It’s Fat Talk Free Week!

It’s Fat Talk Free Week! October 17, 2011

So it’s Fat Talk Free Week.

What? You’ve never heard of “Fat Talk Free Week”?

Neither had I, until a little less than a year ago, when I was researching ways in which the discussions that we have around the table influence our thoughts and behaviors surrounding body size and health.

I suspected that talking about fat, calories, and weight would have a negative effect on people’s thoughts and behaviors, and I also suspected that such talk was pretty common. Certainly it was nothing unusual in my growing-up years!

Anthropologist Mimi Nichter writes in her book, Fat Talk, that ” ‘fat talk’ is a kind of social ritual among friends, a way of being, or creating solidarity.”

 “Fat talk is basically all of the seemingly innocuous things that women say on a regular basis that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies. Things such as ‘Do these jeans make me look fat?’ or ‘You look great! Did you lose weight?’ ” (Dr. Carolyn Becker)

Dr. Carolyn Becker

But “fat talk” is almost certainly a contributing factor to the enormously high rates of disordered eating and body image issues among women of all ages. (And, yes, among men, too.)

The Tri Delta Sorority, together with psychologist Dr. Carolyn Becker, developed a program to combat the the thin ideal standard of beauty that’s ubiquitous in the media (the number of folks who find this blog by googling “Tiffani Thiessen fat” is just SAD, people). And they’re combating it by focusing on the healthy ideal–which, of course, looks different for everyone.

In their words:

Reflections endeavors to help participants resist the unrealistic, ultrathin ideal standard of female beauty prevalent in today’s society.”

The program doesn’t focus on eating disorders. (Good thing, too, because learning about eating disorders can actually help people with disorders learn how to be “better” anorexics.) Instead, in interactive, peer-led small groups, participants learn to embrace a healthy ideal, become satisfied with their own bodies, decrease “fat talk” in their conversations and learn to focus less on their own and others’ appearance.

Best of all? The program is effective.

I’ve never had the chance to participate in a Reflections group, but I know from experience that banishing “fat talk” helps.

Will you join me? We can make it one week without any “fat talk,” right? (That includes self-fat talk, too! No beating yourself up in front of the mirror.)

If you’re a Christian, like me, then you believe that it is God who made you. And God’s work is very, very good–no matter what anyone else says. God made you as you are, and you are beautiful.

Please watch this video:

and join me in a week that’s fat-talk free!

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