The F Word

May 6, 2015

Brace yourself, today’s blog will have some F bombs. But not the ones you think. That word actually seems to be more tolerated that the one I’m dropping today. Fat. Recently I pitched an article to a major blog that talked about my Fattitude program.

I’ve contributed to them before and I know they love my stuff, but their response to this idea was fascinating. More so perhaps because this theme has come up over and over lately. The gist of the response from the blog was that they didn’t cover weight loss at all so this wasn’t a good fit for them. No biggie, not their audience.

But she went on to say, “And anyway, fat is a banned word here”, so they wouldn’t want to promote something with “that word” in the title. Wow.

Totally wiping a word out, banning it – what exactly does that accomplish? I actually think it makes the problem worse. I think adding any fuel to the anxiety we already have about begin fat, looking fat, or even just “feeling fat” is the exact wrong direction to go. And it’s not just them.

When I launched the Fattitude program in January one of my closest colleagues reviewed the program and said, “I love it. It’s amazing and going to change so much for women….but might I suggest you call it something else? I don’t know….I just HATE that word.” She also said,

“It’s probably just my issue, but man that word….it makes my skin crawl.”

And guess what? She’s incredibly lean and has one of the most beautiful bodies I’ve ever seen. Seems that word “fat” makes us all uncomfortable – which means it probably has very little to do with actual body fat.

Here’s the truth

Some women FEEL fat from time to time, others (I’ve been there) are plagued by that feeling. But we have to be able to say the word, to talk about – otherwise we can’t deal with what is bothering us so much about it. Shunning it, banning it, pretending it doesn’t make us squirm won’t get us any closer to triumphing over one of the worst feelings in the world: feeling fat.

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Whether you have excess body fat or not, most women I know spend far too much of their lives “feeling” fat. Body fat is a tissue. A somewhat more problematic one for our aesthetic goals and in some cases our health (it’s highly inflammatory, puts unneeded stress on joints etc. when we are heavy), but it’s just a tissue like heart tissue or muscle tissue or skin.

Feeling fat isn’t the same as having fat. You can be dealing with both, or not – plenty of lean women still “feel” fat at times. It’s a mess isn’t it?

This means that not only do we need to learn how to eat and exercise that will help us lose some body fat or keep it at bay, we most importantly need to learn how to conquer this emotional discomfort we feel around how our bodies look or feel to us, what we causally refer to as “feeling fat”. I’ve written about what we mean when we say, “I feel fat” before.

And I’m all about putting that f-word in its place. I am 110% about being kind to your body, being happy and loving your body where it is – even if you want it to be different (acceptance and love, without resignation) – but I don’t think making the word fat a dirty word, one we are afraid to say will do anything but leave us even more powerless in the face of it.

We have to face fat.

Even if it’s just a feeling. This is perhaps even more troublesome as we can “feel it” whether much of it is on our bellies or thighs or not.

And I’m not talking about engaging in what I call “fat talk” where we sit around and complain to our girlfriends, co-workers, husbands, or whoever will listen, about how bad we feel about our bodies. How fat our legs are or now flubby our tummy looks. I’m also not talking about being flip about it either. I tend to be sarcastic when something is painful for me to talk about and I make jokes instead of taking a compliment.

I keep it playful so I don’t have to really deal with my feelings about it. I’m working on it 🙂

What will help us more than steering clear of the F-word is to face our fears about it. When we sit with that word for a moment, what comes up? Allow yourself permission to feel that – I think this is the only way we can deal with the “feeling fat”. Body fat itself doesn’t have feelings, but we have a whole lot of feelings about it. The feeling(s) that we’re all so uncomfortable with are big, HUGE. Among them are: guilt, shame, feeling worthless, feeling unloved.

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Those feeling don’t go away by ignoring them. Those feelings make us eat a pint of ice cream instead of facing a big upset like a fight, a breakup or getting fired. Those feelings keep us feeling less than until we look a certain way. Those feelings make us go on a crazy diet, do a “detox” or spend hours at the gym punishing ourselves. They are what stop us from living our lives: giving that speech, going for the promotion, asking that person out, or even feeling comfortable at your kids birthday party without wondering what are they all thinking about that “baby weight”?

I think a BETTER way to deal with feeling fat, hating the word fat or even having some body fat to lose is to get clear on what is fat and what is feeling.

We know what to do about the fat, so how about the feelings? Let those nasty feelings come up and deal with them. What’s that squirming around the word fat all about? How can you transform those feelings so that you can go about your health and weight loss in a positive, feel good way? How can you be happily moving forward not feeling sad, unworthy and not good enough? And  since you can feel fat whether you have a pound to lose or not, this is the problem to solve.

I know for me, at my leanest and at my heaviest I still “felt fat”. I still felt like it was never quite enough: not lean enough, not small enough, still not good enough. I was still missing out, still playing small, still feeling insecure, still feeling fat.

Ok, this is a lot and those feelings aren’t fun, so here’s a few things you can do right now to start changing your relationship to the F-word: + Stop calling it the F-word 🙂 or engaging in any other behavior that gives this word so much power that we’re afraid to even say it let alone deal with it. + Face the feelings that come up around “feeling fat”. They are what’s keeping you from being happy, loving your body now and at any other size you may want to be at.

To face them, simply let them come up, don’t shy away from them no matter how uncomfortable. Sit with them, see what they are about, see what work needs to be done to heal them. Whatever you do, don’t stuff them back down or they just come back out in quippy comments like, “Oh these thighs? They were built for farming!” Yes, that one is straight out of my mouth.

Order Hangry right now!

If you’ve ever felt like a Hangry B*tch and are ready to balance your hormones and restore your joy in just 5 simple steps then Hangry is for you!


In those moments when you’re feeling particularly low about your body, see if it’s more than just having some cellulite on the back of your thighs….are these feelings just about your legs or do they sum up how you feel in the rest of your life? Is focusing just on body weight and weight loss may be keeping you from dealing with the real issue?

And of course, do all this with love and a ton of kindness. This isn’t easy work, but I promise, it is the work that needs to be done for you to be at peace with your body and the process of changing it – if that’s what you’re into right now.

Remember these Dr Brooke-isms:

If you’re on a weight loss journey right now, you want to be happily moving forward. + Think nourishment, not punishment. It starts with love, not just ends with it. #itstartswithlove + You can want more for your body without hating it as it is now. #acceptancewithoutresignation Want to really dig into these feelings and have more success?

Grab the Fattitude Program here. Yes, I kept the name :).

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