A recent study by Webb and colleagues (2018) examined the relationship between general negative body comments made in the family context, mindful eating, and body image. They surveyed a diverse group of about 300 undergraduate females and asked them to complete the following measures:
- The Family Fat Talk Questionnaire measures how much fat talk or negative self body talk occurs within the family context.
- The Body Appreciation Scale measures how much one is accepting and respectful of their own bodies.
- The Functional Body Appreciation Scale measures how appreciative one is of all that their body is capable of doing.
- Lastly, the Mindful Eating Questionnaire measures one’s awareness of their food intake, their reasons for eating in the moment, how present they are in the moment while eating, their hunger and fullness cues, and connecting with the sensory aspects of eating.
The following associations were found through this research study:
- More family fat talk was related to less mindful eating, body appreciation, and functional body appreciation
- Engaging in mindful eating was related to better body appreciation and functional body appreciation.
- Family fat talk seems to take away attention from appreciating what the body is capable of doing and disrupts one’s ability to connect with their bodies to eat more mindfully.
While this study focuses specifically on female college students, it might be interesting to take the findings and see what you learn about your own family, body appreciation, and mindful eating habits. Feel free to share this with family and friends to see if everyone might be willing to reduce family fat talk this Thanksgiving holiday. It might help everyone to appreciate their bodies more and eat more mindfully!
Reference: Webb, J.B., Rogers, C.B., Etzel, L., & Padro, M.P. (2018). ‘Mom, quit fat talking – I’m trying to eat (mindfully) here!”: Evaluating a sociocultural model of family fat talk, positive body image, and mindful eating in college women. Appetite, 126, 169-175.
Put It Into Practice
A few simple tips to practice on Thanksgiving Day.. and always!
- Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Look at the scale below and think about where you are as you go through your day.
- As you eat food, pay attention to the taste, flavors, smell, look, and feel of the food you’re eating.
- Appreciate your body in all that it’s doing to help you process and digest food. Practice gratitude for all that your body is capable of doing for you!