Alyssa Battipaglia LMFT
Have you ever found yourself saying the words, “I feel so fat!”??
Did you know those very difficult emotions stem from weight stigma in our culture? Demonizing fatness can sometimes be a tool that allows us to cope with difficult emotions.
Let’s uncover what “feeling fat” might really mean and a more helpful way to approach these incredibly valid emotions without putting down anyone’s shape and size.
When you say “I feel so fat,” perhaps you mean…
“I feel bloated.”
Bloating is a perfectly normal part of being a human being. It’s super important to normalize normal fluctuations in the body changes during the day, so that we can all have a more realistic expectation of what it’s like to live in our bodies. But bloating is temporary and will go away over time– which is not the same as fatness!
“I feel sluggish.”
Sometimes, we say “I feel fat” when what we’re really feeling is sluggish, lazy, lethargic or we have not moved our bodies much that day. Instead of reaching for those more authentic emotions or sensations, we are quick to conflate fatness with laziness. And FYI, that’s not true! Fat people can be active just as much as skinny people can be lazy. Lets try not to assume someone’s activity level purely based on their outward appearance!
“I feel insecure.”
There are moments when “feeling fat” tends to become a blanket term for our gloominess or misery. What is really plaguing our minds is possibly the fear of being not enough or being undeserving. This is not about feeling fat at all– it’s about grappling with a lack of self-confidence. So imagine how actual fat folks feel when people use their bodies to describe their misery? Humans in all body shapes, sizes and weights can be good enough, deserving and confident.
“I feel unattractive.”
We all have days when we’re dissatisfied with our own image. We’re followed by a creeping certainty that we’re ugly, unattractive, undesirable or unlovable. But when we say we’re
“Feeling fat,” the implication is clear– fat people are impossible to love or want. Which, AGAIN, is so so so far from the truth.
Fat is not a feeling.
While it is true that most of us can grip onto a part of our body that contains body fat and experience a physical sensation, the feeling itself is not “fat.”
In my professional experience, I find you are much more likely to get the support you need around your feelings if you share how you really feel rather than saying you feel fat. By diving deeper to uncover what is truly under the term “I feel fat,” you fight against diet culture and weight stigma, while also addressing the underlying emotion which promotes healing.
So please remember, fat is not a feeling!