Fat Talkin’ Men

in All Posts

Wonderful bowl of OATS!


Plus, a much-needed cup of COFFEE!


Oatmeal was a delicious mix of sweet and salty.


My bowl contained:


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sliced banana
  • Toppings:  coconut, peanuts, cinnamon, brown sugar


Healthy Families and Friends, cont.


As you might have figured out, I love to write about the dynamics between families and friends, especially when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some previous posts on the subject.



Today’s question comes from Adrienne, who married a Fat Talker.  If you read my other blog, Operation Beautiful, you’ll know that Fat Talk is negative self-talk and can hurt you emotionally, spiritually, and physically, too.


I’ve heard men Fat Talk many times (and I get Operation Beautiful notes from men constantly!), but this is the first time I’ve heard from a wife who wanted her husband to stop the dirty habit.  Read on…


Adrienne wrote, “After just one day of attempting to stop Fat Talk, I’ve felt SO much better about myself and life in general! I’ve grown up in a family of major Debbie Downers and have struggled to fight the family mold for SO long.  After almost 25 years of life, Operation Beautiful gave me that final push into the positive person that I’ve always wanted to be!   


However, my husband is a fat talker… and he definitely picked it up from me. Soon after getting married, I noticed that my Fat Talking was rubbing off on him. I feel terrible about it, and I don’t think he has even noticed the change.  Since there is mimicking in our relationship, do you all think my husband transform back to the confident man I knew before now that I’ve taken this big step forward? Has anyone gone through this before? If it works, I really think this is going to change my marriage in an awesome way. Positive and happy together all/most of the time… what a concept!”


Questions:  Are you a man who Fat Talks, or do you know men who Fat Talk?  How can Adrienne begin to help her Hubby stop the bad habit?  Did you and your spouse become unhealthy and then healthier together?  Share your secrets!



  • Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit! June 16, 2010, 9:11 am

    My husband isn’t a Fat Talker, but every so often he mentions how he wants to lose weight. Approximately 10 seconds later, he completely forgets about it and eats a slice of pizza 😉

    I think whenever a loved one Fat Talks, it’s important to say firmly that they are not fat/ugly etc. Even if it’s redundant and even if you feel like it falls on deaf ears, it’s important to say something. Silence can communicate more than you may intend!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 16, 2010, 9:13 am

    My husband is the opposite. When we first got married, I wished he would care more about his health. Now, he’s getting a little better. He’ll say, “I ate McDonald’s today and I feel gross.” I’m OK with that because there’s a fine line between no fat talk and not acknowledging when you’re unhealthy.

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run June 16, 2010, 9:16 am

    My husband isn’t a fat talker, but an idea for Adrienne. She can share with her husband her new ways of staying positive for herself, and how happy it is making her feel. Hopefully her husband will follow in her footsteps!

  • jassy June 16, 2010, 9:18 am

    i suggest everytime her husband does the fat talk, she replied with a compliment for her husband that way he’ll be more confident!:)

  • Kelly June 16, 2010, 9:20 am

    My boyfriend is constantly talking abuot how he wants to lose weight, but then he’ll eat McDonald’s like three times in a weekend. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 16, 2010, 9:29 am

    my ex boyfriend would fat talk. and he still does, though he doesn’t realize he does it. he just talks about how much weight he needs to lose all the time, and makes jokes about it a lot. he says he is “fat and sassy” and he’s teasing and hurting himself.
    i never figured out how to get him to stop but when we were together, i would fat talk a lot because i was battling an eating disorder. he’s one of those people i just have to say SHUT UP to, because he just doesn’t get it.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) June 16, 2010, 9:29 am

    my bf has lost more than 30 lbs but he’ll always have this fat talk in his head. He was overweight for 20 years and now that he’s healthier, I think the mental image of his bigger self still lingers. I tell him he’s perfect everyday but I know it’ll be a long emotional struggle even when the “fat” is gone.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:54 pm

      i think this is common with anyone – male or female – who has lost a lot of weight. i’ve read several articles that for many people, it just takes time for their mental image to match their physical one.

  • Teacherwoman June 16, 2010, 9:31 am

    Caitlin… what kind of oatmeal do you use? I am looking for new ideas!

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:55 pm

      just regular old fashion oats from quaker 🙂

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing June 16, 2010, 9:37 am

    My husband is DEFINITELY a Fat Talker to the EXTREME. I look forward to hearing people’s suggestions.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin June 16, 2010, 9:38 am

    I think the statement about mimicking in a relationship is true of many relationships, not just romantic ones but friendships too. People who spend a lot of time around each other tend to rub off on each other whether they know it or not. I think the best way to deal with the fat talk issue with her husband is to just talk to him. Because she knows she was a big influence in starting the fat talk, it doesn’t have to be in an accusatory way, but rather “I know you picked this habit up from me and I’m trying very hard to stop and I need your support.”

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 16, 2010, 9:44 am

    My bf is not an “out loud” fat talker, but I know he does it in his head. It’s tough with guys, because there are so proud. I think one of the way to help is to tell him how Fat Talk is a problem in MY life and to ask him to help get rid of it.

    • Sri June 16, 2010, 1:34 pm

      THIS WORKS! Asking someone to help you solve your issue, will automatically make them more aware of doing it themselves. It takes the focus off “talking about it” and delving on it, especially if he is a guy with a tough stance or jokes about everything. Both of you can most definitely benefit from it.

      • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:55 pm

        i trick my husband all the time into thinking my idea was his idea. key to a happy marriage.

  • Rachel @ TheRecipeBox June 16, 2010, 9:49 am

    My husband is constantly putting himself down when he talks about his weight. We’ve been together for three years now and a few years before I met him he had lost over 100 pounds. He has kept it off for so long but keeps talking about how disgusting he is…. I think he is at a healthy weight for his body and that he shouldn’t lose any more but he won’t hear it…I don’t know what to tell him anymore because he certainly won’t listen to me. Yes, help?!

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:56 pm

      That makes me sad… 🙁 Your husband should be so proud of himself! Has he considered therapy? It seems like he’s been carrying the emotional baggage for so long, it might take prof assistance for him to move forward.

      • Rachel @ TheRecipeBox June 16, 2010, 6:01 pm

        I know! It makes me sad too =( We’ve talked about him seeing a professional but I’m not sure, maybe I’ll try to bring it up again. For him, it seems to come and go and phases too… I’m going to try to be more observant and see if I can pick up on something that may be triggering his feelings…maybe periods of high stress or periods of lack of exercise or veggies…I guess it could be a lot of things.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 16, 2010, 10:04 am

    Wow, I didn’t really realise fat talk could affect men so much! I don’t know why, but I always saw it as more of a woman thing. I don’t know any men who fat talk so I can’t help, but I hope everyone else can!

  • Lisa June 16, 2010, 10:12 am

    I totally agree with Jassy. Give him some confidence, girl! Tell him a shirt looks amazing on him (only if it does, you don’t want to overload with fake compliments). Tell him it’s not “fat”, you like the fact that he’s more buff/less scrawny now. If he really does get down on himself for his weight, offer to go to the gym, or workout together (or even just go for a walk every night). Do something that’s both fun and healthy (physically and emotionally) for you. Best of luck!!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) June 16, 2010, 10:14 am

    i don’t know from experience what should be done, but i would say encouraging her hubby in any way is a good way to start the process of keeping him from fat talking. i know from my husband, encouragement from the wife is HUGE!

  • Danielle (Runs on Green) June 16, 2010, 10:27 am

    I think this is a good topic because there’s this impression that men are naturally comfortable with themselves and never ‘fat talk.’ I think just as bad habits can rub off on people, good habits can too. So perhaps if Adrienne continues this trend and makes a point to say something to her hubby, it will stop.

    I think this can also relate to kids who are begining to fat talk. I notice it more and more (my little brother) 😕

  • Rachel June 16, 2010, 10:28 am

    My boyfriend grew up in a ranch in the country and was very thin.

    He graduated college (where we met) and now has become extremely successful in the business world. However, his activity level has dropped significantly since his days in West Texas, and combined with a love of beer, he has put on a little weight in the last couple of years.

    He has definitely started in with the Fat Talk regarding himself. But I just make sure to tell him that I still find him attractive no matter what, and enourage him to join me in workouts whenever he feels up to it.

    Thanks for this post! I’ll try to help him realize the fat talk only serves to make things worse, not better and that he needs to recognize all of his awesome attributes!!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) June 16, 2010, 10:37 am

    I am not a fat talker, but I have to say that I used to be. I don’t think I rubbed off on my husband, but I do think he is noticing imperfections in himself more lately. I get up and workout early. I feel good about myself and I think that is rubbing off on him. I cook healthy and he has started to become aware of calories/fat/nutrition. He has started working out now too. I think it is important for people to know that baby steps are ok when it come to transforming into a healthier lifestyle. You don’t have to wake up one day and train for a marathon. It can be as simple as noticing what you eat or doing a little fifteen minute workout of something that you like that is physical. I love that my husband is starting to work on his own stuff. He is NOT over weight at all. He just wants to feel healthier and that is a good thing.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:58 pm

      amen!!! good comment.

  • Jenny June 16, 2010, 10:56 am

    The guy I’m dating talks about being out of shape and not muscular, and he’s crazy! This sounds stange but he has ridiculous calf muscles and it’s like he can’t see how toned he is! Weird

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 16, 2010, 10:57 am

    One of my exes used to fat talk all of the time. I couldn’t stand it!!! It drove me nuts and I think it definitely contributed to the reason we broke up.

  • Cali June 16, 2010, 11:19 am

    Fat talk is contagious, and it’s super disappointing (and surprising, because I never thought of “manly” fat talk) to think that my occasional negative comments could have an effect on my husband. There are so many reasons beyond our own health and emotional well-being to quit fat talk: family, friends, children, etc. What I love about Operation Beautiful is that it’s about empowering ourselves, so then we can empower the people we love. Thanks, Caitlin!

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 4:59 pm

      thank you for such a well-worded comment!!!

  • Maria June 16, 2010, 11:22 am

    My fiance is not a “fat talker” but more of a “thin talker”. He wants to gain muscle, but in a healthy way. I am very fortunate to be marrying someone who is just as much into healthy living as am. We work out on a regular basis, cook healthy meals together and keep our health a huge priority.

    I think if the reader above just simply stops the fat talk and replaces it with positive thoughts, her husband will eventually mimic that attitude in the same way he previously mimicked her “fat talking”. It can be contagious in the same way. Replacing every negative thought he says with a positive one will eventually wear on him.

    • Adrienne June 16, 2010, 1:19 pm

      I think you’re right Maria! Also, my husband’s ‘love language’ is definitely not words of affirmation so when I complement him on his looks to boost his confidence it doesn’t seem to help him. Thanks for your reassurance!

  • Joanne June 16, 2010, 11:25 am

    I’ve never come across a man who is a fat talker. All the men in my life could care less. Of course they aren’t over weight but then again, when they do put on a few pounds, they simply undo the button and zipper and deal with it until they lose it 1 WEEK LATER! Men seem to lose weight so quickly, maybe that’s why I don’t encounter fat talkers.

  • Kellie June 16, 2010, 11:38 am

    My husband just recently started this. I don’t know what to do to make him stop. It seems like his fat talk is actually causing him to eat even more unhealthy food. I guess I just need to make sure he knows how attractive I find him.

  • Camille June 16, 2010, 11:47 am

    Sweet and salty is the best combo ever!
    My boyfriend doesn’t fat talk at all, which makes me feel guilty for doing it. He has a good body image though, so good for him!

  • Sydney June 16, 2010, 11:51 am

    I’m very thankful that no one in my life is a “fat-talker.” Maybe it’s just my family’s genetics or something, but we’re more of “skinny-talkers.” It goes something more like “I look skinny/thin/frail/weak/etc… I need to go lift weights!” But I’m pretty sure that none of us has body confidence issues or anything so that is good.

  • Mary June 16, 2010, 12:10 pm

    I think that encouragement is key, restoring confidence, I know from being a former fat talker, and with the help of my boyfriend and family and friends, i am starting to overcome it, I still struggle from time to time, but without them I’d be where I was before, Unhappy trash talking myself.

  • Wei-Wei June 16, 2010, 12:16 pm

    I actually don’t know ANY guys who fat talk. It’s strange, I know, but the only guy closest enough to me for me to actually witness any fat talk is my dad… and he likes his food just the way he likes it, and he likes his body just the way he likes it. I wouldn’t know how to counter fat talk with guys, though… what do you say?!


  • Amber June 16, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I love that oatmeal recipe! I am going to copy that one down! I love oatmeal it is such a powerfood and NEVER gets boring with all the yummy things you can do with it! Thanks for sharing!! I am really enjoying reading your blog! I belong to SparkPeople.com and try to find as many inspiring fitness/weight loss blogs I can. Makes my journey all the better!

  • Jen June 16, 2010, 12:24 pm

    I think the best way to start is to compliment him when he is looking good and correct him when he does fat talk.

    I find that my husband and I have to help each other out with stopping fat talk. For us we have both lost a lot of weight in the last year, 70 (me) and 80 (him), and it’s extremely hard to realize your actually size when all you can remember is your larger self. Sure the clothes sizes are smaller, but your mental picture of yourself is still skewed.

    Good Luck!

  • Tina June 16, 2010, 12:54 pm

    I noticed a change in my husband’s fat talk too after we married. He was never concerned with food or exercise but got into healthier habits after us being together. He got in GREAT shape for our wedding from the changes he made and then lost some workout motivation with a new job. Now he is more negative about his body than he used to be, but still not too negative. I think what helps us is we ALWAYS stop the other from fat talk and lift each other up. I think that constant encouragement on how much we love each other and find the other attractive as soon as any fat talking starts is a big help. Also, we’ve both changed our mindsets with working out for health instead of vanity purposes, which helps a lot too.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 5:01 pm

      i think this is key – focusing on health over looks. it makes it easier to stick with your long term goals AND it makes you more forgiving when you ‘slip up.’

  • Heather @ Junk Food Break Up June 16, 2010, 1:18 pm

    My boy is actually really good with not fat talking, but lately he has been talking a bit about losing some weight. Not in a negative way though, just in a way that he recognizes he might want to change a few things.

    He’s open to going to healthier restaurants with me and open to the healthy meals I make, and he’s also going to go to Bikram Yoga with me tonight! I can’t wait to see how he does.

  • Lisa June 16, 2010, 1:18 pm

    My BF complains that he’s fat all the time. He is NOT fat. I have no idea why he thinks he is and I tell him all the time he’s not.

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething June 16, 2010, 1:29 pm

    caitlin thank you for bringing this up! my hubby is a fat talker….he can be worse than women and i hate it. i chaulk it up to the fact that he used to race bikes and racers are all so crazy about weight when racing. sometimes i want to scream when he says he is fat-he is in such good shape it is unbelievable!

  • claire June 16, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I’ve recently seen the way I eat affecting my boyf in a positive way. Our industry is filled with fat-talkers so it is hard for us to avoid it. Working with wardrobe for men who don’t want to know their sizes, etc. can be so hard because we don’t want to say the wrong thing when they change size throughout filming or loosen belts. My boyf thinks that it is so trendy in LA and in our business to be a vegan, or something similar and that somewhat annoys me. Yes, there are people who eat that way because they think it is new and cool but there are also others who educate themselves on this choice. He told me that he respects me and my decision to eat a plant based diet because it is my lifestyle and not something I plan on doing temporarily. Sometimes he says comments about gaining weight but that he just plans on cutting out cheese or as much meat. It is funny when he calls me and says things like ” I was good today”..to me that is such a diet mentality and not a lifestyle…obviously I need to let him know that it is not about what you aren’t eating but all the things you are!

  • Ellen Collis June 16, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Wow, this is interesting. I never thought about MEN participating in fat talk! I’m way more into health than my bf, and it used to bug me SO much and I always nagged him to exercise, which I later would feel bad about. I finally backed off, and although he still doesn’t have the BEST habits, I can see improvements. I just try to encourage him to keep going along the way!


  • Matt June 16, 2010, 1:59 pm

    I remember when Kath and I were losing weight after college and at times I felt fat. And yet, now that I’m 30 pounds lighter I still can have those same emotions related to body image that I did back then. Realizing that these feelings are so conditional helped me to get over that final mental hump and now I do a pretty good job eating intuitively.

    I think it might be worth it for Adrienne to go to the actual issue with her husband – explain exactly what fat talk is and why she would like him to avoid it. No need to use any little tricks to help him realize – just say what you mean. Clear, coherently presented ideas make sense to me!

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 5:03 pm

      thanks for adding a male perspective matt!

  • Kaz June 16, 2010, 2:02 pm

    My fella is generally pretty confident, but I just realized what a negative impact I may have upon him. Sometimes I’ll wander into the living room, complaining about how bloated and “gross” I feel, and while he’s reassuring me that I am still slim and beautiful and will always be, he’ll sort of pat his own belly.

    It never dawned on me how I must make him feel. Yes, he’s gained a bit of weight, but he’s still the handsome man that I fell in love with, and I’ll never think poorly of him for his weight. I wonder if him patting his belly is his way of directing the attention to his own insecurities.

    I hope he doesn’t think that I find his tummy unattractive! I tell him daily how gorgeous I think he is, and how strong and muscular he is, but I’m starting to think that I had better lay off on my own negative fat talk because it may make him think about his own belly and bad about himself!

    Yikes! Thanks, Caitlin, for drawing my attention to this. Not only is my fat-talk self-defeating, but it may be making my man feel down upon himself. I’m definitely going to start watching my mouth now and ensure that whatever comes out is of a positive, affirming nature. 😀

    • Caitlin June 16, 2010, 5:04 pm

      This was an interesting comment to read! I think we rarely realize the effect our Fat Talk can have on others. I was shopping the other day and there were teenagers trying on clothes in the dressing room. I was in the stall trying on a dress and listening to them complain about their fat thighs and butts or whatever. And of course, I subconsciously start looking at my own thighs! Fat Talk truly is contagious.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow June 16, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Isn’t it funny how surprising it can be when we hear of men who are fat talkers? It sounds so stereotypical that the assumption is women are only guilty of fat talk.

    I agree with so many other comments- share what is working for you Adrienne! Show your hubby how much better you feel and how freeing it can really be.

    • Adrienne June 16, 2010, 3:24 pm

      🙂 will do!

  • Samantha June 16, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Here’s a twist. My husband is out of shape, but I dont know how to tell him without hurting his feelings. I asked him to work out with me several times, but he won’t. The other day he went on a little run with me, but he couldnt keep up and now I don’t think he’ll ever join me again. I keep giving subtle hints that he should take more control over his health, and will continue doing so. In a way, I kind of wish he would fat-talk, at least then I would know he recognizes that something needs to be done to up his activity level. Is that mean? Argh!

  • Stacey@http://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ June 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

    What a great oatmeal combo. I love how you display all of the toppings, its looks really nice.

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point