Fat Talk and How It Shapes Your Body Image
I’m mulling over some conversations I’ve had this week about weight, and am aware that they’re really conversations about body image but that the women I was speaking with do not think they have any body image issues, it’s just normal and easy to talk about losing weight, or not losing weight but making an effort – yes, the old Fat Talk conversations again!
It’s fine-tuned my awareness again of the idea that thin=healthy and that we all have an obligation of some kind to be healthy and therefore to work hard to get or stay ‘thin’.
And it’s a long conversation, getting someone to reconsider their default settings, their automatic restricted eating, their “aren’t I bad because I ate chocolate or chips” comments, their own nasty self fat talk.
Way too long a conversation to have in the lunchroom and with people you don’t really know that well…
What to do?
As we’ve discussed before, there are still a few things you can do:
1. Change the subject, just don’t join in the conversation.
2. If that’s not possible because the people involved are committed to keep diet talking fat talking, practice some lines that you can use to start changing the conversation – like, “I like to think about the quality of my food rather than the calories because I think my body is good at managing its own calorie needs when I feed it well” – or “What are you doing this weekend?”- or “So how is your project going?”….. Really, anything – anything – other than another round-robin of self-bashing dressed up in the language of weight loss.
3. Get really honest and engage in a conversation-changer – like “I feel really unhappy about how often we talk about losing weight and how big our butts are, I really want to talk about things that are important to us as people” or… share your idea below?
I think it really is vital to engage in changing the fat talk conversations around us, because if we don’t change the subject the self-bashing will continue and keep influencing us all with bad information and distorted opinions of what is normal and healthy for our bodies.
Because as long as we keep maintaining the fat talk conversations by not saying *something* to change them… are we part of the problem? What do you think?