Next Time You're Tempted to Offer a Fat Person Advice, Don't


When you're fat, and you're hanging out with skinny people, there's always a feeling like it's only a matter of time before someone expresses concern or offers advice about your weight.

It's possible that cringy moment will never come, but the potential for it is always there, because people who have never struggled with their weight so often think that they know what we need to do in order to change our bodies. Underlying all of this is the unspoken and unquestionable assumption that we should WANT to change our bodies. 

I'm writing this post so that I always have a response to such misguided advice-giving and concern-trolling ready to go, and so that you do, too.

And here's my suggestion to folks who want to offer such advice and concern: don't. Instead, take a breath, and try to have some humility about the fact that you have no fuckin idea what you're talking about. 

Because here's the thing -- some stuff is easy for some of us, and hard for others, and the easy folks have no way of understanding the struggles of the hard folk without invoking some humility.

As an example, math has always come easily to me, and I've never had any fear about getting on stage in front of people (quite the contrary, in fact -- your girl is a bit of a ham). I didn't DO anything to earn this ease -- I was born with it. So how am I gonna offer someone advice on how to be better at math when I myself never had any problems getting it? What are my getting-over-stage-fright tips worth when I have never even had it? 

And, even more to the point, why should a person who is not natively good at math or at home on stage feel like they need to put in shit-tons of hard work to become just okay with something? Wouldn't that hard work be better used to become great at something else that comes a little easier to them?

And yet, skinny people feel most free to do this to fat people every damn day. They suggest diet plans or say ignorant shit like "Can't you just do some crunches and tighten things up a bit?" or just look at you in that way where you know they think they are concerned with your health but are actually just a little bit disgusted by you, or they are positive you could make different choices quite easily if only you weren't too lazy to try.

But there are two major fallacies here. MAJOR FALLACIES. 

First, contrary to what everybody thinks, there is no reliable medical protocol that leads to weight loss with healthy outcomes. When upwards of 95% of people who attempt intentional weight loss fail to lose weight and even end up gaining more weight over a longer timeframe, you'd think that folks would be able to admit that they don't know shit about how weight loss really works. You'd think we'd have some humility for all that we clearly don't know ... but ... nope. We still think we know everything. 

Beyond simply not knowing shit about how weight loss really works, there's two more interesting facts about fat people that should also be folded in to this conversation: 

  • Evolution chose us to survive, because we are more efficient at being able to store calories for lean times, and without that capacity human civilization might never have happened, so try a little gratitude in with your humility.
  • A higher-than-average number of us have experienced 4 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences, which spool out across the entirety of a human life in a way we are just starting to understand. So maybe be a little less quick to judge. 

Second is the idea that there is something wrong with us fatties, and we owe it to the world to do something about it. But this is bullshit in its entirety. We don't owe it to anyone to look a certain way or move a certain way or starve ourselves to achieve certain (dubious) health outcomes. Every person is deserving of respect and basic human dignity and choices in the clothes she wants to wear and proper medical care, even if she is fat as fuck. FATNESS DOES NOT INVALIDATE HUMAN RIGHTS. 

So, I guess this post is my nice way of saying "Bitch, who asked you?" to anyone who might feel compelled to offer me or any other fatty unsolicited advice on what we should do about our bodies, who thinks they know what we need to do in order to meet the bare minimum requirements for being treated like a human being, because 

1) No, you actually don't, and

2) No one owes it to you to be skinny. We get to decide what we want to do with our lives and our bodies, just like anyone else. 

In short, skinny folks, please work on developing a little humility, because what you think you know about weight loss is not true for everybody, and it's not your business anyway.