I’ve had plenty of thin friends who would call themselves fat or say that they “feel” fat. Like I knew this one girl in eighth grade who looked extremely thin and when we were in gym, she couldn’t run or do the major exercises because it was a pain and difficult to do. She would always complain and say, “I feel fat… like I can’t do it because I’m like a fat person.”
My response was always the same: “But you’re not fat!” And honestly, now that I’m older, I really wish I would’ve added, “You’re just not athletic and that is okay!”
There’s a lot of thin people who suck at gym stuff. That doesn’t mean they’re fat. It just means that they don’t work out because they don’t like working out. There’s no shame in hating exercise!
Now, it’s a different thing when someone thin says, “Ugh… I’m so fat…” because what they’re doing is tearing themselves down when really, they aren’t fat at all. But this kind of mindset can come from anywhere.
For one, they may say this because they want attention. I’ve known girls who would constantly say things like this just to get people to feel bad for them and compliment them. “You’re not fat, you’re so thin!”
But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it comes from a very genuine insecurity. Even if you’re not fat, you can still consider yourself as fat if you compare yourself to others. This can be really damaging because you’re not only insecure, but you can get into an eating disorder and even depression with this thinking. My little sister, for example, is a little chubby—partially because she has a lot of baby fat on her (as her body is still developing into a teenager) and partially because she doesn’t really exercise much and eats some bad foods once in a while. She doesn’t even eat that much, honestly. But she compares herself to her classmates who are stick-thin where you can see their ribs and she feels as though she isn’t thin enough… In this circumstance, the best thing to say is to give them encouraging words and tell them that they aren’t fat and that they don’t need to be like those people.
Another problem with this mindset is that it can come from home. I once had a very thin friend (she was actually a little underweight) and it honestly sounded like she came from an abusive family the way how she had described it. Her family constantly told her that she was fat and that she needed to lose weight, even though she was at a very healthy weight for her age and height. So there were a lot of times when she thought of herself as fat just because the people around her told her that she was. This comes from the idea of: “Tell me I’m beautiful, I won’t believe it. Tell me I’m ugly, I’ll never forget it.” Our brains suck, so a lot of the positive things slip from our heads and all we end up keeping is the negative, toxic thoughts that we’re told and tell ourselves. So if this person thinks they’re fat because people tell them that they’re fat, you need to give them encouraging words and make it clear that they shouldn’t listen to those horrible, toxic people. And if they know of them personally (as if they’re friends or family), then they need to stay away from them.
You can also show her this: