Say NO to “Fat Talk”!

More often than not, when we see someone who we have not seen in a while, it is not uncommon to make a comment about his or her shape or size. This is clearly not shocking when one considers the world we live in. However, even if body-focused comments are intended as compliments, I challenge each and every one of you to be mindful of body talk. For those struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues, even a positive comment can be misconstrued.

As parents, I implore you to be particularly mindful of your language around food, calories and weight, whether speaking directly to your children or conversing with friends. I will never forget the day my Kindergartener at the time came home from school and reported that a 5th grade boy on the bus told her that calories were “bad.” She innocently responded that we need calories to grow. I can only assume the 5th grade boy developed that belief from some adult in his life. Had I not happened upon that conversation, my daughter may have believed that statement to be fact.

So, let’s begin with new traditions. Let’s comment on how “healthy” or “happy” or “relaxed” our peers look. Let’s focus on learning about how friends are doing on the inside and get curious about their summer vacations. Let’s redirect conversations around fat and calories. Some of you may even be bold enough to say, “NO FAT TALK.” It’s up to you to take the power back, and one by one, we can slowly reshape the society we live in.

 Dr. Nicole Friedman is a Co-Founder and Clinical Psychologist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches in Delray Beach, Florida.

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