The Voice Inside – “Fat Talk” Among Women


Think about something thing you love about yourself physically.

Now think about something you’d like to change.

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Which one came to mind quicker? If I were to bet, I’d put my money on the latter.

In the American society and culture, women have an image of what a perfect body is and constantly compare themselves to it. This one image, thanks to media, Photoshop, and weight-loss promotions, lead to self-degradation, self-depreciation, and an inner voice that promotes “fat talk.”

According to an article in the New York Times, “fat talk” is the body-denigrating conversation between girls and women. It’s a bonding ritual they describe as “contagious,” aggravating poor body image and even setting the stage for eating disorders. Some researchers have found that fat talk is so embedded among women that it often reflects not how the speaker actually feels about her body but how she is expected to feel about it.

“My thighs are so big.”

“No they’re not, I wish my legs looked like yours. My love handles are HUGE.”

Sound familiar? This is and example of “fat talk,” whether the person truly believes what they are saying or not. The unfortunate thing is most women, and some men, look in the mirror and focus on what they’d like to change;  they see what they don’t like about themselves, instead of focusing on what they do like.

I am personally guilty of doing this and of “fat talk”, and know many women in my life who do the same.

Body bashing between women seems normal; no one bats an eye when they hear it. And while research shows that most women neither enjoy nor admire fat talk, it compels them. In one study, 93 percent of college women admitted to engaging in it.

That’s an outrageous percentage!

“There is a larger danger because if you keep hearing this over and over, not only from other people about how fat they are but you hear yourself say that you are fat and you are not beautiful and you’re not perfect, it definitely takes a toll on your self-esteem,” said psychologist Belisa Vranich in an article from Today.

To me, that is a flaw in our culture and society. We need to encourage and support each other with positive words instead of focusing the negative attention to oneself in order to appease another. Then again, it’s so much easier to sit here and write about this, and for you to read it, than to actually put it into practice.

It’s something to think about, and it’s a personal goal of mine.

You were given one body to love. Eat right. Exercise. And be good to yourself. This one vessel is yours for this lifetime.

It’s time to start changing the ugly, negative, and hateful voice inside to one of self-love, encouragement, and appreciation. And, although it may take some time, it will be time worth spent.

This is my challenge to you as well. Starting now:

What is one thing (or multiple!) that you love about yourself?


  • Megan Huber

    I was there yesterday. I went to a local running store to get new shoes, the salesperson was nice enough but that voice inside my head wasn’t. At some point I have to learn to be as nice to myself as I am to other people. I just wish it was easy and happened sooner rather than later.

    meg huber

  • Bari_F

    It’s very difficult for me to just say “thank you” when paid a compliment. I’m very hard on myself but I can say I love that my legs were strong enough to carry me over 9 miles this morning.

  • Christy_TheSistherhood

    I do engage in fat talk with my friends, but it doesn’t (usually) take on a negative tone. I feel comfortable around my best friends to admit to them how I’m feeling about my body, and often times they are feeling the same way. I look at it as a good opportunity for us to brainstorm ways to make changes in our lives. We often challenge each other to make the changes, and try to hold each other accountable.

    Now with that being said, I have definitely engaged in the negative fat talk as well, and I agree that it’s not healthy.

    What do I love about myself? I love my hair so much. And my green eyes. And my feet are pretty awesome. And even though my legs are bigger than I’d like them to be, they are strong and I love their muscle tone.

  • LissaJoy

    I love my heart! And my smile! :)