Why are you so fat? Your body. Your choice.

The picture.

There is much ado about Stella Boonshoft’s underwear selfie that she recently posted and I have something I have to get off my chest about this whole boondoggle.

Stella runs a blog that is part of a Fat Acceptance movement, which is essentially asking the wider culture to accept fat bodies as beautiful and valuable.

Which is fair enough. My first reaction on seeing her picture was Eww gross! I do not find fat to be beautiful at all. I don’t personally like how it looks all squishy and soft and the thought of touching that soft warm squishiness makes me yuck! so hard. That’s just me, I know.

But as soon as the yuck factor is over, my next thought is why? Why do you look like this? Do you like it? Do you think it’s beautiful? Do you enjoy being fat? Why are you so fat?

Some people just are. No question. Fat babies, fat toddlers, fat kids, fat teenagers, fat adults – it’s just one continuum of being fat. It’s just how they were made.

Trendsetters (picture was taken in 1998).

But one only has to flip through historical photographs to see that being fat was an anomaly in the past. Most people, historically, were quite slender and fit and not because they were starving. It’s not until the 70s and 80s that fat explodes. Suddenly fat people are everywhere! No longer anomalies. More like average.

Why is this? I am not fat. I have three children and I gained a shit ton of weight with each pregnancy — but I also lost it, too.

And no, it didn’t just fall off with breastfeeding and chasing the kids. It came off because I watched what I ate and got some exercise. Right now I weigh 4 pounds more than I did as a college freshman. After 12 years of marriage, I still fit in my wedding dress. Easily. And it’s not because I am a “naturally thin” person. Naturally thin, my ass.

I love food. I’m an excellent cook and bread and cookie maker and I love to eat. But I know that I cannot indulge my every culinary whim without turning into a giant ball of lard, which appears to be the case for, oh, PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE!

I’m thin because I care. I care about how I look. I like my clavicles and my cheekbones and my long slim legs. I like feeling great. I like being able to run up stairs and dash for the bus and play tag with the kids. I like admiring glances and the occasional wolf whistle. It’s nice to be thought of as desirable. I like my husband’s arms locked around my waist. I like being able to walk into a store and find something that fits. Usually on sale, too because the smaller sizes aren’t in much demand any more.

I care about all those things, so when a plate of brownies comes by, I can say no and not feel tortured. I don’t like the saying “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” because FUCKING CHEESECAKE! Lots of things taste better than skinny feels, but that doesn’t mean skinny feels bad. You have to choose. On the whole, I prefer to be thin than eat whatever the hell I want. And I have the self-control to do so.

Fat people who like being fat clearly have no problems and should carry on being who they are while giving a resounding fuck you to the haters. But fat people who don’t like being fat confuse me.

What are they lacking? Self-control? Do they just not care enough? It’s not knowledge. Any clueless moron knows that an apple is going to be a more sensible snack than an entire bag of chips, but they eat the chips anyway. Why is this?

And I find the whole concept of a “food desert” to be complete bullshit, too. I can walk into almost any convenience shop and find something of value to eat. A can of tuna. Peanuts. Sunflower seeds. Low fat milk. Water. Whole wheat bread. Even weird chinese stuff. No one HAS to eat three hotdogs and a bag of Doritos and wash it down with two liters of soda.

Her body. Her active choice.

My theory is that people, and women in particular, are saturated by a culture that tells them it’s okay not to give a fuck. It’s the special snowflake syndrome, in physical form. You’re such a special, unique snowflake and the rules don’t apply to you and you are so precious you should just do whatever the fuck you want at all times and go ahead and indulge your every desire because you are so special and you deserve it!

Well, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate, and if you’re going to spend every day negotiating way too much food into your mouth, guess what? The rules DO apply. You will get fat.

If you like your body fat, then yay for you! Fabulous, and carry on. If you don’t, then ask yourself “WHY am I so goddamn fat” and then negotiate a better deal.

Your body. Your choice.

P.S. Are you using Brave yet? Delay the skynet by using the browser that automatically strips all tracking and ads. Brendan Eich (of JavaScript fame) is its CEO.

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Jack Strawb
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Jack Strawb

>”My theory is that people, and women in particular are saturated by a culture that tells them it’s okay not to give a fuck. It’s the special snowflake syndrome, in physical form. You’re such a special, unique snowflake and the rules don’t apply to you and you are so precious you should just do whatever the fuck you want at all times and go ahead and indulge your every desire because you are so special and you deserve it!” You’re definitely on to something. I occasionally visit Slate.com to pick on Amanda Marcotte or blow holes in Amanda Hess’s latest nonsense, and a while back I browsed one of the advice columns. I remember clearly a woman writing in to say the spark had gone out of her marriage. She mentioned a couple of pregnancies and not having time to exercise what with the kids, and this and that, and by the end of her letter it was reasonably clear that she was of average height but weighed around 180 lbs. I was puzzled by the lack of self-awareness and assumed that the comments section was going to straighten her out. And it didn’t. I scrolled first past dozens and then just for the hell of it past hundreds then hundreds more comments, none of which mentioned the elephant in the room, that she had clearly eaten herself out of her marriage. She had mentioned her racquetball-playing husband was still trim, still around his college weight. And there was the stray comment suggesting the two of them exercise together, and the occasional comment about couples therapy, but not one word about how fat she had gotten in the sense of that being the proximate cause of her husband no longer wanting to have sex, or that being huge might be sapping her libido. I decided to comment on the obvious, and wrote a straightforward paragraph on how every single man of my acquaintance tended to find a fit woman with a pretty face going 5’-5” and 130 attractive, while one or none would find that woman at 180 still attractive. I said, as neutrally as I could, that this is simply not how bodies work. That people cannot will attraction, and that her husband’s affection and appreciation for her was hugely unlikely to be convertible into sexual attraction. The response was immediate and, if it had been verbal, deafening. I was a miserable piece of shit, I was shallow, men like me were ruining the world, if her husband really loved her her weight would not matter, and on and on and on. It was all nonsense, of course. In your paragraph, above, you’re surely on to something. Someone is telling these women that it doesn’t matter how they look, that their significant others should find them attractive, apparently no matter what. And I maintain that bodies do not work that way. That when men (and women) talk honestly, an extra ten pounds matters, and an extra twenty pounds matters… Read more »

Beth Farthen
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Beth Farthen

not everyone who is fat eats like a pig. i eat on average 700-1000 cals/day. today i ate 1/2 a grilled chicken breast and 3 eggs. i would say i show enormous self control. most people would find that borderline anorexic. yet if i eat any more i gain weight, about a pound per day. my BMI says i am obese. it is not so simple for everone, to just east less and exercise. consider yourself lucky.

J J
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J J

No, you’re not. A pound of body fat contains roughly 3500 calories. Short of swelling up like a balloon with fluids, in which case get to the hospital asap, you’re not gaining a pound a day. And it’s physically impossible to gain weight on a calorie deficit, again unless it’s fluids.

guest
Guest
guest

You would be the lucky one, since you can break the laws of physics and spend 0$ on food while storing free energy in your body.

FailingButReversingIt
Guest

Check your privilege to be mentally-ill (deluded, etc) and push it out in public, no less. Anorexia = Narcissism. Some fine person came out and said it in public a few years ago, and got lambasted for it. Narcissists need to work on healing their fucking wounds, not creating more in others via spreading acceptance and tolerance of AVOIDABLE mental illness. Some is not so avoidable, in comparison. Your body, your choice – your mind, your choice. Push yourself sustainably until you cannot possibly be the problem with your life. THEN reappraise. In this context, YOU and others need to learn to resist the Military-Industrial-Complex, food retail division, pushing you to consume their unhealthy product instead of healthy lifestyle and thus-derived healthy pleasure.
Get a bicycle and be a badass.
Note: I have to tell myself the same thing, as I am overweight, but BMI is a semi-fallacy, given that I actually intentionally put-ON weight (muscle) from having very wasted upper body due to sedentary lifestyle. Now to burn 5000 calories per day – yes 5000 – on a bicycle. If it’s not burning enough calories, just load some weight into panniers and keep your back free to sweat. It works. Dropped 3.5kg in 30days, with only half of those days being exercise days, 66km average (with 20KG approx weight on the bike, roughly 120KG total being pushed by my legs, up hills, whatever). Women can do it too. It’s all about power-to-weight ratio. I am heavy but powerful. Women can be lighter but relatively-powerful for their weight, and push the same load on the bike. Gears are wonderful because they mean you can graduate the exercise level to a precisely-tailored rate, not damaging, but challenging enough to get really fit.
Why do you think there’s so much reticence to implement good cycling facilities (required for most women and children to handle traffic, as the fear factor is a real thing preventing people in that context, although it doesn’t stop plenty of women from changing their mentality and just going for it).
Lean protein, low-GI carbs (oats, not wheat, certainly not refined flour, no sugar, syrup etc).

Trisha Provence
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Trisha Provence

THIS (!!!) –> ‘I don’t like the saying “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” because FUCKING CHEESECAKE!’ —– I Loved this. Aaaand, I like that you said this, “Fat people who like being fat clearly have no problems and should carry on being who they are while giving a resounding fuck you to the haters.” Because there should be no reason to judge another’s decision on who to be, what size, etc. To each their own size. 🙂

Nicole
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Nicole

Just found your blog…and I mostly like it. You are one harsh woman, but I love that you stand up for what you believe in. I don’t agree with everything you have to say, but you make interesting, informed points, and I strongly agree with your parenting style. My partner and I raise our daughter much the same way, and we do this in rural Newfoundland, where most kids eat Kraft Dinner with cut-up wieners on top every second day for supper, and where are a kid who actually eats her spinach salad is somewhat of a curiosity. She gets very limited tv time, we don’t have cable, we read to her every day, and we spend a good portion of each day outside. We try not to yell at her, she never, ever gets smacked, and we discipline with respect. She’s never had a tantrum, and she uses reason to dissolve her own bad moods, and she’s only three-and-a-half. We’re raising who we consider to be the coolest kid ever, and she’s this way because we put the effort in. But…as most other parents around here consider us to be “hippies” at best, I try not to step on any toes, and I remain quiet in voicing my opinions. So kudos to you. I’ve been in a committed, very happy relationship for seven years. My honey and I split the housework and the parenting, and that’s what works for us. But he gets fed the best food I can cook him, and I do the damn dishes, too. He does the garbage and the toilet and the kitty litter, and any other gross things, and provides our girl with the best father I’ve ever seen. And when he graduates university, and becomes a teacher, I’m staying at home and raising more of my babies. So, onto me – the only person I can’t seem to take care of. I read all your “fat” posts, and was prepared to be sad and insulted. I’m 203 lbs. But I wasn’t insulted, and only a little sad. Because you’re right. Why am I so goddamn fat? I love my life, I love and care for my family, and I need to love and care for myself. It’s a choice, and it’s usually easier to grab that chocolate bar. I’m active – we walk every day, I can hike through the woods for hours, I can bike to the next town over (slowly, and with breaks, but I do it) and love swimming and hate being indoors for too long. But I couldn’t run to save my life, and I can’t chase my daughter around in the yard for more than a few minutes. I leave the playing around outside mostly to her Dad. So how can I continue to try and set healthy examples for her and feed her properly when I can’t do it myself. She’s going to ask when she’s older. I don’t eat terrible – I’m a vegetarian and… Read more »

Joseph
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Joseph

Hey, I have been loving your articles as of late.

And just wanted to comment, that this past month, me and the gf (who, bless her soul, I got lucky when I caught her… nothing like coming home to a nice dinner, and my laundry done, and all with a smile) had a major rework on what we eat and exercising.

I use a calorie counter daily to watch what I take in (to lose weight), and im amazed at the shit ton of calories most processed stuff like honey buns, sodas, etc, have!

Whats funny is that recently (after losing 14 lbs and still going down) I decided to check to see what my caloric needs would be if I maintained the weight, and it came out to 2043. Then I looked at our healthy meals (being around 350-450 calories, all fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean meats) and realized that if I ate like this every day, it would be near IMPOSSIBLE for me to go over my calories to gain weight again! I would have to have 5-6 full meals just to go over! Imagine how stuffed I would be!

This is why I believe that back then, most people were skinny cause it was impossible for them to exceed their calorie goals. They ate healthy out of necessity, and never had to worry about gaining weight. But now? Now when a simple honey bun is about 800 calories, and a snickers bar is 300…. you can easily hit 3000 in one day, and never have to feel full doing it.

It still boggles my mind now