I’m really excited that it’s Fat Talk Free Week. Operation Beautiful is the week’s official partner, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Operation Beautiful to be a part of such an important week. If you’re a college student, I hope you see Fat Talk Free Week efforts on your campus! If you’re not a student, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate, too! For example, you can join in the #FTFW Twitter Party on Wednesday at 2:30 PM EST.
Fat Talk Free Week is an Tri Delta initiative meant to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the ‘thin ideal’ on women in society. This week is meant to change the way women think and feel about their bodies. We also aim to promote a healthy lifestyle and one that urges individuals to live a balanced life in mind, body, and spirit.
I’ll be traveling all over the country this week to speak at three Tri Delta chapters (tonight – Elon University; Wednesday – Indiana University; and Thursday – Creighton University). If you’re not familiar with my other website, Operation Beautiful, it’s basically a random acts of kindness movement that encourages people to write positive messages on Post-It notes and leave them in public places for strangers to find.
The site originally started on Healthy Tipping Point back in 2009. I was having a terrible day and felt inspired to write a note for stranger. It said, “You are beautiful.” I posted it on my blog, never expecting it to go anywhere, but the concept quickly went viral, spawning a separate website, a popular Facebook page and Twitter account, a book for adults, a book for tween girls, and speaking events (I’ve done about 70 at various colleges, high schools, and churches). I’d estimate that hundreds of thousands of people have posted or found Operation Beautiful notes; I’ve gotten photographs of upwards of 15,000 notes since the since began. Notes have been posted on every continent (including America!) and by men and women, young and old, of many different nationalities.
I truly love the idea of a week dedicated to encouraging people (especially young women) to think more constructively about their negative self-talk and be more proactive in saying and thinking positive things. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 4+ years of Operation Beautiful thinking about internal negativity and how it impacts everything you do. Negativity is something that I’ve struggled with in various forms throughout my life – I’ve written before about my own struggles with self-doubt, anxiety, self-harming – and there’s one thing that I know to be true…. Negativity does nothing but make the rest of your life a heck of a life harder. It can be so hard to go from the ‘dark side’ to a happier place, but it always starts with one simple step: choosing to reframe your thoughts in a more positive life.
Choosing to see the bright side, the goodness, the opportunity can be challenging. But it makes everything that comes after seem so much better. (And trust me – it gets easier with practice!).
One of my favorite quotes:
Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
~ Elbert Hubbard
So, although Fat Talk Free Week is mostly about body image, I challenge you to take a big step back this week and study your internal dialogue about all things. How do you put yourself down in work, relationships, health? How do you create self-doubt and set yourself up to fail? How can you change that dialogue into something more positive?
I wish you the happiest of Fat Talk Free Weeks! Say a kind word to a friend, give yourself a compliment, post an Operation Beautiful note (e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Remember… you are worth it. You deserve happiness. You are a beautiful person. <3
May your thoughts and actions be loving and supportive to everyone – including yourself – this week and every week after.