I’m willing to bet a substantial sum of money on a phrase that goes something like “You look fat in that”, or “Have you put on weight?”, or even used as an epithet: ” fat b****h”.
And on the flipside of that particular coin, it’s become almost normal for a woman to say of herself something like, “I need to lose weight”. So normal in fact, that the language of fat has become part of our normal language, and very few people even question it.
There is hardly any other word in the English language that causes so much pain, fear and anxiety as the tiny three letter word: f-a-t. It has become a curse, something to battle and even war against, to be beaten, controlled, managed, and even medicated with drugs and surgery that can be life-threatening.
And Yet What is Fat?
Fat cells are more than just the body’s way to store excess calories; they have a whole lot of other functions in the body, including cushioning your internal organs against external damage, providing insulation, and possibly even as a secure vault for fat-soluble toxins the body cannot otherwise process. But in 1994 research emerged that body fat is an endocrine system in its own right. That means fat cells produce hormones, and lots of them.
One of the most important functions of fat cells is in converting testosterone to estrogen. Most of the estrogen in the male body comes from this conversion process. The same process is hugely important for women as they move into post-menopause.
Why do men need estrogen? It’s not just a female sex hormone, it is involved with healthy bone function, libido, healthy skin, protein synthesis, blood health, fluid balance, heart health, and even the maturation of sperm. Naturally estrogen is involved with all those functions for women as well, though of course it affects the female sex organs.
If you didn’t know this information before reading this article, you might wonder why this really important information has been essentially lost to popular health culture. One reason could be that in the last 50 or 60 years, it’s become normal to stigmatize fat people.
Fat people have been labelled lazy…..
…. stupid, greedy, repulsive, expensive, hopeless. Instead of the real findings of obesity research providing a balance, mostly we only hear the marketing message of companies selling lotions, potions, pills and programs: eat less, move more, and you’ll be thin. And if you’re not thin then you don’t care enough and that means you deserve all the nasty comments we want to make about you.
If we replaced the word “fat” in the above sentence with “black” or “woman”, the person using the language above would be labeled a bigot faster than you could say ‘calorie’. But for some reason it’s okay to both think and say all of the above about fat people. And even worse, fat people are encouraged to think and say all of this, and worse, about themselves.
Words are incredibly powerful.
This is not intended to be a rant against bigoted attitudes and treatment of fellow humans; rather it’s about how important your language is around this painful, anxiety-inducing area of human experience. I say to my clients that our ability to use words is the one thing that really sets us apart from every other creature on this planet.
New scientific research backs that up, offering proof that the old proverb “as a man thinketh, so is he” is more true than anyone has previously believed. Biologist Bruce Lipton is one of the people unraveling the scientific basis for the holistic concept of the body and the mind working as one body-mind.
Dr Lipton explains that every function of the body is controlled by proteins, not by the genes, as we have popularly believed for several decades. Proteins perform different functions in the body depending on the environmental signals they receive. Our thoughts and beliefs, Dr Lipton says, can and do control those signals. Now it seems like a huge ask that for example, we think our body into extracting just the micronutrients we need from our food and discarding the rest. Fortunately we have our powerful subconscious mind to take care of all of that and we’re largely unaware of any of it.
The 95% of a human mind that is our subconscious also includes our values, beliefs, and attitudes, which might ultimately control the physical size of our bodies. Now I’m not suggesting that if you think you are fat, you will be, though that is certainly very possible in this model.
What Doesn’t Work
What I am suggesting is if that you are an adult whose BMI is over 26, you will be constantly criticized by those who love you and those who don’t. You will be taught to think of foods as ‘ good’ or ‘bad’, eat highly-processed food-like substances instead of real food, be treated for the disease of obesity’, and may opt for frankly-dangerous food, exercise and surgical or drug programs. The emotional stress of all of that will cause increased levels of stress hormones in your body and there’s ongoing research into the negative impact that has on both your long-term health and your body’s ability to collect and store fat.
None of the above will help you achieve a smaller body in the long run, nor will it be helpful to either your self-worth or your mental health. You will believe that you are unhealthy, unworthy, unattractive, undeserving, inactive, incapable – and you will become a victim of those beliefs. All put upon you by your family, friends, colleagues and the ever-helpful mass media pushing the image of the Official Body.
And you may well be doing, or have done, all of those behaviours even if your BMI is under 26.
Clearly, another food modification programme is not the answer to balanced good health. The only answer is what it has always been:
- regularly eat nutritionally-dense foods
- regularly move your body
- love yourself always, no matter what your body’s size.
The first two points are well covered by the weight-loss industry where there are great health-focussed programmes in amongst all the synthetic foods and boot camps. Belief-changing is coming more into focus with many counselors and psychologists offering extended sessions, and more books about the subject are trickling onto the market. For my money, methods such as EFT and PSYCH-K ®, which tap directly into the subconscious mind to help you change beliefs, are very much quicker, highly effective, and can be self-administered if you want to go that way.
What To Do Today
Pay attention to your language about yourself and others. The truth is if you had lived the life of the person who you’re now judging as fat and unworthy, you would most probably be exactly the way they are. As my granny always said, if you can’t say something nice, say nothing. And remember your thoughts will often appear on your face even if they don’t come out of your mouth; they certainly manifest in your energy field and in your cells.
The most important thing, as ever, is be gentle with yourself.
So how about sharing something you’ll do today to be gentle with yourself, with a comment below?