When “Fat Talk” Creeps Back In

May 2, 2014

A few years back I did a year-long series on banning “fat talk” from my vocabulary. I shared stories of women (including many of you!) who had struggled to overcome negative body image issues and are working to ban fat talk from their own vocabulary in an effort to be kind to their bodies and their minds. After finishing up my “No Fat Talk Tuesday” series, I felt accomplished and mostly free from my own form of fat talk and negative self talk in general. But I got a little lax and I let myself slip and gradually, over time, the fat talk slipped back into my daily routine. Sometimes out loud and sometimes just to myself when I looked in the mirror before work.

Over the last couple months I’ve felt out of place in my body, and at times I’ve felt at war with my body, too. Between feeling sick from being pregnant and eating all sorts of strange foods I don’t usually eat (potato chips, anyone?) and then miscarrying, I was left feeling unsettled and strange in the body that I had finally felt so comfortable in for the last two years. Sure, before this my body wasn’t perfect, but I felt like I had found my happy place. But after I miscarried, I started to feel negatively toward my body. In my weaker moments I believed that my body, now a couple pudgy pounds heavier than usual, had failed me.

When I was overcoming some of my issues with food what helped me most was to focus on what my body could do instead of the things I didn’t like about it. But after the miscarriage, that strategy didn’t work quite as well. Sure, I could run a half marathon and countless other road races, I could play tennis for hours and lift heavy weights and do yoga for 90 minutes in a hot room but the one thing I wanted my body to do, carry a child, was the one thing my body didn’t seem able to do (at least not yet!) I started to let the thoughts like “I’m fat and pudgy and I look horrible!” creep back into my vocabulary more often than I would like to admit.

I share this not to get compliments and make myself feel better or to put on a front of humility, but to encourage all you women who are still just human beings, prone to take steps backward now and again. Recently I’ve fallen off the “No Fat Talk” bandwagon, but this month my goal is to be kind to my body and give myself the grace and compassion I would offer any of you reading this post.

Am I a little softer around the middle than I would like to be? Absolutely! Have I felt betrayed by my body? If I’m being honest, yes. But being hard on that same body isn’t going to do me any good. Instead, I’m filling myself up with the good things: God’s word, water, vegetables, exercise, and a re-commitment to putting the scale away. And I’m tossing out the bad things: Unkind words, self punishment, giving voice to the negative thoughts.

Have any of you fallen off the “No Fat Talk” bandwagon? How have you gotten back on track?

P.S.: I’m also participating in The May Challenge over at Thyme is Honey for anyone who wants to join in, it’s not too late!

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  • Reply Erica May 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    While I can’t relate to exactly what you’re going through with your body’s changes, I do think everyone can relate to letting “fat talk” creep into their vernacular. We live in a society that puts such an unrealistic expectation on beauty that even supermodels are airbrushed, and those kinds of images really get into people’s minds even if they don’t realize it. Purposefully banning “fat talk” is my goal for this month, and this was just the push I needed to keep motivating myself. Thank you and good luck with your journey toward healing!

  • Reply Karla Walsh May 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    You rock, Madison. Truly. I have good and bad days too and have been having a bit of a tough time with how little exercise I’ve had time for in the past 6 months, so I’ve been working on just being OK with that (and the fact that I’m prioritizing sleep and socializing over it someones!).

    You have such a strong, positive attitude about this and together we can all encourage each other to look for the silver lining!

  • Reply Katherine Kelly May 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Madison, thanks for sharing this. I’ve been struggling with this as well and it is so encouraging to know that others are trying to get back into a no fat talk mindset. I appreciate you!


  • Reply Michellanne Deutsch May 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Madison, I’ve really loved reading your open account of what it is like to experience a miscarriage! Although it is not a struggle I have personally experienced, I know that it is not uncommon, and I appreciate your willingness to come forward.

    When I’m feeling bad about my body, I do similar things as you: I eat lots of vegetables, drink water, and try to focus on my ability to do things like lift weights or yoga. Lately, I’ve been trying to take a step back and see myself as others see me. I would never say harsh things to my friends about their bodies or judge what they eat, so I’m working on treating myself the same way.

  • Reply Urban Wife May 4, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I totally get this. This past year has probably been the hardest for me in terms of body image. I love your honesty in sharing about your struggles. I like how you say it: filing yourself up with good things and tossing out the bad…that’s a great attitude to have!

  • Reply Justine May 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I definitely think my confidence (and use or non-use of fat talk) comes in waves. When I was training for the marathon, I *never* worried about my weight. I wasn’t losing any, but my body had so many other things to worry about I just kind of let it go for three months. (Plus, even though I wasn’t losing weight, I was still seeing physical results from the training.) Now that I’m back to my usual workout schedule, it’s hard not to feel like I’m not pushing myself just because I’m not running a half marathon or more every weekend.

    I try to do the same things you mentioned, reminding myself of what my body can and has done, but I also try to keep perspective. There are so many things we’re capable of that have nothing to do with what size jeans we wear or how far we can run. I really appreciate how you’re always so honest about this — it always makes me feel less alone in the struggle!

  • Reply Kara Knaack May 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Your post just breaks my heart. While I have not suffered a miscarriage, I can certainly see where you would feel like your body has “betrayed” you and how you could start to let the negativity creep back in. God created each person’s body differently and unique. Love yourself beautiful lady!

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