Ah, the age old question.  The question that we have all at one point in time asked our significant other.  So what goes through our minds when we ask?  The general consensus from my research is that we think we look fat and are in need of a second opinion, probably due to the insecurity we are feeling.  Often times our “fat talk” does not end there.

The New York Times recently addressed the fat talk among women in our American culture and cited one study that stated that 93 percent of college age women engage in it.

Fat talk can take many different paths.  Sometimes we may ask the “does this make me look fat” question.  At other times, we attempt to make our friends feel better about themselves by complaining about our own body issues.  Regardless of the reasons behind our fat talk, one thing for sure is that this negative talk increases our negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

So how can we overcome this overwhelming need to use self-defeating language?


Become an encourager: When you hear your friends engage in fat talk, do not add to it by participating like we are prone to do.  Instead, use encouraging words about how their clothes fit their body and highlight their positive attributes.

Be thankful: Much of our anxiety and negative thoughts come from a place of discontentment. Making comments about what we are thankful for helps us to appreciate where we are in the process of life. We may not be exactly where we want to be, but we are moving forward and we have a ton to be thankful for on the way!

Stop it! A little quote from my favorite therapist, Bob Newhart – see the “Stop it!” method here.  When you find yourself going there, make a hard stop. Remind yourself that it is not helpful, no matter how that other person responds.

I realize it is easy to give advice and much more difficult to put change in place in our lives, but it can be done.  It takes lots of practice, but we can stop the cycle and just maybe it will catch on.