In honor of Fat Talk Free Week and to honor those who are still struggling with their own eating disorders, Rebecca has written about staring fat talk in the face and breaking stride. Instead of engaging in the typical scripting and joining in on the fat talk, she spoke up and asked for it to stop. I love it. We need more people to step up and step out of their comfort zones and say enough is enough! We need to advocate for ourselves, as Rebecca does here, and in turn, we’ll be advocating for others. Just look at what happens when we do…
Friend 1: “Oh my god my legs are huge”
Friend 2: “You’re legs are huge? Have you seen mine?”
Me: “Can we not have this conversation? It doesn’t do any of us any good”
Friend 1: “You’re so right. Thank you for saying something”
We have the choice whether or not to participate in self-destructive and self-hating conversations, so why would we ever choose to do so? Perhaps because it’s socially acceptable and expected! If one girl comments that she is fat, other girls often immediately feel it is their duty to make a comment about their own bodies, often resulting in a competition of whose body is worse.
As I’m entering a new phase in my life (college), I’ve been encountered by constant conversations of body hatred and self-loathing, and supposed “nutrition lessons” at meal times. Well I’ve decided to take a stand and ask people to stop hating themselves and indulging the negative body comments. It’s time we end self-loathing and start self-loving.
The first way to do that is to stop the negativity and thank our bodies for what they do. Why should we say, “God my legs are huge?” Could that statement be replaced by “My legs are muscular and help me walk up the four flights of stairs I have to do each time I want to go to my room (because yes I live on the fourth floor-chiseled calf muscles here I come!).
It’s time we take ownership and responsibility for the conversations we allow ourselves to be part of: second or third day of college I went to the dining hall and sat at a table where I knew no one, and what did the conversation revolve around? That’s right: food. Not how great it tasted, or the wonderful things it was doing for our bodies, but how many grams of fat each component contained, and how many carbs were in each piece of bread, etc.
Well in a new place where I know no one and feel like an outsider, it would have been so easy to jump into that conversation and to feel like I was part of it, share my two cents about the nutritional content of our lunches. I reigned in my and society’s eating disorder and instead turned to the girl next to me and said “I’m sorry to do this but I’m trying to recover from an eating disorder and this is a very triggering conversation, do you think you could not list the nutrition facts of each piece of food?”
While yes, I made things very awkward and probably didn’t go about it in the most socially acceptable way, I took care of myself and shut my eating disorder up.
I later called Dr. Robyn and said listen to what I just did! And she shared my enthusiasm about advocating for myself and not letting others, or ED, run my life for me.
Advocating for myself has been the theme of my year, and has been extremely difficult, but each time I step towards doing it, I feel great and am that much closer to taking ownership of my life and being happy with the way I live.
– Rebecca Tishman
Girls are struggling with eating disorders everyday. This piece serves to honor 2 events taking place. The first, is Fat Talk Free Week which is aimed at ending fat talk in conversation and within our own heads. My guest article for Fat Talk Free Week is here.
The other is to raise money for a young woman, Sophia, who would like to be able to get the treatment she needs for her Eating Disorder. She is having a fundraiser and we hope she gets what she needs in order to get healthy again.
Whatever you do, spread the word that all girls are beautiful and worthy just the way they are.