Ever look in the mirror and think “I feel fat!” Or even, “I look fat!” If so, I have good news on both fronts. Looks can be deceiving, and fat is not a feeling. In 1984, Kellogg’s Special K cereal ran an ad campaign known as “Pinch An Inch.” The idea was that if you can pinch more than an inch of flesh on your midsection, you were fat. We know that advertising is a powerful tool that convinces people to buy things. And the public definitely bought that message. Even if you weren’t exposed to those ads, advertisers and publishers have been using unrealistic body types to promote as beauty. Social media bombards us with “perfect” women. Yet everyone has flaws so none of this is real. It’s no wonder that most people in the United States have body image issues.

It’s refreshing to have some time off from wondering whether I look fat.

– Pamela Druckerman

When you “feel fat,” suddenly you aren’t allowed by society’s standards to consider yourself beautiful. Which is complete nonsense, but feelings sometimes get in the way of reality.

You can’t feel fat because fat isn’t an emotion, it is a body type.

The saying “I feel fat” is code for there is a problem. So let’s take a look at things that may make you feel fat and figure out how to solve them.

Physical Feelings

First, if you have a physical feeling, instead of saying, “I feel fat.” let’s describe the feeling for what it is.

I feel uncomfortable …

When clothing doesn’t fit like you want it too, it can be uncomfortable. It may be the clothing itself is cutting into you. Or it could be that you don’t like the way your body looks. That is a body image issue.

If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, you need to deal with those issues by learning to to feel beautiful again. Show yourself some compassion and self-care.

If it is a clothing issue, get yourself some new clothes that not only fit, but look good on you and make you feel positive about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you won’t be feeling fat!

I feel bloated …

Sometimes if we eat or drink too much, or eat the wrong types of food, our stomachs feel bloated. If this is the case, don’t use a term for body size. State that you feel bloated. It is a much less negative statement.

I feel lethargic …

Feeling lazy, sluggish or lethargic is sometimes described by the statement “I feel fat.” If your brain associates these terms with fat, it is implying all fat people are lazy. That isn’t true. So be specific with how you feel, don’t body shame yourself and others.

I have moments where I feel incredibly ugly or fat, and it sucks, you know? I’ll usually try to keep a positive attitude because I’m really so grateful for where I am and the life I get to live, but I definitely have to work hard not to feel insecure.

– Charlotte McKinney

Psychological Feelings …

We can also have thoughts that lead us to say “I feel fat.” Again, these thoughts can be described a bit more accurately to help you and those around you understand what is going on.

I feel insecure …

Sometimes when we are depressed, we feel unworthy and undeserving. These feelings of inadequacy lead us to compare ourselves to others. We think we fall short of society’s unrealistic standards of beauty and health.

So instead of saying “I feel fat,” a much better statement would be “I feel insecure and depressed.”

I’m having relationship issues …

Relationship issues can cause you to feel unloved, unwanted and unattractive. That doesn’t mean you are, it is a result of things going on between you.

If they don’t want to be around you, it could be totally on them. Thinking you know how others feel can do a lot of harm to your state of mind. Don’t jump to conclusions. There could be things going on in their mind you aren’t aware of.

I feel like I’m being judged …

Awkward social interactions can cause people to feel judged. In a dining situation, this can happen when others have finished eating and you are still working on your plate. Perhaps you ordered a dessert and no one else did.

In these settings, we may perceive ourself as being judged, rejected or scorned. You might feel like others don’t love, respect, value or want us around. These are feelings, but not feelings of being fat.

I feel guilty …

Ever go off a diet? Everyone has at some point. That can lead to feelings of guilt. Ever binge eat a gallon of ice cream? I have and I didn’t feel good about it. Guilt and shame go along with doing things we know we probably shouldn’t.

This can happen to people of all body shapes and sizes though. Saying you feel fat is associating gluttony with fat people – and that just isn’t fair. Everyone’s body is different. Because someone appears overweight, that doesn’t mean they are gluttonous, lazy or unhealthy. It is a stereotype you can avoid by saying how you really feel.

I need attention …

There are times were we all feel invisible to others. You can be alone in a crowded room. When you feel ostracized, our upbringing has taught us that fat people aren’t accepted by others. (Again, not true in most situations but that isn’t saying it doesn’t happen.)

Whether you need positive attention or just want it, instead of saying “I feel fat,” tell your friends what you really need is some validation that you are worthy.

I’m stressed …

Stress can really play with our minds. When you are stressed, you don’t always think straight. Things feel like they are piling on and often, we look for excuses as to why. Feeling like you are fat could just be an excuse that allows you to blame the stress on a body attribute rather than the actual cause.

I’m having a bad day …

Everyone has days where they look in the mirror and are unhappy with what they see. If you have a poor body image it makes you feel ugly and unlovable. Again, you aren’t feeling fat, you are feeling depressed about aspects of your looks. You need to develop some body-positivity.

I was born fat and have always been, which was just fine and even healthy and cute until I turned ten or so. Puberty hit like a hurricane and brought a new set of rules. All of a sudden it was my fault I was chubby.

– Beth Ditto

What if I feel fat because I am fat?

Are you? Is it because you don’t fit into jeans that used to hug you? Or is it a number on a scale? Even very skinny people have told me they “feel fat.”

Our bodies change every day. Changes occur because we grow older. That doesn’t mean you are fat. If you weighed yourself every day, you’d find your weight fluctuates. This is normal and happens to everyone.

That doesn’t mean losing weight wouldn’t be a healthy option. But talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.

Also keep in mind that “fixing” your body doesn’t mean you are “fixing” your life. If you have body image issues they will need to be addressed first.

Learn more about body positivity …

You don’t have to love how you look to accept your body. And accepting your body doesn’t mean giving up or not caring about how you look.

Body positivity is showing yourself some compassion. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, praise what your body does for you. Your legs get you where you need to go. Your arms allow you to hug your family and friends. Your smile brightens other people’s day.

Learn more about self-care …

Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally is important too. Self-love tips can give you ideas on how to show yourself some love. When you do everything for others, you don’t leave time for yourself. We can’t run on empty for long, so set aside some time to make your care a priority.

So the next time you think or say, “I feel fat,” stop for a second, take a few deep breaths, and figure out what is really going on. You can’t solve your problems by focusing on your body’s appearance.

So why is a boudoir photographer writing about feeling fat?

Because many of my clients experience body image issues. They are not confident in how they look, and boudoir photography can help them overcome these feelings.

It doesn’t matter your age, weight or shape, your physical self does not determine your natural beauty. With the correct use of lighting, angles and flattering poses, I help women see themselves through the eyes of others.

A boudoir experience provides a boost in confidence and empowers my clients in their relationships, social life and work environment.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of boudoir, reach out to my studio for a free consultation. There is no obligation, I’d be happy to tell you about our services, answer your questions and see if a boudoir session would be right for you.

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