, and will say, as a journalism student currently enrolled in a media ethics class, that the article contains some of the most unethical reporting I’ve ever seen.
Take it away, Caitlin!
Three Ways to Fight Fat Talk
My goals through Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful are to STOP Fat Talk or negative self-talk and ENCOURAGE a more positive body image. You know the issue of Fat Talk is something I take very seriously. As Jillian Michaels said,"Fat talk is transcending…. It affects your reality and damages you professionally, personally, and physically."
I’ve posted this video about Fat Talk a few times before, but not recently. If you haven’t watched this before, please do! It’s so powerful and I cry every time:
How can we begin to Fight Fat Talk?
- Don’t compare your body to others.
- Appreciate your body for what it can do.
- Turn a negative into a positive. Instead of "I’m stocky," try "I’m strong!"
- Never Fat Talk in front of your kids or friends.
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This section of the Fat Talk discussion is dedicated to the statement, "I feel so fat."
How many times have you eaten something and then said, "Ugh. I feel so fat"? This is completely hyperbolic reaction to overindulging. First of all, even skinny women who aren’t "fat’ say it. Secondly, there’s no way one meal or one dessert can suddenly make you "fat."
So, what do we really mean when we say, "I’m so fat"? We actually mean that we are FULL WITH AN EMOTION. Oftentimes, it’s shame. Or sadness. Or fear. Why do we express our inner turmoil by hating our bodies? Because that’s what Fat Talk and society tells us to do. Don’t admit you’re scared, just feel fat! Don’t admit you’re lonely or depressed, you’re just fat! We can deal with ugliness, we cannot deal with weakness. The next time you feel the urge to say, "I’m so fat," think about what you REALLY mean. By berating your body, you aren’t doing any favors. But by honoring your emotions, you’re living a happier, more honest life.
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If only one thing about this discussion about Fat Talk resonates with you, remember this: When you feel guilty about food, you are experiencing distorted thinking.
I’m not saying that means you have an eating disorder. I’m just saying that feeling guilty — raw, consuming, upsetting GUILT — is not a normal, healthy reaction to eating and is thus distorted. I think it’s important to recognize when our thinking is distorted, as the way we view ourselves has a big impact on our lot in life. All women experience guilt with food to some degree. I know I used to feel a really guilty if I drank two beers and ate a few slices of pizza. Or a big dessert. Sometimes, it didn’t even have to be a calorie-heavy meal to trigger the guilt. I’d have a bigger breakfast than normal, and I would fret that I’d "blown it" for the day or that I’d "given into temptation."
Guilt is internal Fat Talk.
It is shaming yourself for not meeting a perfectionist ideal that is unattainable and determined by the rigid standards our society has created! If you wouldn’t say it out loud to a friend, why would you say it to yourself?
Maybe right now you’re thinking: "But a little guilt can be a GOOD thing!" or "Guilt is a normal reaction to indulging!" But, if guilt was healthy or "normal," it would be PRODUCTIVE and it would make you HAPPY. Do you find yourself feeling guilty over food a lot? Well, then — you’re repeating the same actions over and over again, and clearly… Guilt isn’t productive, it doesn’t work, and it only serves to lower your self -esteem. Guilt is a waste of time and takes away from productive things you could be doing with your time — meditating, studying, sleeping, calling your friends on the phone, and more.
- You aren’t going to gain weight from one dessert.
- You aren’t a bad person for enjoying dinner.
- You aren’t weak because you were hungrier than normal.
How do you stop guilt? It’s so much harder to stop than Fat Talk — after all, we verbalize Fat Talk to others and it’s easier to "catch" ourselves in conversation. Guilt, on the other hand, is this weird, creeping feeling that takes over you, ruins your day, and triggers the blues. I would say I cut down on my guilt thinking by about 90%, which I consider to be a big accomplishment. I stopped guilting myself by really thinking about my eating in the grand scheme of life. Did that pizza make me gain weight? No. Did it actually hurt my health in any measurable way that I ate a bunch of French fries? No. Am I an awesome friend and hard worker who is so much more than the food she eats? Of course!
If there is something about your lifestyle that you want to change, be proactive and CHANGE IT. Guilting yourself about it does not work. Taking action to move onwards and upwards does. Every setback is an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.
Join me on the quest to eliminate Fat Talk in all its nasty and evil forms from our lives! Remember, it starts now… and it starts with you.
Rosey Rebecca note: You’re an inspiration, Caitlin!!! <3