Don’t stand still. Fight Fat Talk!

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This post is sponsored by Special K. However, all views expressed are my own.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post in corroboration with Special K and Tyra Banks about Fat Talk. More specifically: about stopping fat talk. It’s all about refusing to speak negatively about our bodies and about seeing our own beauty, no matter our size or shape.   You can read that post here.

One reader left a comment in response to the post that I feel compelled to address, because I’m sure she’s not alone in her thoughts. This reader challenged the sincerity of the #FightFatTalk campaign and argued that the campaign couldn’t really be about fighting fat talk and loving ourselves when the bottom line is still, ultimately, weight loss.

It’s really not an unreasonable argument, although when I first read and replied to the comment, all I saw was cynicism.

But as I’ve chewed over the comment in my mind and thought about the reader who left it, I’ve been filled with the strongest urge to find her and give her a warm, reassuring hug.

Because now I hear what she was trying to say: why are you still telling me I’m not good enough?  Why tell me to love myself exactly as I am, but still encourage the weight loss?

It is, in fact, paradoxical that the two, self-acceptance and weight loss, should work side by side in this campaign. But that’s only because we tend to think of weight loss as changing who we are, and that we shouldn’t need to change who we are if we’re already happy with ourselves. But this isn’t necessarily correct thinking.

The Perfect Place to Begin

I think this campaign, fighting fat talk, is empowering women to think of weight loss and their bodies differently. Losing weight doesn’t mean we are becoming someone different. In cases where weight loss is needed, it means we are becoming HEALTHY. We can and should still see the beauty of our bodies and of our whole person through all stages of our physical being, including times of weight loss endeavors.

Accepting ourselves and our bodies as beautiful doesn’t mean we have to stand still. It doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying to lose or maintain weight where weight loss or maintenance efforts are needed. In fact, this is the exact philosophy Special K and the #FightFatTalk program are trying to spread: being accepting of and loving our bodies as they are will actually serve to enable weight loss where it is needed.

Negativity, fat talk, will do just the opposite: it will serve as a barrier against losing weight and other healthful progression.

I’ve seen the truth of this in my own life many, many times. When I truly feel good about myself, I want to take care of my body. And I’m so happy in that feeling, I no longer desire the comfort that emotional eating provides for me. Instead, I find myself eating for fuel. And when I would normally exercise to simply burn as many calories as possible (to compensate for all the “fat” eating I’ve done), I exercise to strengthen my heart or tone my muscles. There is a HUGE difference in the way I treat my body when I am happy and satisfied with myself, and the results each mentality yields is drastically different as well.

I lose weight and become healthier when I feel good about myself. I gain weight and feel sluggish when I don’t. It’s as simple as simple gets.

And that’s the bottom line to this campaign. #FightFatTalk isn’t about being happy while standing still. It’s about finding things we love about ourselves and others, silencing the negativity, and moving forward into good health and happiness as a result.

It’s time to take care of and be kind to ourselves and to others. I’m grateful to Special K for inviting me to be a part of this movement, and I hope you’ll take the time to be a part of it as well. Shhhhhhhhut down the fat talk this New Year and find new levels of happiness and good health!

This post is sponsored by Special K. However, all views expressed are my own.

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11 thoughts on “Don’t stand still. Fight Fat Talk!”

  1. Hello,

    I have read your post and the responses and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to respond. So often I feel like I’m fighting a battle that will already automatically be lost simply because so many people cannot disassociate the word “fat” with the word “bad”. Many women do engage in negative self-talk (and negative talk about others, let’s be honest) related to how “fat” they are. A lot of those women, probably the majority, aren’t really fat at all. I have heard women who are thin, like size 4, complaining about how “fat” their thighs are. I’ve seen comments by women about how they’d sooner kill themselves than to weigh over 150 pounds. And I agree totally, that this NEGATIVE fat talk needs to stop. However, for some of us, being fat is not something that is just some little thing we think when we gained 10 pounds over the holidays or bathing suit season begins. For some of us, being fat began when we were born and the doctor that delivered us told our mother we looked like we were going to be fat. (Yes, really.) Some of us struggle to go up a few stairs, struggle to fit into airplane seats, struggle to take care of our own cleanliness needs. And yet, even though we know that we weigh 400 pounds, we are told that we can’t say we are fat because that’s “fat talk” and it’s keeping us fat. But here’s the deal. I’m never going to be skinny by your standards. Or even by the standards of the BMI chart. I might be able to lose some weight, possibly a lot of weight, but guess what,? When a 400 pound woman loses 200 pounds, she’s still fat! And arguably looks even worse because of sagging skin. So yes, if you just have 10 pounds you want to lose, please shut up already about how fat you are. Because if you’re fat, what on Earth does that say about me???? And how can I ever have any hope of embracing my own size and accepting myself if, no matter how much weight I lose, I’ll never live up to your standard of beauty?

    We don’t need to stop “fat talk”. We need to learn that “fat” does not equal bad. It equals different. Stop negative fat talk please. But don’t tell me I’m not fat. That’s not fooling anyone, and it’s denying me from being something that I am. I just am. And who are you to tell me I’m not even worthy of being able to say I exist as I am? That’s the worst talk of all. You are such a disgrace that we have to pretend you don’t exist; you aren’t even worthy of acknowledgement as a human being. No. I won’t have it. I am a woman. A strong, smart, beautiful, fat woman. And I won’t let you tell me I’m not allowed to say so.

    • Can I tell you what my number one weight-related pet peeve is? I think you’ll be able to relate. I absolutely have no tolerance for people who tell me how to define “fat” or “overweight.” I am completely sick of comments from readers telling me that I can’t understand what being fat or overweight “really means.” Everyone has a different weight struggle, and you’re 200 lbs isn’t more significant than my 35 lbs just because it’s a higher number. Weight and it’s issues are mental. You have no idea what sort of weight demons I’m battling, just like I don’t know yours. So, please, don’t pretend that you get to say your struggles are more difficult or significant than mine or any other person who weighs a hundred pounds less (or more!) than you. Weight issues and body image perceptions are individual to every person, and you cannot define or rank their severity based on a BMI chart or waistline.

      Aside from that note… by all means– use the word fat to describe yourself if you want! This movement is simply discouraging negative talk about your body and encouraging positive talk. If you think fat can be a happy word… then you should use it! However… the truth of the matter is that “fat” is a negative term in regards to HEALTH. If you’re truly, truly fat, you ARE or soon will be suffering physical consequences that could be avoided at a healthy weight. There is no re-defining “healthy.” That’s science. And we should all be striving to be healthy– there’s no shame in that! There is NO shame in wanting to be healthy if you are unhealthy. I completely advocate speaking positively about our bodies, but I am against the twisted thinking that being happy with ourselves means that we aren’t trying to still improve. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. Losing weight because you’ve changed your thinking is so different than being in your head and being so negative while losing it. It’s about being healthy – not necessarily losing weight. Sure, there are many people where that number really matters, and that’s ok. But, for someone like me, becoming healthy in my head will (and is) make it easier to be healthy in life.

    Thank you for these posts Ashton!

  3. I love these posts, Ashton. I struggle with – and have always struggled with – my weight. I don’t have a lot to lose, but the real issue is that I need to focus on making healthier choices and not beating myself up when I eat that extra cookie.

    Thank you so much for posting this!

  4. Such an awesome post. I’ve seen the commercial from Special K and I knew instantly that I am guilty of always being my hardest critic. I am starting up BeachBody and want to work on making myself stronger and have more energy to play with my kids. Yes, I would love to lose weight (lots of it), but I need to focus on the more positive side of it. Thank you for this great PSA! 🙂

  5. Ashton, I love this post!! I am struggling right now so much with being pregnant and gaining weight, and NEEDING to gain weight to support this little one inside me, especially since I was so unhappy with my weight when I found out I was pregnant. I love the message of this campaign. I need to work at eating healthy because it will make me FEEL BETTER. And I need to work out not to hit a certain number of calories burned, but because it is good for my heart and I feel 100% better mentally when I do it. Thank you, once again, for speaking so candidly about this topic!

  6. I very much agree with the struggle to find that perfect healthy place with regards to body image, lifestyle, etc. I’m a psychologist in a high school and my focus is on body image and eating disorders in adolescents, and I have a major problem with Special K’s mixed messages. I wrote about it in a recent blog post (, but I find the disparity between the Fight Fat Talk campaign and the What Will You Gain When You Lose weight loss campain to be indredibly contradictory and disheartening. I’ve worked with individuals who find the What Will You Gain When You Lose message to be very triggering in terms of creating negative self-talk because they feel as if the current state they are in is not good enough when faced with such a message. I respect what Special K is trying to do with the Fight Fat Talk campaign, but I find their message to be diluted and muddled when compared to their weight loss slogans. Body image development is complexed and influenced by many factors, but one of the primary roadblocks in having a positive body image is placing more value on external attributes than we do on the internal. When Special K purports that you “gain” something when you lose weight, it makes it seem as if we can only be our best, most fulfilled selves once we’ve lost part of our exterior. That message directly feeds into the development of body image difficulties. I’m sorry to rant, I just feel that it’s so important to be careful and conscious consumers of media messages. I wish Special K would push forward the Fight Fat Talk campaign and completely drop the weight loss slogans.


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