Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why I Won't 'Fat Talk'

We've heard it all so much.  How the American culture is obsessed with looks.  Not just how anybody looks, but how women look, and that "ideal" women strive for- we always wish we were taller, skinnier, with thicker, more luscious hair.  That last part might just be me.

As a girl we've been programmed to care about how we look and compare ourselves to our friends, to the new girl in school, to somebody on tv, to the model in Maxim.  We all do it, whether it's out loud to our friends (usually in the form of snarkiness) or the negative "I wish I.." thoughts in our own heads.

Growing up I've been well aware of my own (usually poor) self body image.  Like most women my weight fluctuates.  Most recently I've been struggling over recent substantial weight gain, being the heaviest I've ever been and the most insecure about myself.  It may be due to that fact that I am way more sensitive to the 'fat talk' we often do with ourselves and with our friends.  The "I'm fat", "no, I'm way fatter than you" game.  A couple of my best friends engage in that on a regular basis when we're together and I usually freeze up.  I try really hard not to negative self talk in my own head, but to bond with my friends do I really have to negative self talk out loud?  I'm well aware of my own health and weight, and having that self awareness is a good thing.  Talking about it in a way that separates your outward appearance from your internal worth is also a very good thing.  Of course I talk about not wanting to eat a certain way or wanting to exercise more or wishing I was x amount of pounds less on the scale (and joking about trying to find the skinny filter on instagram!)  But the second I start with "I wish I had her body" or "Oh my gosh I look so gross in that photo!" I know I'm saying those things at the expense of having a healthy view of myself. 
I struggle just like everybody else to feel good about the way I look.  I have (many) days that I cry in my closet because I don't like the way I look in my clothes.  But complaining about how I look to my friends only perpetuates that negativity, even if it's what I'm thinking in my head, but for me it just doesn't help.  Eventually I plan to have children and I never would want them to hate themselves for how they look or to speak so negatively about themselves to their friends. 
So my dear friends who were 'fat talking' last night: you're beautiful and I just want you to be happy and healthy- whatever that means to you. The end.


  1. This made me tear up- you have SUCH a beautiful heart and it kills me to imagine you sad or upset or not feeling great. I wholeheartedly agree with this post. You shouldn't have to join into the negative body-talk to feel a part of the conversation and I love this line: "Talking about it in a way that separates your outward appearance from your internal worth is also a very good thing."

  2. This is such a great post, Syndal! I agree so much with this! I too have struggled with weight gain and loss with two pregnancies. My second pregnancy did me in, being the heaviest I EVER want to be in my life. And eating really clean and exercising is SO hard with two little ones. My current weigh loss journey back to my pre pregnanc(ies) weight is long and hard. I keep having to remind myself of all the wonderful things my body can do for me at my current weight- be able to nourish my baby with breastmilk, build forts, walk to the playground and PLAY with my toddler. When I'm at the gym and a Grace asks me what I'm going to do while she is at the kids club, I try to tell her that I'm making myself stronger rather than saying " get skinny or lose weight". I want to be a positive example to my girls about what having a healthy body image is, because I struggle with it daily and try to keep my negative thoughts internalized. You do not need to participate in the negative talk! I hope you find this encouraging along with any other comments because we all deserve encouragement and support when reaching toward our health and wellness goals- you've got this

  3. Ugh! I hear you! Girls can be so mean... to each other and themselves! I totally agree with you... "fat talk" is bad!

  4. It's such a difficult balance I find. To be unhappy in your current state but also trying to love yourself regardless.

    The crux of it is, that because you have been feeling unhealthy and unhappy and not loving yourself you are in your current state... so shifting to a place of love and acceptance when you current body is reflective of an unloved body is SUCH a daunting task.

    How do you love yourself when you want to change? That's my biggest question right now that I struggle with.

    I just want to love myself in every form without getting so focused on the fact that my pants don't fit me well anymore and those shorts from last summer creating major muffin toppage. I already threw out my scale because it is such an unhealthy thing for me. My self-talk is repeating: be healthy, being healthy is the goal, love yourself, your body doesn't define you.

    I applaud this post! It's really hard not to join in on the fat talk, but I agree, it really needs to change. We need to boost our friends, because the reality is, what we are saying about ourselves we are never thinking about our friends and family.

  5. Yes!!!! Totally in the same boat here. And I love what another comment said above about loving yourself when you want to change. That is SO difficult.

  6. I love this. I agree so much. It can be hard. I think one of the main reasons I avoid the fat talking is because I feel so awkward about it. We all can see how I look, must we discuss it?

  7. Amen, sister. A-freaking-Men <3 Love you!!!!!