When You Say ‘I Feel Fat’

David Castillo flickr

flickr: David Castillo

Is saying “I feel fat” really that bad? Part of me agrees with the argument that fat is something you have, not something you are. By saying, “I feel fat,” we are giving power to this word in a negative way — saying fat is bad and something you don’t want to feel or possess.

So I get that — I do. I’m tired of the word “fat” having power over me. I am who I am and my body — and your body, whatever size it may be — does not need to make us feel badly about ourselves. We need to rid ourselves of the power these descriptors have over our minds and emotions. I feel the same way about calling some foods good and others bad and allowing myself to feel guilty if I eat too much of one and not enough of the other.

I think that’s why, in some ways, if someone says, “I feel fat” because they either feel bloated or their clothing feels a little snug, whatever the reason, I don’t want to get all up in arms about it. It’s just a description, and I don’t want to give the word more power just as society gives to it power in all the wrong ways.

Then again, I don’t want the word to automatically conjure up a bad feeling, which it does for so many of us, even if we fight against that every day. I want to be able to say, “I am fat,” without it coming with judgments that may or may not even be true (that I’m gluttonous or lazy or don’t care about my health).

I think just like we have to train ourselves not to think poorly about our bodies, we also have to train ourselves to use words that aren’t hurtful. If you feel bloated, say that. If your clothes feel snug, say that. Maybe saying “I feel fat” just isn’t accurate and we should use different descriptions because when used in that context, it is attaching negativity to a word that so many of us are trying to move on from.

For those of us who are fat, we want people to be able to still see us as worthy, as intelligent, as beautiful contributing members of society. We don’t want “fat” to define us. So yes, maybe saying “I feel fat” really is that bad. Next time, reach for another description word, and stop giving “fat” so much power.

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