From the billion pound diet industries, to racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia our world tells us not to love our bodies, even as far as to be ashamed of the skin we’re in.
Too often people refer to “feeling fat” as if “fat” is an adjective, the same as feeling ‘happy’, ’tired’, ‘restless’ or ‘joyful’.
Warped by the diet-ridden, fat phobic world we have become, this noun, “fat”, we have learnt to associated with feelings of self-dissatisfaction, shame, guilt, and discomfort.
A word used to reflect not feeling good enough.
Good enough to ourselves.
Good enough in the eyes of society.
Good enough in comparison to our friends, families or those we admire on social media.
What Does the Research Say?
A study investigating the content and frequency of fat shaming, body dissatisfaction and internalisation of the “thin ideal” amongst college students (predominately female) found that 90% engaged in conversational fat shaming of their own bodies, despite only 9% of them being clinically overweight and this was (unsurprisingly) associated with higher dissatisfaction and internalisation of the westernised “thin ideal”.
What is the Consequence?
This feeling now drives the chronic dieters, those who return to their “Monday morning diets” of restricted eating, eliminating food groups and over exercising, as this is now a socially justified form of self-care.
Not just only for women, but for many males I come across too.
What We Must Remember…!!
So I want to remind you, in those moments when you sit there and think “I feel fat” remind yourself that “fatness” is not a feeling. But feeling fat means you’re feeling some other dissatisfaction, and that finding out what that is will be revolutionary to your overall well-being, and self-respect.
In those moments when we decide to sit and listen to our bodies sometimes we don’t always like what we feel back.
Pinnacle to recovery is learning to sit with, and work through, these uncomfortable feelings, without self-destructive thoughts and behaviours.
Remember, you have one body, and that body may be different in its abilities to others, treated differently in the past, have undergone illness or injury. But what your body does and how it does it, demands your care, your respect and your constant unconditional love.
Moving it, and using it in the ways that build you up instead of breaking you down mentally as well as physically.
It’s a true act of self-care instead of a repetitive cycle of self-harm.
It by no means waking up every day and feeling amazing, but it’s accepting that it’s okay to feel shit about other stuff and not project this as a label onto yourself.
It’s a choice to respect your whole self, and in doing so respecting the diversity of bodies, minds and abilities that surround you.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to challenge the label of “feeling fat” because to those who are actually overweight, who may even face size discrimination, this terminology is damaging, adding to the daily fat-phobic stigmatisation that diet-culture fuels, reinforcing the warped thin idealisations that need to be challenged and changed
Its okay not to be okay
But it’s not okay to remain so.
Sign up for the Recovery Diaries:
A short course guiding you through three stages I believe sum up the processes of recovery: Rebuilding, Redefining and Rediscovery. Exploring how we define recovery from disordered eating, and covering principles of Intuitive Eating, Positive Body-Image Motivation in Recovery, Creating Identity and Purpose away from your eating disorder.