I’m Fat and That’s Fine: 7 Truths About Fat People

I'm Fat and That's Fine: 7 Truths About Fat People | Positively Smitten #beauty #confidence #body #fat

About a week ago, I ordered some new bras online. When they arrived in the mail, I was surprised to find that my package came with something extra: a coupon to purchase cupcakes.

I love cupcakes! But did I really need a coupon to purchase them to come with my bras? I don’t necessarily put cupcakes and bras together, and I’m not sure others do, either, unless they are Katy Perry.

And yet, I hardly think it’s pure coincidence that my order came with a coupon for cupcakes.

You see, I’m fat. So I ordered my bras from a plus-size store. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense, right? Plus-size stores need fat women to stay fat in order to stay in business — so if they toss a coupon to buy some cupcakes in with the clothes, then it’s a win/win, right? I get cupcakes and I remain fat so I have to keep buying my bras as this store.

Only that thinking relies on one of the biggest stereotypes of fat people: that we all eat copious amounts of food, literally all the time.

But we don’t. Or rather, we don’t all do that, in the same way not all thin people eat salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fat people, like thin people, come in all shapes and sizes, but they also come with different appetites, metabolisms, and food preferences. Some days I eat a lot. Some days I don’t. Some days I exercise for an hour. Some days I don’t.

I’m fat but I’m human, and to assume that fat people are anything but is, quite frankly, offensive. Fat people are no more or less likely to eat a bunch of cupcakes in one sitting than a thin person. Fat people are fat for any number of reasons, and while some are fat because they tend to overeat and under exercise, others just are. (Similarly, some thin people are thin because they really work at it, but there are some who are simply naturally thin with a fast metabolism.)

I come from a long line of fat bodies, so to have ever expected to grow up and be thin would’ve been nothing short of a miracle. I was a fat kid.

Look at those chubby cheeks! That's my grandma to the right, and my grandpa at left. In the back, that's my great-grandma, who I miss dearly.

I was kind of a fat baby. Or at least a pleasantly plump baby. Look at those chubby cheeks! That’s my grandma to the right, and my grandpa at left. In the back, that’s my great-grandma, who I miss dearly.

And I was also a fat kid! But it didn't matter, because my BFF, Nora, thought I was pretty awesome.

And I was also a fat kid! But it didn’t matter, because my BFF, Nora, thought I was pretty awesome.

So, now, I’m a fat adult.

At my thinnest, my senior year in high school. But still fat.

At my thinnest, my senior year in high school. But still fat.

IMG_0912

This past Halloween, as a “hipster” version of Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” Obviously my dog, Obi, as the Cowardly Lion, is the star of this photo, but you can see — I’m still fat.

There’s never been a point in my life where I wasn’t fat.

And that’s okay. Being fat isn’t inherently bad, y’all, despite what the media would like you to think. In fact…

  • Time Magazine wrote a piece about being fat AND being healthy
  • UK’s Telegraph cited a study that found those who are fat and fit are just as healthy as those who are thin and fit
  • Science Daily says the same
  • CNN writes that overweight individuals (though not obese individuals) tend to be less likely to die early than those who are “normal” weight (according to BMI, which is kind of bullshit anyway)
  • There’s an entire movement called Health at Every Size that focuses NOT on dieting, but on eating intuitively and moving our bodies so that we feel good, rather than focusing on the number on a scale. It works for some (and provides a relief from the perpetual diet talk) and Linda Bacon, Ph.D., penned a whole book about it

I’m not here to debate the claims made in these posts, but just to simply point out that being fat is not the end of the world — and also to beg you to stop making sweeping generalizations about fat people.

While we’re at it, I’d love to discuss a few other things, too.

Fat people, especially women, don’t inherently hate themselves. Crazy, right? I don’t wake up every day loving myself, but no one does. That’s a problem that plagues us all, not just fat people.

Fat people are not lazy, stupid, and gross anymore than thin people are lazy, stupid, and gross. In fact, many of us fats are quite active, smart, and gorgeous, even if you don’t think so. (Which is okay! You don’t have to find everyone attractive, so long as you’re respectful that different body types exist.)

Saying “But you’re not fat!” — no matter how well-intended — ignores the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my friends have told me I’m not fat. It’s sweet in that what they’re trying to say is that I’m pretty, I’m worthy, and I don’t fit in with the stereotypes that go along with being fat. But I am fat! Fat with a capital F, my loves, and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I’m fat just like I have brown hair and I wear glasses and I’m 5’4” and my smile is crooked.

You cannot tell if someone is healthy simply by looking at them. I’m fat but I’ve got no significant health problems. No back issues, my blood pressure is awesome, my cholesterol is perfect. My biggest health issue is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome — PCOS — which also plagues Jillian Michaels, who you may know as a health and fitness guru on “The Biggest Loser.” I can’t tell if someone has a heart condition merely by looking at them just like you can’t tell if a fat person is healthy just by looking at them. So please save the faux-concern of, “I’m just looking out for your health!” or “I’m concerned for you!” The only thing you should be concerned about is that we may strangle you if you keep saying things like that. Stop.

It’s not possible for everyone to “just lose weight” if they want it bad enough, try hard enough, or go on a diet. I would bet you money that most fat people you’ve met have wanted it bad enough, do try incredibly hard, and have tried every diet under the sun. I know I have. If wishes on stars or blowing out the candles on a birthday cake actually worked, I’d have been skinny when I was 5. (Because instead of wishing for more My Little Ponies, I was wishing I wasn’t fat.) I’m pretty sure being on and off diets since before I was in middle school counts as “trying.” And that includes Weight Watchers and South Beach Diet and not touching a carb and that dark time in high school where I would only allow myself to drink Sugar Free Red Bull and eat ONE granola bar per day. Guess what? I’m still fat. And the ways in which I’ve tried to lose weight have been anything but healthy. That should concern you, not my fatness.

All bodies are worthy of respect. Even if you think I’m gross because I’m fat, I at least deserve to be treated like I’m a human being. Because I am.

It’s okay to be fat. I swear. I may not love my body all the time, but I’m trying, which is more than I can say for a lot of people. If being fat is good enough for Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, then it’s good enough for me.

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35 responses to “I’m Fat and That’s Fine: 7 Truths About Fat People

  1. This is awesome, and you’re definitely right. I have a relative, who was literally like, 400 pounds. And you think with that might come some health problems, right? Like diabetes, heart problems, etc. Nope, not a damn thing. Healthy as a Goddamn Olympian.

    I, on the other hand, have a tendency to eat cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and am annoyed that nobody sends me coupons for cupcakes.

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  2. Girl, you are beautiful and it always shows through in your writing. AND in you photos. You are right – skinny does not equal healthy. I am a pretty small person, though I am healthy, I am not exactly fit. My sister in law on the other hand is a pretty big girl but is a vegetarian and works out – including a bootcamp fitness class at least twice a week – among other activities and I know she is probably way more fit than I am. Another great post! I might order one of those bras though – I love cupcakes :)

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    • You’re so sweet, thank you very much. I wouldn’t argue that I’m fit, but I am pretty healthy otherwise, even though I’m fat. You always leave the best comments, so thank you. :)

      The bra would’ve been infinitely better, though, if it had just straight up come with some cupcakes — yum! :D

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  3. You must be an idiot if you think I wouldn’t use a coupon for FREE cupcakes. It was for a percentage off. Obviously.

    (This comment was left on this post earlier today. Rather than approving this guy to post, I screencapped the comment so that he won’t be able to comment elsewhere. This guy is a Men’s Rights Activist, thinks rape is funny, and says things like, “Men run this shit.” So embarrassing. Also, he does not belong here, so.)

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    • These ignorant people are an embarrassment. It’s similar to people who think a certain group shouldn’t get rights because it supposedly (but actually doesn’t) influences their life. Why are you so god damn worried about another persons body?

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    • OMG, that is a brilliant idea for dealing with such comments!

      (I trashed one on my own blog yesterday because approving it = not happening.)

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  4. Hi Crystal, I really appreciate your article. I read something on NPR about body composition–like the ratio of muscle to fat–and that, too, IS NOT APPARENT BY LOOKING AT A PERSON. A “skinny” person could have, like, little to no muscle/strength and a “fat” person can be like 90% muscle. I also remember the ads for cholesterol medication that I used to always see in National Geographic where there’s a super skinny chick next to an obese male and the punch line was “Guess who’s cholesterol is 280?” or w/e and it was both of them!

    Ahh and there are so many biases against overweight and obese people; it’s sickening. Like there’s this assumption that fat people lack self-control or are undisciplined.. Or even that there has to be some element of trauma which explains a person (especially women) being overweight.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on narratives of fat female leads in television. Cuz I think a lot of the time assumptions about fat people are perpetuated in media–just like the really intense self-hatred and the binge eating and stuff.. Like, based on Queen Sized (I watched this on Lifetime) and My Mad Fat Diary–all those female leads were portrayed as junk-food loving and super, super tragic. I mean, I know that many fat women may have a story that rings true to that, but I also know that there are a lot more women with experiences different from that? Or like, reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser where “fitness” is glorified and “fatness” is shamed.

    Or I read this article in The Atlantic or Time or Newsweek back in the day (like 2007 or something) where a journalist told his personal story about how he used to be obese and then lost a bunch of weight.. But he talked about how his body repulsed him and how he would look in the mirror and have these dissociative moments because he refused to believe that the person staring back in the mirror was himself.

    Anyway, this stuff is complex.

    Blab, blab, blab. All this to say: You rock and thank you for opening up the conversation about weight because it needs to be had!!

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    • First, I just want to say OMG you are the sweetest ever for commenting here. Ahh. Thank you April!!

      The article you read on NPR about body composition is exactly what I’m getting at — basically, just that everyone’s body is different, and that we can’t (and shouldn’t) judge someone just based on how thin or fat they appear. But also, this notion that even if someone IS unhealthy, do we really have a right to make them feel bad about it? (BTW love that National Geographic ad! How awesome.)

      For me, I’m fat for a combination of reasons — everyone in my family is fat, I have hormonal imbalance issues, AND also I like to eat! I think that’s probably the case for a lot of people, like, their bodies are the way they are for a multitude of factors. It’s bothersome to me that someone I don’t know would be more concerned about the fact that I’m fat, rather than being worried that I’ve done some pretty messed up things to try to lose weight. That tells me that whoever it is is not really concerned with my weight, but they just don’t like that I’m fat. Bleh.

      For me, the best fat female character in recent memory was Sookie on “Gilmore Girls” — actually, Miss Patty and Babette were also fat women portrayed well although they had a smaller role than Sookie. They weren’t fat women, they weren’t tragic women, they weren’t junk-food obsessed women — they were just women. I loved that SO much about them! Sookie was a successful chef who married a man (thinner than her!) in a successful, happy, healthy relationship that resulted in two super cute kids! Her weight wasn’t ever mentioned, that I can remember. Miss Patty was a sultry dance teacher (yeah, a fat dance teacher!) who had a consistent string of relationships and Babette was the lovable town gossip (also married to a man thinner than her). Of course, “Gilmore Girls” wasn’t without its issues — in fact, Rory and Lorelai were obsessed with food and it was portrayed as quirky and adorable rather than sad or pathetic as it would have been in a fat character — BUT the show did an excellent job in its portrayal of fat women in my opinion. I can’t wait to find more shows that also do a great job!

      Thank you so much again for the comment, and also for the great discussion! <3

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      • You’re so right! What gives thin people the right to police fat people’s bodies? Seriously, that’s f**ked up. It’s like rich politicians making all the public policy decisions for poor people. *sigh*

        Looking forward tor reading more of your articles in the future!

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  5. I don’t think I have ever been more proud of you, and that says a lot. You are brave and inspiring on so many levels. You are absolutely gorgeous, inside and out, and I am so proud to call you my best friend.

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  6. crys: all the studies blogs and drs. in the world cannot define how we as a race will look or evolve without d.n.a. manipulation. as long as we behave with respect,understanding,acceptance,and tolerance. we should survive as a species. however if they don’t start making twinkies again i may not want to. both bev and i love you just as you are. keep in mind the b.m.i. index in the doctors office say’s i’m supposed to be 190lbs. i haven’t seen that weight since summer freshman year. it’s a crock.

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    • I couldn’t have said it better myself :) It can be a struggle to exist and be overweight, especially when everyone else is telling you you need to look a certain way, but as long as I’m happy and I’m healthy and I have people who care about me then that’s all that matters! Also: we’ll work on finding you some Twinkies. Early birthday gift, obviously. :P

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  7. I think you have great perspective, Crystal! How much you weigh is just one thing about your body. You’re also smart, beautiful and capable of so many great things (like this post)! That’s all thanks to your body, too. Bodies are amazing! They let us experience and interact with the world. My body is able to see, smell, hear, think and move which help me to create, explore and express love. Not everyone’s bodies can do these things or do them as easily as you or I can. Heck, I could very well lose some of these abilities, one day. Sometimes, I get upset because I wish parts of my body could be different or that it could do things better. But eventually, I move on because of all the amazing things my body CAN do that make me happy (Hug my friends! Eat cheese! Tell dumb jokes! Walk my dog! Enjoy music! Type blog comments!) I’m mindful of my body’s weaknesses, but I try never to lose sight of my many strengths.

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    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment. This is a great thing to keep in perspective — that our body does so much for us on a regular basis! I am grateful for all the things it lets me do, like dancing and playing with my dog and jumping on my bed (whoops), and I have to remember to keep that in mind whenever I’m feeling the weight of the pressure to lose weight in an unhealthy or damaging way. As long as I’ve got my health, I think I’ll be just fine. :) Thanks again!

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  10. It’s like you’re trying to tell me something, but I can’t quite make out what it is? Ah well, I’m sure it was a completely unique opinion, something that I had NO idea was true, and didn’t at all prove that you have a negative IQ!

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  11. I’m fat too…and healthy. I was not fat as a child or a young adult, my fat has crept on with age. I am 60 and chubby. Like you I am happy being what I am. I get lots of exercise walking here in lovely Italy. I like food, but I don’t eat excessive amounts. I come from a family where many people are a bit chubby and that is the way we are.
    Good on you for speaking up.

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  13. Hi just found this article as I was browsing the net and I’m so glad I did !! I’ve suffered all my life on and off with my weight always being told I’m fat and feeling I’m not good enough ! But you are a breath of fresh air Hun ! I’m 33 now I’m no longer gonna let it worry me I’m fine I’m not fit but I’m not unfit I’m just me ! If ppl don’t like it noones asking them too look lol thanks a bunch hunny from the uk xxxxxx

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