What is more exciting than hearing someone go on and on about their weight? Who is more attractive than the person who is constantly telling you how fat they are? What can be more awesome than having an intellectually stimulating debate on who's thighs and calves are smaller?
Apparently, the answer is: Nothing is more exciting and awesome than talking about these things. There must not be because WE DO IT ALL THE TIME!!! Well, women do anyway. It's not often you see a bunch of dudes get together for ice cream and sushi and compare one another's belly bulge. Guys would much rather argue about much more important topics such as who they picked for their fantasy football draft.
The truth is that all this self-deprecating talk that we constantly engage in isn't healthy for us. Sitting around with our friends and taking turns calling ourselves "fat cows", "whales" and my personal favorite, "beasts" is not going to make us feel better about ourselves and won't really make for a fun and inspiring get-together. Even if we honestly feel that we are overweight, this sort of behavior probably won't make us any healthier or anywhere closer to our ideal weight.
Would we ever go up to another person and call them fat? No! (Unless of course you are a mean-spirited ass-monkey). So why do we keep doing this to ourselves? I think it's very easy to feed off each other (pun intended) when engaging in this sort of behavior. It might seem comforting to know that your friends are equally unhappy with their bodies and so you may believe that this is a healthy way to share your weight insecurities. However, this often isn't comforting at all and may lead us to view ourselves even more critically than before.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I gained about 20 lbs in graduate school. Before then, I was in the best shape of my life and had really been proud of my efforts. But studying for exams, too much drinking, and lots of chocolate chip muffins (how else could I possibly get through the tedious lecture notes) eventually took its toll. Although my clothes all became tight-fitting, I honestly didn't see myself as fat or overweight. Well, at least not until I went to get my eyebrows waxed one day and the owner of the salon blurted out (hand gestures and all), "You got FAT!" Needless to say, I never went back there again. (I wish I had come up with some clever retort to her when she said this, but I think I must have just nodded in shame). But even her comment didn't affect me for long and I didn't feel particularly fat. YET.
What really affected me the most were the "who's fatter" conversations that I would have with a friend of mine. Although this girl was naturally skinny, she had suddenly started worrying over her weight and lost around 20 lbs in a month. Coincidentally, this was at the same time that I had gained that amount. Although I learned later that she was not necessarily using the healthiest tactics to lose the weight, at the time I sat there wondering why I couldn't even lose one pound, let alone 20. This fat comparing went on for months and we would honestly even get into arguments over it sometimes. Ridiculous, I know! I figured that if she viewed herself as fat, then I must be a walrus in comparison. The problem was that neither one of us was gaining anything positive or useful from these conversations. We knew that they were toxic, and yet we still continued. It's funny that I actually lost weight and got much healthier after these useless comparisons stopped and she got healthier as well. Now we don't engage in these "who's fatter" conversations and I don't think either one of us misses them!
"The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive." Eckhart Tolle
So, the next time you find yourself sitting around with your girlfriends having a "who's fatter" conversation, work on changing the conversation towards another subject. Try to focus on more important, positive topics that are actually productive or fun, such as who would you rather be trapped on a secluded island with? Johnny Depp or George Clooney?