Why am I fat?

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I am fat (no, it’s not a photo you sickos, just a link to a previous post on this very topic).

I am obese, overweight, chubby, big, heavy, and all the other words you associate with someone who is overweight (I’m discounting lardarse and fatso purely because no-one has ever had the gall to call me that to my face… er… yet).

This is, naturally, by choice. I love food too much and disregard the health risks readily and I’m happy I’m fat because I choose to be that way.

I do not have a medical condition that makes me fat, and I have a good enough education to know that being overweight is a bad thing. I know what foods to avoid. I know that having that second bar of chocolate is wrong. But I choose to ignore that part of my brain.

Willfully, and with determined effort, I am fat. By choice.

I’m delighted to confirm that Misssy agrees with me as well. In a recent discussion, about whether obese people should pay for an extra seat on an airplane or whether they should be allocated double seats as a matter of course, she:

… claimed that being obese was effectively a life choice. Not a choice to be fat, but a choice to overeat, a series of choices made every meal time, every snack time, to ignore your better judgement, to ignore the signals given to you by your body, and eat more than you need.

And she’s right.

So I hereby conclude that all fat people are idiots. We must be, look at the decisions we make! OK, so some fat people ARE idiots but there are plenty of thin idiots around too so don’t you thinnies (weirdos) get any ideas above your station. I am fat, I make stupidly bad decisions, how stupid am I?

Or, perhaps, there is something else driving us to ignore that voice in our heads.

My original response to the post was to posit the question: Is it a choice if you don’t understand why you do something? But on reflection I think Misssy is right.

I have some idea as to why I overeat, why the habit has developed, and it’s down to me to take responsibility for myself and make the necessary changes. That’s definitely not an easy thing to do, I’ve tried many times and yet still tip the scales at just over 17st.

Sometimes people just haven’t been educated to know how to eat a balanced diet, sometimes people have a medical condition, and sometimes people who are happy with every factor of their life (or at least claim they are) will be overweight.

Yet I’m willing to bet that the majority are overweight due to an underlying psychological reason, and it’s those who need compassion and understanding to help them confront and tackle what may be a very scary choice indeed.

So, may I humbly suggest that the next time you insult or laugh at someone who is overweight, stop and consider one thing. Whilst on the outside they are fat, it’s likely that on the inside they are very very scared.

10 comments

  1. Excellent partner to my (admittedly, but purposefully) very one sided post. I just went all Mrs Merton and decided to have a “heated debate”. Something I don’t normally do (mainly becuase I get upset when anonymous people call me stuff like a “fucktard”).

    As one of my commenters said, that once you lose the weight the fear never goes away. She is terrified of ever being fat again. This comment had resonance with me on another issue- I had a severe bout of depression three years ago. I am constantly terrified it’ll come back. Fear can be a motivator, I think. And motivation is the key to so many things.

  2. S’a mystery isn’t it? I would never dream of smoking a single cigarette because it would be bad for my health, wouldn’t it? But pass me that second chocolate doughnut and I’d have scoffed it before you could say atherosclerosis.

  3. I recommend what I call the John Travolta diet. He said when he feels too heavy he doesn’t do anything different, he just eats half of what he normally would. If he craves a cheese burger, he goes ahead and has a cheese burger — only he eats half. Works for me!

  4. Oddly enough, while I can’t deny I’m a fat f**ker, I don’t over eat, and having done a food diary a couple of times now (by which I mean for a couple of weeks at a time, not a food diary for just two days) I average about 1800-2000 calories per day.

    Now considering that the RDA for men is 2,500 per day, that should mean I’m skinny as a rake. Except I’m not.

    Some of it is catered for by being around 6’3″ with a 50″ chest (chest, not stomach) and built like the proverbial shit-house, but I’d love to know how I stay fat when that’s my calorific intake…

    Other than just being a lazy git, of course…

  5. Interesting. I think the majority of us make choices which may not be the best for us at times, but in the case of fat people the evidence is highly visible for all to comment upon and judge accordingly. I suppose smokers share the same visibility to a degree, but who sees the scars of the self harmers, the damaged livers of the heavy drinkers, or the bottle of penicillin after a poorly judged bunk-up?

    We’re all damaged to some degree,it’s just some damage is easier to spot than others. It’s a gift for those who wish to project onto others. Without the obese (the new social pariahs now that smokers have been shunted into the ghetto) to shake a disapproving finger at everyone would have to look at their own irrational compulsions and that would never do.

    Tsk. Society.

  6. Ey Fatso, (said in friendly manner)
    I hear that hidden food allergies contribute to making a person fat. It’s certainly true that we get addicted to foods that we are actually harmed by. Your inability to eat only one of a thing suggests you are consuming ‘harming’ foods – these are different for each person.You will know what your own are.
    A psychologis will of course try to persuade you that you are stuck at the ‘oral’ stage of development – you like sticking things in your mouth too much to stop.

  7. I would be fat in a heartbeat if I ate what I actually wanted to as I gain weight by just looking at a cake. For me, vanity wins the day, and I try hard to eat healthily and exercise.

    I am a big emotional eater. It took me a long time to get to grips with that and come to the conclusion that scoffing a bar of chocolate is not going to change anything, other than make me feel sad and sick. Sometimes it’s hard to be logical though, but if I do fall into the emotional eating trap, I now step back from it and say, it’s done, no sense in beating myself up, let’s forget that happened. It seems to work, but as I say, it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and Ben and Jerry’s) for me to get a handle on myself.

  8. Like many people, it took a medical condition to make me lost weight. I hadn’t been trying to, I wasn’t vastly overweight, but I know people who lost weight because they had a heart attack, hereditary high cholesterol, problems with their joints, and people who gave up smoking as soon as cancer was diagnosed. I know others who couldn’t lose weight even with those illnesses, but fewer of them. So for most of us, it is a choice. Every time you don’t eat a chocolate you make the choice and it gets easier the more often you eat a couple of grapes instead. In fact, why eat the first bar? If you say you don’t eat chocolate any more, it’s not so hard to stick to as saying you’ll just have one bar when you really crave two.

    People who are really morbidly obese, double their ‘proper’ weight or more, may well be a different case. Apart from anything else, the enormity of the task before them is horribly daunting in itself, plus the difficulty of taking exercise and the addiction to fat, salt and general rubbish, before you consider psychological problems. But you and I aren’t in that situation. If you want to lose weight more than you want chocolate, you’ll choose not to eat chocolate.

    I just ate two squares of chocolate, by the way. That’s it for the week though. A year ago, I would have not done that, but now I trust myself more.

  9. I would temper those remarks with a few observations. I am overweight and I understand the reasons why, which in general is a lack of self-discipline ie choice.

    However, when I was laid low with CFS, I don’t think choice came into it. On the occasions that I was able to get out and do some exercise – walking – it made me so tired that I would take several days to recover. And as I exercised less and less I gained weight and became less fit, so even though I began to feel more able to do everyday things, that was countered by the effects of being fundamentally unfit. And I wasn’t helped by having a miscarriage.

    I also know (of) people who have had a similar experience as a result of depression, degeneration of joints such as hips, arthritis and rheumatism.

    The other little advertised fact is the terrible effect faddy fashionable money-making diets have upon weight and the very large amount of contradictory information (ie much of it lies) that can be found on the internet and in lifestyle magazines. Even the amount of crap that is put out by my PHC is verging on the negligent if not downright criminal. Some of it in the assumption that people are too thick to understand the issue so tell them simple stuff.

    Even the fact that we all talk about ‘losing weight’, when we should be saying ‘losing fat’ is illustrative

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