body image, diet culture bullshit

I Feel Fat

Today we are going to talk about why you should stop saying you “feel” fat (spoiler alert: fat is not a feeling).

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The main issue with saying you “feel” fat is that it reinforces the idea that being fat is a bad thing (spoiler alert: it’s not). Think about the situations that make you “feel” fat. Chances are, if you really think about those moments, you’ll realize that you are really feeling a whole range of emotions from anger to hunger to jealousy to guilty. Maybe you are uncomfortable in your body or having body anxiety. Maybe you tried on an unflattering dress or feel stuffed after dinner. Maybe you are feeling isolated or ignored by a partner. Maybe you feel anxious or insecure about a work project.

While examining what you are really feeling in those moments, ask yourself what other words do you use when you “feel” fat? Maybe Ugly? Or Gross? How about disgusting? Right. So, being fat — you know, like I am — is ugly and gross and disgusting, huh?

Oh, but Jill, I don’t mean your body!

Yeahhhhhh, but see, when you continue to perpetuate the notion that being or feeling fat is a bad thing, that it goes alongside ugly and gross and disgusting, you actually are talking about my body and bodies like me, whether you mean to or not.

People who “feel” fat, never mean it to be a positive thing. Nobody says “I FEEL FAT TODAY! HUZZAH!”

Maybe we should. 

There are a lot of essays and articles out there attempting to dismantle why we should stop saying things like “I feel fat today.” Too many of them, however, continue to reinforce diet culture. One that I saw ended the post with, “You are not fat. You have fat. You have fingernails, that does not mean you are fingernails.”

Here’s the thing, though: some of us actually are fat. So when you go on this whole thing about why fat isn’t a feeling but end it with some bullshit telling people they aren’t fat, like this is supposed to make them feel better, all that tells me is that you don’t really get it. That you continue to believe diet culture bullshit and see fat bodies as bad.

Fat is still not a feeling. But I do want to start to shift the dialogue surrounding the concept of feeling fat. Maybe we should start saying “HUZZAH! I FEEL FAT!”

I feel fat: I feel comfortable and confident in my fat body

I feel fat: I will own the space I take up. I will not attempt to hide or make myself smaller

I feel fat: I will eschew diet culture and societal messages that tell me I need to look a certain way

I feel fat: I will listen to my body and fuel and feed it accordingly without counting calories

I feel fat: I will celebrate my relationship and my husband who loves me and my body (and we’ll have lots of sex. WITH THE LIGHTS ON)

I feel fat: I will wear bold and bright colors and give a big fuck you to the idea that black is slimming

I feel fat: I will honor my body and all of the amazing things it can do (while also accepting the things it cannot)

I feel fat: I will move my body is ways that are fun and give me joy, not just as a means of burning calories

Next time you catch yourself “feeling” fat, stop and ask yourself what you are really feeling. I’m not immune to this, either: in fact, I keep a page in my Bullet Journal that is a list of What I Really Mean When I Say I Feel Fat. Sometimes even I need that reminder.

At the same time, take a moment to see if this also an opportunity to flip the script and a moment to praise your body in all its beauty exactly as it is right now.

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