I Hate Fat People (not my words)…


Warning:  This one is lengthy.  If you are not willing to read every word, from beginning to end, go ahead and delete it now – please. 

Black, White, God, Darwin

It seems, relative to the turmoil of recent decades, that racial prejudice in America might be on the decline, and that racial tolerance could be on the rise. Though absolute racial harmony may never happen, I am grateful for recent progress – and despite the current political rhetoric involving race, there is no denying that there has been much progress in my lifetime.

I won’t get too happy though — just over the hatred horizon there is an age-old prejudice on the rise once again; one involving god, God, or the belief in gods.   I recently watched a TED lecture by Richard Dawkins, calling for an outright war against the belief in God – what he calls, “militant atheism.”

Conversely, many modern Christians look down on atheists and agnostics more than ever, as the scum of the Earth, and wouldn’t dare allow their daughter to marry one.  It seems that as we have become more accepting of the variance in human skin colors, we are less accepting of contrary opinions on just who made and dyed the skin.  Let’s face it, we just need somebody to hate.

"Uhm ehr, ah.. I forget, did you make me or did I make you...?"

I Hate Fat People (not my words)

I camped recently with a dozen or so friends along the Niobrara River in North Central Nebraska.  We had arrived on a Wednesday, spent our first two days in camping solitude, enjoyed some good alone time on the river and at the campfire – and then Friday happened.  Setting up camp behind us on Friday afternoon were some real-McCoy hillbillies from Georgia, and they looked and acted every bit the part.

As Cooter and the Biscuit family unpacked the Chevy Lumina 60 yards to our north, my friends and I gathered round the campfire, consumed some (more) alcohol, pushed our collective intellects to the brink, and began poking fun and making jokes about our new neighbors – me taking my share as lead heckler.

"Dear makers of Patron, Thank you so much for making me such a nice guy. Sincerely, The Idiot By The River...

I could have poked fun at the way they were dressed.  I could have commented on the cars they drove, or even the way they spoke.  I did not.  I simply spied that they were very easy to spy, and I began to pile on.  One fella in particular looked to be pushing the 350 lb. mark, and I threw most of my ignorant darts directly at him.  As the Patron bottle became depleted, jokes increased, and for an hour or so, humor at the expense of obesity was my mission.  Then I heard a fellow camper utter this retched phrase,

“I hate fat people.”

I sensed he was sincere.  I might have been the instigator here, but I cringed to hear my friend say this.  I immediately shifted gears and began poking fun at the way the obese man was dressed – because that was easy, and jokes still needed to be made.

I had no place whatsoever making fat jokes, but I did so in the spirit of laughter, not hatred or prejudice.  On my return home from the trip, I was ashamed when a good friend and fellow camper sent me an email calling me out on my behavior.  My friend suggested that me, of all the people in our group, by virtue of how I make my living, should have been much more sensitive to a heavy person.

There is no excuse for what I said.  I am not prejudiced of any persons; Jews, Muslims, Christians, Blacks, Whites, nor heavy people.  I have championed many heavy people over the years and gained more wisdom from their struggles as I have from their successes.  I had become heavy at one point in my own life and gained a new perspective from my own struggle.  For one moment by the river, I chose to behave like an idiot and I am sorry for that. 

Where Are We?

I will go out on a limb and suggest that the 350-pounder from Georgia was neither a fitness enthusiast nor a discriminating eater – but that doesn’t make him bad, or worthy of hatred. 

In subsequent weeks those words spoken by another, “I hate fat people” continued to resonate.  I have begun to reflect on, and attempt to observe what level of prejudice exists toward heavier people.  I have explored news periodicals, fitness & weight-loss blogs, had discussions with clients, friends, and people in my community, in an attempt to increase my awareness of how others truly view obese people. From this limited stream of information, it seems more people I know truly are prejudice towards obese people than I would have thought – most of whom would be considered obese themselves by the BMI.

The NAAFP ain't gonna tolerate that....

Who Are We?

We are a nation whose obesity population is on the increase, with an increasing number of those obese people becoming increasingly prejudiced… toward other obese people?  That math does not add up.  I can see a day when obese people might take up arms against the morbidly obese, as heavy people put up fences to keep the regular obese people out.  For millennia, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews have all found reason to hate, as have persons of different skin colors found reasons to hate.  And I can’t help but wonder; in the future will obese people also become a passionately hated portion of society…?  If so, there is little doubt that justification for that hatred will simply be because, as it has been said through the ages, “Because they’re different, from me – that’s why!” 

 
 
 
 

 

And history might declare that Ireland and Northenr Ireland were finally brought together for their mutual distrust over people with excess belly fat...

 

Help Is Not On The Way

If a person does not wake up and go straight to the gym and does not eat steamed rice and broccoli at dinner, he is not a bad person.  If a person never gets off his ass and chooses to live off peanut butter and M&M sandwiches nine times per day, that person is no less a person that anyone reading this.

I can make many (successful) arguments why obese people, and society as a whole, would be better served if the weight were taken off.  But our society is not set up for obese people to succeed in weight loss.  The potential for success in weight-loss exists mostly in the fringes and isolated pockets of like-minded people – places where most obese people tend not to hang out due to internal fears.

The only food pyramid that seems to matter...

Take a look around – with your eyes open this time.  Though there are many resources and tools available for heavy and obese people to use that they gain control and make positive changes, those helpful tools are kept at the edge of social boundaries and held there by the many bad ideas, big profits, deadly agendas, and an almost universal acceptance of gluttony in the modern age.  Think about it – please.  And the men who hold high places…

Be well.  rc

26 responses

  1. I certainly don’t hate fat people, but I do hate that people are getting fat and fatter. They may be getting dumb and dumber too, but that’s for another day 🙂

    Fighting the good fight for a healthier, kinder, gentler world is the mission. We didn’t choose this mission, it chose us.

  2. There aren’t many people I do hate in life. Only a very short list of a few individuals…

    That being said, you are human just like the rest of us. Although at times I forget that when reading your inspirational thoughts and advice. 🙂

    Again I come back to the very fact that as a society as a whole, we are determined to get our people fatter and fatter until everyone in our society are a bunch of fat asses. We have setup people to fail and we have created an industry machine that has engraved ridiculous things in the heads of our people:

    You are doomed to be fat no matter what.
    Fat people are to be made fun of.
    When you are different, you are a loser.
    When you speak for yourself, you are no longer a part of the fun crowd.
    The only way you can cure your obesity is to eat salad… And buy some new ridiculously overpriced equipment or shitty diet food.

    I could go on and on here, but suffice it to say that I would bet my left arm that everyone has made fun of fat people at one time or another in their life, whether they were fat or not. I think the issue is not so much that, but how do we fix our society of fat people?

  3. It really is an issue of being open to looking at things from another person’s point of view. Being open and aware is very important… we can never know what another person is going through, and we have to keep that in mind at all times if we want to be able to communicate effectively with others and create good relationships and work together with other people in society to make progress.

  4. Dr. J:
    In Christianity they (some) say, “hate the sin not the sinner.” I think you and I are on the same page here. But I blame the system much more than I blame to individual in the system; for he has been conspired against.

    Bobbie:
    “You are doomed to be fat no matter what.
    Fat people are to be made fun of.
    When you are different, you are a loser.
    When you speak for yourself, you are no longer a part of the fun crowd.
    The only way you can cure your obesity is to eat salad…
    And buy some new ridiculously overpriced equipment or shitty diet food.”

    I sense this is the voice of multiple expereinces…

    That said, I like the way you are now taking care of business!!!

    Sagan:
    ” we can never know what another person is going through”

    In morning contemplation each day, my first creed is, “remember that behind every pair of eyes, is a heart, a soul, and a life’s worth of experiences that I know nothing about.” Easier said than done, yes…?

    • wow..thank you for your honesty and transparency. You are human. We’re all human. I recentaly wrote about my nutritionist and about the comment he had made on facebook that sparked quite a debate…he is a man who was once 360 lbs, lost 140, became a *fitness* trainer 🙂 and then certified nutritional health counselor, and writes “nothing quite angers me like watching fat people eat with reckless abandon” As his client, when I read that, I was like OUCH…but I know him well and he is allowed his humanity.

      I think there’s a sensitivity to the word “fat”.

      I also agree with you wholeheartedly about the prejudice!

      • Julie: Agreed, we all make mistakes and say things we don’t realize might hurt others. I really don’t even like the word “obese” for all it’s connotations. “Obese” is to “heavy” as “Negro” is to black. “Fat”? Well that’s just the heavy person’s N-word

  5. I grew up with a slim mother who routinely used the phrase “fat and sloppy” to describe anyone with a weight problem. She did, and still does, hate fat people. I think she sees it as a character flaw, one which can be resolved, so therefore, it’s okay to be bigoted against fat people.

    My trainer and I were discussing this issue the other day and he said that it’s his theory that most people who are obese are that way for two reasons, one, unresolved emotional issues and two, lack of a role model while growing up.

    • Karen: Although I agree, to a point, with your trainer, I think the larger issue is cultural evolution; that our society is simply growing to be more accepting of unhealthy foods and excessive portions as a standard of living. It seems as thought it is our destiny.

  6. With all due respect to karen’s fitness trainer, I am fat because I like eating way more than wokring out. 🙂

  7. I am late to the game.. Roy, as you know, I was a bit busy this week…

    BUT, so worth the wait for this amazing & insightful post! I agree with Bobbie – you must be published!!!!!

    This brought up so many emotions to me – being Jewish & the brunt of much crap when I was younger & still. Look at the comments by Mel Gibson & Oliver Stone recently on Jews.. it is still out there & it will come out when they least expect it.

    Prejudice in all forms is horrible but I admit, I have been there when saying not too nice things about heavier people when maybe I should have thought twice about it.

    When we are in “packs” & add some alcohol to this along with wanting to be liked (as most of us want to be liked), well, we say things….

    I applaud your friend, Roy, for speaking up to you AND I applaud you for writing this & providing a learning experience for all of us!!!

    I was listening to a report about this movie involving taking a video of what you were doing on a certain day & sending it in to the producer & then everyone will be included. The thing though was that they also said they were providing cameras to areas & places where people don’t even have the means to participate. We have that in our country too… no laptops or computers in many poor areas, no access to info as you said….

    Roy, THANK YOU for making me think! Love ya!

    • Jody: Understand on the growing up Jewish thing… all too well. Oh yes, thank you for reminding me, we hate poor people too — and tend to forget them more than any other sector of society. You are a gem Jody, and I appreciate all you do!!!

  8. Well, coming from someone who has been fat, got down to a size 8, and how now climbed back up the latter … I can honestly say that there’s more prejudice towards weight on a person that I ever thought imagined! But, it’s everywhere … my brother compared losing weight to being an alcoholic who stopped drinking for a while. He’s getting all these compliments that he’s sober, but what if he falls. What if he picks up a beer? Will everyone look at him and start talking behind his back? Oh, that John is drinking again .. bet he’ll go right back to being a slush! Same thing with a person that gains and loses weight.

    Why are we so concerned about the shape of others, when we ourselves have our own issues?
    (I recall a verse about planks and specs in our eyes somewhere there.)

    My mom has always been VERY large. But she has the heart of an angel. She dresses the homeless, she’s been there for EVERY tragedy in my life, she would take the shirt off her back for anyone in need and has spent her life caring for others. She’s 67, still the same large size, but still spending her life caring for others. I wonder how many “Gym rats” that spend hours attending to their abs can say that they have helped others through as much as my mom has. Who has time for helping our community when we’re working so hard on ourselves?

    I personally know fat people don’t like to be fat, but if I had to choose between being fat and serving others in need, or being skinny and having all the “good things” in life that come with that (healthy checkups, attention from opposite sex, good job) yada yada, that I’d rather be fat and know that I’ve been a blessing to others.

    • Jenn: I appreciate your detailed response. As a poster child — THE poster child for profound change and weight-loss, you speak with more authority than anyone else commenting here. I like that you have seen your weight-loss as “serving others”, and I wish more people could view it that way.

      Perhaps we should team up for a column some time soon — you still have pictures of me with a ponytail…?

  9. “But our society is not set up for obese people to succeed in weight loss. The potential for success in weight-loss exists mostly in the fringes and isolated pockets of like-minded people – places where most obese people tend not to hang out due to internal fears.”

    You have hit the nail on the head here! Like minded people..not like bodied people!

    As an obese person, I have a lot of the same thoughts, dreams, wants, desires, as the next, maybe even more so. I just don’t have the same body as you…

    And I feel that “hatred” or “discrimination” daily! It is such an unspoken thing but felt LOUD and CLEAR.

    Roy, this is probably one of the best articles I have read in a long time! Look at the word prejudice…IT means to PRE judge… What if we stopped be the judge and jury and just BE….

    That is the attitude I am looking for…

    THANK YOU for your honesty!

    • Jules: Thank you for your kind words. Also, thank you for bringing the word, “discrimination” into the context. Not sure how I missed that one, but soooo true — how many people are on the “bitch-side” of discrimination each day due to their size…? Too many.

  10. My own husband has called me an “Obese Lazy Pig” on multiple occasions. I guess he thinks those are words of motivation. I think they are words of hate and they do the opposite of what he desires. They make me sad and depressed; they do not make me want to be better for him.

    I hate myself for being fat. I look in the mirror and I think I don’t loot THAT bad; then I see a photo and I think “who is that person?” I have tried very hard to lose weight, but I can’t seem to get below a certain plateau no matter how hard I exercise & how well I eat; it is extremely frustrating.

    Anyway, thanks for the post Roy. Sadly, there is a certain body type men want, and personality and what is in someone’s heart seem to come second for many of them. I wish more people were more understanding. I think you had a similar post last year.

    Dude Facts: 46% of men would “dump a girlfriend if she became fat” http://u.nu/6fhrd

    I wish he would dump me.

    • Candace: My private email to you yestreday notwithstanding, you sell yourself way short. When we were walking together last summer, you ALWAYS kept up, always finished, and never stopped or complained. As far as what men want, I can only speak for myself, but your husband is lucky to have you. Now you being lucky to have him……

  11. I just got a promotion at work, accepted, and then was told one of the contributing factors was the hiring manager’s admiration for me trying ‘not to be fat’. 1. HATE HR people. 2. Why isn’t it admiration for leading a healthy lifestyle? 3. What does my size or health have to do with my job? Nothing. Zero. Pissed.

    Cheers,
    Missa
    LosingEthel

    • Missa: Thank you for dropping in! It’s (not) funny, there are certain industries where image is everything. I think of event planning because I was married to an event planner for 20 years. She was absolutely the best business person and the finest event planner I have ever known, but never fit in among the size 0’s — until push came to shove and hard decisions needed to be made — then she was the leader. Good luck in your new leadership roll!

  12. I hated myself when I was fat, and quite surprisingly, I also did not like other heavy people back then. All my friends were thin or averaged size. Interesting when I think back.

    I think that prejudice in every form is sad and unfortunate. I just try and make my part of the world accepting and understanding.

    I understand why people become overweight because I was there. But it makes me upset that it is so easy to get fat. Between restaurant meals and unhealthy processed foods the person who struggles with food issues is set up for failure.

    • Diane: Forgive me for 1-upping you, but I still hate myself and I’m not fat anymore 😉

      I think what I struggle with most of all here is heavier people being prejudiced against obese people. I have a client, 30 pounds overweight. He wears it fairly well, but heaven help the person who crosses his path that is 50 pounds overweight! That attitude is what makes me want to puke!

  13. I think what most bothers me is that we are not born with hatred. It is learned somewhere along the line. And you can clearly see it starting with kids in school. Wouldn’t total tolerance be a wonderful thing:)

    • Karen: I agree with most of what you say, but argue that it does not start in school — it starts at home. There is a word for the leading perpetrators of hatred — the word is “parent”. True.

  14. Roy, I enjoyed your post for the simple fact that just the other day I stated “naturally thin people annoy me”. The whole of my life until I was about 30, I was thin. Then BAM it is like trying to get super glue off the gut. I workout, I eat healthy, but just can’t seem to get it off.

    It’s a tough job NOT to be fat and yes, I do not enjoy being overweight, but am not fat. I work very hard at it though.

    Prejudice or not, fat people need to take back control.

  15. Lisa: Thank you so much for dropping in! I wish “fat” people would take control, but I believe the train has left the station. A system’s theorist could have a field day with this topic if only they were concerned with such trivial matters 😉

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