get fit

positive body image: special k gets it right

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this ad from Special K titled: Shhhhut Down Fat Talk. I saw an article about it on one of the blogs that I follow and I have watched the ad a few times now. One of the key things that I took away from this ad was that we are all a lot meaner to ourselves than we are to other people. And that got me thinking.

I often have been harsh with myself. Beating myself up for unhealthy food choices, pinching parts of my body that wiggle, sucking in when I’m in front of the mirror, or feeling like the “fat friend” of the group. And while I’ve never taken it past negative self-talk (to places of physical self-harm) that doesn’t mean that I haven’t hurt myself emotionally with all the negativity. Most of my negativity comes from comparing myself to others and always viewing myself as coming up short.

While on a trip with one of my friends, we met and chatted with an actual bikini model/pageant competitor. No joke. She had an AMAZING body. And my initial reaction was insane jealousy and instant self-comparison. But after talking to her, I learned all the things she had to do to achieve that body (work out 6-8 hours per day, eat nothing but boiled chicken and broccoli, and have plastic surgery/cosmetic enhancements). To be honest, I’m not sure if I could have that kind of body even with the exercise, diet, and plastic surgery. But I certainly can’t have that kind of body when I don’t have the time/resources to commit to that goal. And that’s not something I should feel guilty about. I’ve just made different choices in my life.

During my childhood and adolescence others have made their fair share of negative remarks about my body or weight (including one horrible LiveJournal post that is still floating around out there– thanks, Internet). Sometimes it’s easy to listen to the negative comments of others. And the scariest/saddest part about all of this is that I’ve taken those negative comments and internalized them. When I think about some of the things that I’ve said to myself, they are beyond anything that anybody has ever said to me. I would never say anything like that to even my worst enemy. So why would I say that to myself? 

And this is how Special K got it right. While the ad may not make me want to run out and buy a box of Red Berries, it does make me want to change my behavior. All my negative self-talk just makes me want to give up and plop down on the couch with large quantities of chocolate and wine. It doesn’t motivate me to go to the gym or make a big salad for dinner. The “fat talk” makes me feel defeated. And I’m going to make a pledge to myself to shhhhut down the fat talk.

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