“Do I look Fat?” (why I’ll never ask these 4 words again)
“Do I look fat?”
Why I’ll never ask these 4 words again:
We’ve all asked this of someone: a spouse, a friend, a clothing store salesperson. We say it with hope, with longing and with some concern as well. We think that somehow whatever reply comes from the lips of these individuals, will validate us in some massive way and relieve us of our current body image stress. This loaded question not only puts a lot of pressure on the person you’re asking, (because honestly there is only 1 correct answer to that question, right?), but it also strips you of your own power.
How does it strip you of your power? Simply because If you turn to others to determine your value and self-worth and beauty, it shrouds your own ability to view yourself as such. In some ways it is even passing the buck. It is putting your own negative, body image anxiety, on to someone else.
Perception is a funny thing. As human beings perception plays an enormous role in how we view the world. Is the glass half empty or is it half full? Perception. Was that dress white and gold or blue and black? Perception. Do you see a rabbit or a duck? Perception.
“Do I look fat?” It is just one person’s perception of reality that may be completely different than someone else’s. What is important is your own perception of self. This is what most of us need to work on most of all. We need to stop trying impress everyone else. The truth is that when we accept ourselves and project confidence, grace, and comfort in our skin – that is when other people notice anyway!
If a scale says I’m overweight but ,I actually feel thin and worthy and beautiful, which is the reality? If my BMI says I’m at a “normal” weight, but I feel bloated and disgusting and huge, again which is the reality?
Our perceptions are fickle. There are times I perceive myself and actually feel like I am 25 years old and look as though I weigh 115 pounds, (until i catch a glimpse in the mirror and realize and remember that this is false), and other times I just feel or perceive myself to be dumpy, bloated and looking like 85 years old – which of course is also false. My theory is that when we ask others whether or not we look good, or look fat, or anything else related to appearance we are actually trying to reconcile some incongruent perception of ourselves in that moment – to make other people either confirm or deny our own experience of self! Is that fair?
How about trying this next time you feel compelled to ask other people’s opinion about how you look? Stop for a minute and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths and try to sit with the uncomfortable feelings that are coming up for you in that moment. What is the anxiety stemming from? Is it possible you’re in a bad mood about something else? Is it possible that something you ate made you feel different or uncomfortable in your skin? Did something happen to challenge your sense of self, like a benign comment from a co-worker that you perceived as a slight? Because we have this gift of perception, we also have this ability to choose to believe and assume the best in any situation as well. When we can stop, breathe and tolerate the uncomfortable feelings that are coming up in the moments just before giving away our power to someone else, we have an opportunity to reclaim our perceptions. We have the ability to reshape them, and even turn them around in a way that will serve us, soothe us and give us pause in believing anything other than we are beautiful, ageless souls.
Because after all – from my perspective, there is only one answer to the question “Do I look fat?” And that is this: “To me, you look like you, like who you are supposed to be right now and to me this is beautiful. This is enough.”
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