As a teenager, I never engaged in “fat talk.” My friends complained about their weight and claimed to be the largest in the room. Meanwhile, I sat slumped in the corner, wishing to disappear. What were they thinking, these girls who were at least three times tinier than me? They thought they were fat? What did that make me?
Now that I have lost weight, you would think that this type of talk would be less triggering. At least it would make sense for me to not engage with it just like I did previously. Instead, I find myself struggling not to complain about my body or vent the deep shame for taking up space.
This has led me to ponder talk about weight. Is it alright for someone who is thin or a healthy size to complain about their weight?
On one hand, these comments only led to dissatisfaction and shame. Does this gripping help anyone involved? Probably not. Girls listening compare while those talking only fret more about their appearance. “Fat talk” has become a social norm. However, that does not mean it is a positive practice.
Yet, women of all sizes and shapes struggle with body-image. Does telling them to silence this agony allow them to wallow deeper into shame? I desperately long to crawl out of my skin or chop some of it off to create a new body. How gruesome is that? No one should have to hear that. Yet, the urges are sometimes so strong that I yearn for a listening ear to get the thoughts out of my head.
So can someone – whatever size – express discomfort about weight? Well, they certainly can, but it might not always be helpful. Doing it as small talk or a throwaway comment is often damaging. However, being honest about insecurities can be powerful and healing.
I am still trying to find the line of what is recovery-focused and what is strengthening my eating disorder. Every day brings up new challenges regarding this area. Hopefully, I will keep learning when to stay silent and when to voice the shameful thoughts about my appearance.