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Monday, 7 August 2017

Fat Chance of Helping the Obese

Disclaimer: while this post is written with a blunt critique of the 'fat acceptance' movement, I don't personally agree with being cruel to or making fun of people who are overweight (or bullying in general). It's not cool to be cruel, and my overall point is that it is kinder to advise those who are overweight to consider being healthier, just as you would advise a friend with an alcohol problem to cut down.

There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ body. But there is such a thing as an unhealthy body.

Being fat is NOT GOOD. Neither is being super skinny to the point of anorexia. Being overweight is not something that should be encouraged. It is not ‘empowering’ to tell an obese person that they can stay the same and not change their lifestyle. It is not fucking ‘fatphobic’ to say that being overweight comes with a plethora of health problems. It is not rude to politely suggest to an overweight friend ways of helping themselves lose weight and reduce their health risks.

I'm aware that obesity is a sensitive thing to discuss. You don’t want to hurt the feelings of someone you care about. Directly saying ‘go lose weight!’ is not helpful. Lots of overweight people also have problems they can’t control like slow metabolism, thyroid problems, or simply genes. I have slim, short parents so I’m (fairly) slim and short. Despite the fact that I stuff myself with Burger King Burgers everyday (I’m joking) I still weigh only about 57kg.

If I had a friend who was drinking themselves to death almost every day – and I did, I used to see her in the mirror all the time – I would gently advise her to stop or cut down. But you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. If a person has a problem of any kind – food, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, SHOPPING – the only person that can help them is them. Once they turn around and decide, look; I think I need to change something here, then you’re ready to help them. Until then they won’t stop.
Yup, you can be addicted to shopping like Becky here...
‘Fat Acceptance’ is helping no one. The awful irony of it is that it claims to support ‘all’ body types, yet shames images of healthy attractive people and says it’s ‘fat shaming.’ I agree, idealised bodies are constantly shown in the media and we should accept how we look as long as we’re healthy. I don’t think I’m ever gonna have a pancake flat stomach; I have stretch marks, my hands sweat constantly, if I don’t shave I’ll turn into an ape – you get me. 

If someone was starving themselves to death and not eating would you say ‘thin acceptance! You need to accept that there’s nothing wrong with you! Sure, your bones are jutting out and you can practically see your ribcage but you’re fine!’ Would you honestly tell someone that? It works both ways. Being overweight increases risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, gout and other problems. By turning a blind eye to this and calling it ‘fatphobic’, you’re pretty much saying it’s ok for people to give themselves a slow death.

Health and fitness programs are there for a reason. I wouldn’t call myself the epitome of perfect health, but I’m not clinically overweight or underweight. I drink lots of water, I eat fruit, I take Vitamin C tablets, I try to eat as balanced as I can (be bothered). I walk everywhere and play drums. I probably sleep too much and could use more exercise, but whatever. The point is; my lifestyle is not killing me. 

Someone that is severely overweight is not a healthy person. If I was very fat I would look at ways to change the way I live, just as I would if I had any other physical or mental health problem. If the way you’re living your life is having a bad effect on your health, then it is more self-loving to want to make a change for the better. ‘Fat acceptance’ is nonsense that needs to be thrown in the trash.


  1. I agree with most of this. My further thoughts:

    1. Media marketing goes with aspirational images because they tend to work better at drawing the customer in.

    2. I believe the "perfect" body is the "healthy" body. When you are the weight and size etc. you want to be, you feel healthy and perfect. It's more realistic than it seems. :)

    1. Exactly, looking and being healthy and dressing well is all tied to self esteem.


I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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