Fat is not a feeling

I seem to have missed all of the fuss about Facebook’s ‘fat’ emoji. I attempted a google something I’d seen a month or so ago and all I found were stories about the fact that—in addition to sharing that we’re feeling sad / angry / happy etc on Facebook—we can share that we feel fat. #meh

Eventually I found what I was looking for and it was this clip from Caroline Rothstein (BuzzFeed).

And logically I realised I had to agree.

Fat is not a feeling.

I’ve talked before about the word itself and the way my (once) adoring niece told me she loved my fat belly. She wasn’t being nasty. She was a toddler. Fat to her was just an adjective–with no positive / negative connotations added for good measure. To her my belly was not-skinny, not-normal, but fat. As if to say, not-green, not-blue, but red.

I was incredibly lucky to recently win a spot in The Unstoppable Program, thanks to Robyna from The Mummy and the Minx. The current six-week program started last week, however as I was still beleaguered by my ear infection I played catch-up on the weekend.

One of our first activities involved us thinking about how we wanted to feel when we woke each morning. (Bizarrely this was ONE DAY after my post about wanting to wake feeling enthusiastic about life!!!!) #Fate #Karma #Kismet #etcetera

I watched the video and listened to the group coaching session and settled myself down with my worksheet to think of words which would describe how I wanted to feel each morning.

Despite everything I have to admit, the first word I thought was ‘not-fat’. My pen stilled centimetres over the printed page.

Fat is not a feeling. Therefore, not-fat is not a feeling.

I reminded myself.

So I had to dig deeper. As Caroline did in the clip above.

I’ve talked before about wanting to lose weight for less-aesthetic reasons than when I was younger. I’m tired of struggling to get off the couch and feeling uncomfortable in certain clothes and settings. I’m tired of worrying if I’ll fit into a seat and I’m really tired of wondering what people think of me—solely based on my size and appearance.

But… I needed to find the words for my worksheet. I had to ask myself how all of these things made me feel and then aim for the opposite.

The exercise involved us brainstorming a heap of words and then slowly culling to come up with 3-5 desired core feelings. There’s a bit of overlap, but they are:

core desired feelings

The next step involves us considering what we do and don’t do to contribute to achieving these desired feelings. I’m reminded of a conversation I had long ago with life coach Karen Anderson about goal-setting and the struggle some of us have with the pass / fail process, and her suggestion that I focus on how I want to feel rather than what I want to achieve.

So, I’m kinda excited to see where this might take me. And I might eventually share the two strategies I’ve identified to help me feel the way I want to.

How do you want to feel when you wake in the morning? 

Belatedly linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT


  1. Wow Deb – that video is powerful! What am amazing girl to overcome so many adversities and get to the core of the problem She is amazing. I wake every morning feeling fat and hating my body. What she says makes so much sense doesn’t it. I think I’m going to have to listen to that video a few more times. I want what she says to sink in. I think it’s so great! 🙂

    • I couldn’t relate to some of the stuff she talked about but I still found the clip really striking. I saw it a while ago and had pondered on it from time to time since!

  2. Great post Deb. I will pop back and watch the video when I’m on the computer. I wake up each morning hating my body at the moment and while a lot of it is thyroid and med related and out of my control, I can control how I think and feel.

  3. How I want to feel in the morning is similar to your desires. Especially enthusiasm, because for a while now I have been dreading getting out of bed due to the pain in my feet. I can’t do a whole lot about the pain at the moment as it’s a muscular issue but I am getting more active so that my weight doesn’t exacerbate the issue.

  4. I just read a FB post about how to be happy when you wake up doing the rounds and it was the same old stuff… you know, smile, say thank you for what you have etc. To me the only thing that gets me going is if I have something different to look forward to. A new goal, a meeting, an anticipated lunch. I’m going to have to start planning things because I’m finding it difficult to get out of bed in an agreeable mood lately too Deb.

    • Usually it’s vanilla diet coke that gets me up in the morning. I lie there in denial and remember the cold fresh black stuff awaiting me and that’s enough. Usually. Well… sometimes! 😉

  5. ‘Luminous’ – love that! When my kids were younger, they used to be just the right height to press their lovely little faces on the bulgy bit above the waistband of my shorts. It looked very comfortable and I didn’t begrudge them this 🙂

  6. It’s just before 5:00am and I’m not feeling any of the words on your list.I’d love to feel luminous though – it’s dark outside and that’s where I’m headed.But I know in about an hour I’ll feel pumped and exhilarated and that’s why I’m up now.

  7. HI Deborah, I agree with you re the video. Striking. I know it will stay with me for some time.
    How do I want to feel when I wake up in the morning? Happy. Excited. Enthusiastic about taking my dog for a walk. Looking forward to the day.
    How do I feel most mornings? Tired. Blah. That all-consuming ‘Is it morning already?’ feeling.
    Thankfully, about an hour after I have been awake, the positive vibes kick in. No doubt thanks to coffee! xx

    • Yay for caffeine! And I agree – it’d be nice to look forward to the day ahead. I’ve had more of those days since I finished full-time work, but need to find those feelings more often!


  8. I was surprised how many DID NOT AGREE with my stance of not liking the FAT FEELING when it was initially posted (preyanking it from the choice options).
    Im usually the latter never the former.

    • Yes, excited, enthusiastic and energetic were biggies for me Carla.

      Not using fat as a feeling does make us think more about how we feel. I’m prone to say I feel fat or porky etc… In reality I always actually am (definition-wise) but guess sometimes I feel full and uncomfortable if I’ve overeaten, or bloated at that time of the month etc…

  9. Sounds like a fantastic program you’re doing. I’d love to hear more about it. I’d like to wake up in the morning feeling like I’ve actually had a sleep. I want to feel rejuvenated and excited about the day 🙂

    • I’ll do some more posts over the next few weeks…. but am struggling with this week’s homeplay (as opposed to homework). We’re talking about things we want to STOP and START doing. I’m okay with the stopping but stuck on the starting!


  10. The program you are doing sounds really interesting. I love how even though you say you like to wallow you are actually quite proactive in helping yourself! And trying new things! I would like wake up feeling more organised! That is probably not a feeling. Everyday I feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done to get out of the house!

    • I can relate to those feelings Jess… I think the opposite (for me) involve a combo of: enthusiastic, energised and optimistic – which are in my ‘core desired feelings’ list. ie. I CAN and WILL do this!

      The optimism thing is a biggie for me as I tend to be naturally pessimistic / cynical / negative. Feeling positive or optimistic is something I’d really like to experience more of.

  11. That is a fantastic video… Really powerful, thanks for digging it out and sharing it.

    I love the words you’ve chosen and the process.

    And for the record, I adore you and so does Pickle.


  12. I don’t bother with FB any more, so missed the whole “feeling fat” thing.
    When I wake up in the morning, it’s all go, so I’m kind of on auto pilot. Once everyone’s fed and getting stuff done, I can think about how I feel. I have to say, a couple more hours sleep each morning would go a long way.
    This sounds like an interesting program, Deb. I hope your ear’s on the mend x

  13. What a great way to look at it! I’m very much a pass/fail type person too, so I can understand how a feeling might be better than an achievement.
    I’m really interested to hear how you go from here Deb. It sounds fun. 🙂

  14. Chiming in late Deb – must have missed this last week. Sounds like a great course and what a powerful video from Caroline – and a powerful message in your post. I love with yoga how we set an intention at the start of the class about how we want to feel – sometimes I think strong, or balanced, or focused – it is not that I have to ‘nail’ a particular posture but just an overall way to feel. And feeling stronger, fitter, more energetic is a great focus for you that doesn’t put the emphasis on weight/ losing kilograms as an achievement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s