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Fat Talkers

Por Carola Sixto -

Women talk about many things. Fashion, men and children are always present. Complaining about their appearance is another subject. Looking at a mirror is enough to start the monologue: “My arms are so fat! This is the last time I wear a sleeveless shirt.” Not to mention what bathing suits sellers must hear: “I can’t go to the beach, I’m full of cellulite!” In restaurants, they might say things like: “Oh, I wish I could order some french fries, but I can’t; if I keep eating like this I’ll end up rolling like a ball, I better order a salad.” They’re known as “fat talkers” because they’re permanently talking about extra pounds and their appearance.

Self-Esteem is Listening For some intellectuals, speaking ironically about a subject that one is very concerned about is a way of “exorcising” the fear or concern. But one thing is to make an occasional comment and another is to constantly talk about self-disapproval.

Teenagers take first place in “fat talking.” Anthropologist Mimi Nichter, from the University of Arizona, spent three years interviewing High School teens. Among her findings, which are included in the book “Fast Talk,” she mentions that most white girls are unhappy with some part of their body, and although they talk a lot about diets, they don’t always follow them.
In addition, she found that African-American girls escape from weight obsession and “fat talk” because they’re much more satisfied with their bodies than white girls. For them, beauty is a matter of attitude and moving with style and confidence.

Operation Beautiful
In June, 2009 columnist Caitlin Boyle, who is only 25, decided to launch a crusade against “fat talk,” posting a picture of a Post-It note saying “You are beautiful” in a public restroom and publishing the picture on her blog “Healthy Tipping Point,” where she had written tips for healthy living. The response from readers was immediate; she got photographs of the many notes left by other women around the country. In two days, Caitlin realized she had started an interesting phenomenon and created her own website called “Operation Beautiful.”

Fat talk is a negative dialogue with oneself. After all, self-criticism creates an inverse inertia in all aspects of life. Talking about weight allows us to hide our true emotions. Rather than admitting we feel sad, guilty or lonely, women tend to harshly criticize their body image. “It is an unhealthy habit for mind, body and emotions and we should stop it,” explained the young woman in an interview published recently by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on

Recognized as an old “fat talker,” the creator of “Operation Beautiful” believes that it is important to recognize that each woman is beautiful. Little by little, changes in eating habits and exercise can help women feel better.

While talking is an exercise that doesn’t cause neither weight gain nor weight loss, speaking negatively about oneself certainly undermines self-esteem. And if we don’t love ourselves, who else will?
Next time you look in the mirror, say to yourself: “You are beautiful.” A smile will show you this is exactly what you needed to hear.

Source: Harvard University Press


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