I Know What It's Like To Be Fat
When I was younger, I had a 42-inch waist, my self-esteem was low, and my body image was extremely negative. I wasn't medically obese, but I was fat.
I was the guy who helped all the girls with their relationship issues, did everything for them, and remained forever in the friend zone. When I'd had enough, I decided to get lean. I was already strong and carried some muscle under the fat, which I knew would make me look pretty good once the fat gone.
So after 20 weeks of excessive training, cardio, and dieting, I suddenly started to be approached by women in clubs. When I went to the water park, girls who wouldn't have given me the time of day a year prior started turning around when I walked by.
At first it made me feel great, but then it pissed me off. It made me realize that we live in a superficial society: people now liked me for my looks. What was inside was the same as it had always been.
I've also witnessed how crushing it can be to be obese. My younger brother was obese. When he was 12 he was too heavy to play football! At 16 he was 295 on a 5'10" frame. He was ridiculed and rejected. It was painful to see him suffer like that. But when he turned 19, he decided to lose weight and went from 295 down to 190.
So I know how it feels to be rejected because of your appearance, and I've seen how much it can hurt to be an outcast because of your weight. That said, there's a social witch-hunt happening right now that has to stop.
I'm talking about people who get easily outraged and create "causes" to defend just to feel good about themselves. They're those who want a perfectly untainted world where everybody is equal, every day is sunny, and your neighbor is a Care Bear.
They want niceness enforced by law and truth to be banned if someone's feelings might possibly be hurt by it.
Right now, there's a petition going around asking Netflix not to air a new series called "Insatiable" on the grounds that it's promoting fat shaming.
What is fat shaming? Well, more sensible people would say it's the act of making fun or belittling others for their weight. But these days, anything that causes someone to feel ashamed about their body fat – whether or not that's the intent – is fat shaming.
Doctors are being accused of fat shaming for telling their overweight patients to lose weight for their health. Fitness magazines and sites are accused of fat shaming for featuring (wait for it) photos of fit people.
And now there are people trying to keep this Netflix show from being seen. That alone is problematic. It's called censorship and it's the first step toward a totalitarian society. But that's not the only problem.
The other issue here is that the petition is about a series which hasn't aired yet. A series that nobody who's signed the petition has ever seen! Their claim is based on a preview.
They have no idea what the ultimate message of the series will be. They only care that the preview shows a fat, unpopular girl who loses weight because of an accident and suddenly becomes popular. Then she decides to seek revenge against those who hurt her.
The white knights claim that the show will demonstrate how being thin made her happier. And thus, being fat prevents you from being happy, illustrating that being fat makes you inferior.
How dumb would Netflix have to be to run with that idea? It's no secret that over 60% of the population is overweight at this point. Do you really believe Netflix is going to tell millions of viewers that they're inferior to thin people? Isn't it more likely that the series will actually show that if you bully people because of their appearance you will pay the price?
Or maybe at first the protagonist feels better when she loses fat, but ultimately realizes, like I did, that being thin doesn't really make you happier? I have a strong feeling that this will be the message, not that fat people are inferior human beings.
But what do I know? I only watched a preview... like everybody who's trying to ban the show! This scenario is just one indication of something bigger that's happening in our world.
The thing is, it's possible to give people the benefit of the doubt before becoming outraged about something that's actually a non-issue. But some people would rather freak out first because it makes them feel good about themselves. It's almost like they view themselves as heroes trying to protect the feelings of other adults (who, in reality, don't need them).
Becoming a white knight like this is all about ego. And the people fighting hardest probably don't feel like they're making enough of a difference in their own lives, so they try to become warriors against anything that could potentially hurt the feelings of others.
Here's something else you might not want to hear: Nobody is equal.
Some are born with advantages that others don't have. But on the flipside, the act of working through your disadvantages can become your greatest advantage down the road.
Yes, not having the advantage sucks, but that's how it is. It's how it always has been. The question is, what will you make of it and how can you continue to better yourself? Economist Thomas Sowell has said:
"Nobody is equal to anybody. Even the same man is not equal to himself on different days."
In every society since the dawn of time, there have been traits that were seen as desirable, and those who possessed those traits were subconsciously seen as superior. Those traits were not always the same, nor were they arbitrary. They changed depending on the type of society and time.
For example, at one time being strong and muscular was seen as a very desirable trait. When life was harsh and physical strength was an asset, those who possessed it were seen as superior. Tribes often selected their leaders based on physical prowess alone.
However, societal preferences evolved and that type of physique began to be viewed as inferior during a period starting from the Renaissance up to the 1600s. Being muscular was associated with manual labor, which was itself associated with being inferior. During that period, men who were thin and effeminate were seen as superior to the strong, muscular ones. They probably had more money and didn't have do manual labor.
If you look at women, you can see changes throughout the ages too. For example, during the Renaissance period, women with more curves (carrying more fat) were the standard of beauty. After all, only the rich and powerful could afford enough food to be fat.
It just so happens that in today's society, a leaner look is seen as more desirable. It doesn't mean that people who carry more fat are inferior; it simply means that among the general population their appearance is perceived as less desirable.
The good news is, when it comes to body fat, you can do something about it. You can change your diet, exercise better, or improve your lifestyle in a myriad of ways. It doesn't mean you have to resort to extreme measures or force yourself to fit into an ideal model.
If you carry too much fat, there is a solution, which is not the case with every inequality.
It's been shown that taller people, on average, make more money and can progress more easily in their career. It's been shown that being naturally good looking or having facial symmetry also gives you an advantage in life. This goes for males, females, and even kids in a school setting who get more attention than their not-as-cute peers.
Obviously these are only a few examples of possible advantages people can have... or not have. But you know what the difference is between being ugly or short versus being fat? Choice.
- You don't choose how tall you are.
- You don't choose your facial symmetry.
- But you DO have a choice when it comes to body fat.
Granted, nobody wakes up one day and says "I really need to get fat. This amount of girth just isn't cutting it." But people don't accidentally and spontaneously burst into fatness, and in the vast majority of cases, it's their own doing.
Except for some very rare medical conditions, the reasons why someone got fat is that they exercised too little and ate too much of the wrong food for years. Not once in a blue moon, but chronically.
Becoming obese is a gradual process. And at any time in the process you can seek help, find a professional to get you on the right track, read any number of books, and educate yourself about the first step towards reversing it.
And yes, there are people who've "tried everything" but the difference between those who don't succeed and those who do is persistence. Not everyone gets it right the first time.
Everybody can lose a lot of fat if they decide to change the way they do things. Those who can't lose fat are like that not because of an irreversible condition, but because they prefer to keep eating and drinking anything they want in any quantity they want without exercising.
They enjoy the food more than they want to lose the fat. It doesn't make them bad people. It's their priority; their choice. That's why I say that they chose to be fat.
It's true that it'll be harder for some to lose fat. Just like everything in life, some will have it easier than others. Some people can barely train and become star professional athletes while others will practice six hours a day and never be pros. Some will look at a dumbbell and gain muscle while others will have to do everything perfectly to gain a mere 3-5 pounds of muscle in a year.
Losing fat is no different. Some will have a harder time doing it. But everybody can lose fat. Everybody.
I have zero problem with a person being fat. What I have a problem with is a person complaining about it or about how society views it.
If you're complaining about your body, it's because you're not happy with what you look and feel like. I get it. But are you doing something about it? If something bothers you that much, doesn't it stand to reason that you should do something to fix it? If you don't, then you lose the right to complain about it.
As for society, each one has its own set of traits that are valued. And this applies to physical appearance. But appearance, knowledge, skill, strength, and mindset can all be improved upon, and trying to do so isn't a form of self-loathing; it's quite the opposite.
Yes, accepting who you are is important. But accepting who you are doesn't mean you shouldn't try to better yourself.
Self-respecting lifters accept who they are, but still train because they want to be stronger, more muscular, or more skilled. Many still study because they want to be smarter. Many will still routinely question their motives and work on themselves because they want to be better spouses, parents, and friends.
Accepting who you are and trying to become a better version of yourself are not mutually exclusive.
If you know that society is harder on people who are overweight then you have two choices:
- Try to better yourself by losing fat through better nutrition and exercise.
- Try to change society.
How likely is number two? Sure, you can try to strip away everyone's ability to use words that offend you, but you can't force them to perceive you any differently. You can't force people to love the way you look, but you can compel them to lie to you. And why would you want that?
You can't drill new opinions into the heads of everyone in a society. I'm not saying that number two can't happen. The fact that the beauty standards changed over time is a testament that you can change what is desirable in a society. But these changes can't be forced.
If you plaster "fat is sexy" everywhere, it won't make fatter people more desirable. These changes are organic. And if you do happen change society? Well, you're still at risk of more chronic diseases because of your weight.
Some of the basic needs of human beings are self-esteem and feeling accepted/liked/loved. That's why a lot of people fight all these crusades.
Defending a cause makes you feel good about yourself; it boosts your self-esteem. It also gives you the approval and maybe even admiration of like-minded people. You feel like you belong, like you're accepted.
Therefore, a lot of people start being vocal advocates for causes not because they really want to change something, but because the fight itself makes them feel good about themselves and wins the approval of a group of people. This is called "virtue signaling".
You'll notice that those who preach the hardest for equality are those who refuse to listen to people with different opinions. In fact, they attack people who have a different opinion. Kinda ironic. But by disagreeing with them, you rob them of the approval that they need to feel good. And if you use logical arguments to show that they're incorrect, they have an emotional reaction because your argument creates anxiety. The knee-jerk reaction is simply to protect their fragile self-esteem.
Notice that those who defend a cause because they truly believe in it tend to be those who do not resort to emotional arguments or personal attacks. They argue logically and present facts. They're also open to discussion.
Those who defend a cause as a way to feel better about themselves are more likely to respond with violence and aggression when you present a different opinion.
So, the only true solution to the "I'm not being treated fairly because I'm fat" problem is to lose fat. And you know what? You can. And it's simple: make better dietary choices, exercise, be patient. Regardless how long it'll take, it will still be faster than changing society.
I understand that some people really are comfortable with the way they are. And I'm fine with that. In fact, I admire it. However, it has been my experience that most of those who claim to be comfortable with their appearance in public really have problems with it deep inside.