lifestyle

"This is what to say when your friend says she's fat."

 

It seems so common that girlfriends complain about their weight to each other but how you respond to them can really make the scales spin.

Saying you look fat doesn’t help anyone.

“I feel so fat.” “Do I look fat?” “I’m starting a diet on Monday.”  “God I’m fat.”

How many of you have girlfriends who constantly go on about their weight?

Aaarrrgghhhh!  Enough already.

But let’s take a test… What do you say when your friend says she’s fat?

A) “OK set some goals and get to the gym!”

B) “You look great just the way your are!”

C) “You can’t weigh awesome and no other scale counts!”

You might like A) because it’s straight forward and proactive and I love C) because let’s face it, if you make comments like that it means you’re a legend and we should totally hang out.

But apparently that is all WRONG.

B) is the only correct answer according to a new study out from the International Association for Relationship Research.

Whenever anyone talks about body image, something strange happens.

Now the study was small, with just over 100 female university students in Canada surveyed, but the results were still interesting.

It found when responding to your friend, you shouldn’t encourage weight loss or completely ignore the issue but you should be positive and encourage body acceptance.

And it says by being positive about her weight, your girlfriend will not only feel better, but it will also help her to stop stressing out about her body and she’ll actually lose weight.

Stop being so hard on yourself and on friends.

Stop it.  What?

Let me break it down.

Basically the study looked at how the messages the uni students got from their friends affected their preoccupation with weight and their actual weight gain over the course of nine months.

By the end of the study, those who were initially concerned about their weight but had received mainly positive messages like, “You look great just as you are” maintained or even lost weight.

But on the flip side, those who had the same initial concerns but were told by their loved ones to try to reach their weight loss goals or who’s concerns were completely ignored, actually gained an average of two kilos during those months.

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It’s great to endorse positive body image. But it’s even better to actually do something about it.

The results suggest that agreeing with a friend that she needs to lose weight or avoiding talking about her weight concerns aren’t helpful reactions when she says, “I’m so fat.”

The only messages that actually had positive effects on participants’ well-being were weight-acceptance messages – the ones that reassured the participant that her weight was fine.

It would be boring if we were all the same shape.

Now this all sounds pretty good to me.  But as gal who’s lost 18 kilos over the last year and a half I think the study forgot one important thing… it’s not up to your friends to improve your body image.  YOU have to take charge of your own thoughts.

Give your friends a break.

I find it’s the skinny insecure girls in my friendship circle who complain the most about their weight and seek reassurance.   When I was obese I never asked my friends “Do I look fat?” because I bloody knew I did.  I think complaining about your weight is a sign of low self esteem not a sign of high numbers on the scales.

‘You are not your body’ and 5 sure ways to boost your self esteem.

It was a long, hard lesson for me to learn the correlation between self-esteem and body weight and to be honest I’m still not 100% there.  But I am so much kinder to my body now.

I’ve learned that you have to be the one who accepts your body.  It doesn’t matter what your friends or anyone else thinks.  You have to decide to lose weight for health not vanity.  You are the only one who will take that body to the gym and fuel it with healthy foods.

But I do think surrounding yourself with positive people is a great thing.  And if I have friends complain about being fat I try to not be frustrated but compliment them and assure them.

So next time you complain “I’m so fat” and a friend agrees that you’ve packed it on or you mention being a lard-arse to a friend and she responds with “Look shiny pretty things!” they are not responsible for your body issues.

Remember the buck stops with you.

If you love your body, your body will love you back.