Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard that little voice in your head say, “Oh my goodness, I hate my legs!” “I wish my stomach were flatter.” “I would definitely be happier if I lost these last 10 pounds!”
Sounds familiar, right?
In fact, a number of studies on body image point to a troubling trend: Many of us are engaging in way too much self-trash talk. Think 93 percent of us.
Ladies, this negative thinking and speaking may be causing more damage to our health than we think. It’s not enough to just walk the walk; talking the talk is also key. So instead of focusing simply on what goes into our mouths, let’s vow to pay attention to what we let into our minds and out of our mouths.
May these “fattitude” adjustments help you ditch the self-trash talk for good!
Trash Talk Trap No. 1: “I Look Fat!”
These three powerful words escape our lips more often than we would like to admit. However, dissecting the why is key. More times than not, we utter these words based on an experience, not a true feeling. In fact, studies show that many women who were overweight at one point in their life tend to have a high level of body dissatisfaction even after losing weight.
Fattitude adjustment: Next time you catch yourself mouthing off about your muffin top, literally trash the trash talk by writing down the negative thought and then immediately tossing it into the nearest garbage can. Eventually the mental will follow the physical in this case.
Trash Talk Trap No. 2: “I Wish My Body Looked Like … ”
Oftentimes, a girl-power moment can instantly turn into a trash bash. For instance, you and a friend head to the gym for a buddy workout. However, instead of motivating your sweaty sister, you find yourself thinking, “Dang, I wish my arms were cut like hers.” Or you head to a neighborhood barbecue and instead of socializing, you end up criticizing everything about your body because every other girl in attendance seems to be able to pull off the crop-top trend better than you.
Fattitude adjustment: Next time you find yourself spiraling down the path of body envy, remind yourself of the things that make you uniquely you. (Hint: These qualities expand beyond the physical.) Being creative and crazy funny always trumps pulling off a fashion trend.
Trash Talk Trap No. 3: “I Have Thunder Thighs”
I’m not going to lie, y’all; this is the one that constantly made its way into my mind (and out of my mouth) for the first two decades of my life. I was constantly complaining about how big my legs were and how easier life (and pants shopping) would be if they were just a bit smaller. People would compliment me (especially in the South) with comments like, “Baby you got them big, pretty legs.” And while they meant no harm, I would chase this remark with the thought, “What idiot would use the words ‘big’ and ‘pretty’ in the same sentence?”
Fattitude adjustment: With six half-marathons, one marathon and several other physical accomplishments under my belt, I now think, “These big legs are strong legs, and for this I’m grateful.” So if you have that one body part that you constantly pick on, give yourself a break and focus on what your body can do—not just what it looks like.
Trash Talk Trap No. 4: “Shopping for Clothes Is the Worst!”
True story: I hate shopping (unless it involves some athleisure—then it’s technically cardio). But even if you’re a shop-till-you-drop fashionista, the shopping experience can be stressful. From the thin mannequins to the bright lights and the three-way mirrors—I mean, c’mon. No wonder many women feel lousy about their looks when shopping for clothes.
However, beyond your favorite boutique’s ambience, many body-image issues during shopping are self-inflicted. For instance, you flip out when you have to buy a 10 instead of an 8 in a dress that literally fits you like a glove. Or you huff and puff all the way home because every pair of skinny jeans you tried on made you look everything but skinny. Sound familiar?
Fattitude adjustment: Next time you head out for a shopping extravaganza, focus on the garments that fit, not the numbers sewn into the backs of them. Many designers use fit models when developing their lines, so although you wore an 8 in Michael Kors last season, you may just be a 10 now—not because you gained weight but because the fit model did.
And lastly, don’t let trends kill your vibe. Buy clothes that put your favorite body part on display, and stop camouflaging the parts you don’t favor.