We don’t want people to feel ugly and fat after talking to us.
😭+😊= 😭 or 😊+😭=😊
Wow, we can can change how people feel. Let’s change people’s moods for the better.
👇🏼How I think we are told to feel .
Train yourself not to feel.
Laughing too loud that causes a scene.
Stop smiling so hard they’ll think you’re weird.
Crying is for dweebs.
Just stay put and freeze –
Desperately happy, that is not a good look.
Neither is being depressed.
List your faults out loud for everyone to hear.
A perfect balance of (un)interest is just what you need.
“Mom, I’m so fat and ugly”.
No (loving) mother would want her daughter to say that. Often, our role models diss themselves.
It makes loved ones feel weird and awkward. Beyond that, we begin to mirror the same feelings.
When someone mentions they are fat, we as humans, automatically think, “Yes, so am I”. Sadly, creating a chain of self-deprecating feelings that nobody needs to feel.
I’m fat. I really am. I’m an ugly b****. My stomach is wrinkled and scorned into a belly flop, that is a sorry excuse for a human.
My fat ass cannot walk from this couch to the bed. No wonder my ass jiggles every time I move. Did that make you feel uncomfortable?
It made me feel uncomfortable to write. But I needed to get my point across. Just the mention of a fat belly can have someone lifting their shirt to look at theirs.
One, to check if their belly jiggles. Alternatively, to make sure it is still flat.
Words affect us. Actions affect us more. Seeing someone skip dinner, can make us think maybe we shouldn’t have eaten that brownie.
We mirror or copy other people’s feelings. That is why someone’s mood affects us so much.
Maybe, birds of a feather really do flock together. Or the birds change people’s feelings, till we feel the same way.
Mirroring feelings : I see, so I do
Neuroscientists discovered mirror neurons in our brain. I will not get into the technical aspect of it.
But these mirroring neurons are awake during our morning routines. When we interact with the people around us. Whenever we see someone doing an action or behavior.
More importantly, when someone feels sad, scared, or embarrassed we feel the same way too.
You know that feeling when you watch a movie and the main character is about to get embarrassed, so you cover your face. Guess what, you are mirroring the character’s feelings through the screen.
You feel fat, so do I
The same is true during our everyday life. So, when someone feels bad about themself, we feel bad about ourselves too.
You’re probably not surprised that humans, especially little humans, mirror our behaviors.
If you have ever been around a kid for a while- you notice that they copy many things you say. Sometimes, curse words.
The same thing is applicable to our bodies. As a parent, or child reading this, you probably already noticed this.
Many parents intuitively pick up on this and self-regulate their negative talk about their bodies.
Fat talk… you cannot sit with us 👎
Fat talk. Weight bias. These are all words that make me cringe. Negative weight talk starts at an earlier age than we care to admit.
Especially, when these words or comments come from our most loved person, our birth-giver, our mom.
Continued and repeated fat talk is linked to the development of eating disorders like, anorexia.
Let’s change how we think
Self-comparison- Oh no. Fear of being overweight, please no. No more complaining and speaking. What can we do? 👇🏼
This is why I love this initiative to promote body acceptance via dissonance-based activities. To expand, it is an eating disorder prevention program that challenges the thin-ideal and promotes body acceptance.
In other words, it works by changing how we think about our body.
Things like role-play when people use fat-talk. They show participants how to respond and challenge others’ assumptions.
In my opinion, the easiest way to challenge fat talk is through social media.
Most people are on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook anyway. Using body positive videos, and prompts that show how to respond to fat-shaming can be very helpful.
While I don’t think it will stop some people from fat-shaming. It can change how someone feels about themselves.
Especially, when shared in such a familiar and popular environment. Many creators already do that.
Grandmothers make mothers, who make daughters, who grow up like them
Mothers who are obsessed with looks have children who show more weight bias. Most of the time we focus on how the consequences of poor behavior influence young children.
But this study found that adult daughters are also affected by fat-talk.
Only creating another generation of people with weight bias. And so the cycle continues 😭.
Fear of gaining weight is real.
F.A.T. , what is so scary about that? It is just a word. Why does it make me want to hide under my covers and run 3 laps? Let’s stop using fat like a curse word. It is not the plague.
Relational feelings towards our bodies
However, our feelings towards our body can go beyond simple mirroring. Interestingly, we can have relational feelings towards our bodies.
Meaning, when we are around people who are body positive, we have more positive emotions towards our body.
A day later, if you see someone who says, “I am fat”- you might choose to eat less that day or scrutinize your body.
So, spend time with people who make you feel better about your body and food.
Based on this 2020 study, covering eight-seven females, it was found that :
- Body image changed depending on who participants saw.
- Eating patterns also changed.
- More flexible body image and eating patterns with people they perceived as more accepting to their body.
Findings need to be replicated. But this shows us that the way we talk can potentially influence how others see themselves.
If they eat something or not. I would hate to think I am a person that made someone skip a meal.
Two sides to every story: Listen in
Still, there is another side to each story. In the above-mentioned study, the participants’ relatives and friends were not interviewed.
A finding that piqued my interest is that our body image is worse when we view people thinner than us.
Then, maybe it is time to turn off our phones and stop looking at photos of Instagram models, if it makes us feel bad. However, this is a part I would have liked to see two sides of a story.
Just because someone is skinny should not make us feel bad. It is not their fault. They can’t help their body. We also should not make people feel guilty for just being.
In this case, it is not their job to make us feel better about our body. Really, it is nobody’s job. It is our responsibility to filter out self-hate talk and limit time in triggering situations.
At the end: let’s share self-love
Furthermore, maybe the most effective way to make someone love themselves is to show self-love. Compliment yourself in public.
In front of your child, or friends, say :
- Wow, I am glad my body is letting me feel so energized today.
- I look great.
- Mmmm, that pizza slice is so good.
Let it just end at that. No need to mention the calories.
Even, if you want people to eat healthier. The way to do it, is by eating healthy yourself.
Make a crispy broccoli, take a bite.
Mention how yummy it tastes. Emphasize the crisp (that is my favorite part of it).
No need to say it is healthy or that it is low calorie. Just say it tastes good. They might think so too.
If you want to exercise do so- but say it is to energize yourself. To have fun.
Wow, I loved seeing all these people as I walked, or looking at the trees. It’s all about what we say. We can send the same message, with our actions and positive words.
Do we tell people they are unhealthy?
I am not the type of person that thinks we should leave someone with severe health problems like high blood pressure, and diabetes.
If you truly care about someone and want them to live. You intervene.
However, there is a way to intervene.
Encourage healthy behaviors. Join them. Eat healthy too. Invite them to a walk, without any mention of weight, blood pressure, or cholesterol. For the simple joy of it.
I am not telling you to lie and tell someone they are healthy if they are not.
But there is no reason to make them feel worse. They have a mirror, and their doctor records. Hence, they know when they are heavier.
They feel when they can’t button their pants. Why mention it? They know. Just be supportive.
Looks are deceiving
Finally, not everyone who is overweight is unhealthy. Not everyone who is underweight is healthy.
What do we do with this information? We don’t mention things based on our assumptions. Let strangers be. It is literally none of our business.
Friends and family might be different- because we love them. Still, be delicate.
Show yourself loving your body and health. Then, I believe they will follow. If they do not, they are not ready. It is their choice. Continued support means the world. Hopefully, a self-love bubble spreads.
Read more about mirror talk here.
So, will you call yourself fat or ugly today? I hope not.