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11 Empowering Responses for When a Girl Constantly Calls Herself Fat

11 Empowering Responses for When a Girl Constantly Calls Herself Fat

At some point in our lives, many of us have asked, “Do I look fat in this dress or shirt?” But what do we expect to hear? Perhaps answers like “No, you look great,” or “You looked too skinny before, now you look better with a bit of fat.” But do these responses actually make us feel better?
For some young women, calling themselves fat, even when they know they’re not overweight, is a way of seeking validation or reassurance from those around them. It’s like a small confidence boost.
However, what if you hear a girl constantly calling herself fat, or saying things like, “I hate my thighs” or “I don’t even want to look in the mirror.” This may indicate that she’s looking for something deeper than just a small dose of confidence.
If you’re wondering what to say when a girl calls herself fat, chances are you’ve heard her say it more than once or twice, and you may be starting to worry about her mental health. But before giving her advice or judgments, digging deeper into the root of her negative self-image can help you understand how to respond in a more supportive way.

Why a Girl Calls Herself Fat Regardless of Whether It’s True or Not

young lady showing friends new outfit does not fit weight loss
Photo by fizkes on shutterstock

Could societal norms of beauty and social media be contributing to negative self-image among young women? It’s possible.
The pressure to conform to cultural and societal beauty standards, coupled with high exposure to social media, can greatly affect how a young woman sees herself.
Particularly, the idealized posts by Instagram and TikTok “beautiful” influencers can set unrealistic beauty standards that easily distort a young woman’s perception of her own body. The longer she scrolls through these posts, the worse she may feel about herself.
However, if a girl is consistently calling herself fat or ugly and becomes paranoid about her body shape, it could be a result of her personal experiences, for example verbal bullying or teasing by peers, or a sign of a more serious underlying mental health problem, such as body dysmorphia which causes individuals to perceive minor or non-existent flaws in their body.
Whatever the root cause, offering support, guidance and resources about self-love and body positivity can empower her to build up greater self-confidence and improve her overall wellbeing.

How to Respond Thoughtfully When a Girl Calls Herself Fat: The Power of Empathy and Listening

When a girl calls herself fat, instead of dismissing her worries, one of the first things you can do is ask her to share what makes her think negatively about her body image and simply listen.
Allow her to share her thoughts without interruption. For example, you could say,

01“I understand that you’re not feeling happy. Could you tell me more about what led you to feel that way about your body?” 
This can help you understand if there are any serious underlying issues that might be contributing to her negative body image.


Sad crying teen listened by sister on couch
Photo by Pheelings media on shutterstock

If you’ve gone through similar struggles, it can be helpful to share your own experiences. For instance, you could say,

02 “I’ve also wanted to hide my hips and thighs, so I understand how you feel. If you want to talk about it, I’m all ears.” 
Sharing your experiences can help create a bond of understanding and show her that she’s not alone in her journey.

By actively listening to her concerns, you can help her feel heard and supported. From there, you can give specific responses and let her know what you think.

woman feeling fat cannot close jeans
Photo by Nina Buday on shutterstock


What to Say When a Girl Calls Herself Fat: Redirect her focus

Once she has shared what has caused her to call herself fat, it’s important to respond in a supportive and positive way. One effective approach is to shift her focus to more positive aspects of her identity. Instead of focusing on what she lacks, encourage her to focus on what she’s good at by recognizing her skills, talents, and personality traits. For example,

03“I want you to know that your worth is not defined by your weight. Look at Adele, she became a successful singer not because of her weight. You’re beautiful just the way you are.
Actually, I was thinking back to Emma’s birthday party last year and everyone loved listening to you sing. Have you ever thought about taking singing lessons? We can research some great music schools together if you want. Let me ask around and see if anyone knows a good one. Sound good?”
You can remind the young woman who calls herself fat about her talent, and suggest ways to support her to further develop her talent, which can help boost her self-esteem and confidence.


Female Musician Busking Playing Guitar Singing Street
Photo by Monkey Business Ima on shutterstock


04“You’re so much more than just your looks. You’re smart, independent and organized. You’re a natural at organizing events and managing projects! Remember how everyone enjoyed the parties you hosted, like Rachel’s graduation party and last year’s Christmas party at my place?”
This response is to highlight that her worth goes beyond physical looks and encourage her to focus on her strengths. That can help her have a more comprehensive understanding of her self-worth.


multiracial young ladies having fun champagne bed party
Photo by fizkes on shutterstock


05“The people who really care about you don’t judge you based on your appearance. They love you for who you are, inside and out. So, don’t let anyone else bring you down because of your weight, they’re just losers.
And honestly, I think those people who try to criticize your body might just be jealous of you. I think you have a real gift when it comes to flavors and cooking. I love the lasagne you made last time, I really think you should consider entering a cooking competition like Masterchef or starting your own food blog.”
Encouraging her to explore new opportunities with her talent can help boost her confidence and sense of self-worth.


Homemade vegetarian lasagna tomato basil
Photo by Maslova Valentina on shutterstock



What to Say When a Girl Calls Herself Fat: Reshape Her Perspective of Body Image

Social media can be a breeding ground for unrealistic beauty standards and can negatively impact how individuals see their bodies. If a girl calls herself fat, one effective way to respond is to help her reshape her perspective on body image.

06“I know it is tough when we see all these hourglass waists or long legs posts. But, we should remember that looks can be deceiving.
A lot of those posts are heavily filtered and edited, and the people in them don’t necessarily look like that in real life. They’re just like anyone you’d see walking down the street. Those photos are often taken for ads or to grab attention, and they often take hundreds of shots and then edit them to get the perfect one to post.”
You can suggest looking up ‘Instagram versus reality’ posts with her. These posts often have side-by-side images of influencers or celebrities, where one photo is heavily edited and the other shows a more realistic view.


before after weight loss blue two piece
Photo by Kaspars Grinvalds on shutterstock


07“You know, social media can be a place where people only show the best version of themselves. Have you ever noticed how much more common it is to see people with “perfect” body shapes on IG or TikTok than in real life? Beauty comes in many forms, being healthy and confident is one of them.”
Encourage her to take a break from social media, if possible. If she can’t, suggest that she minimizes her exposure to her social media accounts as much as possible. You could also recommend her to unfollow the influencers who post those idealized body media and instead follow some accounts that promote a healthy lifestyle and embrace different body types.


women posing for body positivity and positive lifestyle
Photo by oneinchpunch on shutterstock


Empowering Responses: Help Her Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

When a girl is struggling with negative thoughts about her body image, one of the best ways to support her is to help her find healthy ways to cope.
Engaging in regular exercise can be an excellent way to boost mood and reduce stress. Even something as simple as a daily walk or yoga class can make a big difference.
Encouraging her to focus on nourishing her body with healthy food and to practice gratitude can improve her overall well-being. When she focuses on the things she’s grateful for, rather than her body’s flaws, can help to shift her perspective and boost feelings of positivity and self-worth.
Exploring new hobbies can be an excellent way to boost her self-esteem. By engaging in activities that bring joy and a sense of accomplishment, she can feel more confident and positive about herself and her body.

08“Just because you don’t know what your talent is doesn’t mean you don’t have one. But you know what’s a great way to find out? Trying new things!
How about we try a Pilates class at the gym together? I noticed that you have amazing flexibility – I bet you could do some of those crazy yoga poses too. Wanna bet?”
Shift her focus away from weight and towards appreciation for what her body can do.


women high five working out at gym
Photo by Bojan Milinkov on shutterstock


09“It’s so true that nobody is perfect. No matter what size you are, at the end of the day, what’s most important is being healthy and happy.
But remember, being healthy and happy doesn’t come from fitting into a certain clothing size or having a “perfect” body. If you do want to focus on your health and wellness, though, I’m here to support you.
Maybe we could start by making small changes together, like eating less processed food or going on regular hikes, how does it sound to you?”
By providing support and suggesting positive lifestyle habits, you can help her build a stronger sense of self-worth and improve her overall well-being.


woman hiker enjoy sunset view on mountain peak cliff
Photo by lzf on shutterstock



Seeking Professional Support When Her Negative Body Image Is Becoming a Serious Concern

Mental health professionals can provide talk therapy or other evidence-based treatments to help address negative body image and related mental health issues. They can also administer psychological assessments to diagnose and treat mental health conditions.
Dietitians or eating disorder specialists can assist in developing healthy relationships with food and her bodies.
It’s important to communicate that seeking professional help for body image issues is a sign of strength, not weakness. Asking for help can take courage and can be a vital step towards improving mental health and overall well-being.
If she’s hesitant to seek professional help, you could offer to accompany her or assist with researching a reputable provider.

10“It’s tough to see how much negative body image is affecting your daily life and work. I hate to see you suffer like this.
While I’m not a professional in the fields of diet or psychology, I did some research on reputable psychologists and dietitians in our area.
I know it can be scary to take the first step in seeking help, but talking to a professional counselor can be a crucial part of improving your mental and physical health. Would you like me to show you what I found and help you find a counselor?”
This response can demonstrate your commitment to supporting her in her journey towards improved mental health and overall well-being.


young female doctor consulting overweight woman
Photo by Africa Studio on shutterstock


11“I’m sorry that you’re being publicly teased in class because of your body shape. That’s not right and it’s not fair. But I’m glad that you trusted me enough to share this with me.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the social worker at school, maybe you could consider speaking with a counselor or therapist in town. They can help you work through these challenges and find ways to cope with the situation. You deserve to be treated with respect, no matter your size, and we’re here to support you in any way we can.”
When a girl is experiencing verbal bullying related to her weight, it’s crucial to offer her understanding, support, and resources to help her cope. Seeking help from a social worker or therapist can make a significant difference in her self-esteem and mental health. 


depressed teen girl verbally bullied by peers school
Photo by Creativa Images on shutterstock


Final Thoughts on What to Say When a Girl Calls Herself Fat

Body image issues are a common concern that can affect individuals of all ages and genders, not only the young women. The pressures of societal standards, media influences, and personal experiences can lead to negative self-perceptions and feelings of dissatisfaction with one’s appearance.
When a girl consistently calls herself fat, it’s essential to approach the conversation with empathy and validation. Creating a supportive and safe space for her to express her thoughts and feelings can help foster a sense of trust and understanding.
In addition to listening actively, practical strategies for coping with negative body image thoughts can be helpful. Encouraging her to focus on her unique strengths and qualities, or suggesting physical activities that promote positive body image and overall well-being, can be powerful tools for building her self-confidence and resilience.
If the problem seems to be getting serious or significantly affecting her daily life, seeking professional help may be necessary.