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How to lead a healthy lifestyle and be ‘Fat Talk Free’

Posted Oct 20 2009 10:03pm

So, how are you getting along with my challenge to you this week of staying Fat Talk Free?

Have you caught yourself engaging in any Fat Talk?

You know the kind of thing: ‘Euugh, I hate myself.’ ‘God, I look awful in this…’ etc, etc.

One of the comments that people often make when I talk about ending this kind of unhelpful, negative, and downright nasty to yourself ‘fat talk’ is this one:

‘If I stop beating myself up, I’ll just get really overweight.’

In fact, a friend of mine refuses to watch Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’ because she thinks that the programme’s values ‘make it OK for people to be overweight.’

So I’d like to clarify why I think it is important to End Fat Talking. In my work, I am an advocate of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Every week, I work with people who want to make positive changes to their weight and shape, their eating and exercise patterns.  I help them to make those changes.

I hate diets. They don’t work and promote unhealthy, difficult to maintain, ineffective and unhelpful ways of thinking and eating. I work with people who have tried ‘every diet under the sun,’ the meal replacement shakes, the supplements, etc, etc. They come to me because that stuff just hasn’t worked for them. Surprisingly, it is really hard to keep eating two lettuce leafs and a milkshake for the rest of your life. You might feel a little hungry.

If you eat healthily and do some regular exercise, you will find the weight and shape that is the healthy one for you. Full stop. It really can be that simple.

I think that the range of ideas about what a healthy, beautiful body looks like is shrinking with every year that passes. Noone seemed to think it relevant that Marilyn Monroe was a Size 12. People simply noticed her beauty, glamour and star quality. Not that I would necessarily hold up Marilyn Monroe as a healthy role model. She seemed to be an early victim of what we might now call ‘media pressure,’ the kind that more recently went after Susan Boyle (for not being beautiful enough).

By saying let’s End Fat Talk, I am not saying that I think we should all stop caring about our bodies and our health. I am simply urging you to shift your focus to what is healthy for you – and not what you think you ought to look like according to the latest advertising or the snide remarks in Heat magazine.

When you feel good about yourself, you are so much more likely to treat yourself well, eat well, exercise and engage in activities that you enjoy. If you need some help to do that, seek the support of a trained professional: a coach, a personal trainer, even a hypnotherapist. A restrictive diet is not going to magically change your mindset.

Apparently, around 1 in 4 women in the US have avoided engaging in a physical activity or sport because they feel badly about the way they look. ( Dove, Beyond Stereotypes: Rebuilding the Foundation of Beauty Beliefs)

Time to take some action, don’t you think?

Having worked with many, many people on these issues over the last few years, I am convinced that we all need to help one another to form more helpful and healthy mindsets around body-confidence and body-image.

We’re all in this together. And you hear it everywhere: on the bus, in the waiting room, at parties, in changing rooms…

So, what will you say next time you hear someone talking about their weight, their size, their unhappiness?

Will you get drawn into the conversation, join in with their ‘fat talk,’ or will you help them to see what is really important? I do hope that you will join me this week in making this difference to the people around you.

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