When you have a friend that is always talking bad about their body, it is hard to know what to say to them. You might tell them they are crazy or at least want to tell them that or you might want to talk about your own body to make them feel better.
These responsive can cause more harm than they can do good. When someone is talking about their body negatively, engaging in this kind of talk can be damaging and there are better ways to handle it.
When someone talks about the shape or size of their body, these things can be called fat talk. These are remarks that people make about themselves that are negative. Such as how big their thighs are or how fat they are.
When you talk about these things with someone, it can cause their body dissatisfaction to increase. When someone is always body shaming, chances are they will enter into disorder behaviors such as eating disorders.
When peers engage in fat talk, it can cause them to compare themselves to people in magazines or models. It can cause them to feel worse about their own body and can cause them to increase their guilt and shame. When men do this, it can also cause body dissatisfaction.
When you talk poorly about your body, it causes you to feel negative about yourself and can be damaging to other people that are the same size as you in the room., When you suggest that you are fat then you are saying that other people are fat and even if you mean to or not, you are body shaming them too.
These messages don’t just make people feel bad, they are discriminating against fat people.
Responding to Fat Talk
The best way to stop this is to tell them you are sorry that they feel bad about their body and then talk about something else.
Fat talking can make everyone have insecurities about their own bodies and by criticizing their body, they are suggesting that it is not wrong to focus on how your body looks and making negative comments. Instead, talk about personality rather than shapes.
When your friend feels bad about their body, try to lead them to a different conversation. Don’t tell them they are wrong because this is not helping to convince them and can cause you to isolate your friendship.
Change the Subject
Try to find something else to talk about and talk about the culture and how cultures cause people to not like themselves. Shift the focus from their body to why they feel that way and the flaws of society.
Switch the conversation to something more wholesome like work or vacations.
When you feel down about certain body parts, help them to think about parts of their body that they like and are happy for. Let them focus on that.
If a friend is complaining about fat arms, help them to focus on how strong their arms are and how much they can carry.
Depending on how close you are to the person, try to not engage in fat talk and avoid talking negatively about bodies period. Make it clear that you have a goal and that you want to avoid negative talk.
If your friend is overly occupied width their body image, have them seek help. This can bring about depression and low self-esteem and even eating disorders.
If you are concerned that your friend is obsessed with their body, support them and find someone that they can reach out to that can help them.