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I am a 38-year-old female and I am overweight (5'3", 210 lbs). I occasionally make remarks about my weight in conversations with friends. I don't do it in a self-deprecating way; I just mention it as a point of fact (e.g. "I am too fat to wear those jeans anymore").

My friends, though, are quick to say "oh, you're not fat" or just change the subject quickly. My friends are both males and females. I'm not "happy" with my weight, but it is what it is and I accept that I value unhealthy food over working out. How can I convey to my friends that I am comfortable with my body image?

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    Are 'those jeans' just a general type of jeans, or a pair of jeans you own and worn before? What kind of reaction would you like to elicit from your friends, when you mention your weight? – Tinkeringbell Dec 7 '18 at 8:43
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    In this case, I am referring to a pair of jeans I own and have worn before. I like your question about the reaction I'd like to elicit from friends; I'd say I just don't want them to feel awkward or like they have to pay me a compliment. Ideally they would just nod and the conversation would move on - the answer below that suggests changing my language and not skipping a beat at the end of what I'm saying is really good to that end. – akling Dec 7 '18 at 11:57
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Background: I have a friend who is fat but confident and happy with her body, and below are what I have found helped myself and others understand that she is happy and has no desire to change.

Overall, the best way for you to convey your comfort with your body image is by your tone and the language you use.

My first recommendation is to avoid the word 'fat'. As confident as you are with owning this word as a descriptor for yourself with no negativity attached, society has used the word fat as a way to shame people. When your friends hear this word, their first reaction is likely to be "But you're not fat!" because it may make them feel like they're doing you injustice or hurting your feelings if they were to agree with you (or not rebuttal).

Instead of saying:

"I'm too fat for these jeans anymore."

Try finding a sentence that says the same thing, minus the word 'fat', such as:

"I don't fit into these jeans anymore."

or

"I don't fit into these jeans since I gained some weight."

My second recommendation would be to not skip a beat after these statements. If you say "I'm too fat to do X" and pause, not only are your friends potentially feeling the need to rebuttal you due to the reason I mentioned above, but it's likely if there is a pause in the conversation that they may also feel obligated to fill in the silence with a response. For example, instead of just one of the sentences above, you could try saying:

"I don't fit into these jeans anymore, but I'm planning on grabbing some new ones here soon!"

This gives your friends an alternative path to continue the conversation, without leaving them in a position that may be awkward or where they feel they need to justify your weight to you.

My third and final recommendation is that if you are confident, always act it. Since weight tends to be a touchy subject in our culture, don't just say you're comfortable - live by it. Use positive, confident body language when you're talking about your weight to let people know you're comfortable. The above examples have focused on how to phrase the limitations of weighing more, but don't forget to admire yourself! Look for ways to compliment yourself for how you look and voice those when they come up, such as:

"I love these jeans, they compliment me well, what do you think?"

It's my opinion that doing the above will help speed up this process of getting your friends as comfortable as you are, but the most important action is to always continue to love and own yourself and your body. Your friends will catch on with time, regardless of what steps you take.

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    Thank you for your response. I never considered the negative connotations with the language I was using. Lots of great responses here, but I think this answer will help me the most. Thank you, and thanks to all who responded. – akling Dec 13 '18 at 12:22
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Just tell them.

Keep it light, keep it brief, and keep in mind that many people, regardless of their own body size, find body issue topics uncomfortable, so don't be too quick to force them to engage too intensely if they seem upset by the discussion-- they may be struggling with their own body image and find 'body talk' upsetting or triggering.

But here's an example:

You: Hm, I'm too fat to wear that style.
Friend: Aww, you're not fat!
You: Fat is just a description, not an insult. I am fat, but I'm still gorgeous!

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    I really appreciate this answer because I never considered the impact my words might be having on friends who could be struggling with their own body images. Thank you for raising this point; it's very important. – akling Dec 13 '18 at 12:28
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Based on the example you provided, the remarks about your weight in conversations with your friends seem to be negative. Your friends seem to be picking up on this which is probably why they want to try to re-assure you that there is nothing wrong or avoid the subject completely.

Rather than saying " I am too fat..." you can say something like:

I don't think those jeans look good on me

or

I'll be buying some better fitting jeans

With these statement you are demonstrating that you accept your current image and rather than attempting to change yourself you are changing your accessories ( the jeans ).

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When you say:

"I'm too fat for these jeans anymore."

You put your friends into a position where they have 3 options.

1) Be polite and deflect your statement by saying "aww, you're not fat".

2) Agree with you, which even if it's true in your eyes, can be considered very rude.

3) Say nothing, which is also quite rude.

Most people would obviously go with option 1.

To still address your weight but not put your friends in that awkward position, you could mention your body image but not make it the main point of your statement.

Ooh, I think I'm too big for these jeans, would you know any great jeans stores?

This way, your friends can continue the conversation naturally but not have to respond to the "I'm too fat".

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As reference, I am 5'8 and 260 pounds. The smallest I've been in my adult life is 180 pounds; I've always been fat.

I've been in this situation before. My answer to this dialogue is:

Me: Oh, I can't shop there, I'm too fat.

Friend: Don't say that! You're not fat, you're beautiful.

Me: Thank you, but I am fat, same as I am a brunette.

Alternatively, if you're feeling a bit more feisty, you could reply (as I have also done at times):

Why can't I be both?

In my experience, people have it so ingrained in their minds that fat people are ugly/lazy/unpleasant, and they either want to stop you talking down on yourself, or they are uncomfortable with confronting the idea that they might be wrong about fat people. I find that, while I sometimes need to correct them a couple of times, they end up backing off pretty quickly when I assert myself. However, as mentioned above, I am a LARGE woman, and I tend to project pretty well and speak with a lot of confidence, which also suggests that this is not a point of debate.

(Also, I would say there's no such things as being too fat for a specific style of pants. Unless they're super low-waisted, which nobody has any business wearing, imo. If it's a specific pair you've outgrown, that's a whole nother ball game. Anyway. Me and my skinny jeans will stop ranting now.)

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First congratulations on the self awareness within the statement "I'm not 'happy' with my weight, but... I value unhealthy food over working out."

Second, your problem is partially that you're following a conversation pattern which many people do, and those people expect to be told that they aren't fat by their friends no matter what their weight. JessK's answer covers how this could be happening if you pause after saying you're fat.

And finally, there are some people (1) that - no matter how you feel - will argue both against "I'm fat" and "I need to lose weight". (Assuming you say them on different days, not one after the other) Give those people some grace :-)


(1) I have people in my life that will tell me I don't need to lose weight even though my doctor says I need to lose X pounds. I haven't found that anything works with this small number of people except to not mention it - because they seem to thing that they're 'saving me' or something. If you identify that you're dealing with one of those people... my advice is to not reference your weight at all around them - you can't fix them, because they think that they are helping you. I cannot even say something like "I need to get into the gym more often" without pushback - even when I say, "It isn't really about my weight I just meant that I need to get in cardio to stay healthy."
If you fix it with most people, the outliers won't bug you as much.

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I'm glad that you are comfortable with your body image. I don't think anybody should feel guilt or shame over how they look, and so-called "body-shaming" is, to me, as bad as any other kind of hateful name-calling about race, gender or otherwise. But there is no escaping the fact that "fat" is a derogatory term. Saying that you are comfortable with your body image and happily use the term to describe yourself in a way that is not self-deprecating is obviously not the same as saying it is okay to use that word to describe someone else. If someone shouted "FAT!" at you in public, you wouldn't think they were paying you a compliment just because you say it about yourself.

When your friends hear you call yourself "fat", they are always going to hear an insult, and their response is always going to be one that tries to make you feel better about yourself because that is what friends do.

Ignoring any known health issues surrounding being overweight due to eating "unhealthy food" and not exercising, as you state is true in your case - if you really want to present yourself as happy with your body image you should perhaps consider using terms other than "fat" to describe yourself. As I am a man I am a little hesitant to suggest terms that a woman may use instead, but perhaps curvy? At least that word (or others like it) describe a natural body shape rather than "fat" which does imply an excess of body fat on top of the frame that nature gave us. If there isn't a substitute word you are comfortable with, just refer to "my body shape".

Also, in your example statement you said:

"I am too fat to wear those jeans anymore"

If you really want people to accept your body shape as being "what it is" then perhaps you should also avoid terms that suggest you are getting progressively fatter, like the word "anymore".

If you just said:

I don't have the body shape for those jeans.

This makes the same statement but without any derogatory connotations or suggestion that your body shape is worsening.

There is an underlying health issue associated with being overweight, which is not the purpose of your question and not the purpose of this site to address. However, I would hope that your friends are not only kind enough to say you're not fat when you say you are, but are also honest friends that would intervene and say something if you were actually damaging your health.

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