Did you know?
Conversational shaming of the body has become practically a ritual of womanhood (though men also engage in it). In a survey that a colleague and I reported in 2011 in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, we found that more than 90 percent of college women reported engaging in fat talk — despite the fact that only 9 percent were actually overweight. In another survey, which we published in December in the Journal of Health Psychology, we canvassed thousands of women ranging in age from 16 to 70. Contrary to the stereotype of fat talk as a young woman’s practice, we found that fat talk was common across all ages and all body sizes. “The Problem With Fat Talk”. NY Times. Renee Englen
Self-perception can sometimes work as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, according to an upcoming paper in Psychological Science: Namely, believing that you are fat may result in actually becoming fat. Sixteen-year-olds who were at a normal weight but misperceived themselves to be overweight had a 40 percent greater risk of becoming obese before they turned 30, reports Angelina R. Sutin of the Florida State University College of Medicine. “Feeling Fat is a Self-fulfilling Prophesy”. The Science of Us. Melissa Dahl
Feeling “fat” is often the smoke and mirrors in front of how you really feel. Circle on this list(link is external), at least five words that describe your emotions in this very moment. Guilt? Regretful? Ashamed? Stressed? Frustrated?
Feeling “fat” is no fun. Your inner critic can make it worse if you let it. So, if you are feeling fat, remember, “This too shall pass.” While you wait, respond mindfully, compassionately and productively. “7 Helpful Ways to Cope With Feeling Fat.” Psychology Today. Susan Albers Psy.D.
This is how I tend to feel as a woman who struggles with disordered eating. . .
I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin because containing the thoughts and knowing how to process them in a positive healthy manner feels like an impossible task.
I say I feel fat when I feel everything is overspilling in my mind.
I make an attempt to control and restrict my intake not because I actually want to lose weight or because I am fat i’m doing it because I want to lose the emotions, memories and feelings and this is the only way I know how. “When I say I Feel Fat” The Psychology Journal.
In the past couple of weeks, I have revisited I feel fat with some friends and myself. I am usually not surprised to hear these things from myself (although I should be), but when someone who I think is beautiful and non-fat says these words to me, my heart breaks. I immediately want to say the right thing. To say the thing that will turn their mind around. To say the thing that will cause them to stop in the moment and love themselves. (deep sigh)
Here is what I am learning to tell myself. It is not perfect. It is not going to change my disposition all of the time. But, I do believe it is going to help me be kinder to me, the same way that I want my friends to be kinder to themselves.
To me. . .
Okay. . .fat is not a feeling. Then, what emotion am I experiencing? Think about it. I am feeling something that is causing me to pick on myself. What could it be?
Here is what I see: I see an athlete who devotes 25-ish hours a week to her sport. I see a beautiful friend who is caring and gentle and honest and true. I see a wife who is loved by her husband. I see a mom who is able to meet some of the heart needs of her children. I see a leader who encourages those she leads to greatness, with joy and confidence.
NONE of those things have anything to do with weight or size. Those things have everything to do with WHY I am loved.
Let’s say I do start making new eating choices tomorrow. Well, it’s not going to change who I am right now (I am loved, now, because of all I am above). It’s not going to change the body I will use to run long this weekend, because I am strong now. It is not going to change my ability to be a friend tomorrow, be a mom tomorrow, be a leader tomorrow. Work in progress is okay and sometimes necessary. It is never necessary to shame myself into work, shame myself into change. I am, right now, a radiant woman, with a strong body, a precious friend. . .
These are easy words to say to YOU. These are difficult words to believe for ME.
If you could see yourself for one day, you’d see how everyone else sees you. And, my God, you are beautiful.