You’re Fat? Your Fault: My Struggle To Understand Food Addiction And Obesity

24 comments
December 19, 2012 ‐ By Toya Sharee
Source: iStock.com

Source: iStock.com

As I sit and stare down at my laptop writing this article the pudge peeking from below my tank top serves as an unwelcome reminder that I am getting older and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. Although the workings of weight gain and loss are quite complex, simply put most doctors agree that as we age our bodies tend to lose muscle and as we lose muscle our metabolism tends to decrease.  What does that mean for me?  It means in order for me to maintain this size 3 waist I may finally have to admit that the pickles on my Big Mac don’t count as a vegetable and stop counting my ten minute walk to the train as a workout.

For many women big and small, weight consumes their world.  But the only reason I ever watched my waistline was to put the belt through the loops on my skinny jeans.  It’s true; I’m the evil skinny woman that Monique threw shade at in Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World which some would argue doesn’t encourage self-confidence but excuses an unhealthy lifestyle by throwing around phrases such as “fabulous and thick.  At 5’2” and 115 pounds, I wasn’t offended.  Us skinny girls have our own problems, but don’t blame me for being genetically blessed.  And it’s not that I don’t think big girls are beautiful.  Are you kidding me?  If you tune in for 15 minutes of 106 and Park you’ll be bombarded with images of voluptuous backsides bouncing beneath trial size waistlines.  Most of the girls glorified by our culture don’t look like Monique, but they don’t necessarily look like my no-hips-having behind either.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t painfully aware of the fact that petite privilege exists.  It’s why employers typically hire pretty, thin woman as administrative assistants rationalizing, “They’re the first image that introduces a client to the company,” as if being pretty and skinny means that you’re a competent employee (if that even really matters).  I first became aware of the fact that these judgments came naturally to me when I noticed I instinctively breathed through my mouth on the bus whenever a bigger person sat near me. We’ve rendered fat people as the scapegoats for every social group’s flaws.  We automatically associate obesity with odor, poor hygiene and a lack of self-control…and that’s completely foul.  Still, the first step is recognizing that you have a problem and I recognize my way of thinking about weight is seriously flawed.

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  • gualm

    I think she hit the nail on the head but she did not realize it. You judge the fat and assume they are that way because they all eat wrong but yet your thin but obviously not healthy if you constantly eat fast food. People equate healthy with being thin which is not true. I am obese but I only eat fast food about once a week and I also exercise 2-4x’s per wk. I am not diabetic, have good b.p. and excellent cholesterol levels. But I know I am partially fighting genetics because my father has 12 sisters and they are all overweight or obese but I am also over-coming the horrific eating patterns that I was taught as a child. Now my doctor tells me I have a medical condition that is causing inflammation but doesn’t know what it is. I think they have a cure for obesity but obesity pays and like cancer it stays!!!

  • scandalous7

    who else stopped reading when she said size 3 waist line?

  • Summer

    I guess you meant well with this but yeah… it didn’t quite work.

  • Soni

    I’ve been reading for a long time, but I seriously signed up just to comment on this article.

    Are there editors on this site? Not only was this article poorly written (a lot of times, they are, but at least they’re informative or entertaining enough to make up for that), but it’s just downright insulting.

    This was nothing but a two-page “humble-brag.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27602164 Celeste Demby

    There are different kinds of fat there is the fat you see and visceral fat which is the fat that grows around major organs and things like that. Visceral fat kills and skinny people can have tons of visceral fat but just can’t see it. Obesity or outright pudginess is a symptom of a bigger problem not the cause of most of the problems but like most diseases some people get certain symptoms and others don’t. Just because you are skinny doesn’t mean you should eat whatever you want and not exercise if you care about your health. The author to me sounds like she’s a very unhealthy person and shouldn’t be giving anyone advice on health and diet the way she eats.

    • for real now?

      Thank you. That is what I was trying to say but you summed it up more nicely.

  • chanela

    hell, all i want for christmas is a gap between my thighs.

    probably not gonna get it though. damn you santa

  • for real now?

    The author was brave for putting her thoughts out there but I think there needs to be some clarification here. First the author does not have a metabolic advantage. Instead, the author has an aesthetic advantage becuase her body fits into society’s ideal of what is considered attractive and healthy.

    Also, I read on many websites that there is such a thing as unhealthy skinny people. A thin person who eats a fast food diet and exercises very little is at an increase risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and other diseases just like an overweight person who eats a bad diet and does not excercise. A thin person with a crappy diet and non existent work out plan can trick themselves into believing they are more healthy than the next person who is carry an extra 20 pounds because society constantly validates thin people and automatically catagorizes thin people as healhy and attractive.

    Now food addiction is another thing that I know very little of but I do know popular media likes to exploit people’s misery.

    I can go on and on…

  • InsomniaPoet

    This is unfortunate. I didn’t read it as the author trying to belittle big girls…I got that she was acknowledging her misconceptions and kinda asking for help on how to be better. Why is it that by stating the fact that she is naturally skinny she is bragging or being conceited? I feel like big girls take all their stress out on naturally skinny girls and that is JUST as unfair. True society may make you feel some kinda way about yourself but I don’t think that SOCIETY = skinny women. Maybe all of us women can just stop judging each other and learn to love and accept each other. One thing we all have in common is that as women we are all overly judged on our body images and suffer insecurity as a result. Why can’t we all just get along?

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      because the attitude I got was, yeah I’m that skinny girl you wish you were, and though I wish I had your curves, in reality I think you’re fat because you wanna be not because you’re blessed genetically like me. The “I’m disgusted this woman ate herself to death and using surgery to lose weight is what did it in for me. . .

      • InsomniaPoet

        Yea, I could see from previous comments that some people took the article the same way you did, but when I read it I really didn’t see it that way. It’s always about perspective. Could it be that b/c she mentioned eating a carton of ice cream she was automatically tuned out and considered another one of those judgmental skinny b*tches? B/c judging in either direction is equally wrong in my humble opinion.

        • Ms_Sunshine9898

          I don’t think so. It’s the the things she stated as a fact and then contradict herself in the message that she’s trying to promote that’s confusing. How can you pride yourself on being thin without trying and ridicule people who struggle with weight loss and yet say to some extent they do have nice bodies? She stated for her she has to do nothing to maintain her weight and walking to the train station is considered a workout and yet, for people who are obese and actually try to lose weight without succeeding are looked at in disgust? Her healthy attitudes are no different except she just happens to already be thin. At least she acknowledges her way of thinking is flawed. . .

          • InsomniaPoet

            Okay so I guess my question becomes how did she ridicule? Fat or skinny you should be disgusted by someone eating themselves to death. The same way you’d be disgusted by someone dying of starvation, or drug addiction, or homelessness. When I see pictures of those anorexic girls I am as disgusted as when I looked at the picture in this article of the woman unable to get out of the bed. I feel that she was only writing from her life experiences which is honestly all someone can be expected to do. The entire premise of the article was that her thinking was flawed and she wanted to do better. But then she is demonized by every comment b/c she doesn’t have to exercise? Even her comment about thicker women having curves was an insight to her insecurities which is that in the black community skinny isn’t the best thing you can be either. Skinny women look at the video vixens and feel just as inadequate as bigger women. Which was my point in the original post. We women ALL struggle with our body images, unless of course we are Ms Joseline Hernandez (sorry just watched L&HHATL) and I think that was the Authors overall point. Don’t judge me for being naturally skinny & I will work on not judging you for being overweight…how is that a bad thing?

            • Ms_Sunshine9898

              that’s was the point of my second comment. you can’t identify yourself as the evil skinny b!tch, ridicule people for the challenges of their weight and then say y’all know my heart, I’m trying to do better, so don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. the whole message she was trying to pass was lost in the contradictions of her statements. . .

        • for real now?

          I don’t know…. I feel like a thin person talking about eating a carton of ice cream is really just bragging. “I am so blessed because I don’t gain weight” mentality. That is nothing to brag about because eating a carton of ice cream is unhealthy for you regardless of wether or not you end up gaining weight from it. I think it says the author is a community health educator so I’m thinking, shouldn’t she know that? I think there is an air of superiority on the part of the author that really is unjustified.

          Eveyone should eat well regardless of thier size, period.

          In my other post I said the author was brave for stating her thoughts. Now we are stating ours.

    • chanela

      well dammit! it’s unfair that they can eat what they want and never exercise, yet still be skinny as hell!i LOOK at my food and gain weight..lol

  • Gye Nyame

    I clicked on this article b/c I thought there would be an intellectual and insightful approach to a serious topic that is plaguing our community. Instead I was exposed to vanity on display from a person with a shallow understanding of health, nutrition, and food addiction, disguised as a community health educator. I’m was one of these ” small” people that could eat anything and not gain a pound (before I had children), but that doesn’t make you “healthy”. How can you talk about health and nutrition and eat an entire container of ice cream, even if you are 115 lbs that’s not healthy. Being healthy is a lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet, incorporating physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Try again…

    • Gye Nyame

      correction: I was one

  • Cam

    “So let’s make a deal: if you don’t assume I’m conceited and starving
    myself, I won’t assume you are a lazy and naturally jolly”.

    ….but you ARE conceited.

  • SheBe

    *le sigh* I had to read this twice and both times I kept trying to make sense of the authors stance. There was hypocrisy and contradiction all over the place. Let me try again…

  • Yay!

    What planet is this author a “Health Educator”? I am shocked. This non-writer spent two pages lamenting about “skinny privilege” and chastising a morbidly obese person, who likely is suffering from a very serious health/food disorder. Please take your insensitive azz back to nutrition class. “Struggle to understand” good health comes in all shapes and sizes (so does poor health). Only shallow persons spend time assuming one thing or another about a skinny/fat people.

  • IllyPhilly

    All you gotta do before you eat that bacon cheeseburger is 3 hours of exercise and you’ll be good fat folks. I’m sorry, pleasantly plump folks.

  • Queen Troll

    I’m tired of hearing about fat people.

  • Say What?

    I wanted to reply seriously, but I don’t have the energy. I’m going to go to another article and make fun of Kim K., Stevie J., etc.

No thanks