All Bodies Are Good Bodies
By Abby Emmert & Gabrielle Morreale
In eating disorder recovery, this is a HUGE battle we endure with our clients. Fat phobia is ingrained in our subconscious starting at a young age. It can start with monitoring snacks when were toddlers, weight checks at the doctors and ridiculous BMI conversations when were growing through high school, peer and social policing as young adults, weight loss ads as parents, and the list goes on. You may have fallen into one or more of these traps. We are here to tell you it is not your fault! We have all fallen into these traps at one time or another, because they have been normalized. That being said... they are not NORMAL at all. The common denominator in these examples is that they train us young that weight matters and fat is to fear.
We also see socially that “fat is to be feared” is supported by stigma and decrimination. The medical field is one place, but there are other less obvious ones that people in smaller bodies don't even recognize. For example, seats in a waiting room, seats on an airplane, and seats in the movie theater. Little to no access to these places with larger bodies means isolation, exclusion, and shame. This shame and exclusion and fear is what keeps so many people stuck in diet culture and even worse sometimes their eating disorders.
This question is what we work ENDLESSLY to undo in eating disorder treatment. How can we convince our clients to stop caring so much about their body and its size when the environment around them teaches them and send them messages everyday that larger bodies are not acceptable? This work is hard, but there are places to start! Here are some examples of what we work with clients on.
There is a lot of similar language across eating disorders of different bodies. For example, eating disorders often love to manipulate and control by feeding us thoughts like, “You shouldn’t eat that, you’re too fat,” or “Don’t eat that!.” This is an example of your eating disorder using your fear against you for its own gain. But when you’re in treatment with us, we would challenge you first by identifying your emotions properly.
Fat is not a feeling. Fat is a necessary content of our bodies that keeps us alive and allows unnecessary functions to occur, like fertility and hair growth. So when you name your emotions as “fat” or “gross”, that is not properly labeling your emotions. Try replacing fat with “full” or “bloated” or better yet lets get to the real feeling “depressed” or “anxious”. Next, we would also challenge you by asking questions like, “So what if you gain weight? What would happen?” or “What is wrong with being in a larger body?” Because FYI ladies nothing is wrong with being in a larger body ALL BODIES are good bodies!!! Say that as many times as you need to until you believe in your SOUL!!!
Anyways, at this point, many people struggle with identifying what bad would happen or what is wrong with being in a larger body because they didn’t come up with the fear on their own, it was embedded. We were all taught this, and without questioning it (until now), we believed it. But this also where the fear of fat, the phobia attached to larger bodies, ends! This is where we reteach ourselves what we always deserved, which is to embrace our bodies exactly as they are and never apologize for it. If you guys want to talk more about this or anything at all reach out to us at https://www.gabriellelpc.com
For resources of fat phobia, check out: