What is FAT TALK?
“Do I look fat in this?” “I need to lose 10 pounds.” “She’s too fat to be wearing that...” “My arms/legs/hips/knees are so fat.” “You look great! Have you lost weight?”
These are all examples of Fat Talk. Fat Talk is when we make comments in everyday conversation that reinforce the idea that every girl or woman needs to be thin to be pretty. We can even Fat Talk to ourselves in our heads when we stand in front of our mirrors – can you remember the last time you looked in your mirror? This morning, maybe? What did you say to your reflection when you looked at yourself? Be a friend to yourself, and don’t Fat Talk.
Why do we need to STOP FAT TALK NOW?
• In the US, as many as 10 million women are suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than the number suffering from breast cancer.
• 50% of girls between the ages of 10 and 13 see themselves as overweight and 80% of 13-year-olds have tried to lose weight. (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
• Fashion models are thinner than 98% of women in the United States. (Smolak, 1996)
• More than half of American girls ages 18-25 (54%) would rather be hit by a truck than be fat. More than two-thirds would rather be mean or stupid. (Reflections Body Image Program)
We need to focus on being healthy rather than being thin, because girls and women everywhere are suffering and even dying trying to be unnaturally thin.
How can we STOP FAT TALK?
1. Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you like about yourselves.
2. Keep a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do (such as sleep well and wake up rested, play tennis, etc.).
3. Pick one friend to make a pact to avoid negative body talk. When you catch your friend talking negatively about her body, remind her of your pact.
4. Make a pledge to end complaints about your body, such as "I’m so flat-chested" or "I hate my legs." When you catch yourself doing this, make a correction by saying something positive about that body part, such as, "I’m so glad my legs got me through soccer practice today".
5. The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting ("No, I’m so fat"), practice taking a deep breath and saying "thank you."
Be a friend to yourself and to others – Friends Don’t Let Friends Fat Talk!