As you may know, February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month. This year, we are excited to launch a new campaign that offers a fun way to get your community involved and talking about the relationships we have with our bodies and with food. This February, we are asking you to institute a “Fat Talk Swear Jar” in your home, office, school, place of worship- wherever! Any time someone catches themselves partaking in fat talk, they pay into the jar. At the end of the month, the money you’ve gathered can be donated to support our work preventing eating disorders. Besides raising money, we hope this activity will help you shift the conversation.


What is “fat talk”?

“Fat” doesn’t need to be a bad word, even though it can be used that way. Fat can, and should, be a neutral term to refer to the normal make up of bodies and food. “Fat talk”, on the other hand, is a dangerous way we have of saying negative (or even sometimes positive-sounding) things about others’ and our own appearances, bodies, or relationships with food- statements like:

  • I can’t believe I ate that- I’m so bad!
  • Just look at their thighs.
  • I need to lose 10 pounds.
  • You look great! Have you lost weight?
  • I feel so fat.
  • You don’t look strong enough to play that sport.
  • What are they wearing? They do not have the body to pull that off.

Fat talk promotes an (thin/muscular) ideal of beauty that is unattainable for the majority of people. It assigns moral values to foods by referring to them in terms like “good”, “bad”, or “guilt-free”. It encourages behavior that can lead to unhealthy body image, unhealthy relationships with food, and even disordered eating. Research shows that fat talk, body dissatisfaction, and guilt all go hand-in-hand. Research also shows that we partake in fat talk for reassurance, to sympathize, and to fit in.


How does it work?

If you choose to participate in our “Fat Talk Swear Jar” campaign this February, getting started is easy! Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get an empty jar.
  • Go crazy decorating it or, if you prefer, print out this label and tape it on: #fwordjar label
  • Starting February 1st and lasting the whole month, put your jar out in your chosen location (your desk, kitchen table, work break room, etc).
  • Any time someone catches themselves (or is caught by someone) using “fat talk”, they pay into the jar. Suggested donation is $0.25, but this is your jar, and the fee scale is up to you!
  • Don’t forget to share on social media using the hashtag #FwordJar. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr, don’t forget to tag us too! You can share a selfie, like the one above, or just link to this blog post and let your friends know you’re participating.
  • Tag your friends in your post to challenge them to make their own jar too, or, if they don’t make a jar, to make a donation to support our work.
  • At the end of the month gather the money you’ve collected and put it to good use! We suggest donating it to our programs providing education and advocacy to prevent eating disorders.

That’s it! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Julia at julia.birdsall@emilyprogramfoundation.org. Can’t wait to see your posts ?