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“Ugh, I feel fat!”

What woman hasn’t ever said that to herself at some point? For many women, negative self-talk related to body image is common. Unfortunately, it’s almost always meant as a self-putdown. Even when the self is not to blame for anything.

When you say it in public, it can be a way to compete, socialize, or gain acceptance.

In private, those three taunting words I. Feel. Fat. reflect self-loathing. It shows negative body image, sure. But body image goes much, much deeper. A sudden bout of “I feel fat” usually happens in relation to something negative in your life, separate from your body. For sure, the phrase sometimes conveys your physical sensations, like after a large meal.

But typically, it has little to nothing to do with your body. This is true even if you’re fat.

Because our culture jumbles fat with bad, lazy, stupid, unworthy, contemptible, and disgusting, it is no surprise that this verbiage pops up as a substitute for other real things going on.  [For a roadmap of how to cope when you feel fat, read this post.]

When your inner mean girl insists on taunting you with “I feel fat,” choose to respond with something different. Here are some suggestions for what to say/ask:

  1. Things kind of suck right now, but it won’t last.
  2. When I say I feel fat, it’s really about something else.
  3. What am I really feeling?
  4. I think I’m “feeling fat” because {fill in the blank}.
  5. What do I really need?
  6. I am fat, and that’s okay.
  7. F*ck you, inner bully!

Barbara Spanjers

Barbara Spanjers

Barb builds on her experience as a therapist to help women stop freaking out about food and weight so they can focus on what’s really important. She is a huge fan of water slides, popcorn, and cats – not necessarily in that order.

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