Wondering Why We’re Fat?

Things you can tell by looking at a fat person
If you want a graph about fat people, I recommend this one.

Reader Michelle forwarded me a ridiculous graph called “This is Why You’re Fat America” listing the calorie counts for some very rich restaurant foods. I seriously doubt that The Cheesecake Factory is the patient zero from which all American fatness stems.  But this highlights a larger issue.

I have noticed that guessing why fat people are fat has become one of our cultures very favorite pastimes.  I don’t know a single fat person who hasn’t had to deal with people guessing why they are fat. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been told to “eat less and exercise more” by people who can’t possible know how much I eat or how much I exercise.  Or we get told that no matter what we’re doing our bodies make it completely obvious that we must not be doing it right.  We  are not doing enough cardio, we are doing too much cardio, we need to cut down on this food or eat more of that food or natures newest miracle berry blah blah blah.

This goes really badly because we’ve devolved so far from anything resembling scientific method and true healthcare when it comes to fat people that any theory that anybody comes up with becomes instantly actionable.  The mayor of New York thinks that banning extra large sodas will make people less fat, no need for any kind of evidence – just do it.  Michelle Obama wants to make her time as First Lady about focusing on the weight of children even though there are no interventions proven to lead to long-term weight loss in kids? No problem, take your best guess and turn kids into lab rats for 8 years.

I’m not going to go into explanations about why people are a lot of different sizes for a lot for different reasons, nor am I going to go into the fact that after over 50 years of intense study there is not a single intervention that has been shown to lead to long term weight loss, or that there is no study that shows that such weight loss would lead to greater health.  What I’m going to say is that this treatment of fat people is ridiculous.   It’s bad enough when people use their very limited time on Earth to make random guesses about why fat people are fat, but it’s worse when it comes to people who think that these guesses constitute some kind of basis for evidence-based health interventions.  The way that you can identify an evidence-based health intervention is that it is based on evidence, and has something to do with health.  It is not based on somebody’s random guess about why people’s bodies are a certain size and how that size might be manipulated.

If I want someone’s rectal-pull-generated guess about why I’m fat, they will be among the very first to know.   Otherwise,  people are allowed to spend as much of their free time wondering why I look like this, but I don’t give a flying frick. And I will continue to insist that my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness include the right to exist, in a fat body, without being made the subject of a war on people who look like me, which includes a massive society wide game of “why is she fat” and “how can we change her.”

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11 thoughts on “Wondering Why We’re Fat?

  1. Love it! People constantly make assumptions about how much I eat. I usually eat 1500 calories a day (I know because I get physically sick when I eat over 1800 calories). But because of the stress I have to put up with and a few different meds I am on, I just don’t lose weight.

    Thanks for the post, it rang so true.

  2. ll technology is a two edged sword. The extreme discrimination against us is a negative run off which often occurs from new technology and cannot be predicted or prevented.
    I am giving you a theory which basically explains it ALL.It explains why we are the butt of this psychological and physical abuse which often is so hurrendous. Clearly most doctors are only partially an subliminally aware of what they are doing.They certainly are not scientific when dealing with fat people.They try to make their actions
    look scientific but it clearly isn’t, it is barbarism.
    There is hope and a way out of this horror. The overwhelming majority
    of humanity is average looking, whatever that is, and the beautiful people meld into this group as they age.A theory which explains a large group of behaviors so clearly has to be true and correct. The overwhelming mass of humanity that takes part in this discrimnation has to loudly, clearly and as widely as possible be made fully conscious of what is going on.It has to be hammered away in every way possible. When most of the population know and understands
    what is happening, a miracle should happen.They will end it as if by a snap of the fingers zand it will be gone.This Hitlerian abuse will be over.

  3. “Reader Michelle forwarded me a ridiculous graph called “This is Why You’re Fat America” listing the calorie counts for some very rich restaurant foods.”

    Because fat people didn’t exist before these franchises opened, and they still don’t exist anywhere they aren’t available.

    Oh, wait.

    Yeah, it’s kind of pathetic what they’re actually doing is sitting around dreaming up scenarios they think would justify they shitty way they want to treat us. Too bad it’s unjustifiable for any amount of cheesecake, real or imaginary.

  4. The amount of outright shaming in this world is depressing and has caused so many deaths and and so much misery. Why do they care so much about how we look? Why can’t the world just accept us as we are?

    1. Because they are afraid they will become the same people they’ve been making fun of. Toot toot, here comes the karma train!

  5. I’m currently reading Alan Levinovitz’s “The Gluten Lie” and there is a chapter on dietary fat, which leads into the historical medical model of “you are what you eat” which means if you eat fat, you become fat; or you eat a turtle, you become slow and stupid; or you eat a bear, so you become courageous etc. These of course have no basis in fact, but they made sense with the humoral model of medicine for 2000 yrs.

    In the 1700s (and even before) fat people (“corpulence”) were considered a special social evil that showcased what was wrong with the modern world: women were too socially active, too many heresies around, new “scary” or “unknown” technologies (printing press?), the introduction of sugar and its questionable farming methods. All very fascinating, but it proves that there have always been fat people, and medicine has always found us a curiosity. Galen lived during the 120s AD, and he even believed in the “you are what you eat” and “eat less move more” ideas. Not much has changed.

    1. “Galen lived during the 120s AD, and he even believed in the “you are what you eat” and “eat less move more” ideas. Not much has changed.”

      This is the saddest and most frustrating aspect of the War on Obesity. Yes, they’re using the latest technology, reseach, and manpower… but they’re only using it to find new ways to keep fat people consuming and alive on less and less food, basing all their work and all their treatments on these two very outdated premises. This is tantamout to the Orkin Man using cutting-edge technology to clean or destroy the dirty straw your mouse problem spontaneously generated from.

      And just like cleaning or removing dirty straw would wipe out just enough nests to reinforce the belief dirty straw is where mice come from while leaving most homes overrun with rodents, that *tiny little handful* of people who lose weight on current restriction-based methods further convinces the people who push those methods they’re right and the *vast whopping majority* for whom they fail spectacularly must have just done it wrong.

      1. Once upon a time, I said to someone, “Let’s say there’s a teacher, and the teacher’s students take the final exam, and 95% of the students fail. Do you blame the teacher, for not teaching better, or do you blame the students?”

        The reply? “Well, it depends on the students. Some groups…” and went on from there into an argument about a particular group who apparently don’t make good students, and it’s all THEIR fault, regardless of what other factors may be at play in their lives, and it’s not the teacher’s fault, at all, even though a 5% pass rate is really, truly, horribly pathetic in ANY school system. Still the students’ fault.

        In short, people are going to blame who they want to blame, regardless, and once it becomes an emotional argument, logic need not apply.

  6. So, on Saturday, I got a massage. They had this special deal, see, and I sprung for it – A mud-wrap thing before a relaxation massage, with lympho-drainage. Whatever. The thing is, I went in there expecting to come out feeling refreshed, relaxed, and with lovely smooth skin.

    I came out feeling drained, my legs hurt, and I WAS SMALLER! Yes, he mentioned that he could take inches off me, and I said I wasn’t interested in that, because I just bought new clothes. I thought he was trying to sell me on one of his other types of massages, but it turns out that this was the result of the skin-relaxation massage I had already bought.

    Well, great. Now my clothes don’t fit. I’m reduced to wearing one set of button & zip pants, because the elastic-waist pants fall down. Yay.

    So, how long until the body bounces back to my old size, please? I mean, at my weight, going down a size doesn’t put me anywhere near “socially acceptable,” “healthy” or “fit.” It does, however, mean that the clothes I have that fit and looked good, and made me look more put together, and less slobby now are so loose that I look all slobby again, darnit! Also, the too-loose clothes twist and bunch, especially when I’m sleeping, so my once-comfortable pajamas aren’t so comfortable, any more.

    BTW, my skin feels nice and smooth, but I think I could have accomplished that without messing with my size acceptance, and wardrobe budget. I want my old, larger size back, please.

    Also, going down a size or more had absolutely NOTHING to do with being “good” or dieting or exercise, or anything. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it all you “calories in/calories out” crowd! People’s bodies will change shape and size for a wide variety of reasons, and you can’t tell what those reasons are just from looking at them, nor can you know whether the reasons are positive, negative, or neutral, just from seeing how they look in baggy clothes.

    OK, off to read comments, now.

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