T Nation

Fat Shaming: Truth or Feelings?


#1

Found this article from HuffPost and it made me think, it is simply an Opinion piece, but I catch myself thinking it is preventable/curable and I genuinely don’t know…I do dislike the fact that people can openly ‘fitness’ shame but ‘fat’ shaming (which is what I did to my damn self, hung a picture of me at my fattest up on the bathroom mirror for years to motivate myself).
Just ran across it and thought this would make for good conversation.

Your thoughts?
Your feelings?
How do you feel about doctors ‘prescribing’ healthy habits and fitness regimens?


#2

Admittedly, I only got a few paragraphs in, but he sounds like a fruit cake.


#3

I’ve literally never heard of this…

Depends on the circumstances. I wouldn’t openly and directly “fat shame” a stranger for no reason and ,depending on the context or person, if asked directly about weight I’d either, what one would call, fat shame that fatty fat fat OR politely, respectfully and directly convey my observation…

Fat people are fucking gross, undisciplined pukes who ought to be fat shamed at every corner. Disgusting people with no self-respect…


#4

An openly negative interaction where someone gives you shit for choosing to eat healthy while out, or choosing not to drink excessively due to your fitness goals. I’ve definitely seen it, maybe ‘fitness shaming’ is a strong descriptor, but the office interactions where someone is peer pressured into eating cake or donuts because other people feel bad about themselves? Definitely seen that.


#5

This is real…

since so many people are either not fitness centered, or just lazy, 80% of the people that i am around are obese. I have noticed that i am either not included in their conversations, or excluded purposley. My wife is thin, and she gets the same treatment from her group.
The only thing that we can think that it is, is that by us being in good shape, it shames them.
Even though we do nothing outward to encourage it.

weird, no?


#6

People shouldn’t be fit if they don’t want to be. We have an immense amount of freedom in an absurd world with an existence with no purpose where we all die in the end, and eventually the sun will explode. If people wanna be hedonists rather than ascetics or nihilists, more power to them. No one should stop them.

HOWEVER, our freedom to act co-exists with everyone else’s freedom to judge. To only allow the exercise of one and not the other is tyranny, on BOTH sides.

As much as a favorable judgement is appreciated when received, a judgement coerced by the will of others is meaningless and an affront to freedom.

Counter-counter point: misanthropy permits one to exists within humanity with zero concerns for its judgements.


#7

Its an emotional disorder. My wife is pretty heavy now, and any time we discuss doing things differently it turns into a big emotional explosion of lies and rationalizations for her behavior and for refusing to do something about it.

It seems based in feeling badly about yourself and not carrying enough or feeling worthy of being healthy. At least what I know of it.


#8

Fat girls do way more stuff, so…


#9

If you fat-shame someone, dont feel that you have automatically opened yourself up to be a victim of shame-shaming. No one has the right to begin juding your choices and your actions because they want to live their life differently to yours. You have a duty to yourself and your fellow shamers to call this behaviour out and stamp it out.

I recommend the following template response to any shame-shaming: “How dare you shame-shame me? This is really a disgusting practice that I don’t deserve to be exposed to it”. I then recommend upping the hysteria and linking to the Nazis or Hilter. After all, what were Aryans if not really targetted shame-shamers.

Like crazy must br fought with crazy, stupid must be fought with stupid.


#10

May just be the afternoon speaking, but I got a hella hearty chuckle out of this. Off topic is so much better than Zep sometimes.

Edit: Not calling you Zep. But he’s the only real funny stuff we get in PWI most days


#11

I have gotten weird looks only from fat people when I turn down sweets - and let’s face it, their opinions matter as much as a sponge to me so …

I have had to sternly say no to people when turning down a drink though. I don’t consider it “fit shaming” as much as just drunk peer pressure …


#12

My wife was heavy as a little girl and hated every second of it. Her parents had no idea about nutrition of any kind. Her sister taught her how to avoid sweets/soda and get active after their mom died at 11yo and she was a size 4 when I met her.

Every time she sees a heavy little girl she gets irrationally angry at the parents, and the little girl.

Also if she gains 5lbs it’s straight up defcon 5 around here until it comes off. I wouldn’t even share this article with her because she’d write something nasty to the author about how she’s enabling parents to abuse children by getting them fat.

My own opinion: obesity is correlated with every single lifestyle disease. Fat people get more heart disease, high BP, diabetes, cancer, arthritis etc… telling fat people to accept their “disease” is doing them a major disservice.

I don’t think obesity is a disease or incurable. If I lock you in a cell and feed you through a hole in the door you won’t be obese eventually. That doesn’t work with cancer or HIV.

That 17% metabolic adaptation from dieting, man I guess all those natural drug tested bodybuilders just eat a minimum of 18% calories below maintenance. Amazing how they can control their bodyfat levels, by adjusting food intake and activity. It’s like magic.

For the “fitness shaming” thing, people just mock anyone who doesn’t go along with the norm. It’s tribalism, no big deal.

When I worked at one office building it was a running joke when I’d eat a can of tuna for lunch, or an entire rotisserie chicken. But then I’d refuse a donut, lord almighty they’d roll their eyes. Had a fat lady who’d stop at my cube multiple times to tell me the home made meat/starch/veggie lunch I was eating was unhealthy. Whenever the vending machine needed shaking people would legit come find me because I could OHP into the top of it at an angle (picking the front feet off the floor) and then drop it.

@despade fit people get more raises, have lower healthcare costs, live longer, have more life satisfaction etc… so don’t worry if the plebs don’t like you.


#13

I actually find these two concepts worth exploring. People will bring up the burden on society that obesity brings, because obese people fall victim to preventable diseases and medical care goes into it to cure them, etc etc… but what about people who just simply live forever and require medical care to remain that way? People who took care of themselves in their youth and lived modest lives of healthy moderation and continue into their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s…not contributing at all during that time, and simply being a drain on resources, hospital rooms, medical care, etc etc.

It’s an incredibly unpleasant thing to think about, because no one wants to see grandma go, and no one wants to think of themselves as a burden on society, but I find it’s an interesting paradigm that we see obese people and go “get healthy so that I can quit paying for your medical bills!” but rarely is it said to the elderly "hurry up and expire so that I can quit paying for your medical bills!’

The poli-sci guy in me thinks it’d be interesting to see who actually racks up the most bills collectively in a society. You may pay more initially for those dying early from obesity, but it’s not a long slow drain compared to if they lasted another 40-50 years.


#14

How do you deal with that? I’m not married but I can’t imagine myself being able to respect someone like that. Of course I’m sure you and I have different personalities, and I know I would end up making things worse. Basically asking for advice here in case it ever happens to me in the future.


#15

I guess it depends on the definition. I consider it more of a symptom of inner turmoil or psychological state with the exception of some unusual medical conditions. With the person in the cell they may not be obese when they get out, but they will be in 6 mos. because the root cause hasn’t been addressed. I think telling obese people to accept their current state a is a disservice too, just as it would be to tell someone with a substance abuse problem that they should keep drinking or using their drug of choice.

On the other hand acceptance that this is the current state and that it can change can be very helpful. It’s no coincidence though, because my hammer is a 12 step program, and that affects the way I identify and treat nails. Also, just anecdotal, but when my wife was involved with the same program ( for different reasons) and experiencing life in a way that was generally better, her weight was in check, activity levels were higher, food choices better, etc.

That’s an interesting one. I’ve never experienced this. Especially when I was in peak condition, but at the same time, I Never turned down food under any circumstance. I even became the donut/cookie disposal among my circles of friends. People would even comment about it like “Left overs? Give them to him. He’ll just burn them for fuel.”.


#16

I think that’s part of the problem. Our medical science can keep people alive allot longer now, even if they’re huge. Imagine that 370kg person @Yogi1 mentioned. In 1900… even 1950 he probably wouldn’t have made it to 26 years old.

I would love to read that study also. For the purposes of this discussion though I was approaching it from an individual level. A healthy weight “you” will always have better outcomes than an obese “you” all other things being equal. You’re giving yourself the best quality of life your genes will let you have.

There’s an 83 year old guy that used to work here who still teaches skiing lessons all winter and rides trail bikes every weekend. Guy has a 32 inch waist. He just stopped by on his Kawasaki 750 he’s had for 30 years. I’d like to age like that.


#17

I lived in rural PA for a while, but have otherwise lived in CA. As expected, there were many more obese people in PA compared to what I was used to. Even people that played sports recreationally were pretty fat, and by the time they got into their mid-30’s they couldn’t really play anymore (and we’re talking slow pitch softball).

I knew many who said it was just metabolism, claimed they ate healthy but were just not meant to be lean, they were naturally big-boned (because their parents were large, too), and other rationalizations. But, if you hung out with them for a weekend, they would eat Applebees for lunch (with fried appetizers, several sodas, etc…) then literally want to order pizza a couple hours later. The amount of calories and processed food they consumed was amazing, and if I ate like that I’d also be that size. It’s really no secret or mystery at all, just lies and rationalization.

That said, there are some people who suffer from legitimate conditions that causes them to gain weight or prevents them from losing it. But for 99% of us, it’s really just a lifestyle choice. Even for me, I was about 15 lbs heavier and had a little paunch in my mid 20 and late 20’s. Why? Carl’s Jr, thick crust pizza, beer, and not consistently training. Once I changed those behaviors permanently, I am lighter, leaner, and stronger. No big mystery or longwinded rationalization needed.


#18

You wouldn’t marry a 75 year old lady either, but plenty of people are married to them.

Not snark but as life changes, you change along with it. When I say that my wife means the world to me, I’m not joking. She’s the mother of my son and the person that I’ve built a very good life with. The weight is something I would prefer was different, and would like to help with, but not really a deal breaker. I’ve had some low points and characteristics that are and can be extraordinarily frustrating, and she has handled them with kindness and understanding. Who am I to not reciprocate?

I do know who I’d be if I blew up 3 peoples lives over something like this though. I’d be the guy that has to tell his son that he created a bunch of pain and confusion. And tell his wife that even though she had my back through some dark days that when her chips were down she’s on her own.

I can’t do that.


#19

A beautiful sunset on a sandy beach. Waves gently splashing on the shore. A refreshing evening breeze gently sways the palm trees. My and my future wife are sitting on the beach and watching the sun go down - I’ve proposed her just a few days ago. We’re babbling like excited teenagers about our future life. Slowly the conversation dies down and she puts her head on my shoulder teasingly asking “would you still love me if I got fat?”

I respond with a calm “oh no, I would divorce you in an instant, so don’t plan on ballooning up like your mother”. She stands up and looks into my eyes disbelievingly. I say “I’m terribly sorry, but that’s how it is”. She starts sobbing and throws her engagement ring into the sea shrieking “you monster”. She’s screaming and frantically scouring the ground for a rock to throw into my face but fortunately we’re on a sandy beach. A concerned passerby looks on from the boardwalk.

I try offering her some words of comfort “don’t eat a pound of cookies before going to bed like your mom and you’ll be fine” but strangely she’s still screaming. She runs away and I set on finding engagement ring in the surf. We make up two hours later, proceed to get married and have lots of kids.

But then I’m a character so I wouldn’t recommend this course of action to anyone.

Side note: My mother-in-law stormed out (well, as much as 300lb female can storm out) of my house fifteen times so far, swearing never to return usually after I would do some quick calculation about the number of calories she consumed in front of me.

My wife gained only 6 pounds from our wedding day, though…


#20

Good choice of setting, with no rocks or other types of projectile nearby. That could have gone fatally bad in a restaurant or on a trip to the mountains!

My in-laws subsist almost entirely on Jim Beam, feelings of inadequacy and bitterness.

The few times we’ve gotten together for holidays they made sure that the food was so bad that we didn’t return. The conversations are no better.