Thin Women Who Call Themselves 'Fat' Annoy Me


women talking fat talkSpend more than a half hour in the mall and you'll hear it. Almost always in the dressing rooms. Many women, especially younger women, beating themselves up verbally. Lamenting to one another that they're "fat." Even if they're far from it. It's an epidemic, and now a recent study from Northwestern University says that 93 percent of women 18 to 23 years old engage in "fat talk" with other women. I know women of all ages do it, too ... mothers and daughters, sisters and friends.

We'll argue that it's okay, it's just "venting," it's a way of bonding with a BFF, "whatever." But the research shows the more "fat talk" we engage in, the more we hate our bodies. Doesn't surprise me. Think about it -- if you're constantly hearing (even if it's from your own lips) negative things about your appearance, you're going to start to believe it. It's negative reinforcement.

We don't need scientists to tell us why we do it. We're usually hoping our friend will say, "No, no, of COURSE you're not fat!" We want that reassurance about our appearance, because it feels comforting. But just because we hear it doesn't mean we believe it. It's like a quick hug or peck on the cheek -- we enjoy it for a nanosecond before going on to the next thing ... which is usually more self-hatin'. 

Now, there are many things that drive me up a wall, but hearing women being disparaging about themselves is at the top of my list of pet peeves. It's just not cool. It's not productive, it's not healthy. It's totally detrimental.

Even if you could actually stand to lose a few pounds, calling yourself "fat" and talking sh** to yourself is not going to tip the scale. In fact, I've heard from life coaches and doctors and psychologists alike that self-compassion will encourage weight-loss, while loathing on yourself will continue to make you feel stuck, unworthy, etc. Obviously, when you feel that way, you're not going to be motivated to take better care of yourself. To treat yourself to a yoga session or choose a healthier snack.

But it seems like more and more, women who aren't anywhere close to overweight are giving themselves such a hard time. Pinching nonexistent "belly fat," lamenting that they haven't "worked out hard enough." Where the hell is this mentality originating? You can blame the media, supermodels, reality TV, whatever, but I really do feel like it's a disease we're passing around to one another. And we need a cure ... STAT. Because no matter what size or shape we are, there are much better ways to lean on our girlfriends and lift ourselves up than busting on our beautiful bodies.

Do you engage in "fat talk"?


Image via Russell James Smith/Flickr

weight loss, body image, emotional health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

kaylaird kaylaird

I'm of the opinion that talking about a person's weight, even if it's your own, is bad taste and goes against the basic rules of etiquette. No one wants to hear another person fishing for "Oh, you're beautiful, not fat!" And it's rude to fish for those compliments anyways.

Gigan... GigantaursMommy

I do talk about my weight with my DH but that's because I am overweight and he is acting as my support.

Gigan... GigantaursMommy

I should add that we only talk about it when we are alone and I'm telling him how much I exercised that day, or how many pounds I've lost. None of it is detrimental to my self esteem and I don't discuss weight with anybody else.

nurse... nursesharon

well, I think we all have our own perception of our body images.  I have said I need to lose weight and people heavier than me say they would like to be my size.  I am not happy with my weight and am trying to work out and eat better.  I am far from being one of those skinny girls!  I have a SIL that has an athletic build and is really cute and she always says she's fat and I want to rip her head off!!  I do think some people say it hoping you will say "you are not fat" and even though that gets on my nerves, if they need a little boost of confidence then I will give it. 

sarahAl sarahAl

I talk about it on private discussion boards with a group of girlfriends. We are each other's support system for our weight loss journeys. They are especially helpful for those period days where you are cramped up, bloated, and generally miserable. THOSE issues, I can't talk with my husband about. He just don't get it, he's such a man. lol.

But I do agree with kaylaird, its distasteful to constantly go on about how fat you think you are. I know far too many women who are 'fishers' and unfortunately people close to them just keep buying into it.

dirti... dirtiekittie

oh man - i could write my own blog about 'fat talk'. LOL i'm a straight up fat girl, i know this and i'm working on it (no, really - i am). and i'm on board with the whole 'skinny girls calling themselves fat' pet peeve. well honey, if YOU'RE fat at 5'6 and 121 pounds, then god help me and my extra pounds... we'd have to invent a new name for it at that rate!

but i want to say - the 'positive self' type thinking DOES work. i'm not going to plug a psychologist, or a special diet or anything like that. i've lost FOUR pant sizes in the last 2 years. doesn't sound like much to you? me either. but guess what? they're staying off, and i'm still losing because i tell myself every day that i look GOOD when i am done. i tell myself that the sweat is a temporary thing to make me appreciate the cool shower afterwards even more. i stopped trying to change ME - and started trying to change the things i do. and what does that mean? that after the biggest loss (2 pant sizes this year, just since january) i'm still pushing myself - and every day, i tell myself it's ok - i can do even better tomorrow.

sunny... sunnybunny5us

I don't like to go around talking about weight, but I do struggle with mine - hard. What annoys me is when we are actualy having a discussion about a relavent issue like what kind of food to serve and because I say like: " lets go with some healthy options since some of us are watching our weight" , I get the whole "youre not fat"  thing when actually I am (I am 5' 1" and weigh close to 160 which puts my BMI over 30 which is obese). I don't want people to tell me I'm not fat - I want it to be true.

RanaA... RanaAurora

When I weighed 105 pounds, I still wore size 3 and 5 pants because of my thighs, and had someone say something about my flabby upperarms. I thought I was fat and needed to lose weight.. even after doing METH. I needed to tone, not starve myself, but still.  I was unhealthy, mentally, and likely physically as well.

Just a viewpoint to consider.

butte... butterflymkm

I freakin hate it! I'm a large girl (just now have come to terms with that) and I always wanted to slap skinny girls that called themselves fat. You're either really annoying or you have an eating disorder. Grrr

Proud... ProudSingleMum

You know what's funny.... I actually AM FAT...and I don't put my body down...hardly ever. I have a positive body image. I'm not stupid, I mean, I KNOW I need to lose weight, but being fat doesn't make me ugly. 

1-10 of 16 comments 12 Last