Fat health. If you’re hearing that term for the first time it might sound a bit abrasive. However, as a fat person, the word fat is simply an adjective and is never used in a derogatory way when I’m using it. Fat health refers to the health of fat people because apparently fat people have their own category of health. I could delve into why that’s absurd but I don’t have the time today. However, I will be discussing the narratives on fat people and health and what my thoughts are as a fat person.
My opinion is based on a combination of my own health experiences and research.
Why is Fat Health Different than Thin Health
In the United States if you have BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more; you are considered obese. While there is significant evidence to support that the BMI chart is not truly based on science (
it’s based on the European White Males); our healthcare system relies heavily on this index to establish what is and isn’t healthy for the human body when it comes to weight.
Falling into what is called the obese category, you are considered to be at risk for a myriad of comorbidity diseases. And this is when the conversation of fat people’s health becomes a topic of conversation in both the fat and non fat communities.
Social Media & the War on Fat Bodies and Health
Calling the conversations on fat bodies and health a war may seem dramatic; but that’s truly what it has become. Non fat bodies constantly weigh in (no pun intended) on fat bodies. If a fat person posts a pic of themselves smelling a flower; undoubtedly someone will mention how “they’re not healthy” and “if you just lost weight” or “this isn’t cute or healthy” as if smelling a flower warrants a conversation about fat bodies and health.
Suddenly everyone has a medical degree because of watching an episode of Oprah when she featured a doctor circa 2001. Or even worse someone learned something via a TikTok video about fat health and now they are an expert. But it’s not just the nonfat folks railing against fat bodies; it’s other fat bodies too.
The fat community is made up of fat bodies that are vehemently opposed to any diet culture conversation, surgical weight loss or natural weight loss; specifically intentional. They claim there is no connection between weight and the health of an individuals body. They claim to be for fat body liberation; of course only if your fat body embraces these concepts. Then there are fat individuals who are at the extreme opposite of this narrative. These are the fat people who believe they must lose weight for their health. They shame themselves into diets, exercise routines and more not because they want to do good for their bodies; but because they have drunk the Kool-aid on society’s views on fat health.
And then there’s people like me.
I’m a Realist About Fat Bodies & Health
I recognize that there are in fact risks to being overweight, even if there is a portion of the fat community that refuses to accept that. But I also know that each individuals health is impacted by more than just weight. Genetics and lifestyle play a huge role. Underlying health conditions can also affect weight. And while one person carrying 350 lbs has little to no effect on them; on someone else it might have major effects.
I understand that diet culture is horrific and does not create an environment to healthily maintain any weight loss. I know that diet culture breeds eating disorders and destroys a person’s metabolism after awhile. However, I also understand that food choices matter. What we choose to fuel our bodies with can determine how well our bodies function. I understand the inherent connection to food and emotions. While I don’t believe in extreme restrictions unless absolutely necessary (allergies, or life and death); I do understand that discipline matters in all things even when it comes to how we eat.
Balance matters more to me than anyone’s opinions on fat health. I am a huge proponent of autonomy and believe everyone should exercise their right to care for their bodies as they see fit. I believe that fat health is subjective and no one should be encouraging fat bodies to do anything other than practice autonomy.
Fat can impact your health. I hate to disappoint my fat conspiracy theorist who insists this isn’t a thing when in fact it is. Studies have shown that excess adipose tissue can increase the autoimmune system’s inflammatory response. I recently delved into why there is connection between insulin resistance and those who are considered to be obese, and learned about metabolic syndrome.These things exist and being in a larger body that puts us at risk.
However, I also understand that risk does not mean it will happen. The God’s honest truth is only your lab results and your physician can tell the story of whether or not being fat is harming you. No one, especially those within the fat communities should be shaming fat bodies that connect their health issues with their weight. That is their experience and no one should be trying to silence that just because it has not been your experience or even worse; their story doesn’t align with whatever narrative you have.
Fat Bodies Owe No Explanations About Health
To anyone! Not to their social media followers, not to absolute strangers, not even to each other! Too much power is given to influencers, bloggers and “public figures”. These people (myself included) should not hold any power over what you decide to do with your body. If you decide that weight loss is for you; you truly don’t have to explain why. It’s a courtesy to do so, one that followers should respect. If you decide that weight loss is not for you; you truly don’t have to explain why. It’s a courtesy to do so, one that followers should respect.
Instead of fat bodies policing how other fat bodies present in this world or vilifying one another for personal choices; we should truly just show respect. Not one soul owes anyone a conversation about their health to anyone. Health is also not the determining factor on whether or not you should respect a person and their right to autonomy. This applies to non fat people as well. Just mind your own business and body.
The moment you are allowing what another adult does with their body to impact how you feel about yourself; you’ve already lost (
see Lizzo and her juice cleanse for reference). Influencers and bloggers are just human, no matter the follower count. And while some people on the internet are experts in a lot of things; you are the expert on your own body. What you do for that body is not up for debate with strangers, fat or skinny who have decided to be the authority on all things fat health.
The Wrap Up
If you’ve learned nothing else from me today, I hope you walked away with the overwhelming urge to mind your business. This goes ESPECIALLY for my fellow fatties who in the name of “liberation” put down the same women they allegedly want to empower because weight loss is wrong in your book. After spending decades being told how to care for our minds and bodies by a corrupt healthcare system and jacked societal standards; don’t go adopting the tools of the oppressor by shaming those who choose differently for themselves.
Whatever it is you choose to do for YOUR body and your fat health; do so with grace and the desire to honor you body in the best way possible.
And that’s on minding my own body periodt.
Until Next Time,