Ten Things About Being Fat

Joy Nash
Joy Nash of Fat Rant

As someone who has dealt with obesity since kindergarten, when they pulled me indoors from climbing trees all day, I have dealt with fat, diets and fat fallout all of my life.  I was on Metrecal shakes in the third grade, and at 16 my Italian doctor was shocked at the diet pills my US MD had prescribed since age 14.  Every kind of diet- low fat, low carb, low calorie, Weight Watchers, fad diets, macrobiotics, non diets,- lots of exercise, hypnosis, EFT, and positive imagery was tried.  I know all the supplements, the portion sizes, the caloric values, the allergens and the energetics of foods.  And like most fat people I have had the will power to lose weight many times over. 

The one thing allopathy concludes is effective for weight loss is surgery. They think it is safer than often calculated (theoretical) mortality from obesity.  I lost my pharmacist to complications of gastric bypass surgery last year when her heart muscle was included with the other muscle loss induced by rapid weight loss. I had two patients who were obese several years after gastric bypass surgery, neither particularly lazy or gluttonous (one had the surgery twice and her spleen was destroyed by complications of the surgery).   I have a patient among the 85% of lapband patients with complications.  Acupuncture around silicon hoses and internal hardware can be a challenge, especially when they get so many infections!

A formerly thin and extremely active patient is in abject despair because the corticosteroids that may be extending her life have created lumpy fat deposits all over her body.  A bipolar patient is upset that the medication that regulates his moods causes obesity.  But while it would be great to be thinner, usually that isn’t possible.  So here are some things you should know about being fat.

1. 98% of diets work. Initially. Low carb diets work somewhat better than low fat diets, keeping the weight off a little longer, improving triglycerides and blood sugar.

2. According to the International Journal of Obesity 95% to 98% of people who lose 75 pounds of weight regain it within three years, two thirds  in their first year.  Most of them gain more weight than they lost, because muscle is usually lost as well as fat and because the body becomes more metabolically efficient. The exceptions are those who suddenly became fat and were fat for a short time period. The up and down of diet and weight loss is worse for the heart than not dieting.

3. Even people who managed to have enough will power to stop smoking, a habit more addicting than heroin, usually cannot stay thin.

4. As well as poor food choices, stress, infections from common adenoviruses, medications, specific gut bacteria which are more efficient at extracting nutrients and less likely to cause diarrhea, and genetics cause weight gain. So long as a person with a predisposition to weight gain is in an environment with enough food they will tend to stay fat.  Our biological feedback mechanisms evolved in a state of potential starvation, not excess and they don’t work for that.

5. Once you gain weight, you increase your number of fat cells. That number does not decrease no matter how much weight you lose or exercise you do. Instead they hang around like deflated balloons, waiting to plump up again and possibly adding impetus to do so.

6. We have a society that structurally interferes with exercise. Many communities do not have sidewalks or bike racks. Parents are encouraged to drive children to school and afterschool activities in lieu of having them walk or bike. Many schools will not release children except to an adult. People work long hours so that they have little time or energy to exercise. Shopping is often concentrated far from home, requiring cars. People run errands during their lunch hours instead of exercising.

7. We live in a society that loves sugar and starches. Sodas are the default beverage for entertaining or eating out.  People feel cheap ordering or offering water.  Occasions are celebrated with cakes. Holidays tend to have specific candy, cookie or pie expectations. Lunches are most often served between slices of bread. (Who among you sent your child with lunch with the sandwich meat rolled up in a sheet of nori instead of bread today?)

8. Statistics show that the obese die two years earlier than those of normal weight and being slightly overweight is safest of all. But most of the statistics on poor health for the obese are not corrected for socio-economic status. That is since there are more poor people who are fat, the interfering factors of poverty, stress, low access to health care, less availability of unprocessed or organic food and genetic weaknesses are mixed in data about the effects of obesity.

9. When a thin person sees a piece of cake, they can evaluate whether they are hungry and make the decision not to eat it, and be done with it. When a fat person decides no to eat it, biologically the question may be raised 50 times an hour and they need to make that decision every single time.

10. Hatred of the fat is one acceptable area where people can exercise snarkiness, disdain and general bad manners. And that causes negative effects in the health and well-being of people who are likely not going to be able to stay thin no matter how much will power they have. If you want to help a fat person take them on a hike or out dancing instead of out for pasta- active and healthy is achievable.

For healthy information that will bring down blood sugar and more importantly high insulin levels using diet, exercise and supplementation  (and will give you the best shot at weight loss), I highly recommend Paul Bergner’s excellent distance learning course on Insulin Resistance at http://naimh.com/dl-insulin-resistance.htm .

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4 thoughts on “Ten Things About Being Fat”

  1. Some research has found that the obese already “exercise” more than most of the rest of us. In May, Dr. Arn Eliasson of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center reported the results of a small study that found that overweight people actually expend significantly more calories every day than people of normal weight — 3,064 vs. 2,080. He isn’t the first researcher to reach this conclusion. As science writer Gary Taubes noted in his 2007 book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, “The obese tend to expend more energy than lean people of comparable height, sex, and bone structure, which means their metabolism is typically burning off more calories rather than less.”

  2. Also read Megan McArdle’s very good piece on obesity in The Atlantic at


    She has a very interesting fat/height analogy. Since height is increasing, are short people being lazy about growth? Or as one of her readers put it, if women live longer, perhaps we should reassign men with sexual surgery after obtaining semen samples. Similar to taking fat people and trying surgically (and usually unsuccessfully) to make them thinner.

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