On our first week at Weight Watchers, I lost 2.8 lbs. and Marty lost 4.6 lbs.
On our second, I lost .4 lbs. and he lost .6 lbs. – the morning after a seven course dinner the night before.
As of last Sunday, week six, I had lost 6.8 lbs. and he had lost 7.6 lbs.
So on we plod, turning every meal into an exercise in higher mathematics, discussing weighing, measuring, calculating and counting the calories, fat grams, dietary fibre and points-values in every mouthful we eat.
He refuses to measure. I weigh every milligram. He loses like a dream. I struggle. We're doing this for health reasons. High blood pressure and cholesterol. Yesterday, we joined the Fitness Club at our local Community Centre. We're adding regular exercise to our healthier eating regime.
I'm a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers. I've fallen off the wagon too many times to remember. Yet, even at my goal – 128 lbs. – I still felt fat. I always feel fat. That's how I see myself. Even in a size 6.
This brings me to the subject of Fat Talk. All that diet talk I was just doing? It's a form of Fat Talk. And it''s a bore. I've got to stop!
Today, I'm feeling better. So, I'm revisiting this spiny issue now.
Do you know I have never met a woman who likes her body? Tall. Thin. Elegant. Beautiful. They all have some problem with the way they look.
Fat Talk promotes our collective negative body image. It dangerous.
Being aware of Fat Talk and stopping it demands more than one week a year. It's a huge issue. It's everywhere. You can't avoid it. It insidiously feeds mental and emotional health issues that devour our sense of self-worth. Worse, it can be deadly. Increasingly, the lives of children and teenagers are threatened by eating disorders.
Obesity is deadly, too. Fat and Fit? How do you begin to like the way you see yourself in your mind's eye?
"Do I look fat? Oh, God, look at that bulge showing. I feel like a blimp. I don't want to see that person. The last time I did, I was 40 lbs. thinner. What will she think? I look like a whale. A petite whale. I can't stand the way I look. Keep smiling, Sandy, maybe that will distract people from your hugeness."
That's what happens when you've lived for years being assaulted by external "Fat Talk."
"You have such a pretty face," people would often say to me in my youth. At 16, my father bribed me with a new car, if I'd lose weight. Another time, with a trip to New York and a new wardrobe. I dieted. Lost. Regained more. Felt worthless. Unloved. Hideous.
These days, one of my students says at the beginning of each class, "I have to ask. How much weight have you lost now? You're looking better every day." That's perfect example of Fat Talk.
Stupid me, I tell her. And the whole class. What's worse is that I feel flattered. I like it. I've been socialized and brainwashed into believing that if I'm not slim or slimmer, I'm deficient. No good. Fat and Ugly. Always "fat and ugly."
I do this to others, too, reinforcing a damaging value I detest.
When I like someone, I don't see extra pounds. I see the person I like. I see their eyes. Their smiles. All the characteristics I love about them. Yet, when we engage in Fat Talk consider the consequences.
Someone says, "You've lost weight. You look great!" What they're really saying is that you didn't look great before. Your value as a human being is gauged by your size. Your shape. Your thinness. That's the implication and it plays havoc with your self-esteem.
You can't escape advertising, marketing, Hollywood, and the media. But you can devalue it. Beauty is relative. Arbitrary. Who makes the decision?
You can become more aware and Stop Fat Talking! To yourself. And to others. You can help begin a paradigm shift. Starting with yourself.
Change the record. Break it. Don't only comment on what someone looks like, comment on other facets of their character, accomplishments, intellect, skills, activities and abilities. Be positive about people and about yourself.
It's "about well-being, not weight; about fostering body image regardless of your size. It's about exposing women's magazines and so-called experts, when they're touting unhealthy tips and promoting restrictive standards," psychologist John M. Grohol wrote in this introduction.
So now, besides all the global awareness raised by Dr. Carolyn Becker, the founder and one of the researchers of the Reflections Body Image Program and the sponsor of the Second Annual Fat Talk Free Week, you can begin to work on your own body image issues. You can begin to re-educate yourself every day.
You can start to feel good about who you are, just because you're you!
Let's face it. The holidays are approaching. Party Time. Socializing. Every event revolves around food and everyone wants to feel beautiful. For too many years I cloistered myself at this time of year because I felt self-conscious about the way I felt I looked. No more.
I'm starting now. Let's all start to stop the Fat Talk.
There's so much more in this world to talk about, don't you think?