We’ve all experienced it: the temptation of criticizing your body’s appearance as others around you starts the conversation. Here are 5 ways to steer the conversation back in the right direction.
Have you ever been in the company of other people who start complaining about “feeling fat”? Or maybe you are in a store trying on clothes and you hear another customer talk about “how fat she looks in that dress.”
It likely triggers a moment of insecurity for you.
When another says “I hate my arms”, “my thunder thighs are crashing together”, or “I wish I didn’t have these love handles”, almost anyone within earshot begins to critique themselves, even if it’s not spoken out loud.
So what if you started out the day feeling pretty good about yourself? Now you’re wondering if you look fat, too. No matter how confident you felt before that moment, it’s likely that you’ll start to question the state of your own body.
So why do people do it? “Fat talk” is a way for people to bond over because it’s easily relatable; nearly everyone has some body part they aren’t 100% happy with. But fat talk is not a way to have meaningful connections in your life.
It’s not worth the guilt, shame, and negativity it brings.
Here are some suggestions to put a stop to the shaming:
1. Remind yourself why you’re so awesome.
Basing your worth on your body is a surefire way to feel unhappy, and feel unhappy often. Think about the other attributes about yourself that are unrelated to your body.
Think outside the (body) box: it can be anything! Are you a coupon wizard? Can you create a gourmet dinner with whatever ingredients are in your kitchen? Are you notorious for making people laugh? Do you have mad dancing skills? Can you write efficient yet witty emails in minutes?
If you are having a hard time with this, ask a friend or family member who will come up with more reasons than you can count in seconds. The next time you start to have a challenging day with your body image, remember all of the great things about you that are completely unrelated to your body.
2. Appreciate your body.
Come up with 3 to 5 things that you like about your body! Maybe your strong arms help you carry all the groceries inside in one trip (yay for one trip!). Or those powerful glutes push your body forward during your run. Or your strong core supports your spine and protects your lower back when you’re lifting your kids. Your body does so much for you, show it gratitude and it will love you right back!
3. Identify what makes you say “I feel fat”.
Don’t minimize the sensation of “feeling fat.” You are entitled to feel uncomfortable about your body or a certain body part. However, how you feel about your body doesn’t need to determine your emotions.
Maybe you’re the one that started the “I feel fat” conversation. Why are you feeling this way? Do you feel uncomfortable in your body? Can you do something to change it? What if you accept and appreciate your body? Get curious on why you are having negative thoughts about your body, find specific situations or triggers to be aware of, and avoid using your body as a scapegoat.
4. Change the subject.
You don’t have to engage in the fat talk when others bring it up. Just ask another unrelated question to quickly change the subject and skip over the body shaming.
5. Make meaningful connections.
What are some other topics you can discuss that have meaning? Being skinny or looking like someone in a magazine is not a realistic or productive goal in life. Try talking about your hobbies, your family, your job, your favorite restaurant…there’s so much more to your life than trying to fit into some idealistic mold of perfection.
Life is a much more enjoyable for both your body and mind when you’re not thinking about how unsatisfied you are with your body.
Adapted from the original article.
Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.