Weighing In On Self Esteem

Measuring tape loosely wrapped around fingers
Image credit: photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash.

"Ugh, I look so fat in this outfit!" It’s a phrase we hear more and more frequently these days. It’s not news that individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds suffer from poor body image and low self-esteem. However, young women – particularly those in high school and college – seem to be most affected by what one study refers to as “fat talk.”

“Fat talk” is communication that begins with a statement of one’s displeasure with their body:

  • (ex. “My thighs are HUGE!”)
  • A friend – usually a same-sex friend, and most often female – responds by saying, “No, you’re so skinny! Look at my thigh. They’re like Jello!”

This cycle continues, with one person disparaging themselves, and the other defending their friend, but putting themselves down in the process.

A recent TIME article cites an unsurprising truth: “fat talk” among friends does not make them feel better in the long haul, after all. [You can read the article here.]:

  • As many as 93% of those interviewed engaged in “fat talk,” and many believed that the conversations helped to reduce their insecurity.
  • However, the study found that hearing your skinny friends constantly call themselves fat can be detrimental to your own self esteem.

Young women and girls face a lot of social pressure to be “skinny.” However, the expectations depicted in mass media are often unrealistic.

Many experts believe these expectations can be damaging to the self-esteem of girls growing up with these images.

Girls with low self-esteem often suffer from anxiety or depression, and may develop other issues, such as anorexia, bulimia, and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.


Self-esteem is important for developing a strong and healthy self, and low self-esteem can lead to other issues, such as depression. Working with a qualified psychotherapist can help alleviate these feelings. Contact us today at (516) 221-9494 for more information.

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