Yesterday; I saw someone say they “felt bloated and fat.”
I’ve seen it fairly often across the years and it never fails to grind my gears. Fat is not a feeling. It’s an adjective. A fact. It’s a descriptor.
Likewise; you cannot feel thin; you are or aren’t thin.
Feelings; or emotions; associated with fatness does not come from the weight itself but the stigmas we attached to it. Simultaneously; these stigmas perpetuates the negative stereotypes and bias associated with size.
So when someone says they feel fat; they most likely mean they are feeling “uncomfortable; lazy; ill fitting in their clothes; unable to move comfortably; self conscious of their appearance; gluttonous or over ate; ugliness; lack of desirability” and so on.
In society, fatness is often associated with a letting go of oneself; aging and laziness. The stereotype of the “wife letting herself get fat after marriage” is self-explanatory.
These are societal tactics to maintain fatphobia by extending fear and hate toward groups of a certain size. By perpetuating negative stereotypes; it discourages people to “be fat” for fear of social exclusion and marginalization as it is often seen by the medical community. .
Now; we know better than that. We know that weight is no more controllable than the colour of your eyes or skin colour to a certain extent. We know that the negative stereotypes and implications related to fat people are causing distress; self-hatred; self-harm; and negative image of self in people of all weight. Basically; it affects all of us.
To say that you’re feeling fat produce a negative self image of yourself; but also reminds everyone else that being fat is a bad thing since you are expressing a negative emotion.
All languages are rich; full of adjectives and emotions. Surely your emotions and needs would come across much better by using the appropriate word for verbalising your mind.
So next time you feel fat; ask yourself what you really feel instead?
Do you feel uncomfortable because you are bloated; aching?
Perhaps you could say you feel uncomfortable in your body.
What would help you to feel better?
Do you feel fat because you overate?
Instead you could simply say you feel uncomfortable because you overate. Or maybe you feel guilty for indulging? (But that’s another topic for another day)
Do you feel fat because your clothes aren’t fitting anymore or because the clothes you ordered are ill fitted?
Clothing sizes are outside of your control and the idea that you need to stick to a certain size is part of the negative weight bias. It can also be very detrimental to one’s own mental health.
Instead; you could feel sad or frustrated because the clothes you like are tight or because the retailer changed their size guide.
You shouldn’t bring this sadness or anger toward yourself by starving; overexercising or harming yourself in any way. The way clothes fit and the way your body stores fat is outside of your control. Clothes need to be fitted to your body, you don’t have to fit your body for clothing.
Do you feel fat because you feel ugly or unattractive?
Fatness and Ugliness are not synonym and completely unrelated. Stereotypes and negatives bias attached them together as a social way to enforce ideal beauty standard but that doesn’t mean you have too.
These are a few examples of the power of wording our feelings instead of “feeling fat”.
Each time you ‘feel fat’, ask yourself what are you really feeling? It may not come immediately to you if you are not used to this kind of exercise.
What can you do to feel better?
Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge your feelings.
Are you in need of attention; affection; self care?
When you ask for it clearly you are more likely to obtain it.
I have included an emotion chart to the article so you can have some referent to help you identify your feelings better. They are helpful; not only when you feel fat; but every time you have a hard time identifying your feelings; which can be complex.
Here you can also consult my article on self care tips for when you’re feeling low.
A last reminder that being fat is in itself not a bad thing. There is no morality to be thin or fat. Your body is like what it needs to be. It will change throughout your life. The more you fight it through diets and self-harm; the more it will retreat to protect itself; leading to weight gain and metabolic or mental health problems to restore the initial homeostasis.
You are loved; worthy and beautiful regardless of your size. Don’t let others convince you otherwise.
Self acceptance and love is a long journey. It has back and forth but in the end; it’s always worth it.
Catherine the cynical mermaid.
My sources can be consulted at www.haescommunity.com
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