The Real Deal with Fat Talk

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It’s been a slow, but productive, Friday morning over in Caitlinland! 


I can tell the interns are bored… maybe I should break free for a half an hour or so and take Maggie and James on a walk.


My tummy has been off all morning, but I prepared a delicious lunch and my appetite perked right back up (it never disappears for long!):


I had about 1 cup of brown rice with some canned Alfredo sauce on top.  I also mixed in steamed spinach and plain baked tofu.


With two carrots, which I actually shared with the dogs.  They love carrots.


The Real Deal with Fat Talk


As mentioned earlier, I’ve been having a pretty tumultuous week in my personal life.  I don’t like to be a Debbie Downer on the blog, but it’s just been an unhappy week for a lot of serious and not-so-serious reasons.


On Wednesday, I caught myself Fat Talking in the shower!


I was SHOCKED the moment the thought crossed my mind!  I truly have not Fat Talked at all, either out loud or in my own head, in months.  Part of me was horrified, and the other part of me was really, really confused.  Not only am I definitely not getting “soft,” but even if I was – I would normally NEVER speak to myself in that horrible, disparaging tone.


I thought that running the Operation Beautiful website had truly rid me of all my Fat Talking habits.  I intellectually know how bad Fat Talking is, and I understand that it has no place in my life.  I replaced all my previous Fat Talk with realistic, positive thoughts.


Not only did I Fat Talk on Wednesday, but I caught myself doing it again this morning while I got dressed.  Again, the Fat Talk was almost like thought vomit.  And that’s when I really, really understood for the first time…


Fat Talk has almost NOTHING to do with how you look, what you eat, or what you do in the gym.  It has EVERYTHING to do with how you feel about yourself, your life, and your circumstances.


Why did I revert to Fat Talking this week?  Honestly, I think it’s because I couldn’t deal with some of the other stress in my life, and it was almost easier to beat myself up about something completely unrelated to the situation.  In some twisted way, its better to punish myself than deal with the issue.  It’s a habit so ingrained in us as women (and men, too)!  It breaks my heart.


Since my Fat Talking moments, I’ve been using all my Anti-Fat Talking tricks to go back to my normal, loving self.  Even just thinking about everything I wrote here helps me so much when I Fat Talk. 


I wanted to share this because I really think Fat Talk is something most people struggle with their entire life.  I do have a really positive and realistic body image, but even I – the editor of Operation Beautiful – have to fight Fat Talk occasionally!  Struggling with Fat Talk doesn’t make you weak, but you can’t let it win.  Life is hard enough without beating yourself up all the time.


Do you struggle with Fat Talk?  How does your circumstances and stress levels affect your self image?  Got any advice for me and other women who Fat Talk?



  • Kelly February 19, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Thanks for being so honest about fat talk. Everyone does do it at some point or another. I think you are right that often times it has nothing to do with being “fat” or “soft” but with other things going on in our lives. I think the important thing is noticing it and making a serious effort to stop it.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) February 19, 2010, 1:03 pm

    unfortunately i totally fat talk…but that’s one of the biggest things i’ve been trying to stop doing. something that’s helped me is telling my husband and my close friends to call me out when i say i feel fat. i told them to force me to tell them what’s REALLY going on and to express that real emotion. it’s definitely helped a ton, and is slowly starting to take place in my head too!

    thanks for the honesty Caitlin, it’s encouraging to know beautiful women like you struggle from time to time and come back out stronger than ever 🙂

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats February 19, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Definitely struggle with Fat Talk.. especially when I’m out with friends and I see them eating potato chips, greasy fries, and big slabs of pizza. Its a struggle every weekend!

    I try and let myself say its ok for just one day.. then the rest of the week i’ll stick to my healthy eats. It can be a challenge though for sure. Darn you fat talk!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete February 19, 2010, 1:05 pm

    Nobody is perfect, and we all have moments like that even though we may treat ourselves with the upmost respect most of the time. I get like that when I’m stressed and I know that I’m not eating as healthy as I should be. The guilt just starts eating me up. Then, I have to tell myself to stop being so negative and analyzing every imperfection. It helps if you just remind yourself of what you can do with your body instead of how it looks. 😉 You are beautiful! Sometimes, we need to be reminded of it!

  • Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life February 19, 2010, 1:05 pm

    To be honest I struggle with fat talk every single day. I often catch myself doing it and try to stop it. I think my experience has a lot to do with my environment. I live with an extremely skinny roommate, I work in Manhattan where there are gorgeous skinny women everywhere, I also work in the same building as Barney’s so there are celebrities, models, fashion people everywhere. I also live in a town where it is primarily young people working in Manhattan and majority of them are extremely skinny. Last night at the gym I caught myself looking in the mirror as I was working out and hating my stomach roll as I was on the bike (I mean do they really have to have a mirror in front and on the side of you?) and then I looked around and I noticed there was only two people who were comparable to my size within my view and one person over-weight. Yeah I know I am wrong for thinking so critically of myself and other people but sometimes I feel like with my environment I am set up to fail.

    • Beth February 19, 2010, 3:19 pm

      I think one of the most important things to realize is that many people in NYC get PAID to be so thin or at least want to. It is a job as a celebrity, actor, model to look that way. And when not working most of them gain weight because they don’t have to restrict. When i see a little roll in the mirror I think ” that is joy, not fat”. That little extra fat comes from ENJOYING life….having pizza and beer with friends and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. Not even money. Try thinking of it as a positive investment!

      • Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life February 19, 2010, 6:55 pm

        That is such a good way to look at it! Thanks Beth!!

      • Ali February 20, 2010, 10:56 am

        What a beautiful thought!

  • Kara February 19, 2010, 1:06 pm

    I deal with fat talk all the time, it depends on the day! Some days I think I look good, and the next I think I look “soft”. I know I haven’t changed, only my view of myself has changed.

    Fat talk is especially rough when pregnant, because you feel guilty and selfish for caring about your appearance when your body is changing, but it’s rough having “lost” your body for a while. I know I’m supposed to be gaining a pound a week until May, but it’s rough to see that shirts are too short, even though it’s only because there is a baby brewing in there. I know I’ll get my figure back (I hope), but waiting is a challenge.

    I don’t have any advice on avoiding fat talk, other than talking back to that mean voice in your head. If a negative thought passes your mind, then you should focus on what your body CAN do, not what it can’t. That usually helps me.

  • Carolyn February 19, 2010, 1:07 pm

    Since I’ve been reading blogs like yours and started my own, I rarely do fat talk anymore. I try to stop it in its tracks. That doesn’t always keep me from feeling the blah that caused it, though.

  • Taylor February 19, 2010, 1:07 pm

    I wish Cal liked carrots! He won’t eat them no matter how many I try to feed him!

  • Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) February 19, 2010, 1:09 pm

    ((hugs)) Thanks for being so honest about your struggles; I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like some of the food/health bloggers out there have everything figured out, and it can be tough to relate!

    Stress is a horrible animal and it affects every part of your life. Too much work to do, or too much life getting in the way means that workouts get pushed back, healthy meals get replaced with convenience food (mostly take-out and frozen meals for us), then the sluggish, fat feelings start to sneak in.

    I try to repeat the mantra, “you don’t burn any calories beating yourself up” when I’m feeling down on myself and do whatever I can to eliminate stress in my life. Hope things start to turn around soon!!

  • Alice February 19, 2010, 1:09 pm

    Sorry to hear you are having a bad week.
    I definitely fat talk, and I totally do it more when things are going wrong in other areas of my life. Like I am single and have been for a long time. Sometimes when I get upset about that I start fat talking not as a “this is why I am single” thing but just because it is easier to fall back on than trying to understand men! Just something negative to focus on to distract myself from negative things that are not in my control, not that “fat talk” does anything toward living a healthy lifestyle or “control” over ones body. It is just beating oneself up. Not every healthy, but sometimes seems hard to avoid when other things get you down.

  • Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) February 19, 2010, 1:10 pm

    Oh, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but you’re beautiful! 🙂

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite February 19, 2010, 1:11 pm

    This is a very real issue. You are absolutely right when you say “Its all about how we feel”

    That is so true. Think about it. When we are truly happy, do we down talk ourselves or put criticize ourselves? The answer is no. It’s when we’re unhappy that all the yucky feelings surface.

    Replacing all those negative thoughts with positive ones is the best way to crawl out of the hole.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing February 19, 2010, 1:11 pm

    I definitely struggle with fat talk. I think everyone does. And I agree, it happens when everything else in my life is going downhill. It’s just so easy to ignore other things and beat yourself up. But I do know that it doesn’t help things and all it does is make you feel bad about yourself. When I start to fat talk I force myself to think about what I DO like about my body and what it CAN do instead.

  • Molly February 19, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I just finished the book “Thin is the new happy” and it assesses this point troughout. It’s brilliant, I’d recommend it to anyone.

    Xo Molly

  • Brie (The Fit Bride) February 19, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I got a blog comment yesterday from some idiot that said, “Good thing you’re dieting and exercising! You still need it.” As much as I hate to admit I let some random asshole commenter get to me…it was jarring. And for about half an hour, I was like, “OMG, they’re right, I’m technically 8 pounds overweight going by BMI charts, I’m going to split my wedding dress in half” and so on and so forth.

    I don’t usually Fat Talk and I think I have a very healthy self-image, but when I’m attacked from the outside in some way, it is HARD. Even if I don’t criticize myself, the fact of the matter is that because I blog, people have carte blanche to criticize me, and even if I delete their comments, I still see them. And they resonate even more because I don’t let myself say things like that internally! It is so, so hard sometimes.

    I try to remember that weight is a number that doesn’t control how far I can run, or how much I can lift, or how awesomely healthy I am generally, and of course, my fiance is wonderful at telling me I’m gorgeous. But man, does it suck sometimes!

  • alli February 19, 2010, 1:15 pm

    wow- that thought totally clicked! it’s so true. when im happy about my life/current circumstances i feel better about myself in every way- it’s like i cant help it!
    it can be a hard task, though, to wake up and decide to be happy when things are happening that can make it so easy to not be happy!
    great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

  • Runeatrepeat February 19, 2010, 1:16 pm

    I totally struggle with Fat Talk. I know beating myself up doesn’t help anything, but it’s extra hard when I genuinely have weight to lose so I feel justified in thinking I’m fat. I’m afraid being happy with my body means I won’t want to work to lose weight.

    I have heard this advice for when you start to fat talk…. As soon as you begin to say something negative about yourself STOP and immediately give yourself a compliment. Do this every single time.

    • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 6:02 pm

      The funny thing is that it’s when you LOVE your body unconditionally that the weight starts coming off (if it needs to). Fat talk begets unhappiness which begets missed workouts, resenting healthy living, etc. When you move into the mindset of “wow, I really DESERVE a workout! I feel great, I want to keep feeling great!” magical things start happening.

      I think also that there’s this perception that it’s only okay to be overweight if you beat yourself up about it. Heaven forbid a large woman shouldn’t be ashamed of her size! It’s as if being overweight is shameful or disgusting. IT’S NOT. Child abuse is disgusting. People who rape other people should be ashamed of themselves. Being overweight is just a state and more often than not, a reflection of pain and of thinking you’re undeserving. Does that make sense? Body hate is a way of protecting yourself from anybody who might criticize you for your size. Body hate DOES NOT get you thin! If it did, we’d all have been rail thin years ago! When you love yourself unconditionally, you’ll treat yourself better, I promise.

      I highly recommend Geneen Roth’s work (Breaking Free from Emotional Eating).

      • caitlin February 19, 2010, 6:12 pm

        Kate gives good advice 🙂

  • Carolina John February 19, 2010, 1:16 pm

    i have been fat talking a bit this week too! thanks for the reminder. have a great weekend!

  • whit @ whitinspired February 19, 2010, 1:17 pm

    I do. And it’s particularly bad when it’s “that time of the month” because I feel bad anyway and will give into my chocolate cravings. I’ve had so much fat talk static going around in my head lately, that I’ve noticed I don’t look at my whole body in the mirror anymore. Even after getting dressed. How sad is that?!

  • Sara @ ActiveGal February 19, 2010, 1:17 pm

    I still fat talk unfortunatly. I am so glad you wrote this post! It doesn’t matter how I am doing at the gym it all has to do with how I am handling the rest of my life. If things get out of control, if I am too stressed, or I am unhappy my fat talk picks up. I completely understand what you are saying! I think it’s a hard process and habit to break, but no matter what there are always goint to be slip ups. It is about how you handle those situations and recognize what you are doing. Thanks for sharing your struggles!

  • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I completely agree with you. It’s my theory that our society encourages us to focus on weight as a means to help us “cope” with other elements of our lives that are often uncontrollable. Having stress that’s out of your control? Go on a diet. Feeling sad/depressed? Well, it’s not that you’re unhappy about uncontrollable circumstances in you life, you’re unhappy because you don’t have the perfect body. It’s much easier to focus on our bodies because that’s what we’ve been trained to do, what’s validated in our society, what we’re comfortable with.

    I rarely fat-talk now. I’m much more likely to say, “wow, I really don’t feel great physically. That’s okay. I’ve been working really hard this week. I’ll feel better once I get back to my normal routine. And maybe in the meanwhile I can sneak in little feel-good things like being more aware of how what I’m eating will make me feel and riding my bike somewhere instead of driving.” I also am continually learning to acknowledge my feelings, so I might say, “I’m feeling pretty sad today. It might be because of x and y. It’s okay to feel sad,” then I’ll do something to make me feel comforted to remind myself that I deserve to feel good. OR, when I’m having issues because of an interpersonal situation, I examine what’s going on there and, if appropriate, take steps to resolve it.

    I truly believe that most of us use fat talk as a way of not dealing with other stuff–it almost never really has to do with our bodies. It takes a lot of work and practice to learn to habitually call ourselves out when we start fat talking and to figure out what’s really going on, and this is a pretty brave action because you might have to acknowledge that you’re just going to have to be uncomfortable for awhile do to whatever life situation and a diet isn’t going to fix it. But it definitely gets easier.

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 1:22 pm

      great comment.

      • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 6:05 pm

        I’d also add, for practical application, that when I catch myself fat talking, I’ll say aloud, “WHOA, WHAT IS GOING ON?” It’s a way to get myself out of my head and help me remember that there’s a reason these thoughts pop up.

        Also, most days, I think I look great. So now if I have an especially “blah” day, I can remind myself that I’ve felt great about my body for the last x number of days, and is my body really different today than it was on those days? Helps me remember that this fat talk stuff isn’t rooted in reality.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 19, 2010, 1:23 pm

    I’ve been fat talking my whole life. It’s not just fat talk though, it can be stupid talk, or lazy talk, or whatever I happen to want to beat myself up about that day.

    I have always been a successful person and I don’t take failure easily. If I see certain aspects of my life/body/personality as being a failure in even the slightest way then I will criticize myself VERY HARSHLY.

    I’ve been like this my whole life…I’m not sure that it is something I can easily change.

    • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 6:06 pm

      It’s not something *anybody* can easily change, but that’s not an excuse to keep doing it! 🙂 Trust me, it’s hard for all of us to unlearn this, but it’s a behavior that holds us back and it’s worth the time to fix it.

  • The Hot and Fit February 19, 2010, 1:23 pm

    I think most women struggle with fat talk and I do too. Sometimes it is not present at all and other times it comes at full throttle. Its definitely circumstantial.

  • valerie February 19, 2010, 1:24 pm

    Hey Caitlin! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now but I never comment since I don’t have a blog. I just wanted to tell you how truly inspirational you are though! Thanks for everything you do!

  • Therese February 19, 2010, 1:25 pm

    I do the same thing, when one bad thing happens in my life I start berating myself on what I used to berate myself on. My weight. It’s ridiculous. I do my best when that happens to stop myself immediately and remind myself of how far I’ve come (90lbs lost and still going, became a runner, training for first half marathon this year, etc., etc.) and to face the REAL problem, not just make something else up. Like putting on our big girl panties and just dealing with it.

  • Kim February 19, 2010, 1:26 pm

    In my struggles with anorexia, I’ve been very aware that “I feel fat” has almost nothing to do with my body. It means “I feel stressed/out of control/uneasy with my emotions.” At times I’ve weighed the most and been the happiest, I’ve actually felt “thinnest.” It really is about feelings, not body. We’re just taught to attach feelings to our bodies. Misplacing anxiety on food or body stuff is easier than tackling it head-on. In some ways, it’s easier to think, “I’d be happier if my body was better” than it is to consider the roots of problems. That’s my take, anyway.

  • Kelly February 19, 2010, 1:26 pm

    Since being injured and having to take 2 weeks off from working out completely and 3 weeks off from running (gasp the horror) I have been feeling really bad about myself. I feel like every morning I stand looking sideways in the mirror wondering if my belly looks puffier. It’s horrible and I know it, so I keep telling myself, the jeans you got taken in are still lose, you are fine! But it’s so hard.

    • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 6:10 pm

      If I were you, I’d probably take a minute to realize that OF COURSE I feel crappy! I rely on my workouts so much to feel great physically and it would be hard to have to take a break from them. What I do in these situations is recognize that I’m not unhappy because my belly is puffier (if it even is), I’m unhappy because I don’t feel well physically, but that it’s a passing phase. I use the feeling-physically-crappy times that come when I don’t work out to remind myself exactly why I love to exercise so much–because it helps me feel good. These times are valuable learning experiences.

  • Jessica February 19, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Wow, i guess I never really thought about it that way but you are so right. 9 times out of 10, fat talk interrupts your thinking because something ELSE is bugging you and it’s easier to pick yourself apart for something entirely unrelated vs. dealing with the real issue at hand. Regardless, its horrible and is definitely best described as “thought vomit” – love that! As for how I combat it? My sis is great at keeping me in check when I get down…same with my hubby, but sometimes all I need is to sit down and write down a few things I feel I’ve accomplished that week, health/wellness-wise and I feel much better…usually it works anyway, sometimes it just has to run it course though, it seems…

  • Kailey (SnackFace) February 19, 2010, 1:27 pm

    THANK YOU for this fabulous, honest post. I don’t do much fat talking–my body is mine and it functions amazingly well for what I put it through (AKA not sleeping and tons of caffeine). However, there are days when I’m like, “well how did you get here?” Immediately though, I’ll remember that I felt fabulous in the same outfit/jeans/whatever just a few days ago. What’s changed? Not my body, my attitude. You are so right in that it’s all related to something else. It’s rarely about our bodies. I just remember how far I’ve come in all aspects of my life and think of how I’d never want to go back in time. Returning to negative thoughts about my body would do that, and it’s not worth it at all. It’s also during those moments where I think, “I’d much rather be a Beyonce than a Giselle.” Ah! I have too much to say about this! hahaha. I’ll cut it off there and go get my third (and last) workout of the week finished.

    Have a fab Friday, boo!

  • Krista February 19, 2010, 1:28 pm

    I suffer from disetive issues and find that my fat talk rears its ugly head with each flare up. Thankfully they’re few and far between! So for me, feeling great = a positive view while feeling crappy = destructive thoughts.

  • alyssa February 19, 2010, 1:29 pm

    it’s hard when thoughts like that flood our mind, especially when we work sooo hard to avoid them, but try not to let it make you feel down. unfortunately, i think thoughts like this are almost “normal” for women to experience time to time. i wish it wasn’t that way, but sadly, i think society has made it this way. we shouldn’t judge others, but time to time, we do. we shouldn’t let anger fill us with hate, but we are all guilty at times of doing just that. we shouldn’t let our appearance measure our self worth, but every once in a while, it just may happen. the important thing is that you realize when you’re doing it and make a conscious effort to stop it. operation beautiful is a great thing, and you are an inspiration to so many! think of THAT the next time you feel like this.

  • Samantha February 19, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Constantly!! I agree that it is something that is ingrained and drilled into us as girls and young women. There are incredibly high (unrealistic) standards set for physical beauty, and it can cause real damage. I have been overweight my whole life and I can get ridiculously out of hand with my Fat Talk.

    This past weekend my BF and I didn’t spend a lot of time together, and there was so much fat talk. I actually told myself that he didn’t want to hang out with me because I hadn’t made any weight loss progress. We’ve been together for 3 years, and I should know that this is completely untrue. I constantly compare myself to other girls and wonder if he is looking for something better.

    Because of you and all your wonderful posts about positivity, I am making strides in treating myself better. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! You have changed my life for the better and I look forward to reading your blog every day.

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 1:33 pm

      thank you for this really sweet comment. it made me smile.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) February 19, 2010, 1:32 pm

    It will always be something that I struggle with no matter how much progress I have made since my eating disorder. I totally agree that it creeps up during crappy times. I truly believe that my ED was a result of some poor situations that I was in when I was younger and only in recent years was I able to break away from them emotionally and physically.

    Good on you for recognizing it as it happened.

  • Brooke February 19, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I have something very corny that works for me.

    I think about the kind woman that I most aspire to be. Kind, patient, compassionate, etc. I can literally see this person in my minds eye.
    I think about what I need to do to become this person and it never includes whatever it may be. Somehow that makes me feel better. I know that I can become this person if I continue to improve myself.
    I told you, corny.

  • Suzanne February 19, 2010, 1:34 pm

    It true that it’s something we all deal with as women. It’s funny how we use it to try to feel better about ourselves! I’m guilty of saying disparaging things about myselfs in front of others so they’ll tell me how untrue it is and how great I look. Why do I need someone else to tell me that? Aren’t I the best judge of my own appearance? Damn girl, I’m hot, and I know it!

  • Sammi February 19, 2010, 1:35 pm

    I don’t struggle with fat talk nearly as much as I did, say a year ago. It hasn’t completely gone away though. Blogging has changed the way that I see myself tremendously and only in good ways! I still constantly compare myself to others but I’m starting to try to use that to get myself into better shape. It’s turned into me getting insecure about girls that workout more than I do and last night I used that thought to put more into the workout class I went to. Instead of dwelling on my insecurities, I’m trying to change that so I don’t have anything to be insecure about anymore.

    Not exactly a perfect way to do things though, and I’m still working on that.

  • Freya @ February 19, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I totally suffer from Fat Talk (and I can’t wait to read the link about how you deal with it) – it’s 100% to do with my life, like if I’m stressed or overwhelmed. It’s like a control thing I think – it’s easier to beat yourself up.
    I think like others have said, it has a lot to do with the media as well, cos if I’m feeling slightly down and I see a really skinny celeb, it’s more likely to make me compare myself negatively.
    I really admire your attitude towards the Fat Talk attitude though, ie completly attacking it head on! You are such an inspiration Caitlin – I hope to be like you soon!! I’m working on it 😀

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 1:37 pm

      you are already the very best version of yourself!

      • Freya @ February 19, 2010, 1:43 pm

        Awh thankyou 🙂 Comments like this really make my day!!

        • Cyclist Kate February 19, 2010, 6:16 pm

          A huge realization for me in the “comparing myself to thinner women and coming up short” game was realizing that I had absolutely no idea what their story was. They could be thin because they’re in a lot of pain from anorexia or cancer…I wouldn’t trade where I am now for that for anything. If you can, next time you catch yourself playing the comparing game, ask yourself what it is that you think is probably so wonderful about this woman’s life. Do you think her life is easier? Does she have more money? More romantic relationships? Are any of these ideas rooted in reality or are they just things you’ve learned to associate with thinness?

          Some of my friends are people I used to envy for their thinness…and then I realized that they struggle with body image issues and life stresses just as much, if not more than the rest of us.

        • Freya @ February 19, 2010, 6:55 pm

          That’s such good advice, thankyou! It is true, half the time I compare myself to celebs, I feel a bit jealous that they’re so successful and wealthy etc (which would be why it relates to when I’m stressed and overwhelmed with work!) – but what you said really makes sense 🙂

  • June February 19, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I have been fat talking this week too…I just never knew what it was called! Sigh. I just feel like a complete loser, undesirable, disrespected and invisible. and then i see the number on the scale (and its low by the way) and i am even in a size smaller jean, but this morning…yeah i just looked in the mirror and thought ‘how disgusting’. you look on the outside how you feel on the inside.

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place February 19, 2010, 1:38 pm

    you are exactly right with why people fat talk. Like most eating disorders, the “symptoms” (fat talk, binging, purging, restricting food) are all about life circumstances. It’s never really about the food or the weight. When I’m stressed about something I always turn to fat talk and ED behaviours. Once I can determine WHY I’m “symptomatic” it usually goes away.

  • DeAnna February 19, 2010, 1:40 pm

    I read a book once (forgive me, I can’t remember what it was called) that said fat talk has nothing to do with your body and everything to do with insecurities about things in your life. They said if you catch yourself fat talking and then really think about it you can pinpoint something that just happened or that you were just thinking about that was upsetting and THAT was why you had a negative reaction when you looked in the mirror. After that, any time I would fat talk I would stop and figure out what it was I was really upset about. So powerful.

    The book also had an exercise that really hit home for me. The author argued that your insecurities about your body were really insecurities about your personality. Think about the one part of your body you like the least. Then think of the words you use to describe it. And then, with that word in mind, try to determine if there is something about your personality that you don’t like that cooresponds with that word. For me it was thighs, and the word was thunder. I almost cried when I realized the word cooresponded with being loud and I’ve always been self conscious about how loud I talk and laugh. It was really interesting.

  • Hallie February 19, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I wrote about this a few days ago…I noticed that when things in my life aren’t great is when I start fixating on my looks and being really negative towards myself (i.e. Fat Talk). Honestly, it’s something that’s so ingrained in me at this point that I have no idea now to not do it. I think making that connection is a start, but like I said, I just don’t see myself ever “getting better” at the Fat Talk thing (which is part of the problem, I’m sure).

  • Nicole February 19, 2010, 1:42 pm

    You know, after your first post on Fat Talk, it really hit me that I needed to make a change in the way I treat myself. For months I was awesome about it and I made sure to be as positive about myself and my body as I could. I honestly felt good, so it was easy to be more positive than negative.
    Then we got hit hard with snow and the entire DC Metro area shut down for over a week. I couldn’t get to the gym, I couldn’t go to work, hell, even going for a walk was damn near impossible because the sidewalks werne’t shoveled. Plus it was so cold and blistery, and just dangerous all around to be outside. This put me in a major funk. I did a lot of mindless munching and put on about 5 pounds in 10 days.
    So this week, I’ve been struggling. My clothes weren’t fitting right and I just felt like garbage, so I started doing it–“Man you look so gross in that shirt, damn I can’t believe how tight these pants are! Why did you let this happen to yourself?”
    I made sure I went to the gym every morning this week and I started getting back into that “really obsessive about what I ate” (and didn’t eat) mode. I’ve been spending so much time worrying about how to lose the weight and being so obsessive that I didn’t even realize I was treating myself like shit.
    Thanks for reminding all of us how easy it is to fall in the trap, and how it’s just as easy to get out of it.
    You’re beautiful! And so am I!

  • Laura H. February 19, 2010, 1:52 pm

    What type of alfredo sauce do you use?

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 1:53 pm

      Paul Newman Organic

  • Madeline February 19, 2010, 1:53 pm

    I think women today juggle so much, between working inside and outside the home, trying to be perfect wives, friends, mothers, etc., that it’s almost impossible not to get down on ourselves if we don’t feel like we’re being “perfect.” We’re trying to be superwomen and handle everything, but there are truly not enough hours in the day for ANYONE to be “perfect!”

    With Fat Talk, or any self-disparaging thoughts that come across my mind, I try to think if that’s something I would ever tell a friend. More often than not, it isn’t, so I try to block it from my mind and think of what I might tell a friend who is dealing with the same thoughts. About how great she is at all the things she does and that her body image does not reflect her actual body. Sometimes it’s harder to be friends with ourselves!

  • Jenn @ Livewellfit February 19, 2010, 1:53 pm


    I have very recently brought myself out of a few months of fat talk. I don’t know what brought me down for as long as it did but I was totally in that “muck” for a while.

    What’s worked for me…

    truly it’s STOPPING and then changing that voice in your head. When I catch myself saying something negative or like fat talk I literally stop what I’m doing. If I’m walking, I stop, if i’m eating I stop. I stop the talk and I replace it immediately with something different. The beauty of fat talk is that IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL! It’s hard, it sucks, sometimes you get warped by it. BUT…you can control it.

    Notice the thoughts, stop them immediately and replace the talk with at least 3 wonderful things about yourself, your day or what you are doing. Replace the negative with positive.

    I also have come up with a mantra. Something I say to myself everyday if I am in a bad mood or having a lot of fat chatter going on in there. I say that phrase to myself at least 5 times in a row. It has to be a POWERFUL phrase, one that you identify with and one that will wipe away your negative talk.

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner February 19, 2010, 1:57 pm

    It is so true that everyone deals with this sometimes. I also tend to “fat talk” when other aspects of my life are stressing me out, because in general I’m pretty happy with myself! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who does that…

  • Dotsie February 19, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Gosh, reading this almost made me cry. I’ve been fat-talking all week. I’ve been feeling depressed with my work situation and the new “demands,” and weird vibes going on. Finally got through epic celebrations in my city (Saints Superbowl win and Mardi Gras), in which large amounts/unhealthy foods were consumed and less time was spent at the gym…and I’m just feeling sooo down. I “shopped” my closet at my parents’ house for last summer’s capris and shorts…and I knew I had put on weight, but the clothes still fit, but aren’t loose like they were last summer—and I totally got down about it and just started feeling helpless. I online shopped this morning and thought I should go up a size at one of my favorite stores since the past few times I’ve gone, the size I would “normally” wear has been snug…(maybe the clothes will arrive and be too big? in which case I’ll have to return them…lol–this had me reallyyyy down. I tossed and turned alll night…I think the best thing for me to do is focus on healthy food and food portions, and get to the gym. It’s a start that I think would benefit almost immediately, with weight loss results to follow shortly after.

    I have to admit–you mentioned the book Mind Gym-well, I reserved it on Barnes and Noble’s website to “pick me up,” and I picked up after work. I’m hoping it helps me out 🙂

    Gah…one day, I will end my fat talk :-/

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 2:12 pm

      e-hug for you, sweetheart.

  • Heather February 19, 2010, 2:03 pm

    i struggle with it around “that time of the month.” I amalready in a bad PMS mood and that just adds too it. I have to remind myself its the PMS talking!

  • Maria (realfitmama) February 19, 2010, 2:03 pm

    I do still suffer from Fat Talk, but ONLY in my head (still not ok). I have two daughters and NEVER want them to hear me Fat Talk myself. I used to do it all the time – in my head, out loud to myself, out loud to other people – but those days are over. I don’t always feel good about my body, but I feel good about myself. I still struggle with “not wanting to work out” and finding ways out of it, but that has gotten much better over the years. The winter is VERY hard for me and that’s when my Fat Talk creeps in because working out is harder to do and by the end of winter I’m SICK of working out in my living room!!! The extra 5-10 lbs I’ve put on since winter set in will disappear once warmer weather gets here, but until then I have to Fight the Fat Talk…

  • kristen February 19, 2010, 2:03 pm

    ugh! is right… women do this all the time and for far too many women it ends up being an eating disorder you should be so proud of yourself and operation beautiful for showing women ( and actually men too beleive it or not!) that they should be proud of who they are no matter what size all that matters is how healthy you are! Its funny you said that it had nothing to do with the way you really view yourself and all to do with the stressors in your life… for many eating disorders really have nothing to do with food its about the problems they dont want to deal with or face.. this is the one thing they can control!… by the way YOU ROCK CAITLIN! and you can borrow my mantra when your feeling down…”Im size me and that’s what i should be!”

  • Astrid February 19, 2010, 2:05 pm

    Being in s strong recovery from a ed, I definately know that the negative thoughts in my head and the temptation to give in to the destructive actions grows very strong when I am unhappy with other thingsin my life. When I don’t want to actually deal with being unhappy, I punish myself. It is awful! It is all about knowing that it isn’t personal. It’s not about you being ugly or fat or a failure. It’s about you feeling uncertain, and that is okay.
    Thank you Caitlyn for being so honest.

  • Sonia February 19, 2010, 2:07 pm

    You are so honest with us! I love it. I have been having trouble with fat talk lately too. It seems like the harder I work out and the harder I try to eat well, the worse I get. I feel like if I don’t see results immediately, I start beating myself up. UGH I need to stop! I know I can always head to Operation Beautiful when I need a pick-me-up though 🙂 Thank you!

    PS I added you to my blogroll!!!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Passion February 19, 2010, 2:13 pm

    I talk ‘fat talk’ everyday! I am my own worst critic and I am SO mean to myself. I hate it! Thanks for the post…I needed to hear this…especially today! 🙂

  • Tara February 19, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Have you heard of I read that blog too, it’s all about overcoming binge eating disorder, which has a lot to do with fat talking and dealing with stress and stuff.

    This is a really good post for me today because I’ve had the most frustrating day at work – something happened that was a total slap in the face for me – and my instinct was to come up with a way of making it my fault!! “If I had only been doing a better job this entire time, this wouldn’t have happened!” – even though I’ve been doing a great job all along and these other people are just stupid. Haha!

    You’re right about it being easier to self-blame than to deal with it for reals.

    Thanks, Caitlin!

  • Jen February 19, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Sorry to hear about your week. Thanks for your honesty and great post!

    Like most everyone else, I struggle with fat talk too. I have been trying to get better. I just read your link to your anti-fat talk tips. They were amazing! I’ve added the page to my favorites and will look back on your tips whenever I have a bad day. Thanks Caitlin!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 19, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Wonderful post. I struggle with Fat Talk far more often than I’d like, and I think you’re exactly right– it almost always has something to do with outside forces or issues, rather than how much time I’ve spent at the gym or how my clothes fit. Unfortunately, it’s just all to easy to beat yourself up– especially if you’re trying to distract yourself from some other issue you might be dealing with.

    It sounds like you’re dealing with it the right way– facing it head on and not ignoring it or allowing it to fester. You are STRONG and BEAUTIFUL!!!

  • Caitlin in MD February 19, 2010, 2:17 pm

    “The Interns!” Haha!

  • Katherine February 19, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I’ve been debating all week whether or not to ask you this, but after reading this post, I decided I had to. I recently had a minor medical procedure (I’m fine, don’t worry!) but my doctor told me I can’t do anything strenuous for 4 weeks!! Ahhh! Typically, I am quite active, and usually workout (cardio+weight lifting) 4-5 times per week. I am about 2 weeks into the non-active 4 weeks and I am going nuts. I feel like I am gaining weight and losing my tone by the minute (clearly irrational). I have been trying to eat smaller portions during this time since I am burning way fewer calories than I normally would, but I still feel pretty down on myself. Do you have any advice on how to stay sane during these few weeks, or changes I can make so that I am not totally out of shape once I can work out again?

    Thank you!!

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 2:28 pm

      can you do yoga or anything? can you bike? i would just ask my doctor what “non strenuous” entails. im sure you can do some things! ask him for clearance though.

      4 weeks off won’t ruin your endurance regardless… it wont! enjoy the break 🙂 and look forward to tackling it when you get back.

      hope you recovery from surgery well!

      • Katherine February 19, 2010, 2:45 pm

        Hmmm I bet I can do some light biking and definitely some stretching…I’ll have to call the doc and see.

        Thank you 🙂

  • Amy February 19, 2010, 2:25 pm

    I was once told that you shouldn’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your friend. You would never tell your friend (at least I hope not!) that she looks fat or ugly or is slow and out of shape. When I catch myself making these comments to myself, I try to remedy it by telling myself something encouraging that I would tell a friend in my situation (such as no, you’re not slow, fat, etc…look at how much you have improved, your abs look fantastic, etc)–truthful, yet positive things.

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! February 19, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I have been “Fat Talking” since I was 12 years old and it took me 20 YEARS before I realized how bad it was hurting me!

    I still do it of course but not to the degree I did in the past as I finally realized that you only live once, this is the body I was given, this is the life I was given and this is WHO I AM and I better appreciate it and do the best I can with it no matter what!

    Negative talk and thinking only leads to more negative talk and thinking…………STOP THE CYCLE GIRLS!!!!!! This is something I am trying to teach my own daughter, it is hard but so important as I don’t want her to spend 20 years Fat Talking!

  • Elaine February 19, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I hear you. When you feel out of control in one area of your life, you try to overcompensate by forcing more control over other areas. I think the two biggest things people try to control when they feel out of control are their health and their relationships, whether those areas actually need the help or not.

    I think that’s how we end up with unhealthfully codependent relationships (because people use “fixing” the relationship as a coping strategy for other things). I think that’s also how we end up with people who can only motivate themselves to work out by hating their bodies (because they’re redirecting their anger at other things at themselves).

    I also think it’s bad to use working out and eating healthy ONLY as a coping mechanism… because then when you’re happy, you don’t feel motivated, and you’re training yourself to associate working out and eating healthy with negative emotions.

    Anyway, hope your week goes better. 🙁 You are not “soft,” you are an IRON GIRL! :)))

  • Sophie @ yumventures February 19, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I have been feeling pretty down in the dumps about myself this week. Then I read your post, I sat back, and I thought. THANK YOU for making me think.

    I realized that I have been stressing about fat talk all week, mostly because I am seeing some of my best friends this weekend. One of them is incredibly skinny and has body issues — she is constantly talking about gaining or losing weight (she doesn’t need to do either!), she points out what everyone eats, and how she is full after two bites of a sandwich or pinches the skin on her upper arm. I love her so much, but I realized that I have been dreading being around someone who brings fat talk into my life, and in turn I started fat talking to myself. Any other week I would have been proud that I ran at least 2 miles every day, but I found myself saying “you should have done 3!”. Your post really made me realize what has been upsetting me and how negativly fat talk has influenced my week.

    I think it is sad that so many girls our age find it appropriate, even necessary, to point out things about food and weight and “how fat they feel”, even if is to get the reaction “oh, your so skinny!”. It makes me so sad that my own friends can bring this out in each other. You are right, the most important thing is to find the reasons you are fat talking and confront them. After I have realized this, I am happy that I went to the gym this week and got good work outs! I know that I shouldn’t “feel fat”. And I am excited to see my friends. I think I might even show them the Operation Beautiful website and pass the good word around. Thank you for this post, and for bringing things to light.

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 2:30 pm

      im sorry your friend is so unhappy – that breaks my heart! toxic behaviors like that can certainly rub off. maybe you should slip an operation beautiful note in her purse!

      • Sophie @ yumventures February 19, 2010, 2:50 pm

        Me too. Its so hard to see friends that way, and so hard to decide how to help! An operation beautiful note would definitely be a great start!

  • Jessica @ WHY DONTCHA RUN February 19, 2010, 2:32 pm

    Caitlin, thank you for being so honest. Seriously, I believe your honesty has changed so many lives. I catch myself fat-talking (even though there’s not an ounce of fat on me) on some days. It’s the oddest thing… some days I’ve got it all together and others I talk down to myself. I appreciate your tips for dealing with such behavior.

  • Grace February 19, 2010, 2:36 pm

    I’m really glad you posted this. I read lots of food and fitness blogs and some of the bloggers start to annoy me with their constantly chipper tone. I know that no one is truly that cheerful and upbeat all the time. I will be more inclined to continue following if I know someone is being 100% real.

    Fat suck is such a time suck. One of my old therapists had me keep a journal to make a quick note every time I had fat talk or thought about calories/food. It was shocking and horrible to realize how much time I wasted beating myself up.

  • Sara February 19, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Thank you for this honest post!!

    You could not have explained it any better. I fat talk and focus on my body b/c it’s easier than dealing with my real problems. I’ve been struggling a lot lately b/c I’m graduating and looking for a job, I feel like I have no control. There’s going to be a lot of changes coming up & I don’t know how to deal with it so instead I constantly think about my body.
    It’s an awful habit that I must stop!

  • Amanda February 19, 2010, 2:45 pm


    Thank you for this post! I definitely find myself fat talking when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. Many people take it further with over exercising and restricting food, so catching it while it’s still just a thought is really commendable. It’s so sad that over time, I have let my emotions dictate how I feel about my appearance – inner and outer self are two totally different things! And the worst is that once the fat talking starts, I am even more stressed/down. Thanks for bringing this out into the open, it’s important to be conscious that it’s happening!

  • Jacquie February 19, 2010, 2:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing about this week. It can be hard to see how you’re not loving yourself- thus my post yesterday too.
    I don’t anymore because I’ve learned against, but I definitely used to fat talk, especially when I was sick. It had everything to do with my feelings and my surroundings and nothing about food or exercise. I feel like that’s a very common misperception about eating disorders- it’s not about the food, but about a way to cope with life.

  • Katie Davis @ Pop Culture Cuisine February 19, 2010, 2:50 pm

    I agree with the above comments, I think we all know that it is detrimental to have fat talk, yet we are women and we all do it. It is something I have struggled with for a long time and it drives my husband nuts! I think if I am being honest with myself the biggest hurdle I have with giving it up, is it is a comfort habit thing. I say comfort in the sense that it is something many women do, do together, and something I personally have been doing for a long time. It is a lot harder to be confident and love ourselves even when we make mistakes or overeat etc. For example last night I ate way too much fried bad for me foods and was beating myself up pretty good this morning. But luckily instead of turning to the pantry or wallowing I went to the gym to complete my half marathon training. I was able to run 12 miles, the longest I ever have and left feeling great! I think that is what we have to remind ourselves constantly when we hear or feel those fat talk ideas coming on…WE ARE BEAUTIFUL, STRONG, ABLE, AND CONFIDENT!

  • Diana(mymarblerye) February 19, 2010, 2:51 pm

    I’ve accepted the fact that’ll always have fat talk for the rest of my life. As long as it doesn’t consume my head and make me act out in negative ways (binge and purge) then I’m ok with it. It only encourages me to work out a lil more.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople February 19, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I almost cried while reading this blog. Fat Talk is unfortunately a huge part of my life lately. I have gotten SO much better since I had discovered Operation Beautiful and this blog of yours.

    I know that I will treat myself better today. In every respect. Because it is the only body I have and it does a LOT for me!

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward February 19, 2010, 2:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s unfortunate how we let fat talk take over sometimes. I’ll think about the way I look, or feel, or how my pants fit, and sometimes it really does have an impact on my day. There are so many positive things that women can accomplish that have nothing to do with our appearance.

  • Kalli@fitandfortysomething February 19, 2010, 2:59 pm

    I struggle with it daily……I always hope that as I get older it will stop but it does not. Sometimes I judge the day just by how big my tummy looks in the shower-grrrrr. I hate it! Thanks for reminding us that we are all suceptible and to work on ourselves…..

  • Jes February 19, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I completely agree with you! I hope it is alright, but I quoted a piece of your blog in my blog. You really are an inspiration!

  • Pure2raw twins February 19, 2010, 3:06 pm

    I have been notice negative thoughts creeping into my life too. It started last week. My hormones have been all over the place, and I would just cry for no reason. And then I would beat myself up for eating too much, etc. I was not myself, but lately have been trying to refocus and just enjoy who I am at the moment, the good and bad. I agree that being hard myself is way for me to “hide” from other problems. Thanks for reminding me to stop the fat talk!!

  • Colleen February 19, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I think one thing that sticks out in my mind is remembering something I read not too long ago on GMH. A girl tattooed the name of her (deceased) father on her wrist so she would stop cutting herself. The reason? She belonged to her father and she didn’t want to hurt anything that belonged to him.

    Now I don’t have a cutting problem, but if I engage fat talk I just try to think of my family and how much they love me, and the fact that they would be appalled that I would say such hurtful things about the one they love. For the most part I can nip the fat talk in the bud on my own, but if I’m having a particularly hard week and just feeling down on myself, it helps me to remember those who love me.

    I’ve also been trying to direct my friends into a self-love mindset. I have one friend who gets down on herself a lot, and to be honest all my self-love talk has really encouraged me to step it up a notch and “walk the talk.” I think we all feel better about ourselves when we’re striving to help others. This comment is all over the place, so I’ll stop now, but I think you’re wonderful and I’m glad you brought this up! You and Angela (Oh She Glows) are two of the most inspiring ladies!

  • Stephanie February 19, 2010, 3:26 pm

    This is such a great post, since I think you are totally right in that ‘fat talk’ can really be the result of other stressors in life that we feel we can’t control. I find myself getting down on myself in such situations, regardless of how much I’ve been exercising &/or eating healthfully. It’s like whatever else is bothering me ends up in the form of this ‘fat talk’ beast…!

  • Joanne February 19, 2010, 3:37 pm

    Fat talk, putting your self down, it’s all par for the course at certain times in our lifes. It’s not good but it’s human. Allow yourself to be human.

    Take a second look, a second squeeze of that “pinch-an-inch” site, are you REALLY that bad? No. Just an off day. Things will be brighter tomorrow. Smile, call someone and give them a pep talk whether they need it or not. They might think you’re nuts, but it will make you feel a whole lot better.

    Just accept being human and count your blessings.

  • Julia February 19, 2010, 4:08 pm

    I def have more Fat Talk sessions when I am feeling down/sad/angry about something else. It’s like all this negative energy becomes converted into this weird fascination with every wiggle and extra inch of my body. When I’m having a good day, my “rolls” are the farthest thing from my mind. So far, my best way of dealing with it is hanging out with my two boyfriends Ben and Jerry… (heehee)But usually, a killer session in the gym does the trick. I wish there was less fat talk goin on in my head, but I also think it’s a normal part of life to have self-doubts.

  • Karissa @ CardioFoodie February 19, 2010, 4:08 pm

    I really related to this post. I notice that when things are going crazy around me I tend to be most critical of myself. It is just human and we all have bad days. Just remember you are awesome!

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self February 19, 2010, 4:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing openly about such an important topic! I COMPLETELY understand what you’re saying about fat talking to yourself as a reaction to completely unrelated stressful situations.

    For me, the problem often went beyond fat talk to binge eating, but it was essentially the same thing. I couldn’t deal with the stressful emotions that I was feeling, so instead I would binge on food and then feel guilty about that. Somehow beating myself up over food/weight issues was easier – more familiar I guess – than dealing with the true issues I was facing in life.

    For me the first step is to recognize that I’m fat talking as a way of dealing with my stress over other things, which is why I’m so happy you pointed that out. Then I ask myself, “Is fat talking/binge eating/”feeling fat” really going to solve my problems?” The answer is always no, and it reminds me to deal with the TRUE issues at hand, instead of avoiding them by focusing on food and weight.

  • Retta @ RunRettaRun February 19, 2010, 4:18 pm

    I notice I tend to “fat talk” when I am stressed and I dislike when I do that! We would never tell anyone the same things we say to ourselves (like, get off the couch, lazy ass!). Why treat ourselves with such disrepect? It will get better!! Hugs!

  • Nicole, RD February 19, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I was Fat Talkin’ last night pretty bad. I was just in a MOOD and I didn’t want to be going out to dinner in cute clothes. I wanted to be in my cuddly robe left with my MOOD! But being at dinner and in tight clothes made me feel really bad about myself, I have no idea why! I think everyone struggles with this…unfortunately 🙁

  • Raya February 19, 2010, 4:21 pm

    I think I probably do the same thing and “talk down” to myself when I’m stressed out about things. But one thing I try to do is not just banish “fat talk” but all kinds of negative talk like “oh, I’m so stupid” or “I’m so dumb” because even though I know it’s not true, if you say something long enough, I feel like it sort of becomes true to you in a way. So I *try* to avoid all negative talk. 🙂

  • Carrie H February 19, 2010, 4:25 pm

    As always, thank you for your thoughtful post! I struggle with fat talk, but through OB and your blog and my own life changes, I’m getting a lot better at being nice to myself.

    On another note, did you know that some Nestle chocolates are not even vegetarian?!?!?! I’m going vegan on Fridays of Lent and a coworker brought in some KitKats today … I googled to see if they were vegan (I never really thought they would be) and found out that Nestle uses animal rennet in its products! So I looked that up, and found out that Twix and Mars use it too. Aaargh, all I wanted was one mini KitKat, and look what happened!

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 5:37 pm

      ew thats disgusting! trident gum isnt vegetarian either.

  • Hedda February 19, 2010, 4:27 pm

    Great post, Caitlin.
    I don’t suffer from Fat Talk, more Worthless- talk. I have struggled with anorexia for three years, and are severe underweight. I have a special diet that hopefully will bring me pounds and health, but there are days when it all seems hopeless. When the demons inside of me tell me that I am not worth anything, so I don’t deserve food- especially not food with some calories in. It is really hard to cope with these thoughts, and they often come in times with a lot of stress and pressure.
    I have no other way to counter these thoughts other than force myself to eat and try to convince myself that I CAN do this. That if I eat that extra piece of chocolate/cheese/etc, I am one step closer to a healthy me.
    When I manage to do that, as I have tonight, I feel proud. It feels like winning a battle, even though it might seem small to the people around me.

    It also helps to read your blog, because it sends out so much positive energy. Thank you.

  • Taysa (The Irritable Eater) February 19, 2010, 4:36 pm

    Thank you for your honesty about this. Sometimes I will be reading blogs and think, “Gosh, these women are really positive and so accepting of themselves–what’s wrong with me?!”

    I have gotten better about not tearing myself down, but it takes a LOT of work. It’s great to know that I’m not the only person that is dealing with this.

  • Kristen February 19, 2010, 4:56 pm

    I really appreciate your honestly about this subject. No one is perfect and sometimes it can be tough to live in a world that makes it seem like we should have no flaws.

    I definitely agree that during tough times fat talk is more likely to resurface as a way of dealing (or not dealing) with everything else going on.

  • Angela (The Lady Loves to Eat) February 19, 2010, 4:59 pm

    I will admit that I do fat talk sometimes but not as much as I used to. I think as women we think it’s normal to fat talk, you fat talk to yourself, to your friends, ask you boyfriends if you butt looks too big in your jeans, and I hate that!
    I used to fat talk a lot with the girls I work with, it was the worst, we would talk about our diets and how flabby our arms are, ect. Now when I hear someone talk about how fat they are it drives me nuts, if i find myself doing this I stop and think about all of the things my body does for me and that helps. I do feel this happens more when I’m emotional or stressed out!
    No one is perfect and I love how honest you are coming out and saying this, you are awesome and such an inspiration to all women!

  • Catherine February 19, 2010, 5:25 pm

    Thank you so much for this post and your honesty. These days I rarely find myself engaging in fat talk, and try to squash it the first time a thought pops into my head. However, when I’m really stressed I start doubting myself and feeling overwhelmed and that somehow translates into negative self talk.

    When I find myself heading in this direction I try to stop what I’m doing and try to figure out where the negativity is coming from. I like repeating the mantra “I accept and love myself exactly as I am” when I start feeling like that. I read a great book a while back by Louise Haye called “You Can Heal Your Life” and the meat of the book is how our thoughts can affect our physical dispositions.

    I’ve done a lot of reading on this subject by Dr. Andrew Weil to name one, and because of this I do everything in my power to purge myself of negative thoughts about myself and others. Try writing in a journal or even typing something up on the computer even if you delete it after – sometimes you just need to let it out and find the real root of your negativity.

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 6:04 pm

      not only does body hate NOT make you thin, getting thin does NOT make you happy. i have heard from so many woman that accepting themselves and being determined to be healthy and strong no matter what their size was how they found true happiness.

  • Anne February 19, 2010, 5:50 pm

    I think when we feel out of control in our lives we turn that stress inward & try to have control over food, exercise, appearance, etc. It is good that you recognize it right away because it can be so damaging long term — and short term too.

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) February 19, 2010, 6:05 pm

    QUEEN of fat talk over here and unfortunately it’s like second nature in my group of girl friends. So, so toxic. First step is to be mindful of it but there’s lots of work to be done.

  • Renee February 19, 2010, 6:20 pm

    I agree that having control over food is sometimes a way i’ve dealt with the out-of-control feeling in other aspects of my life. I think fat talk has unfortunately become inherent in our society where every girl and woman strives to be “perfect” in some way and never quite feels fulfilled. I have been keeping a food journal for over 2 years now and although it has helped me to keep my weight in check and reach my health and fitness goals, at times I seem to get caught up in the calorie-counting or feel guilty about a certain indulgence and feel even guiltier when i have to write it down! That being said, I think it is great that there are forums like these (thanks Caitlin) to openly discuss the issue and know and realize that we are not alone in our thoughts and fears because there is a community of smart, funny, strong, beautiful women with similar situations. Operation Beautiful could not have come at a better time:)

  • Helga February 19, 2010, 6:50 pm

    Hey Caitlin!
    Just wanted to tell you (if you didn’t know about it) that there was an article about Operation Beautiful in Iceland’s biggest newspaper today. I was quite surprised! And according to the article, post-it notes have started to pop up in high schools here!

    • caitlin February 19, 2010, 6:52 pm

      I’ve been getting a lot of iceland notes! do you know if there’s a link to the article online?

    • Alyssa February 19, 2010, 7:06 pm

      Holy cow, way to go Caitlin!!! 🙂 Iceland? You’re international! 😛

  • Helga February 19, 2010, 7:12 pm

    I checked, but I’m afraid that the article is not online.
    And yes, very international indeed 😉

  • Alyssa February 19, 2010, 7:16 pm

    Thanks for being so open and honest with this post. It is such an important discussion since most (if not all) women engage in fat talk at some point in their lives.

    I think I’ve struggled with fat talk my entire life, in some form or another. I’m 21, but I remember in fourth or fifth grade getting weighed in gym class and remember thinking how I did not like being one of the girls with the heaviest weight in class. I wasn’t chubby/fat/overweight at all, I cannot believe I still remember thinking that when I was in 4th/5th grade, I mean how sad is that? Those kind of thoughts grew and exploded in high school when my eating disorder started. Now fat talk is practically 24/7 and it is so hard to get rid of, no matter what I weigh. There is at least some thought in the back of my mind telling me I should eat this or that, or to only eat this much, etc.

    With an ed, it is really hard to WANT to fight these thoughts sometimes. Sometimes the fat talk convinces me I should eat less or that I should feel guilty for eating something. I still think I engage in fat talk because I want to look and feel a certain way, to control what I look like. It is still really hard for me to believe that my fat talk isn’t related or stemming from anything besides wanting to look a certain way. I know people without eds have those kind of thoughts, either way it’s hard to get rid of.

  • Joey February 19, 2010, 7:58 pm

    I fat talk or more “ugly” talk myself all the time. It is probably one of the hardest things to stop! It is hard because society tells us we need to look perfect 24/7 & obviously that is not attainable. It is so hard to break out of that mindset, though!! Ugh. I’m sorry that you are struggling with it too… You are obviously an inspiration for LOTS of women & you are a strong, beautiful woman! 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) February 19, 2010, 9:16 pm

    I’m the “nice one.” So when things stress me out I beat myself up instead of telling others. It’s just so easy to do. I have to consciously negate the fat thoughts. They don’t necessarily go away but being intentional about telling myself the truth is important.

  • Kristin P February 19, 2010, 9:23 pm

    Caitlin I think you are such a motivating example of healthy living. I”m really encouraged by your commitment! You are amazing!

    • Caitlin February 19, 2010, 9:27 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Kathleen February 19, 2010, 10:06 pm

    This post came at a perfect time because I have realized that I have been slipping back into Fat Talk more and more (I am thinking mine is mostly stress related as I stop one job and move to another, plus insecurity and hormones). This reaffirmed that all women feel this way and that it’s just a matter of reassessing and getting back into a more positive frame of mind. I’m sorry to hear that you have had these moments in your own life (because I think you are fabulous, inspirational, healthy and balanced)!!! I just have to keep reminding myself not to beat myself up for slipping up with FT but to LOVE…

  • Kristilyn (My 29th Year) February 19, 2010, 10:20 pm

    I really try to not do the “Fat Talk” thing. I feel like I’ve come so far and even though I still have weight to lose, I have to be proud of my progress. I’ve really tried to give myself a healthy talk sometimes. Right when I feel like I’m going to fall off my healthy eat habits I remind myself how far I’ve come with my healthy eating habits and that one small thing isn’t going to derail my efforts. I remind myself how good I feel when I treat my body right and fuel it a healthy way so I can practice moderation (most of the time it works!).


  • Kel February 19, 2010, 10:24 pm

    I love your thoughts! They remind me so much of my own! I invite you to read some of my recent thoughts on this same subject that I wrote for my weekly column at

    Thank you!!

    • Hedda February 21, 2010, 9:30 am

      Great article 🙂

  • Melissa (Getting Fit If It Kills Me) February 19, 2010, 11:57 pm

    This post of yours just makes me more excited for your book! We are a “fat talk” society and we all need reminders that we’re beautiful, even you. So, Caitlin, here’s an OB “post-it” for you: “Your beauty glows from inside your soul. Remember you’re worthy of all good things!”

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep February 20, 2010, 12:01 am

    I’m sorry you were feeling down, Caitlin. I hope you quickly turned things around and realized that you are beautiful inside and out.

    I actually found myself fat talking last night in the shower. Now, I am obese (according to BMI charts), but I’ve lost 27 pounds and I’ve been feeling fabulous lately. But because of the snow, I’ve been unable to run outside. I’ve been able to do some running on the dreadmill, but I can’t last much longer than 5 miles on it. I’ve missed three long runs (10-11 miles each), so when I was in the shower last night, I started soaping up and thought to myself “gee, you’re much softer these days!”

    Yes, it has a lot to do with my lack of running, but it most likely has more to do with a guy. I’m a little broken-hearted over a guy, and I have to let myself believe that he must not like me because I’m “fat”. Because otherwise, he doesn’t like me because of my personality, and that would hurt worse than knowing he doesn’t like me because I’m overweight. It’s just easier to think I’m fat, and that’s why I don’t have a man. I know that’s not true, but it’s how I cope with heartache.

    Even though fat talk was something that brought you down the past few days, I hope you can take pride in the fact that by sharing your experience, you inspired hundreds of women to stop fat talk just by writing this post.

    • Caitlin February 20, 2010, 8:02 am

      good comment…. i hope you feel better soon.

  • Maria February 20, 2010, 12:19 am

    After an ED skewed my mind, I can no longer see body acceptance for what it should be. An acceptance of the body that carries me through each day. That allows me to live, walk, talk and breathe. Naturally, with all I put my body through, my weight is no longer as it once was. I am constantly self deprecating, and fat talking. Logically I know once you accept yourself your weight will balance. Getting to that point is the struggle. In fact today, after purchasing every health, self and fitness magazine out there. I realized just how much I subconsciously obsess over my body. Thank you for saying out loud, what most of us struggle with everyday.

  • kellieatsforfun February 20, 2010, 3:26 am

    Thanks so much for this great post! It’s been a few years since I really struggled with Fat Talk (which is kind of strange, since I only started gaining weight in the last year and a half), but it’s always good to get a reminder that it’s not normal and not okay. Accepting our bodies as they are now is not the same as defeat nor is it wrong to appreciate how far we’ve come and still have to go. This was a lovely reminder that the negativity needs to be checked before it gets a foot in the door 🙂

  • Rachel (suburban yogini) February 20, 2010, 10:52 am

    I had a truly terrible week last week – too many deadlines, too much happening at once – and how did the week culminate? With a huge bout of Negative Self Talk. With me it’s not always Fat Talk, but also things like “you’re so useless/clumsy/ugly”, “you are getting old”, “you’ll never achieve the things you want to”. You get the picture. Sometimes I don’t know where they come from, but they literally paralyse me.

    It is so good to read this post and comments, they make me realise I’m not alone in thinking this way and that we all need to accept ourselves, just as we are.

    I am much better than I used to be, but when I do lapse into NST again it is always directly related to my stress levels.

    Thank you for posting this, just when I needed to read it.

  • Susan February 20, 2010, 11:39 am

    I think we all fat talk in some form or another, the most important part is catching yourself doing it (like you did). I’ve gotten really good at catching myself when I tell myself my belly is too pudgy, or arms too spindly. For the most part, I work really hard at being healthy, and I bring that to the forefront of my mind. I’m doing the best I can, and I am happy with those results 🙂

    On another note though, I’m really bad at having negative thoughts about my face, and this is something I still need to work on. I have naturally dark circles under my eyes and I always compare myself to the emperor from Star Wars (nerd alert!). Clearly this needs to stop!

  • Ariane February 20, 2010, 2:59 pm

    sometimes i swear your blog is meant to speak straight to my heart! the past few weeks i’ve been doing better at not getting down on myself, but yesterday was a really down day for me. i was so upset at myself for eating the wrong foods and skipping workouts, and i really tore into myself. i hate fat talk.

    i just try to remember that I am my own best friend, me and my body should not be frenemies. we have to build ourselves up. whenever i start thinking the mean thoughts, i find another part of me to say “shut up girl, you know you’re hot” just like my best friend would if she were there. kinda schizophrenic lol, but it helps!

    • Caitlin February 20, 2010, 3:00 pm

      omigod i love that.

      don’t be your own worst frenemy!

  • Jolene ( February 20, 2010, 7:05 pm

    I struggle with it all the time – especially when I am upset about something else, in a bad mood etc..

  • liv February 20, 2010, 7:13 pm

    I do struggle with this. A lot. But I am getting better at NOT doing it! It can be really hard for me sometimes to see myself/my body in a positive light at times… A little while back I got really upset about it even to the point that I was physically sick…

    Circumstances SO affect fat talk. Oh so much. Have to buy a size larger jeans? Fat talk. Skipped a day at the gym? Fat talk. Friend getting more attention than you from a guy? Fat Talk.

    I love operation beautiful! It is such a good cause… I have to get my stickynotes out again!

  • andi February 21, 2010, 7:53 am

    i’m so thankful that i stumbled on this post and read all of these honest and thoughtful comments! like everyone else, i also struggle with it at times. i try to not tell myself anything that i would not tell a friend, my best friend–but it’s definitely hard.

  • kate February 22, 2010, 4:09 pm

    im so sad that so many of us struggle with self talk on a regular basis. im setting some goals for myself this week in regard to positive talk and the like. i have a feeling it will be harder to accomplish than some of the physical goals ive set for myself.
    thanks for being a great non-fat talk role model, caitlin!

  • Allie February 26, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Like so many posters, I also struggle with fat talk. Last night, I was saying something (I don’t even remember what), and my husband kind of got mad at me. He was like, “you’re not fat! No one thinks you are. So stop it!” It made me realize that not only does that fat talk hurt me, it also hurts him to see me do that to myself. Definitely a wake up call.

    • Caitlin February 27, 2010, 9:06 am

      this was such a good comment – you sound like you have a wonderful husband! 🙂 fat talk really does hurt everyone.

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