I talk about being fat like it’s a bad thing (as if it weren’t) and this is what people ask me. I don’t hate them, but I don’t generally like them because I don’t like to look at them. Obesity seems to generate a response in my head similar to that of seeing someone who is deformed, or if they’re super obese – to gore. To some extent, I hold it against them, as I’ve believed for most of my life that people who are fat are responsible for their own state. I actually know better, but I still want to blame them. Their appearance offends me and I want it to be their fault. I want it to be a character flaw, but I know it’s not. They are not fat because they are lazy. They are not fat because they are gluttons. They are fat because they’ve been eating the Standard American diet long enough for their long enough that they’ve overwhelmed their metabolic system, and if they’re overeating, it’s because their bodies are making them do so.
For the majority of my life, I’ve been one of those people who can eat anything and not accumulate any body fat. I was in the Army several years ago, went to Basic Training at age 18. While some of my platoon-mates lost 30 or 40 pounds in the eight weeks we were there, I gained 17 and still showed no sign of body fat. I ate voraciously in that time because I was extremely scared that I might lose weight, which I could not afford to do. When I went in, I weighed 148 pounds at 5’11″ and was fairly muscular, at least above the waist. After Basic when my activity level had slowed down, I learned that I couldn’t eat as much any more. I’m not saying I learned that I couldn’t get away with eating just as much, but that I literally couldn’t eat the same amount of food as I had been accustomed to. I remained lean for years.
Since the beginning of puberty, I would complain about constantly being hungry and having difficulty in maintaining or gaining weight. I felt better when I weighed more, but if I gained five pounds in a week, I’d lose the next week. Somewhere around age 23, I began to lose this problem. I was out of the Army and working security when I discovered a way out of constant hunger. I would stock up on frozen dinners and eat about 3 pounds worth in one 12-hour shift. For the first time ever, I had an ass. My wife was quite pleased about this. I wasn’t entirely happy about how I’d done it or the shape of my body, but it stopped the painful persistent hunger and that made it worth it. You know, people aren’t all that sympathetic when someone complains about how hard it is being fat, but try complaining about being too skinny and you’ll only get unmasked hostility (assuming you’re actually skinny).
For years I maintained a nearly athletic figure with a BMI in the “normal weight” range, while eating crap food and exercising very little. I knew about the Atkins diet, but I didn’t know a lot about it. It sounded kind of too good to be true. I read a little about the paleo diet, and that seemed to make a lot of sense to me, but I didn’t invest much time into reading about. There also seemed to be some contraversy about what Paleolithic man actually ate. I wasn’t overweight, so this stuff wasn’t that important to me. Then one day, I was. I swear to God I went to Chipotle and got one of their delicious burritos. I ate the whole thing and became bloated, which was normal. Which wasn’t normal was that the bloat didn’t seem to go away.
Some time back, I watched a lecture by science writer, Gary Taubes. Gary was asking some very good questions about the common beliefs of human nutrition. He had found what people around here like to call a shit-ton of evidence suggesting that ideas such as the big one that obesity is caused by gluttony, sloth, or some evil combination of the two, might be very wrong. He also suggested that maybe Atkins was right, pointing to scientific research indicating that he was. I was sold, and further reading on dietary intake of saturated fat and cholesterol convinced me that Atkins was right. More reading convinced me that a diet devoid of grains, low in carbs, and high in saturated animal fat is not only good for losing weight but can also prevent and often cure almost every disease humans face. This should make sense if you understand the concept of the paleo diet. The diet that modern humans have adapted to eating is the one which our bodies work best on. This means that health problems of modern humans are caused by us eating foods that are not natural for us. Obesity is just one of those many problems. If you first become overweight at age 15 and learn what to do about it, you might just live a longer healthier life than someone who waits until they’re 40 to become overweight.
When I started getting a fat belly, I cut back on sugar, and it seemed to do the trick somewhat, but I really wish I had known this stuff years ago.
If you’ve never looked into the low-carb or paleo diet, and need a quick explanation of why it would work or how carbs make us fat, go read Dr. Michael Eades review on Taubes’s new book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.
If that sounds interesting, get Taubes’s book.
If you want to know more about Taubes research into everyone else’s research, or you need endless citations and a response to every challenge he could ever anticipate, get his other older book, Good Calories Bad Calories. It’s an amazing book, but it’s very long and very detailed. The newer book is much more concise and to the point.
If you don’t want to pay for either book, the video lecture that I watched way back when is on Google Videos for free. It’s 71 minutes long and has some pictures of naked fat people. You have been warned.
If you have a really hard time accepting the notion that doctors and researchers could be so wrong about nutrition for so many decades, please watch this presentation, by marginal comedian, blogger, and creator of the Fathead documentary, Tom Naughton. It’s 42 minutes or so, and is full of lame jokes in front of a very receptive audience. You have been warned again.
If you don’t care for that, and just want to hear someone funny, go watch some Lewis C.K. videos.
I don’t hate fat people. I hate the fact that so many people are fat, especially the women. I found this very depressing. It’s even worse when it happens to girls I know. I don’t really hate fat people.