The F-Word. Is it still something nice people shouldn’t say?

7SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/2/2008 6:40 AM   :  197 comments

Not too long ago, I used to dread going to the supermarket or any place where the chance of running into young children was pretty high. Almost inevitably, one of them would point at me and say something like: “Mommy, why is that man so fat?”

It didn’t help that mommy would immediately apologize, and tell the child that it’s not nice to say things like that. The damage was done. The word was already out there, hovering like a heat-seeking missile: Fat! And I was the target.

There was just something about that word. I knew I was fat. Everyone who looked at me knew I was fat. I even told myself I was fat, usually several times per day. But hearing someone else aim that word at me, even a child, made me feel like I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth. Even my doctor avoided that word, telling me I was “morbidly obese” instead, as if that was somehow better than being fat.

Well, I’m happy to report that the F-Word doesn’t bother me nearly as much now. But I wonder if this is just me, or whether fat has a different meaning these days...


I don’t think the word bothers me less just because I’m not nearly as fat as I used to be. That’s true, but I’m still not thin. If you didn’t know how big I was before, you could look at me now and think that I look like a formerly fit guy who’s let himself go a bit too much recently. I know that the jiggly, wrinkled stuff around my waist is what’s left over after losing 150 pounds at the ripe old age of 57–but you probably wouldn’t know unless I told you.

I also know I’m less offended by the F-word because I’ve done enough work on my own self-esteem and self-respect that hearing someone else say I’m fat doesn’t send me into a negative spiral of shame and self-loathing any more. I feel pretty good about myself the way I am, and that’s a pretty good antidote for those shame attacks.

But I also suspect the F-Word doesn’t have quite the same negative sting in it that it used to have. In fact, as this article suggests, fat may be the new normal.

If this is true, it raises all kinds of interesting and important questions. On the one hand, it seems very good that we're moving away from our cultural obsession with thinness and the “body beautiful” that has made so many people feel inadequate and unacceptable just because their own bodies don’t match the airbrushed, super-thin cover models displayed and worshipped in the popular media. If fat-acceptance can help us do that, more power to it. There’s a lot more to people than their bodyfat percentage and BMI, and anything that reminds us of that is a good thing.

And, of course, there’s also a difference between being fat and being unhealthy—it is possible to be fit and fat. So, shifting our collective preoccupation away from external appearance and size to things that actually ought to matter, like health, ability to function, and personal satisfaction and enjoyment of our bodies and our lives, certainly makes more sense than continuing to focus on how we compare to some objectified image of an “attractive” body, or even to statistical associations between size and health status.

But it’s also possible to go too far in this direction, to the point that we start deluding ourselves into thinking that being overweight doesn’t matter at all. Obviously, there are connections between obesity and many health problems, and being fat can make it harder to be fit or happy.

So, what’s your take on all this? Has it become more socially acceptable to say that someone is fat, and if so, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does it bother you if someone uses that word in reference to you? Is fat becoming the new normal?




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Comments

  • 197
    To me...this is "personal"....and it's like pointing out "defects" when the FAT card is played. I once had a lady at the office where I work say" Oh my God...your hair is so thin"...I'm thinking "Oh my God, I didn't know that! Thanks for telling me"...NOT.

    I honestly think...if others want to "say" something about my weight..."pray" that I will make good choices today...and take good care of myself, for my health...and be blessed in doing so. Not all will do so, but it's my response. We all need love, compassion and caring today.
    - 1/25/2014   8:40:28 AM
  • 196
    I confronted this while living in Brazil. In their culture, it's completely normal when describing someone to use their outward appearance to describe them. This includes their weight (fat, skinny, really fat, really skinny, etc) their height and even the color of their skin. It's not meant to insult, simply to describe. Yet, in our policitally correct and oversensitive society that's an absolute no-no. While there, I lost a bunch of weight and was the thinnest I'd been in my adult life and still people described me as fat. But fat to them is an adjective. It's not labeling who I am but merely describing my outward appearance. Today, I know I'm fat. I am. And I have no problem being called that, especially by an innocent child who is still learning what is "socially acceptable". But I also know I'm working to change that about myself. Not changing who I am inside, but changing my body so it can be more healthy and more attractive. - 10/22/2013   10:15:23 AM
  • 195
    You can weigh the options (excuse the unintentional pun, of course), by stating a preference to being obese rather than narrow minded and emotionally retarded.....

    And as far as the mistake of thinking the other 'f' word so prevalent today, I detest mental rape. - 4/9/2013   11:25:43 PM
  • 194
    This is a two-pronged problem. Being overweight - to whatever degree, and raising your children with manners.

    The manners question first. Speaking of others - in their presence - must obviously be discouraged. All children have to learn it but they will all make some blunder or other before the parents are able to teach them otherwise.

    There is a saying that goes that you will hear the truth from little kids and drunks. That is just the way it is. They haven't learned to filter what comes out of their mouths yet.

    The second problem is being fat and feeling hurt about being perceived as such or not. Well, I see a bunch of comments from other readers about accepting our bodies in every size, shape, and condition . I find that somewhat puzzling. Why are we here if not because we KNOW it is a problem. Undesirable, unhealthy, unattractive etc. etc. etc. The fact that more and more people ARE clinically obese (myself included) does not change anything. It does not make it more acceptable or okay. We have all done horrible things to the bodies we were given at birth. We are here to change all that. Why can't we just not be babies and need to "feel good" about our current state. This should not be a venue where we escape from reality and convince ourselves that we are "no worse than so many others". Although that is true, we are here to change our health, bodies, fitness and appearances with each other - not just placate each other and saying it is not "that bad". I am all for supporting each other on the journey to CHANGE - not convincing ourselves we are the new norm. - 6/3/2012   3:11:07 PM
  • 193
    Kids will always make comments about other people's appearance, until their parents teach them not to do it. Doesn't matter if it's about being fat, being bald, having a big nose or missing a limb. "Fat" however seems to be the worst insult imaginable. Just look at the tabloids at the checkout counters. Getting drunk, using illegal drugs, trashing hotel rooms - all seem to be more or less acceptable behaviours for our celebs. But gaining a few pounds - omg, death penalty is too good for them.

    - 5/31/2012   8:50:19 AM
  • ELECTRALYTE
    192
    Many people have had that "ah-ha moment" from hearing the honesty of a child. I don't feel that "fat" is a bad word, I think we just don't want to hear it.
    I think it would hurt me as much as seeing it in a family photo, or in my reflection as I pass a mall window. The whole "fat" problem hurts. - 5/21/2012   5:48:52 PM
  • 191
    I thought you mean f**k, which is a word I can NEVER think is acceptable. - 5/18/2012   3:59:54 PM
  • SBNORMAL
    190
    I am fat, but sometimes it hurts when I hear it. Hearing that I am morbid obese or super morbidly obese, kills me!!! - 2/4/2012   8:41:49 AM
  • 189
    One, yes, fat in varying degrees has become the new normal - in the USA. Just ask anyone from another country. (I used to live in Europe, and still have friends there, so I sometimes get to see "us" from their eyes.) I'm also a middle school teacher, and at graduation get to see what the kids weigh as we distribute graduation gowns. Shockingly, many weigh more than me.

    Two, kids are rude, and need to be corrected, either by their parents or, frankly, any adult who feels like correcting public rudeness. (I know few people will agree with that.)

    I have a 15-year-old daughter who is completely normal mentally and looks completely normal, but has CP and is always in a wheelchair. She's a quadruplegic. She's gotten to the point where she kind of laughs when kids stare at her, tap their parents' arm, or bluntly ask "What HAPPENED to her?" I tend to just stare back really hard at the kids just to make them squirm. Now I've started saying to her, "Why don't you say hi to that little girl who's staring at you?" (Loud enough for the parents to hear, of course.) But I'm just like that. ;-) - 1/12/2012   8:55:00 AM
  • 188
    I think it's interesting in the case of 'fat' that a noun is being used as an adjective. If we could separate it or deny the use of fat as an adjective, we would say "That person is carrying a lot of fat". As it is, someone says "You're fat" (adjective) and you tend to hear "You are fat" (noun). Just remember that you are a person with fat not a person whose entire identity is fat (i.e. a lump of fat with no humanity). Live that way. Remember you're a valuable human being and treat your body as if someone valuable lived in it (no matter how much fat is there). - 12/22/2011   12:01:23 PM
  • 187
    I think it's rude to comment on anyone's appearance. I would never say..."Gee your boobs are HUGE" or "wow your teeth are really crooked"

    - 5/5/2011   2:47:17 PM
  • BASOLT
    186
    I am morbidly obese and it still hurts when someone stares or makes a comment .I am a member of a christian mingle web site and have had many people message me and tell me they were impressed with my answers and opinions and personality and they wanted to be friends but once I posted my picture I never heard from them again.I wish people would learn there is a lot more to the person than there size.And I was upfront about being fullfigured and working on a new me .And im glad I posted a picture because someone who would not be interested in me now I will not be interested later because they arent who they think they are. This is only my opinion - 2/26/2011   1:51:05 PM
  • 185
    I am only about 10-15 pounds overweight so I haven't ever been called "fat" by anyone(other than myself) that I am aware of. I worked with someone who was very heavy and it was refreshing that she called herself FAT. She said, "it is what it is" .... however, I would NEVER have called her fat. In my opinion, it is a rude word. It is like calling a woman a b**ch, you just don't do it. - 2/1/2011   9:05:44 PM
  • 184
    Maybe I am weird or something but I never minded the word FAT. It is what it is. I hate it when people sugar coat it by calling me chubby or someother word. Medically speaking I was fat. There was fat on my body, And fat around my heart. - 1/20/2011   5:52:40 PM
  • 183
    I think fat has become the new norm. I use myself as an example. I was a chubby kid and fatter than average in high school. Now, 50 years later, I still wear the same sized clothing (I have a few things to prove it!) but I am the thinnest person in my group, and a great number of my high-school friends are double my size. Many of them are unable to run or dance and even carry oxygen bottles. Still, my BMI says I am obese. NOBODY BETTER CALL ME FAT!! - 1/11/2011   1:30:36 PM
  • 182
    I have to agree that we have become culturally brought up to believe that a size 0-5 is perfect. But what about those of us who will never be that size? I have learned that my size 14 is a huge accomplishment for me. As a teen I experimented with anorexia and got down to 124lbs. I still wore a 9/10 pant. I think the focus should be on health and not size. Will I ever be a jockey like I dreamed as a kid, nope. But my curves are mine and they are beautiful no matter what size jeans I slide them into! - 1/1/2011   10:48:48 AM
  • SUGARSMOM2
    181
    we as a group of people have to stop and not let everything that others say hurt our inner selfs . we can not go around letting the pain we have felt in the past bring us down this path .I can no longer let the pain of my youth make me feel less . - 12/7/2010   2:10:27 PM
  • MOVENON1
    180
    Count1234, Excellent point(s) and just what I was thinking as I read the other comments. People are individuals and should be treated as such. What's ideal for me may not be ideal for you and vice versa. The definition of quality of life can be very different for different people. There's a whole community/movement out there promoting Fat Acceptance (FA) and Health at Every Size (HAES) and they are passionate in their position. "Fat" is not a bad word to them but a description of how they are and it doesn't mean they are all "unfit" or "unworthy" to be treated with dignity and respect. If we all would strive to be the best we can be and allow our neighbor to do the same the world would definitely be a better place. I think this site is a good place to start. - 4/9/2010   11:24:29 PM
  • MAR3NEZ
    179
    Wow, you really sparked discussion! I am obese, but to me the point is to be my best self. I want to be healthier, so I can lead a fuller life. Sometimes we just don't leave 'fat' alone; it doesn't just mean 'fat' but unlovable, reject, immature, undisciplined, social outcast, etc.--none of which have to do with 'fat'. We need to tell those added emotional ideas they need to back off and leave us alone. We are human souls, children of God first, and no one can take that from us. I find it's easier to make better clearer choices when I love, accept, forgive and encourage myself. Fat? Yeah, I'm fat, but why state the obvious? It's who I am that counts! - 4/9/2010   9:59:00 PM
  • 178
    I may use the "fat" when describing myself but would never say the word about anyone else.... I still consider that to be a "bad" word.... we used the word "big" in our house growing up.... and I have known "big" people who have more self confidence in their baby finger than I do in my entire body... truly believe size does not matter as long as you are healthy and making healthy choices... that's what I am striving to do :) - 4/9/2010   10:06:41 AM
  • 177
    Good article! True, I think the word fat no longer has the sting it used to have but I do think doctors using the word "morbidly obese" sounds worse than just saying fat. The word "morbid" sounds like some kind of freak of nature like a two headed person or something really freaky wierd like the elephant man. The word morbid sounds more disturbing than "fat". But on the other hand I do think people should not feel like there's nothing wrong with being overweight just because it's the "new norm". Interesting article. - 3/15/2010   3:26:52 AM
  • DIANEDVS
    176
    Well put, Count1234 !! - 3/7/2010   12:57:19 PM
  • COUNT1234
    175
    I think every one of us has insecurities and we can be injured by people who strike upon them. And I think the best thing we can do is try to figure out how we (personally) feel about these things without anyone else's input.

    When I hear about people on Spark who are changing their lives and getting in shape, I am so happy and inspired... But I think the most important step is accepting who we are, being proud of who we are, and deciding where we want to go without anyone else's (or societies') baggage.

    I think it would be best if the people in this country moved forward as a group and did exactly what I am talking about for each of us as individuals. We need to realize that fat doesn't make a person who they are. Fat is just a symptom of other influences: how busy we are, the kinds of food we grew up eating and know how to make, whether or not we feel comfortable exercising, and whether or not we are happy with ourselves, our lives, and our choices... The questions we need to ask ourselves are not about how skinny we want to be - we need to ask ourselves what we want our lives to be like and whether the choices we are making are really making us happy. ;) - 2/26/2010   9:21:02 AM
  • OVERBOARD4
    174
    I was pondering this the other day. I was talking to someone and they were talking about this family that came into their office and how they were all HUGE. Emphasis on HUGE! I was offended a little. Then I sat and wondered why? I didn't know this family. I have lost weight...I am only halfway to my goal. But I think I will always have a part of me that will despise the word FAT, HUGE, MORBIDLY OBESE, etc. My husband and I treat the f-word as a naughty word in our home too! Is the word skinny ever used in the same way as FAT? - 2/25/2010   11:30:46 AM
  • 173
    Seriously I will always see that word as a hurtful word, especially as I've been "fat" all my life and it still hurts to hear it. Soon though it will no longer have any power over me!!!! - 2/24/2010   12:05:26 PM
  • 172
    Most of the hurt full things I heard while my kids were growing up were from parents. My daughter is tall. They would always run up and point out the fact to me as if I didn't live with my children. They always made me feel as if my kid was a freek or something. I wouldn't never run up to someone and say wow your child is so short or so fat or so whatever. First of all I think they no and why make someone feel self conciouse of something. I think the parents can be so rude. Then they wonder where the kids get it. - 2/24/2010   11:05:40 AM
  • 171
    I don't think the kid has learned prejudice from his parents or anything like that (he will, though), I think it's just because as kids we all learn opposites: tall and short, fat and thin, pretty and ugly, all the physical descriptors have opposites. And we also learn, albeit indirectly, which one is better: it's better to be tall than to be short, better to be thin than fat, and better to be pretty than ugly. - 2/24/2010   7:03:12 AM
  • 170
    No, the F-word is not acceptable, it is rude and hurtful. - 2/24/2010   12:24:43 AM
  • 169
    I happen to prefer the f word over the big O.... as in obese! Like someone else posted... i wanna break the wii fit when it reminds me "thats obese" when I weigh in. Can't it just tell me that I am fat? - 2/23/2010   8:35:54 PM
  • 168
    I know that I'm fat. There's no way around it. Even the Wii voice states, "That's obese." - 2/23/2010   8:00:14 PM
  • 167
    I went over to my brothers house to play the wii with my 7 year old nephew. I told him that I needed a new mii because the one he had didn't look like me. I had no beard, glasses or red hair. He immediatly fixed all of those things. Then I told him he needed to make me taller. Once on that setting, I saw that I was as tall as the game would allow, I then asked him to make me a little less fat (since I have recently lost about 30 lbs). He immediatly respond, "I can't do that, you are that fat." We all laughed but it cut kinda deep. Now I'm on a mission to get to be small enough that my newphew doesn't think i'm fat.... - 2/23/2010   3:56:17 PM
  • 166
    That comment by #18 was great, "Why are you so rude?" especially if the child is old enough to know better. But we have to consider that young kids haven't had much exposure to a variety of people and some haven't figured out that people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. By allowing the word "fat" to be an insult, we are saying that a simple descriptor of shape or size is a bad thing. As far as health is concerned, it's generally better to be at a weight that will give us a healthy BMI. But that doesn't mean that the person who is "fat" -- there, I said it -- has any less value as a person. When it comes to fat acceptance, I don't think we should just say, "Oh, well, that's the way I am. I'm OK, you're OK, etc." We can say, "I am overweight, but I still love myself. I'm not going to hate myself because of where my body is now, but I also love myself enough to want to do something about it and get healthy by losing weight and getting fit." - 8/16/2009   7:54:50 PM
  • THEOECHO
    165
    I think it has something to do with the innocent honesty of young kids. They dont mean any harm, they are just curious. I have a mole on my face. Have had it for years, Ive had adults tell me to get it checked cause it has started to protrude as I got older. Ive also had adults come up and recommend dermotologists. Nothing bothered me til one day my little niece 3 yrs old said, whats that on your face, is it a bug???? Now Im actually thinking about getting rid of it?? It was a child that gave me a complex about it!! - 8/14/2009   10:56:45 AM
  • 164
    Fat is just an adjective. Would I get upset if a child asked "Mommy, why is her hair gray?" No. And most likely, the mommy wouldn't get all flustered and apologetic either. But sometimes... sometimes the word FAT is HURLED at you like a racial slur or an epithet and THEN, it stings!

    It isn't so much the word "FAT" as the context in which I hear it.

    I too have been working contruction on my improving self-esteem. My new self-image is already looking to be sooo much better than my present one. New and improved doesn't begin to cover it. Completely remodeled might...

    Words can and do hurt. So I try to avoid walking past high schools and junior highs (college campuses too sometimes) as "children" of this age seem to be the most inclined to say or do hurtful things while showing off for their friends. That failing, I fall back on my grandmother's counsel to me when I was a fat teenager... "consider the source."

    'Nuff said ~ - 4/20/2009   6:21:48 PM
  • NODUH60
    163
    Its not normal to be overweight...its normal to be too busy to stay home and fix healthy meals and spend alot of time on the road going to activities and also stressed alot... a greater amt of people now has such busy lives to be fit...that is more the usual lifestyle now....there are so many people overweight that for someone to verbally in public point out someone's "fat" would also offend lots of other people within earshot....possibly getting some unwanted feedback.....
    I was watching a "friends" child once when i was struggling with arthritis before hip surgery....the childs comment to me when i couldnt tie my own shoes was "cause you are fat?" and i said....i am overweight but i cant bend over, tie my shoes, struggle to get out of a chair or climb those stairs because i have arthritis and my joints are falling apart.... I know his mom complained about her own moms health and said she could get around better if she didnt weigh so much...so i am sure she must have made the same reference where i was concerned....
    Most people i know never referred to me as fat...anymore than i did about myself.. I always referred myself to be overweight and needing to be more active but needed to get the weight off my joints to do that...
    I think commercials about getting rid of belly fat would be the biggest reason kids would use the F word.....I really havent heard children use it to hurt anyone...if they wanted to be hurtful they use the word stupid....
    - 2/3/2009   5:41:05 PM
  • HELGARAZOR
    162
    The word FAT hasn't bothered me in a long time. It used to when it was used to purposly hurt me. But now that I see myself in a better light, I am the first person to say yes I am fat, I have issues just like everyone else, and it could have been something worse. When I hear someone call me fat, I just say.... " Yes I am, and I am working on it, can you work on your problem of being rude?" it usually shuts them up. But no matter what I think the most important thing is being happy with yourself, and if that doesn't please other people, well then that's their problem. - 1/25/2009   10:24:41 AM
  • 161
    I agree with NANZ--I'd rather be called "fat" than "morbidly obese." (Once I saw a doctor had written "morbidly obese" in my chart, and I was insulted and ashamed even though I weighed 282, and it was a fact!) A lot of people think of "fat" as the biggest insult in the world. I have friends who have reacted in horror and cut me off when I called my own self fat. The closer I got to a normal weight, the less power the word "fat" has had. To me, avoiding the word is kind of like not saying the word "blue" when talking about my eyes. The word is not bad; it's the value we place on it. So please don't call me "morbidly obese" to my face even if I only weigh 98 pounds. :D

    *By the way, have you noticed that some people are offended by being called "skinny"? The "correct" word these days is "fit." - 1/22/2009   10:27:50 PM
  • 160
    Thanks for the chuckle I got from reading the title of the blog. I feel for where you were at! Never really understood what it must have been like to not being able to get rid of the extra pounds until my own daughter struggled with weight. I made sure of staying fit to encourage her and out of shame of our whole family looking fat, although, my other daughter was skinny and hubby quite fit!!!! I will surely e-mail this blog to my daughter, who has been fit and healthy for many years now, although, can't say the same about the skinny one who has been turning fat.

    Having typed all that, I am beginning to wonder why bother post comments since who is going to read and does it really help me? Something to think about..........love reading for sure! - 1/22/2009   1:24:55 PM
  • NEUTRALFORCE
    159
    I feel like "fat" is still something people don't want to be. I think "fat" is still something you call people when you want to hurt them. I don't think it matters that the majority of people are bigger now, and that more people would fit into that "fat" category, because I think society still agrees that Natalie Portman is the desirable, not Rosie O Donnell. - 1/22/2009   11:57:27 AM
  • 158
    I wonder if the question should be "is Overweight the new Normal," rather than, "is Fat the new Normal?" Relative to BMI and government standards, it seems to me that we ARE moving towards fat acceptance, because the majority of us are now classified as Overweight. The word "obese" does not offend me because it is a clinical term. I invite anyone to look at a current picture of me on my blog. Would you guess that JUST two pounds ago, I moved from Obese to Overweight on the BMI charts?? It seems strange to me that the medical profession would have to medically declare me Obese, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the life insurance company that covers me would ONLY look at that diagnosis, and not at a picture of me.

    I recently read a very interesting book, "The 9-Inch 'Diet'" by Alex Bogusky and Chuck Porter. The author wrote that he and his wife bought a house built in 1940. When they moved in, they were putting their dishes in their new kitchen cabinets, but were surprised by the fact that the dishes didn't fit! At first, the man was annoyed, wondering, "Who would build cabinets that were too small to fit kitchen dishes?" But after long contemplation, he realized it was the PLATES that were TOO LARGE! The average size plate in 1940 was 8.5 inches (currently the size of an average salad plate); today, it is 12-14 inches! It is no wonder we are all getting so big! I highly recommend reading the book. It was a fast read and was very insightful.

    It's all about perspective, isn't it? Just as I don't believe that little boy who said, "Why is that man so fat?" was being malicious; I believe he was just being curious. - 1/19/2009   2:00:06 PM
  • MS-CEE
    157
    Yes, it is still something nice people shouldn't say. Since the little boy said it, guess what? He learned it from a "nice" person! It could have been from his "nice" parents! What eats me up is the people who calls a person fat are most of the time talking about themselves and are cowards on how to fix their problems.

    The word should be forever banned from the dictionary. - 1/18/2009   9:18:27 AM
  • 156
    I don't know if I would go so far as to say fat is the new normal. It certainly looks that way but I would hate to see that become the case. In the past few years we see a shift in the size and level of fitness in our young people which is alarming. It seems as if the young folks of today are quite comfortable with being overweight. That should be the concern in our society today. We adults need to rethink our lifestyle to teach the younger generation healthy habits. I believe we will have a nation of very unhealthy adults in the future if we don't do something about it now. I know here in British Columbia, Canada, with all the cutbacks, some of the fitness programs in schools are no longer there for our young ones. This is not good. It is up to the parents to get kids motivated so we won't have a nation of inactive, unhealthy adults in the future. - 1/17/2009   10:55:54 AM
  • SPARKLESSENCE
    155
    Wow! As always, I cannot improve on EMMASMART's always compassionate words! - 1/16/2009   11:35:51 AM
  • 154
    I often joke that I call myself fluffy so I don't hurt my own feelings. Being called fat is hurtful, even if it's true. The good news is my young children will use the word fluffy rather than fat to describe someone's physical appearance when the occasion arises. I find that it actually helps my children view people with just a little more kindness. Fluffy is a gentle word, fat is derogatory. Maybe those of you struggling with your young ones blurting out things at embarrasing times could try this. I'd much rather be called fluffy by a 4 year old any day. Actually showing myself a little kindness doesn't hurt either. - 1/16/2009   8:39:14 AM
  • 153
    It seems like you are really raising 3 different topics.

    First, is obesity something we should try to change. ("fat and fit"?)
    Second, is obesity something we should feel bad about. ("fat acceptance"?)
    Third, is it OK for someone else to make us feel bad. ("fat is the new normal"?)

    Regarding #1, "Fat and fit": Obesity is a health risk period. The SAME STUDY that you and the blog cited really said "23.5% (approximately 16.3 million adults) of normal-weight adults were metabolically abnormal, whereas 51.3% (approximately 35.9 million adults) of overweight adults and 31.7% (approximately 19.5 million adults) of obese adults were metabolically healthy."
    So yes, it is possible (1/4 of the time) to be normal weight and not healthy HOWEVER it is much more likely (70% of the time) to be metabolically unhealthy if you are obese. Also, keep in mind that Age is also strongly correlated with "unhealthiness", aka metabolic risk factors, and that the study considered people over the age of 20. (So this study looked at obese people at any age over 20. However, its very different carrying a lot of weight when you are 20 vs 60 because these risk factors add up!!!)
    I am not comfortable with the idea that its good/positive that obese is the new normal. I am really not comfortable with thinking that "fit and fat" is the point at which we should stop trying to achieve better health. While certainly "fit and fat" is better than "skinny and unhealthy", having a BMI above normal is unhealthy. Although this study only looked at metabolic risk, there is more than just metabolic syndrome to worry about (though that is quite dangerous). There are other risks not looked for in this study that are correlated with obesity.

    Regarding #2, "fat acceptance": Learning to accept where you are right now and the weight that you are is essential to your happiness and, I would argue, to your successful weight-loss too! Feeling bad about being overweight doesnt really help and often hurts. Love who you are!! Caring about yourself can motivate you to try and give yourself a better life. :)
    Remember that acceptance (and liking who you are) is not the same as "amotivated". You can like your body but still try to do things for yourself.

    Regarding #3, other people: Words can certainly be devastating. The reality is that making someone feel terrible is poor behavior no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes people want to "help" or "motivate" you. Sometimes they dont understand. Sometimes they just dont think. Growing up and learning to be an adult should have taught these people that this behavior is unacceptable and counterproductive. Some people just never grow up. They dont realize how negative their impact is. This behavior is inexcusable.
    - 12/2/2008   11:40:39 AM
  • 152
    Unfortunatly I hear that word more often that I would like - I once said I was too fat to do something in hearing range of my (then 4 year old) daughter. So now whenever I say I can't do something, her first response is "because you're too fat." We're working very hard on breaking that habbit, but my Grammy (her great-grandma) lets her get away with the same type of thing, (but she say's that Grammy is too old.) - same senario though & it doesn't make it any better. And the fact that she's still saying it drives me nuts (because I've been working so hard to change - This week I finaly reached my 25 pound mark - and I'm still working thru some body image issues.)

    I think that even as the nation (and even the global) collective waistline expands, the F-word is still painfull because we continue to compare ourselves to the size 0 models and it really doesn't help our self-esteem any. I used to feel that way too, but then I came to realize that those models aren't healthy, have horrible self-esteem, many of them rely on illegal drugs to maintain their size, and they just don't emulate what I see for my future. I want to reach a healthy weight, and manage my health issues (with minimal medications), and I want to have the energy & stamina to play a game of tag with my daughter LOL - These things can't be done at the impossible size 0 (I'm 5'8" - and have a larger build than that)...

    So, I do see "Fat" as becoming the norm (not a good thing to me), but I don't see the general populous's self-esteem being high enough to be called "Fat".......

    I would much rather see people be healthy, and happy. Not too 'fat' and not to 'skinny' either - but, to be a healthy size and have people be happy with that. - 11/10/2008   9:23:29 PM
  • 151
    The F word carries a lot of weight in our society (no pun intended). It is an insult teen girls hurl at each other, even when any thinking person would call none of them fat. People are prejudiced towards anyone who is overweight, thinking them slovenly and lazy. This is one prejudice people don't bother to hide. There are quite a few words like that, that when uttered with disdain, can inflict a lot of harm. Pig is another. When commenting on the condition of my teenage daughter's room, my DH refered to her as a pig and I was most upset. I tried to explain to him that teen girls are extremely sensitive about their appearance, and though that was not his intent, she would hear it differently. When I was a kid, a classmate called me obese. Not being familiar with the word, and she being Italian, I thought it was an Italian word. So cruel!! I was chubby, not obese. I hadn;t thought of that in years until I read this blog! I wonder whatever happened to that mean girl? LOL!! - 11/3/2008   11:25:18 AM
  • 150
    I think it's a word that can still hurt regardless of how widely accepted it is as a way to describe someone. I know it used to be upsetting to hear that word directed at me when I was younger and heavier. It doesn't affect me as much now because I've lost weight and don't really hear the "F" word much anymore. From experience though, I know how it feels and would never say anything like that to anyone else.
    - 11/2/2008   12:21:51 PM
  • 149
    I had a good friend when I was younger, we used get teased a lot. One day, we were on our way to school. This 1 boy would tease my friend and fatty, fatty 2x4 could not get through the kitchen door. This made my friend feel bad. I walked up to that boy and asked him if he would like it if he was told that. He had said, " No. I would not like it at all." From that day on, he remembered what I had said and told my friend that he was really sorry. That made my friend smile and she said, " Thank you and I forgive you". - 11/1/2008   8:14:53 PM
  • 148
    I heard a cute word to describe a friend of mine - yes, out of the mouth of a babe.
    She described him as "that round man". At the time it was a very accurate description. I prefer to be "that oblong woman"! Taller than wide! - 10/29/2008   10:27:04 AM

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