Has anyone ever called you fat? Or made a comment that your body is somehow ugly or unacceptable because of your size?
I've been on the receiving end of unsolicited body comments and it doesn't feel good.
There's no doubt about it: words hurt.
Hurtful words can be such an emotional trigger that they stop you from doing things you want to do in your life...things you actually love and enjoy.
The fear of what other people might say about you can be so paralyzing that it keeps you from wearing a swimsuit at the beach, taking a full-body picture or giving a presentation at work in front of your colleagues.
Just a couple of weeks ago, my friend Christine from Red Hot Dance Fitness was doing her daily dance lesson on Periscope when someone typed in a comment "You're fat". Like me and many women, Christine has had a long history of dieting and being unhappy with her body.
Understandably, the comment unnerved her and she hasn't done a Periscope broadcast since. She and I talked about it...you can see the video of our conversation here.
I have countless other stories of women who have cancelled vacations, postponed weddings, and turned down business opportunities all because someone has made a rude, inappropriate comment about their bodies.
It's unacceptable behavior, but we live in a culture where tearing someone down solely because of their body size has become a national pastime. People body shame for sport these days. It's not just strangers on the internet who feel like they have a right to make unsolicited, cruel comments about you, it's also people closest to you: your partner, friends, and family.
Some people will try to do it in the name of "concern" for your health while others are just being assholes.
Unfortunately, it's a reality that we all have to accept. BUT, you don't have to let it interfere with your life.
It's up to you to decide how much time you want to spend with your panties in a bunch because of what someone else says about you.
You have the power to deal with it...but HOW?
If you're not the type of person who can just tell people to "f*@k off", here are some more polite and practical tips to deal with negative comments:
1. Remember it's about them, not about you. People who make negative comments about your body and weight are dealing with their own unresolved issues. Even though their words may hurt, they have nothing to do with you.
2. There's a part of YOU that agrees with them...explore THAT. You can't change what other people say and you definitely can't change what they think...so don't waste your precious time. Instead, do some self-reflection about your own thinking: WHY do you believe that your body is a problem? WHAT do you need to do to shift that belief?
3. Have compassion for those people. I know...this is a tough one. We've all spent most of our lives in a culture that believes that being fat is the worst thing you can be...especially as a woman. The people who make these comments don't realize that they've been brainwashed. They're still trapped in that screwed up mindset and don't know how to escape.
4. Fat is NOT the worst thing you can be. In our thin-obsessed culture, being fat is a sin. But the truth is that your body size does NOT determine your worth as a human being.
Here's the bottom line: Don't let other people's arbitrary standards color your beliefs about yourself.