ban_fat_talk.jpg"Body image right now is down the flusher for so many young people," says Lynn Grefe, president of the US National Eating Disorders Association. But poor body image isn’t limited to the young, not with the media and pop culture putting the “thin ideal” up on a pedestal.

The thin ideal, as this Time.com article on the current anti-fat-talk campaign in American colleges puts it, is “essentially a pre-pubescent girl’s body, plus boobs.” It’s believed that encouraging people, especially young women, to critique the thin ideal will lead to a change in beliefs and attitudes.

In fact, Time.com identifies a study from a 2008 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, which reported that female high school and college students who were asked to critique the thin ideal, even just for three hours, reduced their risk of developing eating disorders by 60 percent.

But what does this all mean? Basically, we need to put a stop to the behavior and attitudes that perpetuate the thin ideal, and we can start doing this by banning fat talk from our lives. Inches and pounds so frequently determine how happy a woman is in her own skin—but that’s only true if we let it be!

Take a page out of Iza Calzado’s book—the star of the new primetime GMA-7 series The Beauty Queen admits to having weighed over 200 pounds in the past, but, she says, “Hindi ako nahihiya sa katawan ko noon.”

And there really is nothing to be ashamed about. Women come in all shapes and sizes and should learn to love their bodies no matter what the weighing scale or measuring tape says. So here are five tips on fighting back fat talk.


1. BARKADA = FAT TALK POLICE

Make a pact with your girl friends not to let each other talk about fat. After all, it's easier to police others than it is to discipline yourself about topics like this one. Think of it as positive peer pressure: the ban on fat talk is easier to observe when everyone else is doing it!

Of course, you need to do your part to correct your friends on their own slip ups. So the next time your shopping buddy asks, “Does this dress make your butt look fat?” give her a stern reminder about fat talk and instead focus on other issues: perhaps the dress isn’t her color—or perhaps it makes her look super sexy!


2. DON'T THINK "NEED," THINK "WANT"

Barring a medical condition that's related to obesity and managed through weight loss, you don't need to lose weight. So don't tell yourself, "I need to go on a diet." Instead, you might say, "I want to change my eating habits so I become more aware and in control of the foods that go into my body."
 

3. FITNESS TRUMPS THINNESS

The thinness ideal focuses on dress sizes and waist lines, so make a conscious effort to ignore those numbers! Remember, dieting and exercise should be about achieving a healthier lifestyle, so throw out the weighing scale—it's about being fitter and happier, not about pounds or kilos!


4. FLATTER A FRIEND


Colleagues, friends, and family--any one could do with a little positive reinforcement. So don't forget to tell your sister how that purple top she's wearing looks great with her complexion or tell your friend that the way she's done her hair today has it framing her face really well. Pay it forward; if people get used to getting compliments rather than criticism, they’ll be in a better position to dish out the flattery themselves.
 

5. GIVE YOURSELF A LITTLE CREDIT

Think about the things you like about the way you look rather than the things you don't like. What does this mean for you? Stop obsessing about that waddle or that little bit of tummy bulge! Instead, think of the things you like most about yourself. And we're not talking about your pleasing personality!

One of the exercises in the Time.com article suggests standing in front of a mirror without all the layers you normally use to hide your body—we suggest stripping down to your underwear or even, if it doesn’t make you uncomfortable, to your birthday suit. Then list down positive things about yourself—no down sides allowed!


(Photo by Ocs Alvarez; originally used in Marie Claire Philippines)

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