Why “Fat Talk” is Making You Gain Weight

June 10, 2013

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If only my tummy were a little tighter, my thighs a little thinner. Does this shirt make me look fat? Just look at my love handles!

Admit it. You’re guilty of engaging in this kind of “fat talk” at some point. A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found 93 percent of women confessed to speaking negatively about the shape and size of their bodies. One-third admitted to doing it frequently.

But why do we put ourselves down? What good really comes out of it? Research shows the more frequently you engage in “fat talk,” the more dissatisfied you are with your body. Although it would be nice, even while you’re complaining about your flaws, you know you can’t just whine away pounds.

More than half of the women who participated in the study said they believe “fat talk” makes them feel better about their bodies. Although negative talk didn’t directly impact BMI, a positive attitude is crucial to losing weight and keeping it off. When you obsess over your body, you begin to focus on quick weight loss rather than healthy weight loss. This will not only hurt you in the long term, but will set you up for failure.

Identifying and addressing these negative thoughts is key for staying successful on your medical weight loss plan. The benefits of looking at the glass as half full go beyond losing weight. Studies show negative thinking may increase stress and depress your immune system.

Everyone has bad days. If everything in life were always easy and perfect, it would be boring. But with a positive attitude, you have control over the outcome of a not-so-great day. It’s time you ditch the “fat talk” and push through the roadblocks keeping you from your goals.

You didn’t lose weight this week. Don’t throw in the towel. Sometimes life happens—your child gets sick, you get stuck at work and don’t have time for the gym, you have a stressful day and grab fast food. It happens. We’re human. Look forward instead of looking back. Think about how you can improve the following week. If you have to skip the gym because you’re stuck at work late, consider waking up early and working out first thing in the a.m.

You’ve tried losing weight in the past and never have success. Try again. Anyone can be successful at losing weight with a positive attitude. Surround yourself with positive people, and their attitudes may rub off on you. Behavioral counseling combined with a physician-guided meal plan may be your key to success. A physician will provide a positive and nurturing environment to help you reach your goals.

Respect your body. Stop hating it. If you dislike the body you live in, you may end up disliking the person who lives inside it as well. Wear clothes that flatter you, don’t force yourself into clothes that are too tight—you won’t look or feel good. As you lose weight under the guidance of a physician, you’ll be dropping sizes in no time.

I can’t give up (insert name of favorite fattening food). Guess what? You don’t have to. I don’t believe any food is off limits. Every once in a while it’s OK to indulge. If you always say no to your cravings, you’re more likely to reach a tipping point, give in, and binge, which is much worse than having a small serving of a treat once in a while. If you’re craving ice cream, for example, opt for a single scoop and hold the toppings.

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