Tag Archives: fat talk free week

Fitness Training and Trash Talking

Did you know that it’s “Fat Talk Free” week?  I just found out yesterday and I’m super excited.  A whole week dedicated to not trash talking our bodies?!?  Sign me up!  The day was created by sorority Delta, Delta, Delta.  You can see their video here:

Today I’d like to talk about how to talk to your body while you are fitness training.  We’re all familiar with the notion of trash talking in sports.  That’s where you call out your opponent and do verbal intimidation to help you win (or at least get air time).  If you want to see some amazing examples of trash talking in sports, you can follow this link to the Top Ten Sports Trash Talkers.  Unfortunately many of us have also faced trash talkers, gawkers and mean people who have tried to derail our fitness attempts in various ways.  From having people belittle your fitness efforts to offering unsolicited advice to throwing eggs at you while you run, other people can be brutal about your fitness efforts.

(Honestly, who throws eggs at people who are exercising?)

But as awful as other people can be about our bodies while we exercise, we are often the hardest on ourselves.  It’s so easy to slip into the habit of disparaging our bodies when we work out.  How often do you find yourself making negative comments about your body or your capabilities before, during or after exercise?  Maybe you find yourself saying things like, “I’ve got to work out these flabby thighs.  I hate my thighs.”  Many of us do this so often, we hardly recognize it any more.  When I catch my students saying things like this about themselves during class, I stop them right in their tracks and ask them to apologize to their bodies for being so mean.  I’m serious!  Because it starts with one little comment, one person engaging in a little bit of “Fat Talk” and soon the entire class is feeling bad about their bodies–whether they choose to verbalize it or not.  Because trash talking your body doesn’t just affect you.  It affects everyone around you.  This is why trash talking your own body in public is kind of selfish.  Because  just a few minutes of saying hurtful things about your own body is all it takes to get everybody around you focusing on their own bodies in a hurtful and negative way.

(Fast forward to about 1:00 to hear a discussion about hating your thighs…)

I also sometimes hear my students trash talking their own abilities.  They will say things like, “I’m so uncoordinated!” or “I just can’t dance.”  And again, I stop them right there.  Because if you tell yourself you are uncoordinated or that you can’t dance, you will believe it to be true.  And if you believe it to be true hard enough, you will make it true.  But there is absolutely no reason for this kind of talk.  First of all, everybody struggles sometimes with exercise.  Let me say that again.  EVERYBODY STRUGGLES SOMETIMES WITH EXERCISE.  I don’t care how gifted or athletic you are, when you try something new or significantly increase your exercise efforts, you are going to struggle.  It’s hard enough to do new stuff without telling yourself, before you even start, that you can’t do it.  It’s fine to laugh at yourself a little when you struggle.  There’s no point in taking yourself too seriously.  But if you tell yourself you can’t do it often enough, you’ll be right.  Celebrate yourself for trying.  Revel in the awkwardness that means you are stretching outside of your comfort zone and doing something new and fabulous for your body.

Trash talking has no place in amateur fitness efforts.  It may have a place in competitive professional sports, if only to pump up TV ratings.  But in real, every day life, trash talking will only harm your fitness efforts and the efforts of those around you.  There’s only a few days left in “Fat Talk Free Week” but I’d like to invite you to take this time to practice happy body talk and happy body thoughts while you work out.  Be your own cheerleader!  Sit yourself on the stool in the corner of the boxing ring and massage your own shoulders.  Tell yourself you can do it often enough, and you’ll be right!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Does this Blog make my Butt Look Big? Why “Fat Talk” may be Bad for your Social Life.

NotListening

La, la, la I’m not listening…

“Fat talk” is a bonding ritual that many of us learned at our Mother’s knee.  Many of us have participated in fat talk over the years because we felt social pressure to do so.  But according to a recent study, moaning about the size of our thighs or asking if our butt looks big, might not be the best move for our social lives.

We’ve long known that fat talk is bad for your self esteem (and the self esteem of those around you).  We’ve talked about that in the blog a fair bit.  But a recent study led by Alexandra Corning, research associate professor of psychology and director of Notre Dame’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Lab seems to indicate that fat talk may make you less likable to your peers.  In the study, college students were shown pictures of noticeably thin and fat women.  Each of these pictures depicted women engaged in body talk–either positive body talk or fat talk.  Those participating in the study were then asked to rate the women in the photos in a number of dimensions including likability.  When the results were tabulated, it seems that women who engaged in “fat talk” were considered less likeable than those who engaged in positive body talk.  In fact, according to the study, the fat women who had positive things to say about their bodies were considered the most likeable.  This result is very interesting to psychologists who have long thought of fat talk as a way that women “strengthen social bonds”.  But the study seems to indicate that women who engage in this behavior may be perceived as less likeable than their peers.

But, and this is a big but*, it’s important to remember this test simply measures personal perception.  It doesn’t indicate what is actually happening in a social setting where fat talk is happening or measure anything related to peer pressure.  This may explain why many of us may still feel pressured to engage in fat talk even in an environment where we may privately be perceived as less likeable for doing so.  And it is only one study.

That said, I am encouraged by the results of this study.  I decided long ago to refrain from engaging in fat talk with my friends, family and colleagues.  I’ve taken heat for not participating.  I’ve been teased for it.  But I for one, will choose to believe that I am also secretly liked and respected for my refusal to fat talk.  Because believing the best about myself seems to be working pretty well for me so far.

Love,

The Fat Chick

*You see what I did there?

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