This year’s Fat Talk Free Week kicks off tomorrow and runs through Friday, October 20th.
I value taking a week – with the hope it will extend longer – to intentionally redirect fat talk in our heads, with our friends or about others to more honest, life-giving, respectful dialogue.
We all need a break from the “I am so___”, “If only I were___”, “I hate my _____”, “I am not ______ enough” conversation.
Scarcity culture is exhausting. (Click to Tweet)
Bullying others or ourselves with fat talk only fuels deeper pain and fat talk represents attempts to manage the parts of our story triggered by pain, fear, loneliness, anxiety and more.
Which is why taking a break from the fat talk is important. Even more important is to get to the heart of the meaning of our fat talk by talking about our hurts in a constructive manner – with the right person at the right time.
Taking a break from fat talk does not mean stuffing your pain.
Early in my training in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma, I was told “fat” is not a feeling. Over a decade of treating men and women taught me differently – that it is often a fight to have a positive relationship with their body and their reflection in the mirror. They also taught me how the quick fix pressure to “just love their body” often backfired because they felt so ashamed for not loving, let alone liking, the body they have been given.
So, yes, stopping the fat talk is needed. Desperately. But we cannot stop there.
We still need to talk about how we are feeling and develop a better way to tolerate struggle and negative emotion. Distressing life events, brain chemistry imbalances, family of origin, temperament all can alter our trust in ourselves, our bodies and others.
When we are feeling out of control – focusing on our bodies or comparing ourselves to others is a common default. Turning on ourselves or others with biting, judgy, harsh words only fuels more biting, judgey, harsh words.
At the heart of fat talk is a lot of hurt and insecurity which needs to be voiced and given some air time. Our struggle feeling comfortable in our skin along with our desire to feel connected is real. Fat talk is an attempt way to hot wire connection or appease our inner critic.
What we really are searching for is to know if we are ok, we are loved, we belong. When there is doubt about our worthiness, we often look to others to approve or disapprove of our worth. We all struggle with this dance. Belonging and connection are innate desires.
And for those with faith, I see this matter of worthiness dig even deeper as they feel like they are the exceptions to God’s wild and radical love and grace.
It is a constant recalibration to stop externalizing our worth to others and redirect our worth to the One and those who truly matter.
Fat Talk Free Week is not just about semantics or becoming the word police. It is a chance to listen to your heart and see where you are feeling convicted for operating outside of your authenticity.
When fat talk surfaces, it is an opportunity – and a risk – to change the conversation.
Words are powerful. Your voice matters. Choose wisely.
Cheering you on –