girlholdingstomachFat days. I hate ’em! And yes, just like most other women and men, I experience them. I have fat days about as often as I have bad hair days, as well as I-have-nothing-to-wear days. They’re every once in a while, and usually come without warning. My clothes might fit exactly the same, but for some reason, they just don’t look right.

  • Have I gained weight? No. 
  • Was my muscle suddenly hijacked and replaced by fat overnight? No.
  • Did my metabolism fall apart while I slept? I seriously doubt it.

Here’s the thing – I’ve lived through most of my 30s now, and I distinctly remember having fat days in high school, then college and even my 20s…which were probably the roughest. The difference between then and now is that I talked about it a lot – or at least in retrospect it seemed like I did. I can’t tell you the number of times I uttered the words, “Does this make me look fat?”  First of all, who in their right mind is going to answer that question honestly? Second, what good does it do? 

Negative Talk = Negative Thinking = Negative Outlook = Negative Talk = Negative Thinking…

Interestingly enough, a recent study done through Notre Dame’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Lab revealed that people generally like us less when we talk “fat” about our own bodies. Bottom line, people don’t like it when you diss yourself. What’s more, the study showed that fat talk can cause body dissatisfaction. 

I’m no psychologist, and the rest of this is simply my opinion, but having done my masters thesis on the perception of the female body in media, I’m well-acquainted with how badly women can feel about themselves, especially their bodies. There is a big distinction between a couple fat days a month and clinical body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). “Fat days” are usually fleeting. You feel gross. You feel fat. You don’t like how you look. You get over it. BDD, on the other hand, is characterized by obsessive negative thoughts about one’s appearance – lasting from several hours a day to an entire day. 

Why Fat Talk is Bad

I’m a big believer in being positive. A positive attitude creates positive energy. It lifts you up and makes you feel better about yourself. People can sense it when they’re around you. Life is generally a little rosier. When we’re negative, and this includes being self-depricating, everything seems less bright. We create negative energy, have a less-than-positive attitude and people get sick of it fast. Before I make myself sounds all Pollyanna, there are some exceptions when it comes to self-deprication…at least in my world.

I like to make fun of myself from time to time. At least daily, I will make a joke about me at my own expense. For instance, if you’re a fan of my Facebook page, you’ve probably noticed that a GREAT many of my posts come fully equipped with grammatical errors. In fact, one of my recent posts, something I worked on for about an hour to put together, included the image of a scale and about two sentences. I noticed the error about nine hours later – far too late. It’s kind of mortifying for me when this happens. How I couldn’t catch that a word I learned to spell in second grade was misspelled is beyond me. In situations like this, I feel it’s entirely appropriate to make comments to people around you (in my case, my husband), like, “I can’t believe I can even speak in full sentences!” or “I have no idea how I’m even capable of getting out of bed in the morning.” 

On the flip side, if I were to walk up to my husband and say something like, “I’m so fat. Nothing looks good on me,” well…that’s a little different, especially if I make comments like that day after day. It’s self-depricating, yes, but it’s just not the same. A lot of people might refer to this as “venting” or commiserating – often times with friends. I say misery loves company. I’m hardly saying no one should talk about things that are negative, I’m just saying talking about YOU in a positive way will lead to a more positive outcome. 

Keep in mind, when I work with clients, I fully expect them to express why they’re dissatisfied with their bodies, if they are at all. They’re making a positive change by working with me – and I know they’ll feel great after we get to work. 

When it comes to your body satisfaction, it’s up to you to make it happen and the first step is to stop letting the “fat talk” come out of your mouth. Whether you think you’ve got a great body or not, focussing on the good things about you (and we ALL have them) can completely change your outlook. Maybe not overnight, but it will happen quick enough.

Other things that perpetuate body satisfaction include doing healthy things for your body. It takes a little bit of self-discipline, but here are a few tips:

  • Exercise most days of the week, exerting yourself intensely at least a few minutes of every workout. (“feel good” opiates get a boost)
  • Eat unprocessed foods. (most processed foods possess chemicals and additives that can cause water retention, weight gain, etc)
  • Drink lots of water. (dehydration can cause head aches, make you feel hungry and slow your metabolism really fast)
  • Eat veggies all day long. (think of veggies as super fresh vitamins and minerals)
  • Give at least one other person a compliment every day…and mean it. (people are awesome and they should know it!)
  • Avoid negative news and try to separate yourself from gossip and negative talk. (it’s petty and doesn’t help anything)
  • If you’re a “mirror-watcher” and have a tendency to focus on the trouble zones of your body, avoid mirrors. (mirrors are great for make up, hair, a quick check before leaving the house and to make sure our skirts aren’t tucked into our panties – that’s it).


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Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.

 

 
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