When You’ve Got That Ugly Fat Feeling

Written by Karen Schenk

faith_fatfeelingRead Karen’s story: The Perfect Anorexic.
Read Mary’s story of facing her food addiction.

Have you ever stood in front of your closet and just felt fat?  Me too. I am learning five ways that I can fight the feeling and make my closet — and my body — my friend.

One of the most everyday things in my life can be the very thing that causes me the most frustration—shopping for clothes or even selecting them out of my closet! Finding something to wear can take me on an emotional rollercoaster. Some clothes are flattering, some promise to be forgiving and others are just not. The worst outfits are those that scream, “YOU ARE FAT!”

An ambush waiting in the closet

It’s often unpredictable when those mean thoughts strike. They sometimes start as a whispering accusation. You are so big. How did you let yourself get like this? And before I know it they turn into You are going to be so huge and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Next, the thoughts escalate to a prophetic-like cursing, and about that time my structured mind begins to come up with some strategic plans.

I start thinking that a new diet, a work-out plan and even some techniques that I know full well I shouldn’t even think about were the answer to my unhappiness. In the past, this disheartening thought process is something that I often allowed to hinder me.  As I discovered how incredibly debilitating those thoughts were, I began to look for ways to rise above them. I realized that what I was often doing was trying to work my way out of the despair once I was deeply into it.

Sometimes, fat is just a feeling

As I thought about I realized something interesting, I wasn’t feeling fat on a certain day because I had suddenly gained weight over night, there was something else that was bothering me.  I wasn’t seeing myself as I really was.  If I could get to the root of the real problem I knew I would feel better.

Changing your thinking is not as easy thing to do, but the time to conquer the fear of fat is when the very first thought strikes!  Take a moment to deal with what are you are feeling.

  • Admit that you are feeling fat. Regardless of what you weigh, the despair you are feeling begins in your mind and that is where you need to begin. Acknowledge how you are feeling, but don’t nurse those thoughts for very long.  By admitting to yourself what you are feeling you give yourself the chance to deal with it.
  • Ask yourself clarifying questions to discover what you are struggling with. When we feel out of control or stressed, we often internalize it and begin to feel unattractive. Ask yourself, “What is really bothering me?” As you reflect on that, you will realize that your “fat feelings” are often internalized frustrations about something entirely different. Are there other sources of stress bothering you? Did someone say something hurtful? Ask yourself where you are in your cycle; it could well be that you are feeling low for a very good reason.
  • Take your thoughts captive. You may have so many thoughts running through your mind so that you no longer know what is true and right. You may even have thoughts that contradict each other. Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and write “Truth” as the heading of one column and “Lies” as the heading on the other. Then begin to write.In the Truth column, write out those things you know to be facts.   What aspects of yourself are you most pleased with?  Even if you are not the size you’d like to be, what is your best feature? What you weigh does not determine who you are.  What do your friends say about you?  Write it down.  Then in the Lies column write the things that sometimes believe are true things like “I’m not worth it” (you are).As you write out the many points, you will be amazed at the contradicting messages that are in your mind. Each time you have a thought that you know to be negative, add it to your journal. Then begin to pray that you would learn to believe only the items in the Truth column. In the early days of using this method, you will probably do a lot of writing and sorting of your thoughts. Once you become used to labeling your thoughts as truth or lies and then taking your thoughts captive, you will be able to do this without paper. It can become a way of thinking and renewing your mind – every thought, every day! There is huge freedom in this.
  • Move forward on what you know to be true—not what you feel. There are times to ignore your feelings. If you are feeling afraid of being fat or possibly feel that you are fat and unacceptable because of that, do something that is the opposite of what you feel. Call a friend and do something meaningful for them. Instead of internalizing your feelings, the key here is to take a negative self-destructive thought pattern and reach out to encourage someone else. Don’t engage in crash diets or binge eating because you think you are already too overweight. Make the effort to eat healthy and take care of your body; remember that you are worth it. Tip: Take a card and write on it “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a).
  • Make the effort. On the days you feel particularly unattractive, wear something that you know you look good in. Take extra effort to do your hair and makeup in a special way.  Remember that a huge part of how we feel about the way we look is in our heads and hearts, not our hips.  Promise to be kind to yourself.  There are a lot of voices in our society telling us that we have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable.  Make sure that your own voice isn’t one of them.  You are worth, and there’s no one in the world beautiful in quite exactly the way that you are.

I spent many years of my life agonizing over my weight, feeling like no one could love me because I was too overweight. I’m a recovered anorexic and have learned the secret of taking each thought captive. I discovered how distorted the “fat feelings” really were when I realized that at 82 pounds, I had felt much larger than I did when I was 9 months pregnant.  Freedom is a choice; you may need help to retrain your thinking, but it is possible – one thought at a time!

Have you ever felt like losing five pounds? I have . . . and it turned out to be the beginning of a 10 year diet which nearly killed me.  During stressful times, I still resorted to my dieting habit. It wasn’t until I became pregnant two years later and had to face the terror of gaining weight–and the reality that it actually does come off again–that I felt truly free and healed.

I enjoy the freedom I now experience in knowing true love isn’t earned by having a perfect body and a perfectly organized life. While I used to think that love equals thinness, I now know that true love and security come from a relationship with God.

Today Christ fills the void in my life which I strived for so long to fill on my own. His love and acceptance meets my needs and gives me strength.  I know that God loves me, exactly as I am, even on the days when I’m feeling fat.

Take a look at your life.  How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times.  There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget.  In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new.  What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope
If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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23 Responses to “When You’ve Got That Ugly Fat Feeling”

  • Sharon says:

    to Girl thank you for your comment you are totally right we have to live with ourselves so we have to love ourselves and we shouldn’t care on what people think. good article thank you for posting this

  • Girl says:

    I’m already trying to change the way I see everything. Feeling better and confident makes us look best. We shouldn’t care about what others think of us. All that matters is that how we feel. And when we accept ourselves and feel good about it that’s when our lives change and we remain happy and good things happen with us.

  • Girl says:

    Thankyou so much Aldo. I’ll try to have a positive outlook towards life.

  • Aldo says:

    Girl, God does not see heavy, light, fat, skinny, ugly, beautiful, short, tall, smart, dumb, brave, or coward. What He does see, and is interested in, is the heart. If you have a heart after God, you can be the most disliked person on earth, and still merit the love of God shown in His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about at the end of each of our lives?

  • Girl says:

    I’m 17 years old. I feel really awful these days. I’m fat and I try exercising but I have a craving for food I don’t know how to stop it. I look awful in pictures and my friends make fun of me which makes everything really worse. My life is terrible now as I have to study a lot too. I don’t know how to manage everything. Please help me out.

  • CarolineD. says:

    I think more than feeling fat is the perception in our minds of what beauty is. Women world wide have adopted a very distorted perception about what beautiful and “nice” body should look like. All thanks to social media which is very messed up. But thank you for your article is a great read and a must read.

  • Aldo says:

    Kaylee, dieting is good only if you need to lose the weight, which will be suggested to you by your physician. On the other hand, eating the proper foods and exercising can be beneficial to you.

    Also, reading your Bible daily, and getting involved with serving others can be the answer to your “low self-esteem.”

    Give it a try. You’ll be surprised!

  • Kaylee says:

    I feel ugly and fat all the time even though people tell me im not. I know God and have a relationship with him an all that but still, i keep thinking im ugly, and believing that i truly am now. Im thinking about like, going on a really strict diet. help.

  • Aldo says:

    Veronica, I am happy that you enjoyed the article, and that it helped you to see yourself as you really are. But, what I really got excited about is that you agreed that you need to have a personal relationship with God.

    Veronica, the end of the article explains how you can have that relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. I have included it here. Just say the prayer and mean it.

    “You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:”

    “Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.”

  • Veronica Baker says:

    This article really helped me. I do look at the younger youth and think man I use to look like that and why can’t I look like that. I’m approaching 50 now and I have been struggling for the past few years making false promises to myself that I’m going to lose weight and instead I’m steadily gaining. I know I need to have a personal relationship with God. Thank you for writing this article.

  • Elkay says:

    Yvonne, I am sorry that you hate where you are just now but and very glad this article motivated you make some changes. The author made a life-changing breakthrough when she realized that true love and security come from a relationship with God.

    Kevin DeYoung nailed it when he said, “We live in a world obsessed with superficial beauty. Whether it’s on cable news or on the Weather Channel, the world expects a certain look. The message is that you’re not good if you’re good-looking. And so all of us – from ten-year olds in makeup, to college students in ironic hipster garb, to stay-at-home moms on another diet, to middle-aged dads getting reacquainted with the gym, to aging Boomers on Botox – we’re all interested in beauty. But what is true beauty?”

    Well, the author’s new-found relationship with God, that is to say, “we have peace with God”, is made possible by faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1) and His sacrificial death on our behalf (Rom 5:10). It does not stop there though because we still want to know what true beauty looks like, not what size clothes we wear.

    Well, true beauty is found in the person of Jesus Christ and 2 Cor 3:16-18 basically tells us that whenever someone turns to the Lord, they reflect the glory of the Lord and the Holy Spirit slowly changes them into His glorious image.

    So if our desire is to be beautifully glorious in the eyes of God, our focus changes from our outward appearance to how yielded we are to the Spirit and how this is pleasing to God.” “Since we are receiving an eternal life in God’s eternal Kingdom that, let us be please God by worshiping Him in awe of His greatness.” (Heb 12:28, NLT, para)

  • Yvonne says:

    Thank you for this site. I’m so glad I found it..I was feeling horrible about myself. I really hate where I’m at in life right now but this site motivated me to do something about it?

  • Tom Tom says:

    Linda–
    Thank you for your open and honest comments. You are not alone, of course, as many people do not believe in God.

    However, if there is a God who created all of us, then he did so out of love for us. That would also mean he loves us unconditionally, whether we’re fat or slim, smart or dumb, good looking or ugly. Therefore, no matter what “shape” we’re in, we can know that God is someone we can talk with because he loves us regardless of our looks. The Bible says we are made (spiritually) in God’s own image. That makes us very special.

    May I ask Linda why you do not believe in God?

  • linda says:

    disgusting, not everybody believe in god, I don’t, i thought this was an actual helpful post to give advice to anyone but as I continued reading the ‘praying to jesus’ thing got me in surprise, sorry but i don’t share the same opinions as I think that the fat feeling is mostly a feel you grow when you lack of confident and talking to ‘god’ is not the answer, the answer is believe in anyone but yourself.

  • Aldo says:

    Marissa, as you may well have heard many times, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” You may think that in reality you look fortyish, but to others you may look to be 18 to 20 years old. No matter, God loves you as you are and sees your attempt to stay trim. Just don’t let it become a deterrent to your relationship with Him through pride and covetousness. May God help you in this area. Amen.

  • Marissa says:

    Make the effort to eat healthy and take care of your body; remember that you are worth it. Tip:Take a card and write on it “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a).

    That paragraph alone brought me to my senses. I am 5’5″, 120 lbs and I have been trying to go down to 110 lbs. Why?, because this article just gave me the answer…coveting. I am trying to recapture my youth, if you will.
    I look at the 18 and 20 something year old’s and I am trying to look like them, when the truth is that I am a forty something year old.
    Pride and vanity is my down fall. I praise Almighty God for inspiring you to write that article in the name of His Most PRECIOUS Son Jesus Christ, thank you.
    I had stepped on the scale after a Weight Watchers meeting and I expected to see 115 lbs but instead it read 126 lbs. I became furious even though I live on air and drink water, exercise and my weight went up?…I was angry and then I became depressed but then God led me to this article.
    Thank you.

  • Elkay says:

    Carla, thank you for your comment that I totally agree with. Karen said two very important things that are key: first everyone can have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ; and second, “I wasn’t seeing myself as I really was..”

    The “amazing grace of God” is to “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1) and then “Because we are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'” (Gal. 4:6).

    In other words, when Karen saw herself as she really was, she saw herself, not as an overweight person, but as an adopted daughter of her “Abba Father!” And what a beautiful way to think! God is our “Father in heaven” (Matt. 6;9). He knows all about us. He cares for us with parental love and delights to give good things to His children (Matt. 7:11). Praise Him!

  • Carla says:

    What a wonderful and sincere testimony!
    Glory to Jesus our saviour! Thank you Jesus!!
    God bless you Karen and your family

    Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

  • Hannah fager says:

    This articule has helped me a lot even thought i know why i feel fat

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Lovisa, I am so glad this article was helpful for you. It is amazing to see how God directs us in our lives. Solomon was right when he wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5)

    Lord God I pray for Lovisa and ask that You give her a proper understanding of who she is; not based on what the culture around says or the insecurities she has but based on who You say she is. Thank You that she does not have to face this battle on her on but that You will fight for her. Help her to look to You for her strength, her choices, and her health. Bring people around her who will point her attention back to You and give godly advice. Heal her from the lies that control her self-image and set her free. Amen.

    Lovisa, let me invite you to connect with one of our mentors. They are safe people who listen well and will be a friend, helping you to explore God’s leading in your life. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor and a mentor will contact you soon by email.

  • Lovisa says:

    i have been struggling with anorexia for almost two years now. tonight I had a really bad time feeling fat, huge and bloated. I decided to google “what to do when feeling ugly and fat” and found this website.
    as I was reading I suddenly realized that this is a christian website and I started to cry. I am a christian myself and I really believe God displayed this website to me. thank you for being honest and writing the truth.

  • Karen says:

    It really amazes me how many people struggle with this very real feeling. It can cause us to withdraw into ourselves when we feel that way. I do appreciate your words of encouragement.

  • Jess says:

    Thank you to Karen Schenk, after reading article
    “When You’ve Got That Ugly Fat Feeling”, it was very inspiring.

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