The SparkPeople Blog

The F-Word. Is it still something nice people shouldn’t say?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/2/2008 6:40 AM   :  197 comments

Not too long ago, I used to dread going to the supermarket or any place where the chance of running into young children was pretty high. Almost inevitably, one of them would point at me and say something like: “Mommy, why is that man so fat?”

It didn’t help that mommy would immediately apologize, and tell the child that it’s not nice to say things like that. The damage was done. The word was already out there, hovering like a heat-seeking missile: Fat! And I was the target.

There was just something about that word. I knew I was fat. Everyone who looked at me knew I was fat. I even told myself I was fat, usually several times per day. But hearing someone else aim that word at me, even a child, made me feel like I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth. Even my doctor avoided that word, telling me I was “morbidly obese” instead, as if that was somehow better than being fat.

Well, I’m happy to report that the F-Word doesn’t bother me nearly as much now. But I wonder if this is just me, or whether fat has a different meaning these days...


I don’t think the word bothers me less just because I’m not nearly as fat as I used to be. That’s true, but I’m still not thin. If you didn’t know how big I was before, you could look at me now and think that I look like a formerly fit guy who’s let himself go a bit too much recently. I know that the jiggly, wrinkled stuff around my waist is what’s left over after losing 150 pounds at the ripe old age of 57–but you probably wouldn’t know unless I told you.

I also know I’m less offended by the F-word because I’ve done enough work on my own self-esteem and self-respect that hearing someone else say I’m fat doesn’t send me into a negative spiral of shame and self-loathing any more. I feel pretty good about myself the way I am, and that’s a pretty good antidote for those shame attacks.

But I also suspect the F-Word doesn’t have quite the same negative sting in it that it used to have. In fact, as this article suggests, fat may be the new normal.

If this is true, it raises all kinds of interesting and important questions. On the one hand, it seems very good that we're moving away from our cultural obsession with thinness and the “body beautiful” that has made so many people feel inadequate and unacceptable just because their own bodies don’t match the airbrushed, super-thin cover models displayed and worshipped in the popular media. If fat-acceptance can help us do that, more power to it. There’s a lot more to people than their bodyfat percentage and BMI, and anything that reminds us of that is a good thing.

And, of course, there’s also a difference between being fat and being unhealthy—it is possible to be fit and fat. So, shifting our collective preoccupation away from external appearance and size to things that actually ought to matter, like health, ability to function, and personal satisfaction and enjoyment of our bodies and our lives, certainly makes more sense than continuing to focus on how we compare to some objectified image of an “attractive” body, or even to statistical associations between size and health status.

But it’s also possible to go too far in this direction, to the point that we start deluding ourselves into thinking that being overweight doesn’t matter at all. Obviously, there are connections between obesity and many health problems, and being fat can make it harder to be fit or happy.

So, what’s your take on all this? Has it become more socially acceptable to say that someone is fat, and if so, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does it bother you if someone uses that word in reference to you? Is fat becoming the new normal?




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Comments

  • BALLANDCHAIN83
    147
    I do believe fat is becoming the norm in this country, which is pretty sad. I hate that if I go to a restaurant most items on a menu are unhealthy. I also hate that everyone in my immediate family is obese, including my 8 year old niece.

    My college is a bit different though. 68% of the people there are women, and most of them are not obese. I assumed most colleges had more fit people than the general population until I saw Cindy_15's post. I'm changing my lifestyle now from sedentary (struggling to walk a mile a few months ago) to becoming extremely active in the hopes that my husband and future children will pick it up. - 10/29/2008   8:38:18 AM
  • CINDY_B
    146
    Out of the mouths of babes...
    Are we becoming a society more accepting of obesity? In my opinion, yes. To go a step further, our society actively promotes obesity in the name of progress through the glorification of fast food, super-sizing, refined foods and the latest "new and improved" food product. We are raising an entire generation who thinks this way of eating is normal. Food, of course, is not the only issue. Parents need to turn off the T.V. and video games and direct their children to some form of physical activity, preferably with them. When my 4 y.o. grandchild (not overweight -yet) comes to visit and we don't have all the electronic babysitters, I find he is perfectly content to snack on banannas, grapes and pineapple. We go outside and play ball, swim or just use our imagination. Let his aunt walk through the door though, and he is begging for candy and McDonald's. Using the walk through the grocery store as an example, I am constantly amazed at all the overweight children I see. Attached to that child is usually an overweight parent. What's in the basket? Sugary cereal, soda, chips, pizza... not a whole grain or vegetable or fruit in sight. I recently had occasion to drive through the campus of our local community college. I was just blown away by the fact that most of the young women I saw were overweight (even allowing for the "freshman 15"). Society must be accepting because these same young women are definitely wearing the current style of cropped tees and low rise jeans with apparently no concern of the fat hanging out everywhere. Sad, but true-this is "normal" now. - 10/23/2008   6:19:43 AM
  • 145
    Perhaps this is not the nicest thing to do, but whenever somebody makes any comments on my weight that I do not like, I find something about their looks (doesnt have to be weight, could be their height, face, lack of body tone or muscle mass- there's always something you can find if you try), and make a comment about it to them in return. And that makes me feel so much better....

    I realize that some people might not even mean to offend me, nonetheless if their comment makes me feel uncomfortable regardless of the fact, saying something rude to them makes me feel much better right away and then I just forget the whole thing and go on with my day as usual, like it never happened.

    Some people really tick me off by making comments on my weight loss every single time they see me, even though they might think they're making a compliment but when every single time they see you they tell you "Oh you look so much thinnner now, oh now you look more sexy" which makes you feel like BEFORE you looked so fat or not sexy, over and over again, this is really annoying. I noticed that swallowing these things up would ruin my whole day. So I dont anymore. I did that before because I didnt think it would be proper to say something bad to them since they obviously did not try to offend me intentionally. But then I thought that even though upsetting me was not their intention, people should really think twice whether its polite to comment like this, over and over and over again. So now I dont hold it in just because someone is too stupid to realize that commenting on someone's weight especially the moment you see that person and then going on and on about it is not nice. So normally I make myself look very "uninterested" in what they have to say about my looks. If they go on, I say something like that to me I always looked good (and if I'm really ticked off at this point I may also add that if he doesnt think so maybe he just got a taste problem) and things like that. Normally this will be the last time you'll hear them saying anything about your weight. The point is to make them feel stupid and whatever it is to make yourself "get over" the comment as soon as possible so you can go on with your normal day......I'm so immature..

    But really, this has really helped me. Because I really don't see why I should have my whole day ruined just because of somebody elses' ignorance. If anything I would rather have THEIR whole day ruined by my comment than mine day by theirs. - 10/23/2008   2:51:56 AM
  • 144
    This reminds me of what I've been trying to teach my daughter for years. Words only have the power that you allow them to have. I am part of a small circle of people who are fat activist, people who try to support people who are over weight and make sure society isn't oppressing people based on weight. The first thing I learned from this group of people is that it is okay to be fat and that fat can be beautiful if you let it. - 10/16/2008   1:35:10 PM
  • BARBARACRAIG
    143
    I think that for a stranger to look at someone and say loudly enough for that person to hear, why is he so fat is rude, of course, children are often excused for rudeness, since they don't know rude, if a close friend in an intimate conversation refers to my fat, or mentions that I'm not as fat as I was, that would not offend or hurt me, I'm in a wheelchair, so, I've had my share of stare of stares from children who are surprised to see an adult face on a level with theirs. Your story reminds me of my sister's telling me that when her children see someone in a wheelchair, or parking in the handicapped spot, they say.look Mom, like aunt Barbara, but in the superket amorbidly obese man was gtting ready to shop in one of those electric scooters with baskets in front, and one of her kids said, loudly, pointing, not knowing whether the child was planning to comment on the man or the vehicle, she headed him off with "Just like Aunt Barbara." I've called myself fat often, and no doubt will continue to do so, it helps me realize that I'm something I don't want to be, and its described by an ugly basically offensive word, thatI want to stay away from.
    Barbara - 10/15/2008   7:32:36 PM
  • HEATHERANGELINE
    142
    Granted, my child is only an infant, but where does a three to five year old learn terms like "fat" and what they mean? If a kid asked why someone was big, I'd think that was normal, but who is talking like that around their child? Either they're calling themselves fat, or someone else fat. Age 6 up where they might hear it from other sources, well, a kid should know better. I certainly never would have said a thing like that as a child. - 10/10/2008   7:53:58 AM
  • 141
    I think the F word in this context is something everyone has to come to terms with in their own way. If someone you don't know (or even someone you do know) refers to you as "fat" then I think that says more about them that it does about you. If they meant it to hurt you, then you should simply choose not to be hurt. People can say whatever they want; we have no power over that. What we do have power over is our reaction to what others say. If someone refers to you as fat to your face, just say, "Your point being...?" If you overheard someone refer to you as "fat," just smile to yourself, silently bless them and move on. We as individuals don't have to play into the prejudices and judgments of others. We really do have the right to simply be who we are and be happy with ourselves. I'm 55 years old and for most of my life I referred to myself as fat. Its almost as if it was a self-imposed judgment of who I was as a person. Like if you list your ingredients, the most prevelant one being the first, I'd say LaRue: fat, funny, smart...whatever. Of course I would never say the first one out loud, but it was understood that "fat" was always number one on my hit parade. No more. If anything, I would say I was "phat" which has a whole other meaning! It means "I'm awesome!" ... big with awesomeness! And so are you!! - 10/9/2008   3:46:18 PM
  • 140
    It has to start with an acceptance of self. Once we look at ourselves as we really are, we can objectivally look at alternative lifestyles. If we are so busy worrying what other people think of us or are criticizing ourselves and feeling guilty for any fried food we look at, then we can't possibly find the motivation to see healthy lifestyle as it is. We will see it as a hassle, just as living in our bodies is a hassle. I think more people are finding the energy and motivation to lose weight now, because they first accepted that they were fat and it had to be ok, because the weight wasn't going to come off overnight. - 10/8/2008   4:12:35 PM
  • 139
    One last thing... sorry for so many comments in a row.... but I LOVE the Santa Claus comment!! And it may be slightly mean but I bet a child being told that would think twice before calling anyone else fat... Made me laugh, thanks.
    :) - 10/8/2008   11:59:40 AM
  • 138
    A comment on the blog itself:

    Just because 'fat' may be more of a norm in the US, doesn't make the word less hurtful. Though i'm a very emotional person and some things really bother me. And yes, when a niave (sp?) child says things like the ""that person is fat" it does hurt more because they don't know better than to tell the truth. Trust me, my brother has done this countless times (though now it's done to get under my skin, at first it was innocent). I've been reduced to tears because of this or someone else saying these things. So, just because it's a 'norm' doesn't mean it's not hurtful. These things can have a lasting impact. I remember being told after a soccer game as a child (maybe 10 yrs old, not sure) that i "didn't need that candy bar" and that I "should be eating an apple". You're talking like 12 years ago and I STILL remember it and I've had image problems ever since. BUt I'm working on my self esteem and on my weight and health.... so soon it will not bother me! - 10/8/2008   11:57:48 AM
  • 137
    In reply to DIVEGODESS - I just wanted to say 93lbs would not be 'normal' for everyone. So to some, even if you are healthy at that weight, you still would be considered 'abnormal' or too skinny. I mean, for me at 5'6" I would be WAY too skinny at 93lbs, I'd probably look sick at any less than 140-145.... Just to clerify, I'm not calling you too skinny or abnormal (because depending on height, this could be 'normal' for you). Just wanted to point out that everyone is very different and in my eyes the word 'normal' just makes the majority of people feel left out because no one really fits the definition of 'normal'... kind of a hard thing to define with 300 million or more people in the country... right? I hope you don't feel I'm attacking you because that's not my intent, just trying to make the point that what is 'normal' for you isn't exactly 'normal' for everyone. - 10/8/2008   11:52:16 AM
  • 136
    I know that my body is fat, but it never got me to feel bad about myself. I am the same person it doens't matter if I am in a skinny or fat body. - 10/8/2008   7:38:25 AM
  • 135
    Honestly as far back as I can remember, the word "fat" has never really bothered me, it was just who I was (the little fat girl or the fat sister) and I still refer to myself as fat either jokingly or when complaining to any of my friends who will listen. Just like someone mentioned here it is all in the phrasing of the word, in the context that it is use in. Children don't know how to measure their words and in that they are sometimes brutally honest in their observation, adults however can be judgemental and critical; when the F-word is used cruelly or hurtfully, it then takes on a whole different meaning and I think that is where the stereotypes are born. - 10/8/2008   6:45:28 AM
  • 134
    for me, with any word, it's all about context and the way in which it is being used. Everyone in my family teases each other with words and phrases that would make others cringe. We are just very crass and know that we are only joking. It's our sense of humor. We aren't like that with other people though.

    I don't think it is the fat word itself, but just the thought that this kid really noticed that I'm fat...which means I must be really fat for him to be noticing which means other people must really be noticing...

    I had a kid I nannied ask why my legs were so big. we were sitting in a cab with his mom and his sister was on my lap. he really wasn't trying to be nasty and i was pretty close with all of them so it wasn't a big deal. his mom replied with, sometimes its hard when you're in college to find time to workout. she was totally right and it didn't really offend me but the kid's comment hurt. note: he never used the word fat, it was just the thought of a child's BRUTAL honesty that hurt a little. it's like people's manners get in the way of them telling you the TRUTH, but not with kids... - 10/7/2008   6:48:58 PM
  • 133
    When I refer to my past weight problem, I open with, "When I was fat..."

    But I wouldn't say it about someone else. I think it's quite rude to assume the person you are calling "fat" would agree with you. - 10/7/2008   6:06:34 PM
  • 132
    I have never considered myself fat. My largest size was a 14 (I think that is chubby, not fat). I needed to loose some weight, I knew that, and did just that. Even though I have never felt the pain of that word directed to me, I have always been upset by it. It is offensive. I think is as bad as a racial slur or a sexually discriminatory remark. Do people really think that "we" don't know that we need to loose weight? As for kids, myself a mommy of 5 (so I know) we can not help what comes out of their mouths. They don't mean to be hurtful, but like you said, it's out there. In my house that has always been a disrespectful word that I do not want to hear. - 10/7/2008   11:31:08 AM
  • 131
    My dad had a reply ready if kids called him fat. (He never used it.) "Yeah, well, I'm Santa Claus and you aren't going to get any Christmas presents this year." Mean? Yes. But that is my dad's sense of humor and we have to remember, he never said it. - 10/7/2008   6:18:16 AM
  • 130
    Fat may be the new normal in the US but it still isn't in many countries. I have a healthy athletic body with a BMI of 20, but my BF % is lower than most women my age. In Japan I am considered "big" but whenever I go to the US lately, people treat me as if I am anorexic since I am thinner than the new normal of "fat". So while this new noraml may be a good thing for heavier people, it makes us "normal" look too thin when we are not.. - 10/7/2008   6:03:25 AM
  • 129
    As far as children saying hurtful things, their behavior is learned from somewhere -- just pray that it is not from their own parents! Kids learn value systems, opinions, etc. from mostly other kids, because that is who they are around almost 100% of the time. So, for a child to say something that sounds inappropriate, I believe it can be quickly dismissed by the adult person with that knowledge in mind that they are probably repeating what they've heard and have not really had the maturity to assess what they are saying. Now, all that having been said, I do want to comment on the morbidity of the truly obese person. And I've seen many of them in such condition that they cannot walk around a grocery store and have to use the motorized cart. I truly feel sorrow for them. They don't know what is happening to their bodies or else they don't care.( being an RN I feel I can speak with some directness and credibility). First of all, the fat that is on the inside, that no one sees is something that crowds out all the other internal organs, and makes it difficult for them to function as they should. The heart, which is the #1 organ of life, is taxed to the utmost trying to pump sufficient blood (which carries oxygen to all tissues). Ultimately high blood pressure will result with all the extended adverse affects of that; the joints of the body are all taxed because they were never meant to carry an oversized load -- knees and back in particular. These are just a couple of the major issues that morbidly obese individuals face. And the word "morbid" refers to the fact that the "morbidity rate" (the measure at which an individual literally dies) is increased -- i.e. the person is limiting his longevity. Not to mention, that the quality of life is compromised. I weight 140, and I can feel the difference from when I weighed 115. Can you imagine how the 200+ person feels? It must be aweful ! ! ! I am so sorry for that condition whatever the cause. My heart goes out to anyone who is fighting the good fight to live a healthier lifestyle in order to be a contributor to others life journeys. Blessings. - 10/6/2008   5:09:31 PM
  • 128
    "Fat" doesn't disturb me as much as "morbidly obese". To me, "Fat" is in the eye of the beholder. Someone, somewhere probably considersed Jayne Mansfield or Marily Monroe to be "Fat" because they had those beautiful round curves.
    But "morbidly obese" is a measurable scientific description that I cannot get away from. I cringe when I see it on my chart at the Dr's office. But maybe if I hear and see if long enough it will lose its meaning, like "fat" did. In the end, they are just words. I need more to motivate a lasting change in my eating habits. - 10/6/2008   2:52:02 PM
  • 127
    I hate the F-word, but sometimes it is just what I need to regain motivation. If I am fat, there is no getting around it and at times I need that reminder. It's what gets me back into the gym when I my workouts have slumped. I see it as a motivational tool, which I suppose is a glass-half-full mentality. :) - 10/6/2008   1:28:39 PM
  • 126
    I reclaimed the word fat years ago, and embraced it. (Just like "dyke" and "queer.") I am, after all, fat. I am not over my weight--I am the weight I am. I'd rather hear "fat" than "obese" (with the charming modifiers of "grossly" and "morbidly"), or chubby or chunky, or hefty or any one of a a number of euphemisms. I always say to children, "Yes, you are right, I am fat. And you are (fill in the blank with one of their physical characteristics). Every body is different. And that's ok."

    I don't need to hate myself to get motivated to lose weight. And, I'm good with the word fat. I know everyone isn't, and as a social constructivist, I respect their individual decisions to name themselves and describe their bodies in a way that works for them.

    For me--FAT is where it's at. (I've lost 80 + pounds, and plan to keep on losing, just for context.) - 10/6/2008   2:59:18 AM
  • 125
    No, it's not nice to call someone the "F" word. Not even for kids- even though mine are pre -teens now but they were taught... If you don't have anything nice to say then....hey you know the rest! Words can do damage just as if you hit the person. - 10/5/2008   10:00:39 PM
  • 124
    Unfortunately, we can not control what others say that it is hurtful but we can always kill them with kindness in return! I choose to keep my inner strength and power by being a better person and wishes them the best on their endeavours! Hopefully, what ever lack of self confidence they have they will learn to be a better person someday! Hugs and thank you for the post - 10/5/2008   10:00:34 PM
  • 123
    I have the most motivation to lose weight when I consider myself fat. I don't want to hear someone else say it though! And my weight is personal, no one need comment! - 10/5/2008   8:07:50 PM
  • 122
    Yes. The F-word is still something nice people shouldn't say. I don't buy into the theory that it's more accepted in our culture today. I do see your point, but believe the fact that you are no longer excessively over weight has more to do with your acceptance of the F-word than you are giving.

    If being called "fat" can be positively motivational to somebody, kudos to them...that IS a strong person. I would say that it is not motivational to the majority of overweight people. And probably causes more harm than good.

    The overweight condition should not be something that is ignored or denied. Our culture needs help accepting the PERSON...not the word "fat", or even the unhealthy condition.

    It's not a sign of progress in society when the condition of being overweight (especially to the point of being unhealthy) is completely accepted and/or encouraged. Our society needs to embrace all of these time-saving technologies like the Internet, cellphones, and the like as opportunities to be MORE active, not less.

    So...all that time you saved by ordering something online rather than taking a trip to the mall, use it to go for a walk around your neighborhood with your family, not to sit down on the couch to watch more TV. - 10/5/2008   6:53:41 PM
  • 121
    Ferocity...I 100% agree with you. As adults, we give other people too much power over us and it is not in the word/words themselves, it is our belief in the meaning of those words. Change your belief, take back the control. - 10/5/2008   1:11:11 PM
  • 120
    When I was in the 1st grade, the kids at school used to call me, "fatty-fatty, 2x4" all the time! It hurt my feelings SO bad! Most often, I wasn't chosen to be on their teams until very last when playing sporty games, which caused me to feel very rejected and not-good-enough. That carried with me throughout my life and to this day my self-esteem is not so great. Of course, I know now that they were only kids and I'm not as bad as they made me feel, but still, I think it will always be there. At 46, I still have to remind myself that being overweight doesn't mean that I'm not a bad person - just an unhealthy one.

    At the present, I live in West Africa. It's funny that here, being skinny is "a bad thing" and being heavier is beautiful. How ironic for me!! They don't say that someone is fat - they say that he/she "has body". I think I like that so much better! :)

    I am a woman who "has body" but who is working on having less - I don't think I will ever think it's ok to use the "F Word"!! - 10/5/2008   8:41:22 AM
  • 119
    Well my 3 year old said I had a fat belly as he played with my fat rolls! I didn't mind but my husband yelled at him for calling me fat. I don't think it's ok for people to say but can we blame children or even other people when we, as overweight people call ourselves fat? - 10/4/2008   10:49:21 PM
  • 118
    I have been on both sides of this, actually....

    When I was pregnant, I had a little 5-6 year old boy come up to me and say "Why are you so FAT!?" which was incredibly offensive to my already sensitive feelings, especially coming from a little boy who was over the age that I felt should have known better than to be rude. I snapped back "Why are you so rude?" which I still regret doing, but it the retort rolled off my tongue.

    Recently, I was at the grocery store with my three-year-old daughter. She said to a fellow child in a cart (who looked to be about her age, but twice her size) "Hi Chunky-Baby!" -- she noticed the kid was very chubby, and mentioned it. Of course I apologized to the parent, but what else can you do? - 10/4/2008   10:01:04 PM
  • POETRY10
    117
    we still have to realize kids dont exactly know that saying the word fat to someonr or calling some fat is not nice. i have been called fat numerous times so i change it around P.h.a.t. thank you very much which means pretty hot and tempting. when you turn someones words around they dont expect it i dont get offended it by it as much as i use to because i love myself and no one can make me love myself. being over weight or shall i say fat does not make me or break me. so to those little kids who has not been told that calling someone fat is not something you do because its rude to bring up someones size in the first place this is what i have to say to them kick rocks because no longer will i allow you little people tell me im not acceptable because im not a size bigger than my pinky . how would you like if someone called you anerexic you wouldnt like it at all so if you dont wanna taste of your own medicine dont dish it out because imma spounge and i will squeeze it out right back on you so parents who has taught there kid ther word fat realize that your kids are also spounges so what you say they soak it up and say it to other people your kids are the split image of you so i dont blame the kids i blame the parent who says to much around kids and then want to tell the kid that wasnt nice when you said it not too long ago kids dont forget anything kids say and do what they feel how can we blame them thats all they know. But as parents you need to set the example even if the word slipped out tell your kids mommy is sorry that is a bad word dont be like mommy be better than mommy and same in the daddy case. kids will only do what they see or told. They think if mommy can say it and do it so can i stop blaming the kids blame yourself for not teaching your kids not to judge others by what they see on the out side because on the inside are some beautiful people. - 10/4/2008   5:24:34 PM
  • TRESEDA
    116
    If some child told me I was fat, I would have to gently disagree and tell them I am obese, which is a medical condition.
    My daughter once did that very thing. She was being horrible in general, so a very sweet older large woman gave her a lollipop, which quieted her down. When I told her she needed to say "Thank you", she scowled and declared, "No! I don't like her. She' FAT." So long lollipop! Beautiful huh?
    So, are we becoming more fat-accepting? Ummm, no, I don't think so. Today's culture is more compassionate in general because of the difficulties we are all facing, but adipose is still a joke, public evidence that one is vile, lazy, gluttonous, oily, self-gratifying, stupid, and/or deformed.
    My last child will always work with her weight, but as a baby she was gloriously fat, yummy and huggable and squishy-fishy fat. When my co-workers asked my how my baby was, I would say, "She's FAT!" in a celebratory way, having just come from hugging and kissing all her lucious dimples.
    Their reaction? "Don't be mean!"
    Ahh well. - 10/4/2008   4:44:20 PM
  • FEROCITY
    115
    It's not *nice* to say, no. But that doesn't change the fact that it's the truth. I'm fat. Lots of people are fat. It's a physical description, one that happens not to describe the ideal. The power in a word comes NOT from the person using it, but from the reaction of the person hearing it. It's the same with profanity, with slurs, and so on.

    It's when I realized this simple fact - that I don't have the right not to be offended, but I do have control over my reactions - that the word "fat" stopped bothering me. I can joke about my weight now. Laughing at my weight makes "fat acceptance" a moot point. I don't care if other people accept it. It's how I look right now and I know it's only temporary.

    Look, I hate to sound like an evil, heartless monster, but all that PC/acceptance whining is making this into more of a victim culture. The biggest consequence of a victim culture is people who refuse to take personal responsibility, because nothing is their fault.

    That's the antithesis of what we're all doing here, isn't it? Not being victims? Taking personal responsibility for our health? So I say take the word "fat" and own it until you don't need it any more. Better yet, start reversing the stigma by using fat for positive things. Nice fat chicken breast . . . big fat payday check . . . ginormously fat awesome vacation . . . - 10/4/2008   3:58:18 PM
  • 114
    You're right that fat acceptance is a positive thing. Nobody can work on improving health or lifestyle change when they are so busy hating themselves for how they look. Making your peace with it is the first step - one I'm still working on. - 10/4/2008   3:11:15 PM
  • EJORDANE
    113
    Body acceptance movements are great...we cannot all be size 0's nor should we be however, on the same token...being a size 20 isn't ideal either and we should not accept and glorify accepting any body image so much that people don't see anything wrong with being obese and the consequences on their health. - 10/4/2008   2:42:46 PM
  • 112
    Yes, it is still something that nice people shouldn't say. It is rude and hurtful. Unfortunately, even if you don't hear that word, it doesn't mean people people aren't thinking that about you. I wish we lived in a society that was tolerant of everyone, regardless of their appearance. - 10/4/2008   2:01:09 PM
  • 111
    I hate the word "FAT" when used as a description, because it is negative in our society.

    I don't think society is accepting obesity more because of the numbers...my hope is that most children are being raised with higher self esteem than in my generation and that they are being taught to give everyone the respect they deserve. Unfortunately there will always be the judgemental few who missed the lessons. Little children have yet to learn that their words affect others, and tend to state what they see. It's the adults who give the children the words to use to describe what they see...so the mom in the above story SHOULD have been embarrassed.

    I have learned to let my children grow up differently than I did and let them create their own ideas. I cringed when my daughter needed glasses, because I got made fun of for having them when I was litte, but I kept that fact to myself. Guess what!? She was the star of the playground because now it is "cool" to have glasses. My son is heavier than I would like him to be. I worried that kids would pick on him at school. We eat well at home, and he is constantly active, but he's still large. I took him to the doctor who ran tests and he's perfectly healthy. The doctor told me not to worry about it if he is happy, active and healthy. But I worried that people will look at him and think he sits in front of the t.v. all of the time and eats garbage. I worried that others will judge him. Guess what? The adults are the ones that focus on his weight and call him "big boy, big guy, bruiser...etc" The children accept him for who he is. He has tons of friends and has never indicated that his weight bothers him at all. I like to think we are doing a better job of raising kind, tolerant people than previous generations.

    It is no ones duty or right to look at another person and judge that person for being heavy. Maybe that person has lost 100 pounds and is feeling good for improving their health. Maybe they have been to their most critical point and are on their way back up to health. But if all one sees is a "FAT Person" then they're the one with the problem. To call someone fat is an attempt to make oneself feel superior by pointing out a difference with someone else. Even if it is out of concern for that person. IF that person continues to feel good about their progress and doesn't let it bother them, then the mission to make that person feel inferior doesn't work. They walk away without injury and the speaker is left looking like a jerk which is exactly how it should happen.
    - 10/4/2008   10:27:12 AM
  • 110
    I don't know if I should say this but I think society is accepting of "fat" people now as there are more and more over weight people it seems. I watched a documentary the other day, wish I could remember the title, but it talked a lot about the "normal" body structure and how it has changed over generations. They showed what was considered "normal" sized women during the World War II erra and it was amazing the difference! They explained how it can be difficult to create authentic looking movies from this era because the body structures are just not the same and the clothes don't look right on the body structure of today. The documentary stated that a lot of it is the foods available to us now that were not around then.

    I don't know if it is just me but is seems like more and more kids I see tend to be on the heavier side these days as well. I wonder if it isn't how society has changed and different things are so much more acceptable now than even when I was a kid. When I was younger video games were something one played occasionally but now it seems kids play them a LOT. I think that society becoming so accepting of some of these things makes kids a lot less physically active and is going to lead to even more large people in the future unless something takes a turn. Well, that's just my opinion. - 10/4/2008   12:59:49 AM
  • DEADSTITCHES
    109
    My dad is someone who is obese himself, and yet is very prejudice against obese people. Not even obese people...a slightly overweight neice of mine. And when he made the comment, my neice was just a few feet infront of us at the mall. When I repeated what he said a little louder, he got incredibley embarassed and couldn't understand what was wrong with me. Someone pointed out "When I hear someone call me fat, I wonder what pains them so?" or something to the same effect. I also wonder the same thing about my dad. In a way, I understand why he is such a bitter person (and pretty much made my life a hell all my childhood), and yet I get so confused when something is staring at him in the mirror...that is waaay worse then what is looking at him from behind (my neice, whom is about 15 lbs overweight, compared to the 100lbs my dad needs to lose) Humanity is sad. - 10/4/2008   12:38:06 AM
  • 108
    When someone calls me fat I wonder what is making them suffer so. - 10/3/2008   11:55:29 PM
  • 107
    Compassion is the key word. It's rude to refer to body size of anyone, small or large. It has nothing to do with who you really are. It's good if you know that. Compassion also applies to ourselves. We need to have human acceptance of our lovely selves regardless of our weight. Deep down we are at our core as beautiful as anyone needs to be. Self-compassion is one side of human compassion.

    Emma - 10/3/2008   10:35:55 PM
  • 106
    On February 1, 2008 I was FAT - I hated the word - it struck my soul - because it was true - I was on a path to early death because I found it easier to be obese (a word that is worse than fat) but it was just as true.

    I used the hate of this condition to make myself into a better physical human - I will never be fat again.

    Be true to yourself - if you are obese you need to make serious changes in your lifestyle - you are hurting yourself and setting a bad example for those around you. It is hard - it is amazingly rewarding. You and only you can make it happen. - 10/3/2008   10:01:05 PM
  • CSIJO124
    105
    Yes, it would hurt if someone called me fat. Even though they would be right it would still hurt because it's not a good thing to be fat. They are saying you are not normal, no one would say your fat in a good tone like it's a great thing. I would like to say to those people; " Thanks for pointing that out, I had no idea I was fat until you pointed it out". "You Jackass"!. - 10/3/2008   8:51:00 PM
  • 104
    I cringe when I hear the word. It's just one of those phrases that I don't like. As for my children, they're being taught not to point out flaws but to find good things. I'd rather hear them say "you have really nice eyes" than "you're fat". - 10/3/2008   8:42:59 PM
  • 103
    Technically fat is normal. We would all die without it. But that of course is not the usual connotation when calling someone fat. Since visual appearance only takes in external body size and shape, nobody can know if in fact you are fat by just looking at you. As far as being "fit and fat" this seems like an oxymoron to me. Obviously there are many degrees of both "fitness" and "fatness". And technically there is a point where too little fat reduces fitness, just as too much fat reduces fitness. You may still be able to hold your own endurance and strength wise with excess body fat, but I don't think anybody has ever made a case for retaining excess body fat in order to be more fit. - 10/3/2008   8:20:55 PM
  • 102
    I think life is about treating others with kindness and compassion. That being said, I think it is also important to live in reality. Overweight and obesity are medical terms, not obscenities. When individuals ready to change their physical state reach out for help, it is critical that we are supportive and positive, AND honest. When people are ready to change, it is important that self-truth be a part of that. - 10/3/2008   3:45:44 PM
  • 101
    Several weeks ago, before SP, my Grandson laid his head on my belly to cuddle and said You have a full belly! I am happy that he related to me that way - but it still brought to mind I Have To Do Something! It was part of what worked to get me started. :-) - 10/3/2008   2:48:26 PM
  • ASINGH527
    100
    Maybe it's because I've been fit most of my life, but I don't have an objection to being called fat. I know that my BMI is considered obese and I'm actually looking forward to when I get down to being just overweight. It's funny, but when I was a teen and in my early twenties I never thought of myself as thin enough because I saw people skinnier than me. But now after having a daughter my mentality has changed and it just doesn't affect me as much anymore. I guess seeing myself pregnant and way overweight puts things into perspective for me. I'm still striving to get down to a size 8-10, but I'm not obsessing about it. It will come. :) - 10/3/2008   2:27:00 PM
  • NOTSOTHIN08
    99
    I think people(whether adults or children) who refer to others as fat, were not brought up right...I come from an Italian family and can say that 95% of our family was "pleasantly plump", however, my brothers and I are different sizes and shapes and growing up, we never referred to anyone as "fat"...I don't like that word and my kids don't even use that word...God made us who we are and all we can do is try to better ourselves if we aren't happy...I used to be 95 LBS and after two children and some surgeries that were necessary, I went up to over 150LBS...For the last 13 yrs I've struggled with my weight, but now, I"m determined to lose the weight and keep it off...As for "fat" not bothering us as much anymore, I think it's because once you can accept yourself for who you are, then you will have the confidence and determination to make the changes that are necessary....We are all on the right road, we just need to keep following it and not care what others say.... - 10/3/2008   1:08:25 PM
  • 98
    While I wasn't usually called fat as a child I was alway being referred to as "Husky". I liked it though and was kinda proud about it cuz I thought it meant kinda like a boy or strong. But I am offended now. lol. Now that I know I was being called fat. :'( - 10/3/2008   11:45:31 AM

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