"Ugh, I feel so fat!"

"My thighs are huge."

"I can't believe I ate that entire bowl of ice cream."

If any of these sound familiar, you're not alone. Women participate in so-called "fat talk" every day, criticizing their own bodies and complimenting others. Yep, something that seems positive such as "You look great, have you lost weight?" or "You look amazing in that mini! You're so thin!" also counts as fat talk.

But this week, women are encouraged to silence that conversation and start a new one.

Started in 2008 by Tri-Delta sorority, the third week of every October is designated as Fat Talk Free Week and has become a time to reflect upon, accept, and talk about our bodies in a more positive and constructive way. Although the initiative began on college campuses, it has spread to women and men of all ages. 

Julie Holland, M.H.S., chief marketing officer of the Eating Recovery Center, shares her tips on how you can participate in Fat Talk Free Week and develop a more positive body image in yourself and your friends:

1. Try not to emphasize looks: Shift your attention from appearance to values and behaviors. "It is not about what our body looks like, but rather what it does for us," Holland says. "Take the focus away from the mirror and take note of all the great things your body helps you do and be."

2. Be aware of the messages you share about your own body. Make an effort to say at least three positive things about your body every day; after all, fostering a positive body image in others starts with doing so in ourselves.

3. Recognize that every body is different. Genetics influences our body size, shape, and weight.

4. Learn to listen to your body’s needs and appreciate what your body can do for you. "Eat when you are hungry and stop when you're satisfied," Holland says. Rest when you are tired and move your body to get adequate exercise so that you can experience life to its fullest.

5. Be a critical consumer of media. Beautiful though they may be, celebrities and models in magazines and on TV get a lot of help from Photoshop.

"Body shapes and sizes in the media are often digitally altered and impossible to achieve," Holland says. "At Eating Recovery Center, we encourage our patients to ask questions of images from the media: 'Is this image realistic?' or 'Does this image portray a healthy body image?' I encourage everyone to remember that a large percentage of photos we see are altered."

Do you find yourself using fat talk? How do you plan to participate in Fat Talk Free Week? Are you going to tell your friends to join in?

 

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