Go fat talk free! That’s a statement many of us have probably heard in the past, but what does it mean and how can we successfully go fat talk free?

Fat talk comments are made by women about things they dislike about their physical appearance.  It could be something as insignificant as “I feel so fat right now!” or “These pants make my legs look huge!” Remarks like these may seem harmless, but in reality, frequent use of these small comments can lower women’s self-confidence and increase their feelings of stress and self-doubt. “Encouraging Words—Let’s Talk About Fat Talk” by Jean Fain highlights why Fat Talk is detrimental and provides an example of a Fat Talk Questionnaire (developed by experts in the field) that you can find at the end of this article.

scales are for fish St. Louis, MO RBA

scales are for fish St. Louis, MO RBA

One thing Jean does not go in depth about in her “Encouraging Word” article is how to remediate harmful fat talk. I have a couple of tips that I have learned through working at RBA as a dietitian nutritionist:

  1. Be able to recognize fat talk. Becoming more aware of fat talk and its negative effects will allow you to more easily avoid it. I recommend reading this article, “Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing” to generate a better understanding of how to nix negative remarks about yourself and other. After reading this article, you will more easily recognize it and change your habits!
  2. Make the most out of a negative situation. These days, we are surrounded by a media world that wants us to be thin and toned with big breasts and butts. While it’s virtually impossible to avoid the media, it IS possible to become a critical viewer of the media. And, when your friends are talking negatively about themselves, politely change the subject to something more thoughtful and empowering. For example, talk about a blog post you read on Adios Barbie about gender roles!
  3. Positive Affirmations. This is one of my favorite ways to beat fat talk! Instead of avoiding it, face fat talk up front. Change those negative thoughts into positive ones. It’s definitely easier said than done, but some practice will help you to become a more positive thinker. For example, whenever you are feeling down on yourself, think of everything your body has to offer you. The list is endless… your brain allows you to think, your legs allow you to walk, dance, run, your ears allow you to listen…etc. Make a list of everything you LOVE about yourself, if it’s not appearance related, even better.

    neda walk positivity poster

    Positive Affirmations from the 2013 NEDA Walk

Some examples of Positive Affirmations—

  1. What good is having this body if I don’t have any fun in it?
  2. Happy women are the prettiest.
  3. I want to be a role model for other girls and women by accepting my body.

Lastly, if you find you need more support with positivity, come to our support group on Mondays in the Columbia office! Starting in October, I will be running the group at 7:00pm. (until then, support group is at 5pm). Our sister company, Empowered Eating, is also holding a meal support group, Empowered Dining, in our Greenbelt office on Wednesdays from 4-7pm. Email me (alex@rbitzer.com) if you would like more information about this group!

Enjoying a meal.

Enjoying a meal.

Below is the Fat Talk Questionnaire:

An Encouraging Word, Vol. 53 by Jean Fain

If you’re wondering if fat talk is a personal problem, take the fat talk questionnaire developed by body-image researchers (below). The directions are pretty much self-explanatory, but let me explain anyway. Consider how often you talk about each of the 12 situations, then circle your best, most honest answer. Your score is the total of each “never” (0), “rarely” (1), “sometimes” (2), “often” (3) and “always” (4). The higher your total score, the greater your problem.

1. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that my arms are too flabby.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

2. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that my stomach is fat.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

3. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I criticize my body compared to thin models in magazines.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

4. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that my body is out of proportion.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

5. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I hate my whole body.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

6. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I am fat.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

7. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I should not be eating fattening foods.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

8. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I’ve gained weight.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

9. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that my clothes are too tight.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

10. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I need to stop eating so much.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

11. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I criticize my body compared to my friends’ bodies.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

12. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I feel pressure to be thin.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

13. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that my body is disgusting.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

14. When I’m with one or several close female friend(s), I complain that I’m not in shape.

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

Empower Yourself with our help

Empower Yourself with our help

Note from Rebecca: For more encouragement to stop body bashing, follow Empowered Eating on Facebook!

Call us at 301-474-2499 to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians. They can support you in your nutrition needs, while also promoting a positive body image.