Early on in this blog, I did make some comments about diet and nutrition conferences I went to. I didn’t have the courage to say it outright, but I was hinting that the people at these conferences were fat. The reason I mentioned it, is because frankly I felt threatened. Here were people who ate diets like mine, diets I thought were the solution to being fat, that would help people lose weight and certainly not allow them to gain weight in the first place. And people eating this way, they were fat.
It threatened my whole worldview, which basically went along the lines of “If only people stopped eating X and ate Y instead, they would not be fat.” In retrospect it was an enormously arrogant worldview. And one not particularly well-grounded in science, which shows that there is not a single diet that consistently helps people lose weight. I had also internalized the standard fat = bad narrative without questioning it.
Of course there are the outliers. A lot of them end up writing diet books proclaiming their solution as everyone’s solution. I met them too. And saw how they struggled. And their struggle was usually proportional usually to how much weight they had started from.
For myself, I hadn’t started at a particularly high weight. And I had been dosed over the years with things like steroids for my asthma, which are pretty conclusively tied with weight gain. Coming off those drugs gave me an edge in losing weight, as well as working on some of my worst issues like binge eating. Some fat people are binge eaters (some thin people are), the vast majority are not. The idea that this is common among fat people is a myth.
But I can’t say it’s all been good. I’m riddled with some pretty unpleasant stretch marks for example. But either way, my story is my story, and not necessarily as applicable to others as I once believed.
Overall there is no one diet that can make someone fat no longer fat. Some people are able to lose weight with different diets, most people are not. Those who are able to lose weight will struggle to various degrees with keeping the weight off for the rest of their lives. Hostility towards those who are fat is not going to change that.
Plus people are fat for different reasons. When most people are hostile towards fat people, they are assuming they ate “too much” or the wrong foods, like local Chicago writer Neil Steinberg did when he said some fat women in line at Hot Doug’s should skip the duck fat fries and go to the hospital instead. I’d be curious to know what he thinks they could do at the hospital. I bet he’d repeat the party line of “oh if they only ate like this” that I once believed. Fat people in public are apparently an excuse for everyone to play expert.