Yesterday Jennifer Huget wrote an article “Enough with the ‘fat talk’” in her health column of The Washington Post (Time Magazine also spoke up on the subject). What prompted the article was a new study from the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, “If You’re Fat, Then I’m Humongous! Frequency, Content, and Impact of Fat Talk Among College Women.” In the study, 93% of the women examined (all of whom were a normal weight) engaged in “fat talk” and the most common response of women to other women who engaged in fat talk was to convince the friend that she was not fat.
I don’t know about you, but I have been witness to many women (and some men) engaging in “fat talk” all too often. Sometimes I hear it at the dinner table when someone says “I shouldn’t have eaten all that bread, I’m going to regret it when I step on the scale in the morning” and sometimes I just overhear a group of girls talking about their workouts (or lack thereof) and that they need to go on diets. The example Huget gave in her column is one I hear often as well. Does this sound familiar to you?
Girl A: “I look so fat in these jeans”
Girl B: “No you don’t, you are so skinny. Look at me!”
Girl A: “You cannot complain – you’re a stick”
Girl C: “Both of you shut up, I’m the fat one here”
Personally, I’ve had enough of hearing groups of fit-looking women (and men) talk about their weight, what they should or shouldn’t be eating, and how much or little they exercise in a deprecating manner. The worst response to comments like these is to try to convince your friend that she’s wrong. Most people who make these comments are doing so to get positive reinforcement that they look great, and if they do in fact feel bad about the way they look or feel or if they aren’t as healthy as they could be, telling them they look great won’t help.
Instead of saying “don’t be silly” or “no you’re not” answer their comments by asking them what’s making them feel that way? Or what do they think they can do to improve how they feel? Turning the conversation into a dialogue instead of a game of ping-pong will do more good for you, your friends, and all women.
Do you engage in “fat talk?” What do you think when you hear people engaging in “fat talk?” If you don’t like all the “fat talk” become a fan of Fat Talk Free on Facebook!