Through my Facebook connections with several people who have recovered from eating disorders and some who are therapists in the field of eating disorder recovery, I learned about a group of individuals who are committed to changing the way we talk about bodies in America. Their group is called “End Fat Talk” and this week (Oct. 18-22) happens to be “Fat Talk Free Week”. Here’s some information from their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FatTalkFree) :
<<<Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies.
Examples of fat talk include: “I’m so fat,” “Do I look fat in this?” “I need to lose 10 pounds” and “She’s too fat to be wearing that swimsuit.”
Statements that are considered fat talk don’t necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet reinforce the need to be thin. E.g., “You look great! Have you lost weight?”
We believe that by eliminating fat talk, we can start to change the conversation about body image. Join us!>>>
I love this group! I have knowingly (and sometimes unknowingly) participated in fat talk about my own body for many many years. My inner monologue has been tuned to “Fat Talk Radio” so long that I have even said to other people, “You look great! Have you lost weight?” This phrase, of course, is not damaging in and of itself. It IS damaging, however, when it implies that thin is the ideal body. Thin is NOT ideal. Overweight is NOT ideal, either. Healthy is.
Healthy bodies look very different from person to person. I remember buying a “learn yoga yourself” book ten years ago, which had pictures of the yoga instructor doing each posture and my first thought was, “Why would I want to do this if I’m going to end up looking like her?” The instructor was not thin. Mind you, she wasn’t overweight either. She was wonderfully proportioned and looked very healthy, vibrant and strong. Why was my gut reaction one of disgust? Had I been so brainwashed by this culture’s obsession with White American beauty ideals that a healthy body looked bad?!
That’s why I’m grateful for this group’s movement to change the way we talk about bodies in America. Take a moment to check out their webpage. Try to be mindful of your body talk (to yourself and others). Be gentle with yourself. Whether you need to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain weight in order to be healthy, keep health, not some impossible ideal, as your goal.
Peace, joy, and HEALTH!