5 Ways to Build Your Attitude. Punk.
by: Anne Bradley (Fat Fit Punk)
Living in a world where your body is at best, fought against, and at worst, actively used to harm and humiliate you, is fucking difficult, stressful, and exhausting. . And all of us still have to do it.
There’s tons of places where you can read about building a peaceful, loving relationship with your body, and that’s a worthy, lifelong goal. However, we’re the punk rock types – we love to take our anger and SCREAM at what’s pissing us off.
So today, let’s talk about how to scream at the fatphobic society we live in. No matter what your relationship is like with your body, we can also use a little more anger about the crap we have to deal with…right? So here’s a short guide to developing a “can-do, fuck you” attitude (CDFU) of your very own!
Step 1: Deprogram yourself
Whether we like it or not, we have been programmed to think and act a certain way all our lives; our families, friends, schools, work, cultures, and societies have their own values that we’re soaking in, and it’s a long, hard, twisting road to get out of societal muck. If you’re trying to move through the world with confidence, if you’re trying to improve your relationship with your body, nutrition, and/or exercise, if you’re starting to
understand that how you’ve been living isn’t working very well…congrats! Because now you get to deprogram your brain from the unconscious crud that’s been swirling around you for however long.
You can start deprogramming yourself by:
Reading one of the many books written by activists, scientists, and thinkers within the body positive space.
Training yourself to think “Let me check the evidence” if you see someone advocating for a diet or exercise program. Spoiler alert: the evidence is lacking most of the time.
Don’t participate in diet talk or body hatred with others – especially when you’re feeling pressure, like in a workplace or at a family function.
Curating your Instagram feed – get rid of influencers who sell supplements, ditch the folks who make you feel crappy, and replace them with fat-positive folx, queer folx, BIPOC folx, punk folx, and watch your self-image detach from unhealthy comparisons.
Noticing and calling out fatphobic jokes in your favorite shows and movies, then supporting fat-positive representation.
Focusing on goals outside of weight loss and/or body modification when you’re doing movement.
Make no mistake – this shit is HARD. But it must be done. And the more used to doing
it you get, the easier it becomes.
Step 2: Strengthen your self-talk
Affirmations get a bad rap thanks to decades of self-help gurus misusing the term, but self-talk is highly powerful. It’s been shown to physically change brain structure – in essence, if you tell yourself something often enough, you can make it true. Good news – we can change this shit. Bad news – negative or unhelpful self-talk has a way bigger impact than we knew.
So build up some affirmations that make sense. I’m not talking vanilla “I will love myself today” or “I can do it!” type stuff – after all, this is the CDFU attitude we’re talking about.
What phrases make you feel like the ultimate badass? What do you tell yourself before you jump into the pit? How do you feel after a big lift session? Focus there to start. Here are a few suggestions from my own list of CDFU affirmations:
“What I look like is none of your fucking business.”
“I could win a fight with any of these bros.”
“I am a diehard badass.”
“I know what’s best for my body – fuck you if you think you know better.”
“I’m allowed to be angry no matter what I look like.”
Write ‘em down, say them out loud – repeat 3-5x/daily, and watch your attitude adjust.
Step 3: Arm yourself with information
Though trolls would have you believe this never works, information is priority in your attitude toolbox. It gives you a platform that you can defend. Most societal body garbage comes from prejudice, fatphobia, and long-debunked, poorly designed “studies,” so if you have information on your side, you’re harder to intimidate. Someone comes at you with “calories in, calories out”? You know better. “Ob*sity epidemic?” Absolutely not. “Fat people are unhealthy – don’t you know you’re more likely to…(insert health scare here, e.g. "have a heart attack", "get diabetes", "get cancer", "die sooner", etc) – ha! These folks obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.
Depending on what you’re comfortable doing, it’s up to you whether you want to argue these points with them or not. However, just knowing the science can ground you in the “fuck you” part of the CDFU. Because fuck those ignorant jerks who make assumptions! You ain’t got no time for that!
Step 4: Create a toolbox of tricks
Few things work 100% of the time when we’re working on changing and growing into better versions of ourselves; therefore, we have to develop a deep bench of tools and tricks to maintain our mental security and CDFU in all kinds of situations. When you build your toolbox, it should be varied and reactive to your triggers and
potential areas of harm. Your toolbox is likely different from mine, and that’s the point – it should be individually unique and effective. For example, if I know I tend to spend too much time online when I’m stressed, that’s likely a poor coping mechanism for high stress days.
Again – it feels hokey, but write this stuff down and keep the list. When we’re stressed, we lose the ability to problem-solve as effectively as usual, so having a written list can
stop harmful behaviors before they start. A few examples from my CDFU trick toolbox:
Listen to death metal at top volume
Punch my heavy bag
Watch a punk rock documentary (I highly recommend this)
Scream as loud as possible
Advocate for myself (especially in health care settings)
Distract with a phone game
Step 5: DO IT TO IT
A very good, very old school sales book starts with my favorite phrase for these types of efforts – you can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar (a classic!). Corny, yes, but still true – the only way to put your actions to the test, and to improve, is to actually get out there and DO stuff. We can talk all day about what we want to change and build tons of great plans, but until we actually DO stuff we’re just talking. And no kid has ever learned to ride a bike by just talking through how to theoretically ride a bike.
Stop hiding. Challenge any shame you feel. Speak up when you see something crappy. Check in with your values before you take action.
No one knows your body but you. No one knows your experiences but you. No one can tell you how to move through the world – but they’ll definitely try. So may I suggest getting out the oldest and best punk phrase of all?
“Fuck you. I do what I want.”
Founder, Fat Fit Punk