As if Being Fat is the Worst Thing

Part of my “philosophy” is, that under normal and not-crazy eating habits, the body knows what to do: how to crave food, how to eat food, and how to metabolize food. And for many people, the body also knows “how to not be fat”, without the use of any extra manipulation.

Then there is Health at Every Size, which I also subscribe to, where it’s said that because of various factors, your body is your body and your body size if your body size. And dieting won’t do anything but stress it out and make you insane and unhappy. So no matter what your weight set point is, you have access to all the health and happiness you could ever want and need, regardless of size.

I agree with both of these philosophies and they have the potential to go hand in hand. Especially if, when I say: the body knowing “how to not be fat” it means “how to be a reasonable, healthy body size”, and not skewed with a disordered ulterior motive for extreme tininess, if that tininess is not your body’s reality. So Health at Every Size literally means Health at Every Size, whatever that inherently means for your body: Skinny, Thin, Curvy, Big, Fat, or WhatHaveYou.

And if this was as easily done as it is for me to type, then there would be no issue. “Great! I can be happy and healthy no matter what size I am? Fabulous! Awesome!!!”

But it IS true. It is.

But socially it is not so simple…

Why do we feel, as a culture, that being fat is the worst thing ever.

Because, generally, we do. Worse than being cruel or sick or poor or depressed- underneath it all, we culturally villainize and try to avoid fatness most of all. More than just an aesthetic issue, it is seen as a moral failing, and something to apologize for. It is now a scapegoat for all our other problems. And we do it to ourselves, and we do it to other people, and the cycle continues.

So much so, that it is practically common knowledge that being fat is bad. Even though it is a false simplification, it is common knowledge, like the sky being blue. Why?

(By the way, the sky being blue is an illusion, so…. yea)

Sure, there are some big and “simple” reasons:

The Diet Industry, the studies they have paid for and cling to that support the idea that body fat is the death of us all, and the way they use media and advertising to twist into your  fragile mind by showing you how much better your life could be if you were thin like you want to be. And tied to that is Big Pharma making diet pills for the diet industry, and all the other drugs to combat obesity and all obesity’s horrors. And then connected closely to that is the Medical Community Dogma that is funded by big pharma and the diet industry, and if doctors say being fat is bad, then being fat must be bad. So let’s look to the diet industry for the answers, and let’s take some pills.

How Hollywood and the Fashion Industry factor into this is a whole other issue. Because the fact that you can “know” that body fat is not our biggest health or moral flaw, doesn’t change the fact that there is still a deep seated, mean little part of us that sees thin as beautiful and glamorous and good- and fat as bad.

As if being fat is the worst thing.

It’s not.

But as long as we buy into it, and believe it, we are perpetuating it.

Look, I don’t think that being overweight is the natural state for everybody. I think that with normal eating, people will eventually settle at a good and healthy size for them. I’m not telling everyone to gain weight to stick it to the man. Or that if you don’t have any extra fat you must be disordered or living in fear. I am also not saying that skinny is bad and fat is good- or fat is bad and somewhere in between is good. The thing is that there should be no good or bad.

What is my point? My point is, that the cultural idea that being fat is the worst thing that could happen to us is flawed, body-fearing, and having us focus on the wrong things. It is pushing us towards diets that either focus on calorie restriction and fake foods, or diets that are absurdly obsessed with real foods and purity, and lead us into restrictive mindsets that ruin our ability to listen to our bodies and honor our bodies. It keeps our worth set on how we look instead of how we act and how we feel, which screws us up metabolically, it screws us up psychologically, and misses the point.

So? Live like being fat is not the worst thing.

Because it absolutely is not.

13 comments

  1. Jackie says:

    What a fantastic post! I’m nearly driving myself batty with my stubborn, fat retaining body. Worrying that other people are judging me as greedy and lazy when I’m not. My body just doesn’t behave the same as my slim friends who eat more than I do and don’t have food issues going on…..wish I could change my mindset but its a lifetime if conditioning

  2. missnudge says:

    Caroline, I actually love you. This blog is exactly what I need to keep me from going crazy, and I can’t actually thank you enough for the support and peace your bringing to my life.
    Keep writing and helping our little souls 🙂
    FUCK IT FOREVER!
    Nadia x

  3. Rebecca says:

    I’m just getting used to this idea now, that being “fat” isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me, ever. Though for the record, I’ve never actually been fat. I just got it into my head that people wouldn’t look at me the same, or look at me at all for that matter, if I gained some weight. I spent a miserable few months trying to eat so perfectly and cleanly, and I was following all of these fitspo accounts on Instagram. No one ever posted a meal that wasn’t clean, and I started wondering how do they not feel deprived? I did okay for the first while eating cleanly, but suddenly I started bingeing on foods with little nutritional value. And then I would be so immensely filled with guilt because I couldn’t live like those people on Instagram. Fuck fitspo and thinspo. Haha. I deleted Facebook and Instagram last Sunday and I’m just starting to get used to the idea that I can eat whatever the hell I want to and look how I want to without comparing myself to others. It feels so freeing. 🙂 I’ve been reading so much lately because I’m not distracted by those stupid apps anymore, and I’m not exhausted from forcing myself to wake up at the crack of dawn each day to work out. There is so much more to life than just being thin.

    Haha anyway, this is a topic I have many opinions on and I could type all day, but I’ll leave that to the experts. Thanks for the awesome post. 🙂

  4. Samantha says:

    *My two cents*
    I LOVE this article, and I would add that a lot of the societal hate attached to being overweight has to do with it being such a ‘visible shortcoming.’

    Can you tell from across the room if someone has a bad credit score? If they look at too much porn? If they are snide and cocky to people who have less money than them? If they tend to be rude to service people or mean to animals? Can you tell what kind of a worker/parent/sibling they are by a sideways glance? Can you measure how kind or thoughtful they may be or fail to be? No. But you can tell if they’re fat.
    You can’t technically even tell by looking at them if they are fit and healthy…thin people can have medical issues, eating disorders, drug addictions etc but for the sake of stereotyping people tend to assume that because someone isn’t overweight they must be living healthy, and if someone is overweight they must be sitting around hogging down twinkies and cheetos all day.
    It’s an easy way to look down on other people’s choices and lifestyle without having to know a single thing about them. It used to be acceptable to assume women were stupid, gays were deviants, black people were uneducated etc. and we learned to be outraged by that kind of thinking but never quite got over the impulse to judge and condescend that it stems from.

    Hating overweight people, and all the half true medical/health/social issues that fat-haters cling to are just newer shinier versions of the old prejudices we like to think we’ve all moved past. Old embarrassing propaganda has plenty of ‘examples’ of how right it is to think people who aren’t white can’t attend college or women are too crazy to be allowed to vote. If it really actually was about health, the outcry against drinking alcohol, smoking anything, drug use of all kids or being underweight would be just as loud as the campaign against obesity. But it’s not. Because you can spot a chubby girl clear across the road, but you’ll never be able to pinpoint who is a couple months behind on the rent or who needs to visit the bar less often unless you bother to get to know someone. And getting to know someone is extremely counterproductive when you’re trying to throw someone into a broad sweeping generalization and look down on them.

    • Ann B says:

      Samantha, Your Two Cents is worth reading daily….and I’ve printed it out to post and see daily.
      My father once made a snide remark about a cousin’s second husband’s size at a small backyard party…neither the cousin or husband were in attendance. I responded (I am the fat daughter) and asked Dad, “Does being fat make him (the new husband) a bad person?”
      Apparently, being an alcoholic with a beer gut (the first husband) was OK to my father (also an alcoholic).
      And I wasn’t that fat as a preschooler, but I had the nicknames to encourage a fat self-image that is now me for now.
      The other day, I asked myself the title of this article. I had to say, “No, being fat is not the worst thing.”
      Thanks to everyone for the Fuck It Diet website, articles, blogs and comments.
      Finally, at age 57, I believe I will become a person who eats normally, without fear….and will have a body that my body creates from normal behavior with food.

    • Kate C says:

      Thanks for such an amazing, truthful post & comment. They have both moved me to tears-so glad I found this great site (thanks Matt Stone!) Thanks to you wonderful people I feel hopeful for the first time in my 42 years that I might actually be able to get over my insane beliefs about my own body & reclaim self acceptance, authenticity and peace. Much, much love & gratitude for waking me up.

      • C says:

        That is fantastic to hear! I am so happy to be able to connect with and inspire people like you 🙂

  5. Ann B says:

    I had another aha moment yesterday. While shopping at Joann’s and discovering that the Butterick patterns were on sale for $1 each, up to 10. I bought many patterns in my now size and fully intend to sew for this size. For the past couple decades I’ve basically refused to sew for myself unless I had become some magical size and kept it off. Didn’t happen, so didn’t sew for me. I look forward to sleeveless summer tops and even pants and jeans and coordinated outfits. Woohoo!

  6. Fat Emma says:

    Honestly? To me it seems that being fat is ruining my life right now.

    I really, really, really cared about this guy. Like, a LOT. I thought he was dropping hints that he liked me, but he recently started dating my skinny, pretty friend, who is pretty much just like me. Except she’s pretty. I’m not. I’m ugly.

    I hate being fat.

    Being fat is horrible, it sucks, and I’m sick of being the ugly friend. I’ll never be beautiful, that much I know, but I’m sick of never being good enough–due entirely to being FAT.

    I didn’t get the role in the play I wanted. I was apparently a perfect fit–hah, that’s ironic–except that I didn’t ‘fit with the rest of the cast.’

    I’d be the only overweight one in the show if I’d been cast. Coincidence? Probably not.

    Being fat sucks. Say all you want about guys “liking a little more booty to hold at night,” but I’m one of the non-delusional ones who knows that’s a big, fat, freaking lie.

    But apparently as much as I hate being fat, I love food more, ’cause I’m still not skinny.

    I just want to be about 50 pounds lighter. I guess that’s too much to ask. It’s my own fault. Maybe if I wasn’t such a freaking pig I wouldn’t be this ugly. I guess that’s just how it is.

    • Caroline says:

      Hey Emma,

      I understand that it sometimes feels like the world is against you. But I promise your attitude and the way YOU feel about yourself matters so so much. I guess you think that is Bullshit, but it is true. The way you feel about yourself goes a LONG WAY.

      I recommend you look up plus size fashion models, and fat every day models on Pinterest, and read fat activist blogs. Honestly, the way you see yourself, IS partially due to a world that is skewed against fat people, but you really can go a long way to change that. You are beautiful, even if you can’t see it right now.

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