T Nation

Fat Shaming: Truth or Feelings?


I do not think it is because we are subject to the same failures. Obesity is a physical manifestation of the individuals failures. It indicates a lack of undesirable traits like low consciousness, will power, and discipline. Right or wrong people evolved to be attracted to certain social/sexual traits to assess the physical/mental/emotional potential of others and obesity indicates “bad” ones.


People are annoying! I have gotten much more criticism over being skinny than I ever did being fat!

Just last month at the grocery store I was joking with the cashier by saying… I spend an awful lot of money on food to be this size. The guy behind rudely pipes up and. Says… Well! That’s the price you pay for being fit! :smirk:


I absolutely agree, but couldn’t the argument be made that, “Hey have a Big Mac, you eat healthy all the time.” Is the exact same as, “Hey have a chicken salad, you eat poorly all the time.” One is just typically directed at a relatively secure person, while the other is directed at a relatively insecure person. The wording is virtually identical, but one is heckling and one is shaming (or one is socially acceptable and one is not)? I’ve always found that interesting.


I see these very much as failures in the species as a whole, rather than failures of a select few individuals. Those without these failures are definitely the exception, if they even exist.


I see it as a cultural and evolutionary issue in that we are designed to seek high calorie food and store fat against famine. In famine conditions a plump American will have the advantage over people who’ve spent their lives scratching out enough to eat.

On a more individual basis, I see the problem not as personal failure due to undesirable traits, but rather the manifestation of generally neutral traits. We are all a collection of traits, some of which present positively, some of which present negatively. I have a lot of energy. This manifests in a number of ways. On the positive side I am more often than not inclined to work out because it siphons off some of what becomes nervous energy. I am fidgety - I’m constantly shifting in my seat and messing with things. This burns calories; my metabolism is set on decently high for a number of reasons, but this is one. I’m pretty fun as a result of the energy - people like being around me.

On the negative side are insomnia, overthinking, and anxiety. I’m easily bored. I chew a lot of gum, also to siphon off some energy. This is just my makeup, I had no part in creating it. I do have a part in maintaining the positives - those are choices - but I’m not fighting my nature, I’m maximizing it. On the other hand, I tend to want to go fast, so I’ve had more speeding tickets than I want and have for the past couple of years been fighting against my nature to hold to reasonable speeds. This is pro-social behavior because my risk of accident and hence cost to society is lower, particularly since I live where winters are harsh, so higher speeds carry increased risk.

I like to vacation actively. I’m only able to spend a certain amount of time watching tv and while I adore junky food, after a certain point I start to crave healthy food because that’s what I’m accustomed to. January came as a relief to me after a month of continual excess. These aren’t noble choices, they’re my preferences.

Other people are set on a lower speed. They’re fighting metabolism, childhood training/habit, and preference to be thin. How hard must they work to gain the approval of people who, let’s face it, LIKE to work out and eat well?


I’ve recently begun to adopt a notion of the non-existence of discipline, and that all actions are simply a manifestation of desires. I don’t see myself as being disciplined or possessing superior willpower because I do what I want to do. It all seems like varying degrees of hedonism.


Didn’t you speak about this in a blog post from 2015? “There is no discipline?”


How about being judgemental? Is that more or less a negative than someone minding their own business and being a chubbster?

People are complicated, life is complicated. My sister for example is around 6ft and I’d say 25ish stone. She is a paranoid schizophrenic with psychotic tendencies. She was tall, slim and very beautiful until this took a hold of her in her early twenties. The drugs she was put on to keep a lid on it made her listless and bloated. As a young woman putting on weight was the last thing she wanted so she’d stop taking them and then it would all start off again. Having a 6ft big powerful mentally ill woman getting violent is not an easy thing to deal with physically, believe me. Anyhow this cycle went on for years. She is in her early 40’s now and married. She has things under control mentally, albeit just bubbling below the surface, although the cost is her size.

Still, fat fuckers eh? They should just be disciplined.

  1. Very recent, haha.


All people judge. Right or wrong people evolved to be attracted to certain social/sexual traits to assess the physical/mental/emotional potential of others and obesity indicates “bad” ones.

“She is a paranoid schizophrenic with psychotic tendencies” How was her dating life during this time and would it have been better without her issues?


People suffering from that don’t date lucasmon. Would you date someone who thinks you are out to get them, has no issues with killing you and is powerful enough to do so?

It takes years to get someone on an even enough keel to function anything like normal, whatever that is. They are unemployable for a start. Relationships happen much later, if they are lucky enough to find someone who cares. Thankfully she did.

Prior to her issues showing up she was a typical young woman who attracted plenty of suitors.


Yes, I know, that was my point. Even if she wanted to, chances would have much lower given her condition. Why? because people are always assessing/judging.


I get ask by not so fit co workers if I get board of my healthy lunch.
I now just replay that I go by the 80/20 rule and offer to trade their junk food for my lunch.
Watch them run.


My brother-in-law is in the same boat. He’s also an alcoholic. He became an alcoholic as a result of self-medicating to deal with his issues. Well, that’s what some people think. I’m curious if the alcohol abuse led to the mental issues. It’s the chicken or egg debate. Anyway, he’s bloated as hell these days. He looks miserable. He’s only about 5’8" but his belly is huge. It looks hard too. It’s a side effect of his drugs, BUT he chooses to eat fast food. I wonder how he’d look if he ate better foods. But, then again, most of his adult life has been a series of destructive decisions.

On the topic of being judgemental of the larger folks… My concern is the children of the obese and, more often than not, the morbidly obese. I see way too many kids who are like 8 or younger who are already obese. Humans suck. Fat kids get teased and bullied. Fat kids shy away from the sports and games at school because it’s hard and they’re not any good. They’re set up for a life of misery before they even have a choice.

Do we sit back and watch the train wreck or do we intervene? If we intervene then we basically tell they parents that they suck and aren’t doing a good job. It’s a sensitive subject, but I think it needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do it in a reasonable manner.

The things I see in my line of work are basically the result of laziness and neglect. A lot of us (myself included) see obesity as a result of being lazy. Well, I see lazy parenting regularly. Kids can be high maintenance. It takes effort to play with them and give them an outlet for their energy. It’s easy to give them junk food. They’re happy and quiet so the parents are happy.

The same parenting attitude leads to children basically raising themselves. They don’t learn how to handle stress and disappointment and they have problems in school. When they get upset or don’t get their way, they get violent and/or loud. When they get caught doing something wrong, they’re defiant. It’s human nature, but it’s up to parents to help groom us so that we’re acceptable human beings.

All of that brings me back to the ignored psychological side of things.


My wife was heavy as a kid, because her parents were both heavy and poor and didn’t know any better than to eat junk (or didn’t care).

She leaned out after her mom died when she was 11 with help from an older sister. She’s the health fascist now. Rarely if ever allows herself junk, goes nuts if she gains 5 lbs and won’t rest till they’re gone again. Our kids have zero access to junk food in the home and get treats very rarely.

When she sees fat kids while we’re out she gets disgusted and angry. Both at the parents and at the person that child is all but destined to become. She literally has a visceral reaction to fat people because of the abuse the other kids put her through.

We’ve discussed whether “shaming” is effective/moral/even really happening. One thing is for certain, little kids are merciless and letting your kid be fat is dooming them to ridicule and a shorter lifespan.


Logically the statements are similar. But we have social norms in place to avoid offense in social situations with people we aren’t close to.

I’m fine with my wife, family, and fiends pointing out my flaws and the occasional bad hygeine (eg, “You stink. Get in the shower.” “You’re hairline is getting worse.”) but I’d be NOT offended, but VERY annoyed if strangers said the same.


I agree with this. Offense involves harm/hurt feelings. If someone’s behaviour truly offends you than you must either care about them or what they think.

If a stranger rocks up and says “hey fatty, you should eat less” I imagine most well adjusted fat people would say “mind your damn business” and go about their day.


I don’t think society at large is encouraging people to be gym rats who look the part. There’s simply a norm born out of evolution which dictates that overweight and obesity are undesirable. Of course if there are norms there will be people who are “not normal”, which is fine. But there’s a problem when the norm is under attack.

Judgement is necessary. You use it and have used it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have all those goodies you rattled off here (not being sarcastic).

My therapist once said, “you’ll be judged til the day you die.” A simple but profound statement. And I accept it.


Not only that, we have social norms in place to avoid confrontation all over, even physical confrontation. Fists have been thrown because some people can’t shut up!


Curious: would you not take offense of a stranger treating you with such familiarity, irrespective of the content of the comment?

Or perhaps you and I interpreted offended to mean different things. I suppose I could also say I would find such presumed familiarity very annoying, but I wouldn’t feel wrong with the statement “I am offended by your presumptiveness”