Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard that little voice inside your head scream: “Oh my goodness I hate my legs!” “I wish my stomach was flatter.” “I would definitely be happier if I lost these last 10 pounds!” Sound familiar, right?
A number of studies on body image point to a troubling trend: many of us are engaging in way too much self trash talk. More than 80 percent of all women engage in “fat talk,” and ladies this negative thinking and speaking may be causing more damage to your health than you think. When it comes to your health it’s not enough to just “walk the walk.” Talking the talk is also key; it’s time to shift toward a healthy lifestyle that is focused on a healthier attitude, not fattitude.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
News flash: if you’re trying to slim down then it may be time reverse the old adage “actions speak louder than words” to “words speak louder than actions” instead. In a recent study of 181 Weight Watchers Magazine readers, 44 percent said they did not love their bodies – they view them as works in progress. Meanwhile 19 percent reported that they flat-out “hated” theirs. Yikes!
If this sounds like you then here’s another statistic worth knowing from a survey conducted by research firm Edelman Berland: women who think positively about weight loss (and other life goals) are more likely to lose weight – and maintain those loses. So instead of focusing on only what goes in our mouths, it may be time to pay attention to what we let into our minds and out of our mouths.
Trash Talk Trap #1: “I Look Fat!”
These three powerful words escape our lips more often than we would like to admit I know, however dissecting the “why” is key ladies. More times than not we utter these words based on an experience, not a true feeling. In fact studies show that many women who were overweight at one point in their life tend to still have a high level of body dissatisfaction even after losing weight.
Fattitude Fix: Next time you catch yourself mouthing off about your muffin top literally trash the trash talk by writing down the negative thought and then immediately tossing it in the nearest garbage can. Eventually the mental will follow the physical in this case lady.
Trash Talk Trap #2: “I Wish My Body Looked Like… (fill in random girl’s name here)”
Often times a girl power moment can instantly turn into a trash bash. For instance you and a friend head to the gym for a buddy workout however instead of motivating your sweaty sister you find yourself thinking, “Dang, I wish my arms were cut like hers.” Or, you head to a neighborhood BBQ and instead of socializing you end up criticizing everything about your body all because every other girl in attendance seems to be able to pull off the crop top trend better than you.
Fattitude Fix: Next time you find yourself spiraling down the path of body envy remind yourself of the things that make you uniquely you (hint: these qualities expand beyond the physical). Being creative and crazy funny always trumps pulling off a crop top.
Trash Talk Trap #3: “My Legs Are Gigantic!”
I’m not going to lie yall, this is the one that constantly made it’s way into my mind (and out of my mouth) for the first two decades of my life. I was constantly complaining about how big my legs were and how easier life (and pants shopping) would be if they were just a bit smaller. People would compliment me (especially in the south) with comments like, “Baby you got them big pretty legs.” And while they meant no harm I would chase this remark with the thought of, “What idiot would use the words big and pretty in the same sentence.”
Fattitude Fix: With six half marathons, one marathon and several other physical accomplishments under my belt I now think, “these big legs are strong legs, and for this I’m grateful.” So if you have that one body part that you constantly pick on, give yourself a break and focus on what your body can do – not just what it looks like.
Trash Talk Trap #4: “Shopping For Clothes Is the Worst!”
Can I get a “hell yeah!” I hate shopping (unless it involves some athleisure – then it’s technically cardio). But even if you’re a shop-til-you-drop fashionista, the shopping experience can be stressful. From the thin mannequins to the bright lights and the three-way mirrors – I mean c’mon. No wonder many women feel lousy about their looks when shopping for clothes. However beyond your favorite boutique’s ambiance many body image issues while shopping are self inflicted. For instance you flip out when you have to by a 10 instead of an 8 in a dress that literally was “giving you life” at first site. Or you huff and puff all the way home because every pair of skinny jeans you tried on made you look everything but skinny. Sound familiar?
Fattitude Fix: Next time you head out for a shopping extravaganza focus on the garments that fit, not the numbers sewn into the back of them. Many designers use fit models when developing their line, so just because you wore an 8 in Michael Kors last season you may just be a 10 now – not because you gained weight, the fit model probably did. True story. And lastly, don’t let trends kill your vibe. Buy clothes that put your favorite body part on display and stop camouflaging the parts you don’t favor. Dressing confidence 101. Pow!