How many times have we heard the phrases, ‘’I really need to hit the gym’’ , ‘’diet as of next Monday’’ or ‘’look at this big fat belly!’’ These are what we call fat talk. Mimi Nichter (2000) explains fat talk as a negative conversation about body related image. This conversation is not about the thoughts about the body that one thinks about but other about what comments one desrcibes the body image of oneself to others. Fat talk is usually a discussion that takes place between friends, family, partners and sometimes even strangers where one complains about some body parts or the body as a whole. This discussion can also include statements about the desire to the the body shape by participating in physical workouts, change in diet plans and even the control over food consumption . This kind of talk is usually used by women which is a common social behaviour in today’s world where appearance is given utter importance.
It is interesting to notice that women use fat talk to bond and build friendships as they are sharing concerns about something which belongs to them. This kind of talk can also be used as a means of seeking support, help and reassurance from others. There is also some kind of pressure when women feel the need to participate in a fat talk discussion when they hear other women criticising their body image. On the other hand fat talk can bring about low mood, negative body image and in some cases even eating disorders.
It is suggested that one tries to discontinue any fat talks by trying to deviate in another topic in order to avoid any negative thoughts and encourage more positive speech. Moreover it is best that one speaks to their therapist about any fat body issues as a therapist will give better solutions. It may be more beneficial for one to keep a journal and write down their feelings other than engaging in fat talk.
In conclusion we need to complement each other more, appreciate our different body types and keep always a positive attitude.
Reference: Nichter, M. (2000). Fat talk: What girls and their parents say about dieting. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Therisa Gambin is a psychology graduate who worked in the HR sector for the past 4 years. She decided to change her career path and thus is at present an intern at Willingness and will continue to focus on psychology practices.