girls in dressing roomCompetitive "fat talk" is the latest craze in girlfriend bonding. What is fat talk, you ask? It's when you are talking with your girlfriend, maybe out shopping or just meeting up for lunch, and when your girlfriend tells you how great you look, you get uncomfortable and say something like this, “Nah, my stomach is bloated” or “My arms are so flabby” or “My ass is so big, it needs its own zip code!” See how good I am at that? I am a pro at fat talk, been doing it for years.

The problem for me, and for some others I’m sure, is that fat talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, how many times can you tell yourself how disgusting you are before you really begin to believe it? It seeps beyond just a conversation with your girlfriend, and the next thing you know, your self-esteem is in the shitter and you can’t figure a way out. You don’t want to go to the pool, have sex with the lights on, you are always watching what you eat, and are never satisfied. Fat talk spirals out of control fast.

Sometimes we do it because we feel uncomfortable with a compliment. So if someone says we look great, we immediately need to come back with, “Nah, not really and this is why.” Maybe we all need to work on learning how to take a compliment and just say, “Thank you.” We are our own worst critics and maybe our girlfriends are seeing us for how beautiful we are because they are looking for the good and not the bad, like we do to ourselves.

Another time I find myself fat talking is when a girlfriend is talking badly about herself and I want her to know that we all have our issues and no one is perfect. So, I start pointing out my own flaws -- real or imagined -- bashing myself in a show of support; after all, misery enjoys company, and if I can’t point out my own girth to make my girlfriends feel better, what good am I? Sometimes, we just need to hear the validation when our girlfriend says, "No, you're not honey. You are gorgeous!" It feels good.

But what about when your friend who is gorgeous starts fat talking about herself, saying how disgusted she is with her body, and then you realize, hell, I outweigh her by 30, 40, 50 pounds. If she thinks she’s fat, she must think I am HUGE! That doesn't feel good AT ALL. I learned this one the hard way.

When this happened, I found myself doubting her sincerity when she told me that I looked great. How could she seriously tell me how beautiful I am when she is so hard on herself and she is beautiful and thin?

The worst part of all is that fat talk becomes so ingrained in our heads that we start doing it without even realizing it and then we pass it down to our daughters. It's like a legacy of unhappiness, which is the last thing I’d ever want to do. Can’t we all just start focusing on the great things in our lives instead of the sizes of our asses or the softness of our bellies?

Here, I'll start: You're a great mom. I love the way you are wearing your hair. Wow! You are smart! You deserved that promotion. You are the most amazing woman I know. You are awesome.

Do you fat talk? Stop it. Now!


Image via Jorge Franganillo/Flickr