Timberline Knolls says: It is Time to End Fat Talk

It Is Time to End Fat Talk
Amy M. Klimek, MA. LPC, Eating Disorder Program Coordinator at Timberline Knolls

Fat talk is defined as public body self-disparagement; in essence, it is an indirect term for fat shaming– a means to measure one’s self to another person, directly or indirectly, in a toxic way.

Sadly, fat talk is a social bonding ritual mostly found among women. Whereas they may fail to connect through discussion of work or recreation, bring up weight loss, diets or body dissatisfaction, and most females jump right in.

Not only is it socially acceptable, but it is contagious. Fat talk is like yawning; once one-person starts, everyone collectively responds to it.

This type of interaction knows no age limit. A survey of thousands of women between the ages of 16 to 70 revealed that fat talk is practiced in every age group; the practice of fat shaming will continue to get worse over time.

Conversational body shaming is standard operating procedure for women and is escalating amongst men.

In our treatment program, inner self dialogue is shared in group therapy to explore how much time a person spends with their negative self-talk through body shaming of themselves or others. The sharing process helps people learn how to be more intentional with the words they use, how the words make people feel, and how the words can influence the present experience.  Through role playing, a person can hear onhealthy lasix their own judgmental words that consistently on cue play over and over again.  This exercise can help the person create space between the thoughts, slow them down, and provide time to move away from those thoughts and respond differently. Moving away from the internal chorus composed of voices from family members, voices from past relationships or current relationships or those strangers just passing by, a person can start to notice the present voices of healing, compassion, and change.

The truth is, fat talk is not acceptable at any dinner table, in any social gathering with loved ones, and especially not towards others and ourselves.

It appears that many Facebook users seem to feel similarly. The social media site offers people a number of emoticons they can use to describe feelings such as blessed, tired, sad, etc. Due to a petition signed by thousands of users,   Facebook recently deleted “fat” from the list of status update emoticons, which had previously displayed chubby cheeks and a double chin(  as if  that was the  actual way someone would look if they were “feeling fat”) .

By no longer offering a symbol that indicates a user is “feeling fat,” we hope this leads to a decrease of fat shaming language through our own self dialogue and our dialogue with others. It starts and ends with each of us to stop fat talk.