Replace the Voices in Your Head

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If you take away one lesson from this blog, I hope it’s that being healthy has as much to do with mental health as it does with the foods we eat and the exercises we complete.


I’ll admit – I’m a textbook perfectionist and workaholic.  I always have been, and I’m pretty sure that I always will be.  These personalities quirks usually serve me quite well, allowing me to professionally burn the metaphorical midnight oil in ways most sane people would balk at.  But, of course, my perfectionism is occasionally my own worst enemy.


A year and a half ago, I was standing in the bathroom at a community college, staring blankly into the mirror.  I felt overwhelmed and insecure.  My plans for a career change weren’t going as smoothly as I had hoped, and the 70-hour work weeks were taking a toll.  “You are stupid,” I thought.  “You are worthless.  You are totally going to bomb that test.  You’re never going to get into that doctorate program.*  You’re never going to succeed.  You’re going to be stuck in this job forever.”  Just as quickly as all of those terrible thoughts raced through my head, a more positive idea emerged:  I took a sheet of paper out of my bag, scribbled “You are beautiful” on the note, and stuck it to the mirror.


And in that moment, Operation Beautiful was born.

Whenever I discuss the concept of “Fat Talk” during Operation Beautiful presentations, I am always quick to point out that “Fat Talk” is not just limited to how you feel about your body.  Fat Talk can also be negative self-talk about your abilities, future, personality, professional life, and more


If you think Fat Talk is just words, think again.  Negative self-talk has a real impact on the way you see yourself, which ultimately impacts your overall happiness and confidence.  Fat Talk can hold you back professionally, personally, spiritually, and emotionally.  There’s not a single redeeming benefit to beating yourself up constantly.

Voice Over (4)

Other Images (2)

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A recent study by Glamour magazine revealed this startling fact:


Now, I would be totally lying if I told you that I never have negative thoughts about my body or abilities.   Yes – the editor of Operation Beautiful struggles with Fat Talk from time to time – I’m not superhuman!  :)  Unfortunately, in our society, I think it’s very difficult to fully eliminate negative self-talk, even if we are satisfied with who we are and what we look like. 


Part of the problem is that our society sets forth one ideal of feminine (and masculine) beauty.  Woman are expected to be painfully thin, with no lumps, bumps, pimples… or even pores.  We call this the Thin Ideal.


Men are expected to be tall and tan, with broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and a full head of hair.   This is often referred to as the Muscular Ideal.


The problem with these ideals, especially the Thin Ideal, is that they are often unhealthy or achieved via unhealthy ways.  Did you know 70% of actresses on television are underweight?  Not only are the celebrities and models glorified in movies, TV, and in magazines unhealthily thin, but they are Photoshopped to an even more unrealistic and unhealthy ideal of thinness.  It’s a double whammy that is doing serious damage to our society’s concept of beauty and health. 


This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and although I’ve blogged about it every day on Operation Beautiful, I haven’t had a chance to discuss it on HTP until now.  One thing that I believe we can all take away from NEDA Week – regardless of whether or not we have struggled with an eating disorder (I never have) – is that we alone are responsible for the dialogue in our own  heads.   The media, our parents, our friends, bullies, and other outside sources can plant negative thoughts in our brain, but it’s up to us whether we choose to listen to these ideas or weed them out. 


Although it’s hard to escape from the Thin Ideal and Muscular Ideal messaging and fully eliminate Fat Talk, I do believe it’s possible to greatly minimize and manage Fat Talk in a way that is healthy and positive. 


Here are some simple tips for squashing Fat Talk and getting on the positivity train (wanna know more? Check out my first book!):


  • You must recognize that you’re doing it!  The first step is consciously acknowledging that you Fat Talked.  If I Fat Talk in my own head, I correct myself internally, but if I Fat Talk out loud, I try to correct myself in conversation because I don’t want my friend/Husband/parent to be impacted by my Fat Talk.  I’ll say, “I don’t even know why I said that, I know I’m smart/capable/beautiful/healthy.”


  • Replace your negative thoughts with something positive BUT realistic.  Studies show that people who are struggling with particularly low self-esteem have trouble accepting grand statements such as, “I am the most awesome person, ever.”  So replace your Fat Talk with something positive and believable – and if you’re Fat Talking about your looks, add a positive statement about your personality.  For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I look like a fat cow in this shirt,” think, “That is ridiculous.  This shirt just isn’t flattering.  I love my arms and this top doesn’t do my guns justice.  Plus, who cares? I’m going to rock this presentation regardless because I always do well with public speaking.”


  • Become Media Aware.  I think it’s extremely important to educate yourself on how much Photoshopping is done in the media.  I also love to critically look at advertisements and think about what values they are trying to sell me on (beyond “buy this product”).   Marketers try to sell us concepts of beauty, sex, morality, parenthood, childhood, and more.  I think a great pro-feminism website that everyone (man and woman) should read is Jezebel.  I also enjoy the website The Illusionists (the archives are great; particularly this post).


  • Write it down.  Write down a list of your positive characteristics and why you want to eliminate negative self-talk.    Tape it to your mirror and re-read as often as necessary.  It seems corny, but it totally works.


  • Surround Yourself with Positive Influences.  Friends, family, and the media have a huge impact on how we talk to ourselves.  If there’s a toxic person in your life, please consider cutting them out or talking to a therapist to learn how to deal with them in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your own self-esteem.  Don’t read magazines or blogs that make you feel worse about yourself.  There is so much positive inspiration out there!


  • Post an Operation Beautiful Note.  Although I could’ve never guessed it at the time, posting that first note in the public bathroom ignited a world-wide revolution of self-esteem and positivity.  I’ve received 7,000+ notes in dozens of languages and from every continent – even Antarctica!  Operation Beautiful WORKS, and the reason why is that it’s so simple. Writing a positive message for a stranger really helps YOU gain confidence and encourages positive self-talk.  If you post a note, take a picture and email it to me at  Every notes goes on the site!


* Side note:  I did, in fact, get into that doctorate program (I wanted to become a physical therapist).  But by the time I had gained entry, Operation Beautiful and HTP had taken off in a way I could’ve never predicted!  And here I am today.  Lesson learned:  Do what you gotta do to succeed, but trust that you’ll end up on the path you’re destined for.


How are you celebrating NEDA Week?  How do you stop negative self-talk?  Do you have any positive tips, mantras, or visualizations to share?



  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin February 25, 2011, 1:52 pm

    You know your blog has actually been really instrumental for me to stop the negative self talk. You had said in a post long ago to just replace the thoughts with positive ones, and while such a simple concept, I just never thought to do that before. Now I make a conscious decision to stop myself from thinking those thoughts as SOON as it starts.

    This applies to other areas. I’m naturally a really impatient person and get really worked up in traffic jams or in lines at the bank. Instead of letting myself freak out, I realize I have no control over the situation and just tell my brain to stop stressing because it’s not productive. Instead, I’ll think about what to have for dinner or what to do that night, or just anything more productive than allowing myself to get stressed about something that’s completely out of my control.

    • Baking 'n' Books February 25, 2011, 3:31 pm

      I agree with your comments about this blog. I find it refreshing to see someone who – although is vegetarian – doesn’t preach about not eating meat for those of us who do.
      And also someone who isn’t afraid to eat out, etc. without obsessively counting calories or calculating things in her head.

      Also that you eat frozen meals 🙂 (even though yes they’re still healthy -it just seems so many blogs out there not are like very strict about anything store-bought or additional ingredients).

      Meh, I don’t think I explained that right.

      I’m reading a book now (not about ED, about Depression) – and it says to basically tell those “voices” to SHUT UP. Be frank. Your thoughts will convince you they are truths – but they are not. They are lies. Accept that and you move on.

      Easier said than done of course…

      • sarah k. @ the pajama chef February 25, 2011, 3:48 pm

        i totally get what you’re saying & completely agree. there are other blogs i have stopped reading, even though there were aspects about them i liked, because an underlying level of superiority and judgmentalism (is that even a word?) was there… for not being a vegetarian, or not being a vegan. for not being 100% organic. for not doing this or that. caitlin, you’re great!

        • Baking 'n' Books February 25, 2011, 4:17 pm

          Yeah, and these blogs are great – but they can be triggering – or I question how healthy it is for them too. But everybody is different and ultimately they should do and write what makes them feel happy. I’d just prefer not to freak out because I have to buy non-organic or that I eat dairy ice-cream with sugar in it sometimes – that’s all 🙂

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write February 25, 2011, 1:52 pm

    Great post. I *know* these things are done (photo editing, etc), but it’s always amazing to see a before and after like that. It is the most relieving thing in the world when you remember that you are normal and so is everyone else in the world!

    My postive tips… Be happy now. Being happy when you achieve X, Y, and Z is just an illusion. You will always be striving for something. If you can’t be happy now, you won’t be happy then. 🙂

  • Jessica M February 25, 2011, 1:55 pm

    This post is so awessome! This made my day.

    I am going through similar things as you were that day about career stuff.

    I would like to lose 15 lbs or so, and I have negative thoughts maybe like once a day (being honest). I try to focus on the positive – I am excercising more and I have lost 2-3 lbs, and I am at a healthy weight for my height. I remind myself that 20-30 years from now I will wish that I still had my young skin, youthful energy, and everything still “up” where its supposed to be (LOL). It helps me to appreciate my body just how it is.

  • Freya February 25, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I love this post, especailly the 2nd tip about being realistic – I have extremely low self-esteem, so if someone says ‘just tell yourself you’re the best ever!’ it doesn’t work, cos I just think ‘yeah..but I’m not.’ So that’s a really important point to make – little steps!!
    No NEDA week here (didn’t even know about it til yesterday) but I’m celebrating it now by reading so many fantastic posts by my favourite bloggers 🙂

  • colleen February 25, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Fabulous post Caitlin!! Each of us has those negative thoughts. It is definitely what we do with them that count. I know I am no where close to being the size/shape/weight I want to be at, but I am trying every day to get there. In the meantime, I have taken a hard look at my closets and donated what doesn’t do my body justice. I maybe currently a size 14, but I look fabulous – especially for a momma of three kids under 8.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 25, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Great post Caitlin – and I LOVE that video of you! To stop negative self-talk, I remind myself of all the things I’m fortunate for, and all the things that my body has let me accomplish.

  • Ashley February 25, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Thanks for this post, Caitlin. I really needed a reminder to stay positive today.

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run February 25, 2011, 2:11 pm

    This is a really wonderful post, Caitlin. I’ve battled with “fat talk” for a long time and the blogging community is an inspiring one that has made me feel so much better about myself — even on my worst days. Thank you for making HTP a positive, happy place.

  • Dana February 25, 2011, 2:11 pm

    I read another blog called Two Whole Cakes ( and she talks a lot about fat talk too, but in the realm of fat acceptance. It’s really interesting to hear two sides of the same issue with the intent of learning to accept the good things about yourself.

    I have an awesome product idea for Operation Beautiful that I would like to share with you.

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I would love to hear your idea!

      • Dana February 25, 2011, 3:48 pm

        I just sent an e-mail to your gmail account.

  • VeggieGirl February 25, 2011, 2:13 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this! Trying to stay positive this week.

  • Kacy February 25, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I’m usually really good about avoiding negative self-talk, but I slipped back into it this week because I’ve been over-stressed and exhausted. I needed this reminder. Thanks Caitlin!

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:52 pm

      <3 Hope you feel better soon!

  • JW @ Wine Will Fix It February 25, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I’m so proud of you for doing this! I stopped my magazine and cable subscriptions last month and it’s done wonders to not have that revolving image of the perfect and the beautiful in my life. Real people have bumps and lumps and are just as amazing!

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 25, 2011, 2:15 pm

    Even though I know images are photoshopped and all that, it is hard to not fall into the comparison trap. I do it all the time. I looked up The Illustionists and that is something I definitely to see more of.

    I start “fat talk” so easily but I usually catch myself and try to think of something positive about myself — even if I don’t personally think so — for example I’ll remind myself that my husband thinks I am beautiful. Even if I don’t necessarily agree (it makes me sad to actually type that out!), it comforts me to know that someone else in the world thinks I am wonderful just the way I am! Now I just have to work on ME believing that too.

  • Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition February 25, 2011, 2:16 pm

    Wow that picture of Britney’s before and after is incredible! What a great thing you are doing by spreading awareness about this issue! Thank you on behalf of so many people 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) February 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

    That Britney pic pretty much sums it up. We need to get real and understand that “beauty” is an illusion that is fed to us for money.

  • Sarah for Real February 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Great post. I’m also a perfectionist and am only recently realizing that not doing something perfectly does not mean I am a failure.

    I am trying to retrain my brain to focus on the success of trying my hardest. It’s about how much effort I put into the process, not the end result that matters.

    I am smart and successful based on my work ethic and effort, not based only on the final product being 100% perfect.

  • Sara (Miles and Manhattan) February 25, 2011, 2:19 pm

    LOVE THIS. It’s so hard to get rid of the negative talk and replace it with positive. But it’s totally worth it.

  • Laine February 25, 2011, 2:26 pm

    It’s interesting that when you were feeling dumb, and unprepared and unsuccessful the thing that made you feel better was the thought that you were beautiful. Why not smart? Prepared? Able? Strong? Why something related to you looks?

    I guess that is what has always made me feel slightly weird about this whole thing. I know it’s not meant to focus solely on how you look, but “beautiful” is about looks.

    (I did buy your book, though!)

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:51 pm

      Beautiful is inside and out 🙂

  • Danielle February 25, 2011, 2:28 pm

    This is just the kind of post I needed to see after the past week!

    I’ve been working full time (in a less than ideal job, for me), going to school part time to get my Master’s and teacher certification, and planning a wedding all at the same time. I’ve been super overwhelmed with work, school, and wedding planning this week that I was second guessing myself at every turn and really down on myself.

    Nothing like a friendly reminder that the power of positivity (and creativity) can really change your outlook and you for the better! 🙂

  • Jennie February 25, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I’m training to run my first 10K and it’s been amazing for positive thinking. When I feel like I’m about to die, I just start saying “you can do this…you can do anything!” and it gets me through it. I know if I say I can’t, I won’t!

  • Amber K February 25, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I have been through enough that one would think I would never succumb to negative self talk. I think so many wonderful things about myself, and yet I’m still at a place where the amount of negative comments matches the positive. (At least I’m better in that the negative is no longer more than the positive!)

    It’s a process, and it’s not the easiest thing. But it is possible. When I’m feeling low I have to remember “I AM WORTH IT!” I am worthy of self-respect. I am worthy of love, hope, drive, desire. I am trying to treat myself the same as I would treat a friend. 🙂

  • Caitie @ The Caitie Experiment February 25, 2011, 2:30 pm

    I kind of waited until the end of the week (as in, I hit “publish” an hour ago) to get my own voice out there on the subject, because I was hesitant to be so “out there” about my own struggles with binge eating. It wasn’t until last night that I started drafting my post in my head. Oddly enough, it wasn’t tv or magazines or even the mirror that inspired me; it was my boyfriend saying, “I really hate when you come in the door and say our apartment is disgusting. It would be better if you came in and said, ‘Tonight let’s do dishes; this weekend we can really scrub'” that made me realize exactly the impact that Fat Talk has had on my life — even after working so hard to reduce it about my life and my body, I was still Fat Talking my apartment!

    FT and other mental self-flagellation were a HUGE part of what was triggering binges for me, and it was finding the Healthy Living blogosphere that really helped me to see what damage I was doing to myself — not by eating huge portions of food at a time, but by constantly berating myself and never allowing myself true forgiveness for who I was and acceptance of who I am today. That’s really all we can ask for, and it’s the single best gift I’ve ever given myself!

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:54 pm

      I think forgiveness is so powerful… The permission to just cut ourselves some slack!

  • Katie February 25, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I took away something more from your presentation on Wednesday night. Fat talk, or negative self-talk in general, takes the focus away from how we see ourselves as a person. I wrote about it on my blog that night:

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 25, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I love the ending where you say trust you’ll end up on the right path. I keep that close to my heart all the time. A lot of what leads to my own fat talk and negative talk comes from fear of the unknown in the future and wanting to control it. I get anxious and then find myself in a negative place. I’ve come a long way in identifying that and overcoming it, but certainly still have issues at times. Thanks for a great post and all you do Caitlin!

  • Lauren February 25, 2011, 2:37 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOOOVVEEE this post. You rock 🙂

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:55 pm

      No you rock!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 25, 2011, 2:42 pm

    This is a great and timely reminder. Skinny doesn’t necessary = healthy but HEALTHY = healthy everytime!

  • Haley February 25, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Caitlin, I absolutely adore you.

    I’m working on reducing my fat talk (in all areas of my life). Reading blogs like this and surrounding myself with positivity helps a great deal.

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 2:55 pm

      <3 I wish you the best on your journey!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 25, 2011, 2:59 pm

    My husband is an illustrator that works in an industry that is all about big boobs, small waists and round booties. He hates that part of his job. It is so unrealistic and so crazy to think all people should fit within this mold. I have finally gotten to the point where I am happy just being me. People will always judge you if you are big or small…it doesn’t matter. You just have to accept how you are then, nothing else matters. It helps that my husband likes me for me though too.

  • Lauren February 25, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Love this post! My campus is doing a great job spreading eating disorder awareness this week. There’s an awesome display of jeans hanging up where students wrote positive things about their body all over the jeans.

  • Kara February 25, 2011, 3:07 pm

    I completely agree with you that negative self talk is completely under your own control. You can make a choice to leave it behind and live a life without beating yourself up all the time.

    Children learn it from their parents, so you can also make the choice to break the cycle. As you pointed out, there are plenty of media messages to tell our kids that they don’t measure up to some ideal, but all you can control is the home environment and how you raise them to deal with it.

    Great post!

  • Emily February 25, 2011, 3:07 pm

    I love this post, just as I always love your message 🙂 The whole reason I started my blog was to chip away at my crippling Fat Talk behavior. YOu are such an inspiration! Thank you for everything that you do ! I’m fighting the good fight with you!

  • Kailey (SnackFace) February 25, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I celebrated NEDA week by sharing more of my own personal struggles with an eating disorder on the blog ( It’s difficult every time I write about it, but I know that by sharing, I’m helping others. At least I hope! I touched on how in recovery, it won’t really happen until YOU want it to happen. Until you do it for YOU, not your mom or dad or significant other.

    I wish there was more I could do for women, but my blog is my platform for now. Thank you for being such a hugely positive voice out there!

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul February 25, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Personally, I always try to focus not on myself (doesn’t mean I don’t work on my character flaws or anything) and know and remember that there are things greater than ourselves. There’s so much going on in the world that I get reminded life isn’t about me–as I learn to love myself the way God loves me, I learn how to love others in return. 😀 It makes me sooooooooooo maaaaad when I see these consumeristic/materialistic ways of manipulating people’s brains and value! Great post Caitlin <3

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

    This is a fabulous post, Caitlin! I love how your life has turned out so differently* from what you had planned!

    I to believe (and know) that the mind and the thoughts produced in the mind are powerful-more powerful than we sometimes realize. It is important for me to remember my strengths and what I am good at. I also remember that it does not matter what others think of me (I am Christian….)it only matters what God thinks of me-this totally helps if I am ever having a negative day or starting any “fat talk”. Thanks for the great post!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

    My negative self talk has really decreased, but it’s still there, and reading your blog always reminds me to be kind to myself 🙂

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Fabulous post, Caitlin!

    Wow that photoshopped picture just says it ALL! Thank you for posting that…wow, had no idea things were THAT pervasive with the photoshopping. Not just tattoos airbrushed off but thighs, butts, etc edited tons!

    Negative self talk is such a common problem among so many people, and no one is perfect…so just even being AWARE that we’re doing it is step #1. Thanks for the reminders 🙂

  • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty February 25, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Wow. Even Britney’s ankles were photoshoped. What the heck? Thanks for the great reminder to accept and protect ourselves.

  • Jess February 25, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Thank you for posting this! One of my and my husband’s New Year’s Resolutions was to stop saying how unattractive we feel around each other, but we’ve gotten lazy about it and are doing it again. Next time I’m feeling down on myself, I’ll try complimenting myself instead, or my hunny. 🙂

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self February 25, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I participated in NEDA Week by sharing my story on Project Body Talk!

  • Johanna B February 25, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Caitlin, thanks so much for this post. I wish more women could replace the fat-talk in their heads with positive affirmations. Whenever I catch myself saying negative things to myself I try to rephrase the thought into something positive. This morning I found myself walking down the hall in the hospital where I work telling myself “I am really feeling good today” and “I am enjoying this day”. I feel better when I think postive thoughts and partly thanks to OB I do.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 25, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I really don’t think I can express enough now much HTP and Operation Beautiful has helped me in my recovery from my ED, and how THANKFUL I am to have found both. HTP was the first healthy living blog I stumbled upon and the day I found it, I spent HOURS reading posts. I had my “ah-ha” moment and something within me “clicked” and I knew that I needed to change and get out of the grips of my ED before it took me in even more.

    A big part of my “self recovery” process is to leave Operation Beautiful notes whenever I start the negative thoughts sink in. When I start doubting myself or telling myself that I am fat or I shouldn’t have eaten something, I make the point to go out and leave a positive note somewhere. Not only does it help me, but I hope it brightens the day of the person who finds it.

    Thank you thank you thank you Caitlin. You REALLY are my inspiration and role- model. 😀

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 4:51 pm

      Thank you so much Katy. This is really appreciated.

  • Natalia - a side of simple February 25, 2011, 3:32 pm

    YOU are beautiful. Thanks for reminding us that it all starts inside. No one controls our internal conversation but our own selves. Sure, we may be influenced, but the power alone rests with us 🙂

  • Jen February 25, 2011, 4:00 pm

    Thanks so much for being you, Caitlin! You’re an inspiration, wise beyond your years and such a rock in the blogging community. I know I’m not the only one you have a positive influence on – keep up the fantastic work!

  • Jen February 25, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Thank you for this post! I have also struggled with negative self-talk, largely because I’m a perfectionist, type-A personality. Usually, I dwell on failure and weakness, but I stop it by reminding myself of the way my favorite authors have approached failure. I have written in big bold letters above my desk at home: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better” (from Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho). This helped me after I got a slew of rejection letters from PhD programs last spring. I failed, but more important than that, I tried and I’ll try again, that to even fail again, I must try again.

    Another favorite is from Nietzsche: “I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.” This quote is so dear to me as an artist and a writer, that my responsibility is to see the beauty in all things and to celebrate it, and that includes seeing the beauty in myself.

    I think I should go post an Operation Beautiful note with Nietzsche’s “Yes-sayer” on it!

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 4:52 pm

      These would make awesome OB notes!!

  • Chloe February 25, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, it is just what i have needed. I am struggling a great deal with a life that is consumed by exercise, calories, loosing weight, laxative abuse/purging and hating on myself a great deal. I am desperately trying to escape its grasps, but the battle is an almighty tough one. Reading your blog helps me see that exercise doesnt have to be a chore or something to have to put myself through daily, it can be something that I could enjoy in moderation if i fought my head. Your blog helps me see that food doesnt have to scare me forever, or cry through everytime I try and decide what is ‘acceptable’ to eat. After seeing this post on your blog I went to my room and stuck a ‘You are beautiful’ post it note on my own mirror, and i will tell myself to believe it. Thank you for giving me a night where I am not hating myself, but instead trying to see there are things I am very talented at, hey ive spent all day making childrens clothes and im 16! You are an inspiration to many and I admire your self worth. 🙂

    • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 4:53 pm

      I’m sorry Chloe 🙁 Is there a therapist or school counselor you can talk to? Get help if you need it!

      • Chloe February 25, 2011, 5:00 pm

        I have been receiving lots of help since I was eleven, I have had 6 hospital admissions over the past 5 years so there are many people looking out for me, I am slowly learning to fight for myself 🙂 I am just in the progress of setting myself up a blog, mainly to use a positive distraction from negative thoughts and to show my craft and cooking- two things i am very passionate about, so things are slowly but surely looking forward!

  • Jodi February 25, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Beautiful Beautiful blog post Caitlin!!! I wish more people were giving voice to this issue especially to the younger generation whose life choices might be effected by the images of perfection they believe they have to become! thank you for having the courage to talk about this and putting it out there. 🙂

  • Ashley February 25, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I love this post! I’ve been through eating disorders and fat talk and now I’m in a healthy place and just want to help people not have to go through the same things I went through.

  • Marla @ 180turning30 February 25, 2011, 4:27 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes.. what a perfect message for today. Thank you so, so much.

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) February 25, 2011, 4:28 pm

    This was beautiful! Thank you for writing this, Caitlin. The best way I have found to think positively (be it about body imagine, or something else) is to just SMILE and remember that I was created this way for a reason. A smile has the power to change our perspective and lift our spirits! Smiling right now 🙂

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In February 25, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Operation Beautiful notes were one of my suggested ways to participated in NEDA too! It is such a wonderful movement. I also suggested complimenting friends on something other than their body. This isn’t done nearly enough!

  • Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) February 25, 2011, 5:06 pm

    this is BEAUTIFUL.. im posting articles on my posts this week about positive body image and im DEFINITELy posting yours tomorrow!!!! you are a true inspiration

  • Emmanuelle February 25, 2011, 5:15 pm

    Wow how timely! I wrote this post today ->

    As I wrote, I am not a US national / resident, but eating disorders are everywhere, so there you go 🙂

  • Parita @ myinnershakti February 25, 2011, 5:16 pm

    All of your points are so beautifully written. I hope and pray that one day in the future negative self-talk no longer exists or at least is nipped in the bud every time it creeps up. I was with co-workers this week that I don’t see very often, and I used this time to talk to them about Operation Beautiful and the importance of “fat talk.” I think I opened some eyes! 🙂

  • Caitlin February 25, 2011, 5:24 pm

    I’m celebrating NEDA by eating without restriction or guilt!

  • Mary (What's Cookin' With Mary) February 25, 2011, 5:24 pm

    I really like all these tips Caitlin! I’m making a shortcut to this post so that any time I need it, I can just re-read all your tips to help me through.

    I don’t really have any great tips to share (I think you nailed them), but I really think that half the battle is realizing that you’re doing it and then having the power to stop and continue on with all your other tips… Sometimes just rezlizing you’re doing it makes ‘you’ (me) stop right away. I usually realize that the only person I’m hurting is me…

    Great post on a dreary Friday 🙂

  • monicanelsonfitness February 25, 2011, 5:29 pm

    you are so amazing. This is the best blog and post! Your messages are so fantastic and I really wish you all the success possible. ENOUGH is enough! We are all stunning in and out. 🙂

  • Samantha @ Mama Notes February 25, 2011, 5:37 pm

    Yes, great points! I really believe in the power of positive thinking and positive self talk. I believe it WORKS!

  • Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner February 25, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Caitlin, I absolutely love your Operation Beautiful! It has helped me SO much! 😀


  • G February 25, 2011, 5:47 pm

    This post was so well-written and so true to point. Thank you for providing that extra reminder that treating yourself well is just as important as treating others well. It can be so easy to forget that in everyday life. I know I’ve been struggling to remember that lately… Thanks again for the daily inspiration. 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 25, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Such a great post! Fat talk is something I struggle with, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve gotten so much better with the help of Operation Beautiful. When I used to get upset (about anything), I would immediately take it out on myself (ie) “Why do I look so disgusting today?” “Why can’t I be better at X,Y,Z?”… etc. Now, I try to look at the real issue of why I am upset and tackle that instead!

  • Katie February 25, 2011, 6:06 pm

    I love, love, love that you don’t take the lazy way out, and that you encourage people to not be victims. Ultimately, we may be influenced by outside media, people, etc., but we are solely responsible for our choices, health, thoughts, and actions. That is the most liberating moment in a person’s life: taking control! Yes!

  • Lucy February 25, 2011, 6:14 pm

    I think it’s important to point out that sometimes, it really isn’t possible to control your own thoughts or to convince yourself of something positive. There are cognitions and thought patterns that characterize eating disorders and depression, and can create an impossible barrier to a change in how one feels about oneself. The good news is that there are medications and psychotherapies specifically designed to help with these.

    I appreciate your post, and think you are obviously a fan of getting necessary treatment, but I just thought that that bears mentioning; this post certainly isn’t a criticism of your positive and encouraging message!


    • Caitlin February 26, 2011, 12:16 pm

      I agree with your sentiments. Everything has its place.

  • Alex @ Healing Beauty February 25, 2011, 6:20 pm

    I celebrated NEDA week by trying to talk about some of the facts and fictions of eating disorders on my own blog. I think it’s so important for our society to be more educated on eating disorders and prevention and awareness of them. I also think it’s really important to be your own best friend, even though that’s something that I am personally still struggling with. However, telling myself I am right where I need to be is a comforting affirmation that I try to use.

  • Christine February 25, 2011, 6:30 pm

    I celebrating NEDA but hoping/praying/crossing my fingers that someone very close to me is on the right track (with a runnign program) to finally beating the beast after struggling for nearly 10 years.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit February 25, 2011, 6:30 pm

    Amazing post! I’m trying to communicate to one of my coworkers who is basically starving herself right now that she doesn’t need to do it, that diets do not work and she should focus on being healthy.

  • Rachel @ Healthy Teacher February 25, 2011, 7:07 pm

    I find myself now talking to my mom about this. Telling her to embrace her body as it changes…and let’s face it, she’s hot and still under 50. This type of thinking is so ingrained in our society, it’s scary. And it has been this way for decades. I hope we can stop it.

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) February 25, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this brilliant post.

    Because of you, I’m spreading the no fat talk advice to people around me. I’m always sure to catch friends or family members fat talking themselves, and stop them in their tracks. They are *beautiful* inside and out, and it’s sad that they don’t always realize this.

    You are such an inspiration to so many women (and men!) Keep it up! 😀

  • Brittany February 25, 2011, 7:39 pm

    these lessons are ones that I try to apply to my life daily. Your work has changed my life so much you have no idea! Fat talk has poisoned my mind for so many years and I vowed to myself that this is the year I would STOP THE FAT TALK. I read your blog everyday..and I always feel good afterwards 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales February 25, 2011, 7:49 pm

    What a wonderful post, Caitlin! You truly are such a great example for so many women (both young and old), girls, boys and the like! I love that you acknowledge that “fat talk” is more than just how you see your appearance… i myself have doubts about where my career is going at times (working part-time and having such a limited budget doesn’t exactly boost my self esteem when I have to say no to things…) but I know that I am at least on the right path! What a great message 🙂

  • Zo February 25, 2011, 8:04 pm

    This is a great post. I *try* to follow the advice that you should never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. I would never tell anyone else they weren’t pretty enough, smart enough, so I deserve the same from me. Doesn’t mean I don’t hear that voice in my head, but I also know that I need to be kind to myself.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} February 25, 2011, 8:31 pm

    That before and after of Brittany just kills me.

  • Katherine: Unemployed February 25, 2011, 8:37 pm

    that’s amazing what they did to make her smaller

  • Fit Chick Britt February 25, 2011, 8:39 pm

    I always knew I talked down to and about myself, but I never realized I was really doing it and engaging in “fat talk” until I started reading it on your blog. You’ve helped me stop speaking negatively about myself and it has done wonders. I’m so glad you took that test and posted that first note. You are so inspiring, thank you Caitlin.

  • Ali @ Ali Runs February 25, 2011, 9:01 pm

    This was a great post!! Thank you so much for it. I think every person has those days where they think they would like to change something about themselves, but I know that I am enough just the way I am.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 25, 2011, 9:24 pm

    I really needed this tonight. Thank you.

  • Carlee February 25, 2011, 9:47 pm

    Your beautiful! 🙂 I love this…I even shared it with a few friends on facebook!

  • Erica @ A Healthy Habit February 25, 2011, 10:46 pm

    Absolutley LOVE the truth to this post! Find it VERY inspiring!!

    PS found an operation beautiful post it in the shampoo aisle of my local Wal-Mart in NJ…felt soo excited that I left one for someone else to find!!

    • Caitlin February 26, 2011, 12:15 pm

      Oh fun! So glad you found a note.

  • Maura February 25, 2011, 10:53 pm

    Caitlin, Thank you so much for this. I’ve been struggling with ED for about 15 years and am finally reaching a good place in my recovery. Your blog/OB have been invaluable. Today’s post had me crying (happy tears!) Thank you for all you do! Also, I just found my first OB note at a reststop in Mass on my way back home from skiing in Vermont- what an amazing feeling! Thank you 🙂

    • Caitlin February 26, 2011, 12:15 pm

      <3 Thanks for leaving notes!

  • Shari February 26, 2011, 8:51 am

    Do what you gotta do to succeed, but trust that you’ll end up on the path you’re destined for.

    ^LOVE THIS!!

  • Kathie February 26, 2011, 9:09 am

    This post gave me such goosebumps!!!!

  • Kristina February 26, 2011, 11:38 am

    I think this is a great post, but I also would also like to sound a note of caution. I struggled with severe depression and an eating disorder for years, and I will honestly say that I could NOT have replaced the voices in my head. I needed to make some major changes in relationships, beliefs and behavior before I could begin to change how I perceived myself. I’m certainly not dissing the idea of positive self-talk, but I don’t believe that it is a panacea, and it is frustrating when people tell someone who is dealing with severe mental health issues “Just believe in yourself!”.

    • Caitlin February 26, 2011, 12:14 pm

      I agree with you. Therapy and medication have their places.

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) February 26, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I can identify with the stream of negative thoughts you describe. It is so tough to shut them off! Usually on my walk to the train in the morning, I mumble to myself all things great things I’ll accomplish. Silly as it seems, I really do need the extra boost in the AM. I have left Operation Beautiful notes because I really believe in your message.

  • Steph February 27, 2011, 5:32 pm

    I finally got a job after being depressed for over 5 months for not having one. I have to get up around 6 in order to leave the house before 7 so I can make an hour drive to dallas in time for work. I get out at 5 or 530 and have about a 45 commute home. Anyways, ladies I need your help in scheduling a good meal plan. I wont be able to fit in a workout in the morning, but I was hoping with my first pay check to get a membership at the 24 hour fitness near my work so on the nights with lots of traffic I can stop and work out. I want to know the right thigns to eat, how much to eat of them, and I want to be positive like all of you wonderful ladies!

    • Caitlin February 27, 2011, 7:32 pm

      Yay for your job!

      I would make lunch and dinner for the next workday the night before. So for example, on Sunday, I would cook dinner and make a double portion (one for Monday night) and I would prep a brown bag lunch for the next day. On Monday, I would cook Tuesday’s lunch and dinner, etc.

  • Jenna June 22, 2011, 8:39 am

    Thank you for creating this blog and for sending out such a positive message about our bodies. The more people speaking out about this the more things will change 🙂

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