I Feel Fat – Decode the Negative Self-Talk

binge eating treatment in houston

Do you find yourself saying, “I feel fat”? What does that really mean to you? Negative body thoughts are often a way of talking to yourself about other issues in your life or feelings that bother you. Learn to decode these messages and stop the negative body thoughts.

There are often psychological factors that affect the way you feel about your body at a particular moment. For example, a negative body thought such as “I feel fat” might be a way to distract you from a particular feeling such as loneliness, sadness, or despair. What happens is that the uncomfortable feeling (loneliness, sadness, despair) gets translated into a negative body thought.

Feelings Can Get Directed into Our Bodies

Imagine you are dating someone and you find out that s/he went on a date with someone else when you had agreed on being exclusive. You decide that you’re not going to say anything because you don’t want to “push him/her away.” Suddenly you find yourself criticizing your body. “My thighs are disgusting, I feel so fat.”

What happened? Can you decode this message into feelings? Can you see how the discomfort you felt about the situation was displaced into your body? Were you feeling disgusted about the situation? The negative body thoughts helped you from having to confront the situation. Instead, it was directed into your body.

Decode the Feelings:

Here is an exercise adapted from The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care. The next time you find yourself yelling at your body, “I feel fat”, “I hate my legs”, see if you can decode the emotional message:

1. Which adjectives (disgusting, etc)  did you use to describe yourself?

2. What aspect of your personality or situation in life do those words describe?

I feel fat might equate to feeling heavy, which might equate to feeling sad or depressed. If you say that your arms are too big, what else in your life feels “too big” right now? Is something overwhelming you? I have a big behind might equate to responsibility constantly following you. Your therapist can help you with this if you feel stuck.

3. When you have negative thoughts ask, “I’m yelling at myself about my body. I wonder what would be on my mind right now if I weren’t criticizing myself?” What thoughts and feelings preceded the negative thoughts?

4. Use your understanding of how your negative thoughts reflect emotional aspects of your life to be compassionate with yourself. When you notice that you’re having a bad body image thought, remember that it’s not really about your body.

5. If you find yourself resisting this exercise, “you don’t understand, I really am too fat”, see if you can go a little deeper. The language that you use disguises feelings. There’s a reason that your negative body thoughts occur at certain times and that you pick particular words to describe yourself.

Decoding your negative thoughts helps you directly face other issues in your life that bother you. It also helps you move in the direction of acceptance as you increasingly understand that the words you use to talk to yourself about your body are not objective facts.

Want more help with food and body issues?

Participate in our make peace with food program to go in depth on making lifelong peace with food, mind, body & emotions.

Contact one of our counselors in Houston for help with with food and body image concerns. Our therapists are available for face to face sessions as online therapy sessions in limited areas.

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

Recommended Reading:

Binge Eating HoustonIntuitive Eating, 3rd Edition

We’ve all been there—angry with ourselves for overeating, for our lack of willpower, for failing at yet another diet. But the problem is not us; it’s that dieting, with its emphasis on rules and regulations, has stopped us from listening to our bodies.


Binge Eating HoustonThe Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care

If you’re one of the nearly 116 million Americans trying to lose weight, only to find that every diet you’ve tried has failed you, you are a diet survivor. You can step off the destructive diet bandwagon and reclaim your self-esteem, positive body image and a happy, healthy life. These 60 inspiring lessons will give you the tools you need to change your relationship with food, your body and yourself.


Binge Eating HoustonWomen Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.


how to stop stress eating When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession

In this revolutionary new book, bestselling authors Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann explore the myriad reasons why women cling to diets despite overwhelming evidence that diets don’t work. In fact, diets turn us into compulsive eaters who are obsessed with food and weight.


how to stop stress eating50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Food has the power to temporarily alleviate stress and sadness, enhance joy, and bring us comfort when we need it most. It’s no wonder experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger. The good news is you can instead soothe yourself through dozens of mindful activities that are healthy for both body and mind.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

Sign up to be notified of group and workshop dates.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.