Ever find yourself wondering what to do when you feel fat? You’re not alone. It’s safe to say that every woman has had the experience of getting dressed and thinking, “I feel fat.” But here’s the thing: Feeling fat has nothing to do with the number on the scale; it’s a mind trap that can happen to people of any size. Rather than wallowing in the negativity, it’s time to build a game plan for what to do if you feel fat.
What to Do When You Feel Fat
Breaking out of the funk of feeling fat and depressed starts with shifting your mindset. Adopting an affirming perspective about your body isn’t easy, but it can help you feel better.
“Spend time appreciating your body. Redirect your focus from negative thoughts about your body to more positive ones. Focus on what makes you happy about your body,” says Angel M. Hoodye, MS, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Flourishing Hope Counseling.
1. Be your own friend.
Not sure where to start? Try thinking about what you might say to a friend when she feels less than her best — then express those sentiments to yourself.
“It’s really easy to be a support to others, but sometimes you’re the one in need of encouragement. Say positive, loving messages to yourself. Take it one step further and post those messages on your mirror or right by your door to see before you leave,” she says.
2. Step away from the scale.
When it comes to what to do when you feel fat after eating, stepping on the scale is an absolute no-no. Weighing yourself will only make you feel worse, said Suzanne Dixon, a registered dietitian with the Mesothelioma Center.
“The scale is not your friend on most days, and even less so when you're feeling fat. Researchers have found that for people preoccupied with appearance, self-weighing is linked with more unhealthy weight control behaviors, more frequent binge eating episodes, and lower self-esteem,” she said.
Hiding your scale under the bed or in a closet can be another thing to add to your list of options for what to do if you feel bloated and fat. When it’s out of sight, you’re less likely to weigh yourself on a bad day.
3. Wear clothes that feel comfortable.
Figuring out what to wear when you feel fat can be a struggle. Pay attention to the cuts, styles, and materials that feel best on your body.
“Put on clothing that is more comfortable. Let go of the worry about the size of the garments and focus on the fit. Remember that you are so much more than a number in your skirt or pants,” says Hoodye.
Another tip for what do when you feel fat in your clothes is choosing meaningful garments from your closet. Perhaps you have a beautiful sweater that your mom used to wear, or a scarf that your daughter knit for your birthday. Fat days are the perfect time to wear those special items — they’ll remind you that life is about more than your appearance.
4. Take a walk.
Getting some exercise is exactly what to do when you feel fat and gross. You don’t need to have a marathon session on the treadmill — just a brisk walk can be enough to improve your mood.
“You'll be moving your body, which will make you feel better about yourself and your health,” said Dixon. “Remember, even if your body isn't perfect, it still does an awful lot for you.”
What if you're wondering what to do when you’re feeling fat and sad too? Take a stroll in nature. It’s a one-two punch when it comes to boosting your physical and mental health. “Greenery itself is a mood-booster. Studies show that being in green spaces — with trees, grass, parks, and woods — improves wellbeing and mental health,” she said.
Even if you don’t have a forest nearby, simply spending time in a local park can give you a much-needed dose of nature therapy.
5. Do a mini makeover.
Sometimes, our negative self-image can extend beyond the size of our body and into our entire appearance. When asked what to do when you feel fat and ugly, Hoodye suggested giving yourself a mini makeover.
“Dress up, do your makeup, or style your hair. Instead of focusing on how displeased you are with your body, redirect your attitude by doing something to emphasize your beauty. Turn your dissatisfaction into delight,” she said.
Fat days are the best time to break out your favorite tube of lipstick, splurge on a blow-out, or get a manicure. A little bit of self-care can go a long way toward an emotional uplift.
How to Stop Feeling Fat: A Reminder
Loathing your reflection in the mirror is not just frustrating; it can be damaging in the long run.
“Unless you're one of the few people who needs to gain weight for health reasons, chances are, you're at least somewhat interested in maintaining a specific body weight,” said Dixon. “Yet, research shows that the more self-loathing, ‘fat days’ you have, the less likely you are to succeed with weight loss or maintenance and adopting a healthy lifestyle.”
So what’s a therapist’s advice for what to do when you feel fat, but you're not? “Stop the negative self-talk,” she said. “Instead, create a mantra, like, ‘My body size is not my worth.’ Bring yourself back to it whenever the negativity pops up. Some people even put a rubber band on their wrist and give it a very gentle snap to break the negative self talk.”
Reminding yourself about the value you bring to the world with your mind, heart, and spirit is one of the best things to do when you feel fat. Fat days are no fun, but they’re fleeting. Finding self-acceptance is a lifelong endeavor that will help you become your happiest, healthiest version of you.
This article was written by Joni Sweet.