An article circulating all over twitter today made me think. For a while.
The article, titled “Fat Chat Is No Light Matter,” by Andrea Wachter, is a brilliant piece that describes the harmful effects “fat talk” can have on our children. In the article, Ms. Wachter describes standing behind a thirty-something woman who is speaking on the telephone to her friend in the presence of her young child. The woman describes how “bad” she has been in her eating and goes on to talk about her remedy: not eating carbs that day to make up for the piece of cake she ate the day before.
Ms. Wachter could not be more right. A professional who has dedicated herself to the treatment of eating disorders, Ms. Wachter is right right right. The “fat chat” we all engage in is harming our children and it is harming us.
I spent some time thinking of all the “fat chat” I had heard today. Just today. In fact, I narrowed it down to one eight hour work day, because let’s face it, Boy Eat is not a fat chat-er.
In one day of work, I heard:
I need to lose weight so badly. I’m going to start today. No more carbs, starting tonight.
I cannot believe I just ate ____________. No dinner tonight. Definitely no more carbs for the rest of the day.
He makes ______ for me. The only problem with that? My fat ____ will just get fatter.
The problem with fat chat, when it is overheard by our children, or by each other, is that it has no positive effect whatsoever. This “fat chat,” as coined by Ms. Wachter, does not inspire us to be healthier, eat healthier, live healthier. It does not encourage us to exercise (because, after all, if food has this much power, what is the point?) Most importantly, it makes us afraid to eat, and afraid of food.
In a nation and world overwhelmed by young men and women who succumb to eating disorders younger and younger, where we can now classify eating disorders as an epidemic, this “fat chat” that must be controlled. Immediately. And, the first step might be easier than you think.
The next time you find yourself listening to “fat chat” or speaking “fat chat” perhaps you should stop it, as best you can. Remember this: it’s either the fat chat, or us.
To read Ms. Wachter’s article, please go to: http://www.eatingdisordersreview.com/nl/nl_edt_11.html