Fat – Don’t tell me you care about my health

People who want you to lose weight often say, “It’s not about looks, it’s about health.”


Most (if not all) of the benefits that you supposedly get from losing weight can be achieved through exercise even no weight loss occurs. 

So if someone says they are on a calorie-restrictive diet for health reasons, they would be better off getting some extra exercise.  And if you are getting extra exercise, your body is going to need fuel, so calorie restriction does not make sense if your only concern is health.

And nobody comes up to you and asks how your blood pressure or cholesterol is.  They just tell you about this great diet, or tell you to exercise to lose weight, or that you’re just too fat.

And should you, for whatever reason, lose some weight – what is the first thing you hear?  You LOOK wonderful.  Uh-huh.  No concern about why you might have suddenly lost weight, just you look terrific.  Like dramatic weight loss is always a good thing.

A friend from NAAFA lost some weight as a result of diabetes.  When people tell her how great she looks she tells them that it is a symptom of a life threatening disease. 

And it’s the “war on obesity” — not the war for good health.

As I said, in a previous post, I’m sharing my thoughts on various arguments and questions that seem to always come up in discussions on fat acceptance.  I think all fat people can benefit from being prepared when faced with these questions and knowing what they want to say.  As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts, comments and any additional information you have, so we can all be better prepared when faced with this, whether it stems from ignorance or prejudice.


6 thoughts on “Fat – Don’t tell me you care about my health

  1. All of your points are well-made and well-received (at least by me) but my sense of logic compels me to point out one thing: Improving one’s appearance is a perfectly legitimate reason to lose weight.

    Whether we like it or not (and I for one, don’t like it); appearance matters in most societies. We like to say that it doesn’t and we write laws against using it as a criteria for important decisions such as employment. Nevertheless, even the most even-minded individuals can be biased (at least subconciously) by a person’s attractiveness. Rationality and awareness can sometimes (even most times) override this bias but the reality is that for the very attractive the barrier isn’t there in the first place.

    So you’re right; it’s more than a little disingenuous to say that all weight-loss suggestions/excuses are aimed at health. If someone is losing weight for appearance’s sake, then let him or her say so openly; it doesn’t need an excuse (nor to be excused). It’s ok to want to improve one’s appearance.


    P.S. As someone whose (not insignificant) extra weight is starting to wear on my knees I can say that there are some health issues that weight loss does address directly.

    • It is true that losing weight for looks is a personal choice. Unfortunately, a lot of people dieting don’t admit that is their goal, which means they are lying to themselves. And no matter the reason for trying to lose weight, the chances are excellent, you will simply end up fatter than you started – and the dieter ends up blaming him/herself, and ends up with more selfhatred than before.

      I would argue it is better for fat people to learn to love themselves as they are, rather than trying to conform to society’s current preference for thiness.

      And my other issue is with people who claim a concern for fatties’ health as an excuse for their fat prejudice, and as a rationalization for treating fat people as less than people.

      As for your joint issue, since long term weight loss is next to impossible, exercising to strengthen your joints would seem a better goal.

    • Improving appearance in whose eyes? Even in conventional terms, I’m sure you must have seen examples of people losing bunches of weight in the name of improving appearance, only to end up with an outcome that makes one long for the before picture.

  2. VERY well said. I often want to vent about this myself. My health has nothing to do with people’s hatred. They simply want a nicer-smelling reason to discriminate against me.

  3. Along with what you’ve said, I feel that not only do diet’s not work, attempting them produces many bad side effects in addition to it not working.

    That is all that is on offer to lose weight so it’s an illusion of choice.

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