Everyone utters the dreaded “I feel fat” every now and then. But could your girls be the reason you sometimes feel down on yourself and have a negative body image?
A new study looked at 75 pairs of female BFFs and asked how often the pals chat about things like weight, exercising, weight loss, their appearances, and their relationships with food. Researchers also made a point to check if the gals had a healthy body image overall and what kind of pressures they felt from their friends about their sizes.
It turns out that the more time we spent talking to friends about things like weight, weight loss, or what we wish we looked like, the crappier we feel about ourselves–and the more likely we are to grumble, “I feel fat” later on. The research also indicated that our body image concerns are often mirrored in our friends’ own worries–so if you tell your bestie, “I feel fat,” she may wind up saying it right back to you. That’s no fun!
One of the researchers explained it like this: “Our research demonstrates that friends influence each other through at least three processes: perceived pressure to be thin; body-related talk; and perceptions. Although these perceptions are somewhat grounded in reality, i.e. they are close to the truth, they are more influential than reality.”
What that basically means? The more you guys mope and say “I feel fat,” the fatter you’re both going to feel–even if and when you’re not fat at all. (We think you’re hot, btw.) How do you get around this?
Simple. Instead of saying “I feel fat,” catch yourself and instead just tell your BFF, “You look awesome.” You’ll be deflecting attention off of yourself and making your pal feel amazing–and chances are she’ll return the favor. If you guys start talking about food or dieting, instead of saying how fat you feel, talk about how amazing you felt after your last workout, how beautiful Harry Styles is, or how delish your new red velvet cake recipe is. Because friends are supposed to build one another up and make each other feel better–not feel fat!
How often do you say “I feel fat?” What’s your response when a friend says she feels fat? Do your friends affect your body image? Tell us in the comments!