Friday, April 1, 2011

Guess what? You're not as fat as you think you are.

Women: have you told yourself how fat you are this week? Have you told someone else?  Chances are, there have been half a dozen instances of negative self-talk in your life this week.  I'm guilty, too! 

Now be honest again... are you actually fat?  I mean clinically, are you fat?  Is your body fat percentage over 30%?  Is your waist more than 35 inches around?  Is your BMI over 30?  If not, shut it.

It's a major pet peeve of mine: women who look perfectly fine going on and on about how fat they are when they aren't.  I used to do it all the time, and sometimes I still catch myself asking my husband if I look fat or complaining that I "feel fat".  But I am not actually fat. Intellectually I know this, but after years of being a woman in America who is conditioned to believe that the only path to beauty is through unattainable physical perfection, its hard to believe.

About a year ago I stopped reading fashion and gossip magazines. They just made me feel bad about myself.  I also made a promise to start being nicer to myself and stop expecting to be perfect all the time.  The more I practiced positive self-talk, the better I felt, and the better I started to look to myself.  Over time, I started noticing more and more how many women are still in automatic put-down mode. 

So if you're one of those women who is not actually fat but can't stop telling yourself you are, here's what helped me stop:

1. Focus on your body's strength, not it's size.  In the past two years I have completed the Ultimate Fitness Challenge, ran two half-marathons, and completed a triathlon.  An unfit person would not have been able to do those things.  Once I realized that, it became easier to focus on what my body could do, not what it could fit into. 

2. Do some research.  Get online and start learning about the actual benchmarks for obesity.  Get your body composition measured and start using actual data as a tool for determining your fatness, not your mirror.

3. Every day, celebrate something you love about your body.  Yes, I mean every day.  There is something about your physical self that you can appreciate.  It can be the same thing two days in a row!  The point is to get into the habit of appreciating the beauty you already have.

4. Stop getting second opinions.  Who cares if someone else thinks you're fat.  The only opinion of you that matters is yours.

Besides, talking about how fat you are when you're not actually fat makes the actually fat people around you feel even worse. 

I've gone through a period lately of feeling fat and hearing myself slip into those old habits of being all down on myself because some physical limitations have kept me from my usual high-intensity workouts.  So, I'm calling myself out on it and inviting you to join me back on the positive path.  Take time today to be nice to yourself.

Good day!

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