Tag Archives: angry

New Study Finds that Losing Weight Won’t Make You Happy


In the past I’ve talked about how fat people can be happy without losing weight.  Now a new study confirms something else I’ve known for quite a while, that losing weight won’t necessarily make you happy.  The study, while still managing to pontificate about the “health benefits” of losing weight, points out that fat people who lost more than 5% of their body weight tended to be more depressed than those fat people who didn’t lose more than 5% of their body weight.  In fact, after adjusting for health issues and major life events (like losing a spouse) those who lost more than 5% of their original body weight were more than 50% more likely to be depressed than the group that lost less weight.

The study press release goes on to suggest that of course you should still lose weight because it’s good for your health.  And the study is careful to suggest that correlation is not causation, so we don’t know that the weight loss causes depression.  (BTW this is a good practice that is curiously absent in many press releases about the health risks of obesity, but I digress…)  And the study suggests a few possible reasons why this depression might be happening.  They use a lot of flowery language, but it boils down to:

1.  Constantly dieting and not eating what you want and weighing and measuring every morsel of food you put in your mouth takes a lot of energy and kind of sucks.

2.  When you win the weight loss lottery and your life is not as wonderful as promised, it can be a major letdown.

And I suspect both of these suggested reasons are totally true.  Constantly fighting the fact that your body is HUNGRY and you want to eat takes a lot of energy.  Watching your friends eat fabulous stuff while you order the fish (steamed please, no butter) and vegetables (steamed please, no butter) and salad (dry with cruets of vinegar and oil on the side) gets old really fast.  And don’t even get me started on weighing and measuring and obsessive point/calorie counting.

And let me remind you about the big fat cycle.  One of the major triggers for the big fat cycle of weight loss and gain is fantasy.  We are taught that when we are thin our lives will be perfect.  We will be beautiful.  We will be like movie stars.  Men or women (depending on your preference) will be standing in line to take us out and buy us fabulous stuff because we are gorgeous.  Our health will magically be perfect.  We will be pain free.  We will climb mountains and become CEOs of multinational corporations because that’s what thin people do.  Look out for me, baby!

Then we (at least temporarily) get  thin.  And we are the same.  Our lives are much the same.  A few people who weren’t interested in dating us before may become interested.  But instead of feeling elated about that, we feel hurt and kinda pissed off.  We wonder why we weren’t good enough to date before.  And we wonder about the fear of dating somebody who will drop us when we gain some or all of the weight back.  People tell us how fabulous we look now.  And again, it kind of hurts.  We wonder what they thought about how we looked before we lost the weight.  We still feel pain.  We still get sick.  We fail to climb mountains or climb the corporate ladder.  We are simply smaller versions of ourselves with the same frustrations, insecurities, problems, challenges, frustrations and crud in our lives as before–except without cookies.  No cookies are anywhere.  And people wonder why weight loss can be accompanied by a side of depression?

This is why a behavior-based approach to health is so much better.  There is no before and after.  There just is.  I feel better when I exercise, so I exercise.  I don’t have to do something I hate.  I don’t have to do things that feel like punishment.  I don’t have to build up some ridiculous fantasy about how my life will change when I do it.  I find exercise that I like.  I know I feel better when I do it.  So I do.  It’s pretty simple really.

I know that when I eat too much of certain things, I feel kinda icky.  So I don’t usually eat too much of certain things.  Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I know I’m going to feel kinda icky and I eat it anyway and I enjoy it.  But I don’t like feeling icky so the next day I probably won’t eat too much of that thing.

I know when I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, my body feels better.  I don’t count servings or weigh or measure my broccoli.  I don’t eat fruit or vegetables because I won’t allow myself to eat anything else and I’m starving.  I just kinda know I feel better when I eat fruits and veggies so I do.  I eat the ones I like when I am hungry for them.  I don’t imbue them with magical powers.  I am not suddenly going to grow taller or develop forearms like Popeye because I’ve downed a little spinach.  Fruits and veggies feel good, so I eat them.

It may seem revolutionary to some.  But I think when we stop focusing on how our bodies look and start focusing on the messages our bodies are sending us, we feel better.  And I don’t really know if I need a study to tell me that.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  We are only a few days away from the Fat Activism Conference.  It’s only $39 or pay what you can.  Check it out here!

P.S.S. Looking for a fabulously funny speaker who can talk about body image, HAES, eating disorder prevention, fitness and more?  Book me here!

Big Fat Ripoff: Too Heavy to Tan


This week a story is surfacing about a woman in Akron who was told after she signed up for a month of tanning that she could not use the lay down tanning beds if she was over 230 lbs.  Kelly McGrevey was allowed to use Aloha tanning salon’s one stand up tanning booth, but when it was broken, she was told she simply couldn’t tan.  When Kelly asked for her money back, Aloha refused.  Kelly had never been told that she could only use the stand up booth, and the salon was unable to give her any information about when the stand up booth would be fixed.

Now look.  While there are some awesome facilities for bronzing, tanning salons are notorious for creating crazy policies and never, ever offering refunds.  The tanning salon had an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and had Kelly done her homework, she might have been less surprised by the shady business practices.  But I think the real surprise was probably with the employees of Aloha.  I doubt they expected that Kelly would have the guts to make much of a fuss about the new policy.  I’ve no doubt they were shocked when Kelly went public and they found themselves being interviewed by a local investigative reporter.  Because I suspect that they felt they would be protected from any negative repercussions for their bad behavior by the shame the fat girl felt about her body.

Except that’s not what happened at all.  And I think this should serve as a wake up call for businesses everywhere who are count on fat people’s willing compliance with their bogus policies.  Fat people are fed up.  And we’re rising up.  Whether it’s shaming at a fitness center or the requirement to submit to tests and pay more for company sponsored health insurance, people of size seem less likely to stand idly by these days.  So companies who shame fat folks should take note, that big girl you shame might just walk away crying, or she might be your ticket to a not so comfortable spot on the evening news.  And I for one, am cheering.


The Fat Chick

You Can’t Buy Fitness: Why Buying Lots of Stuff Won’t Get you Fit

How much did you spend on that device for hanging laundry?

How many of you out there started a fitness program by buying something expensive like a big piece of exercise equipment or a long-term plan at the gym?  And how often did you think, “If I paid all this money for it, I’ll surely stick with it!”?  Did ya think feeling guilty about your purchase would make you work out?  Did it work?  Or do you have an extremely fancy place to hang fine washables otherwise known as a treadmill?

Look, I myself have gone down this path many times.  And it has failed me many times.  Because there is a very annoyed little kid inside me that resents being coerced into exercise based on guilt.  And she rebels.  That kids says, “No way!  I ain’t gonna play!”

This cycle of spending money, feeling guilty about spending money, trying to use that guilt to fuel an exercise routine, not exercising and feeling extremely mad at myself went on for a long time in my life.  In fact, I had to declare a moratorium in order to stop the cycle.   I can remember for a period of two years here in Los Angeles, I took a moderately-priced and absolutely fantastic dance class.  You could for the classes one at a time, or pay in groups of 10 or 30 classes.  Of course the more classes you bought at one time, the cheaper the class was.  One day, the teacher finally asked me, “Why do you not buy a group pass, when you come week after week?”  I finally admitted, “You know, I think I come week after week because I never bought a group pass.”  Yup, this was a cheap Jedi mind trick, but it worked for me.  I went to that class two or three times every week for nearly two years.

I think this is because handing the money over for each class allowed it to feel like a treat.  I had saved up for that class and was lucky to get to dance rather than fulfilling an obligation.  It may seem crazy that I went through all of that and paid extra money because I couldn’t get my inner kid to stop pouting over my previous and devious attempts to fuel exercise with money.  But that kid pouts to this day.  And I still pay for exercise options a little at a time.

Now that I teach exercise and sell books and DVDs and sell training, of course I’d love for people to make big investments in exercise.  But I really just want people to work out and learn to love their bodies and love exercise again.  And I’d rather that folks just buy a book and then read it or buy a DVD and then watch it, than have them buy a gabillion dollars worth of my stuff and never use it.

So my little chicklettes, I’m encouraging you to dip your toe in the water.  Try before you buy.  Just buy one book or one DVD.  Buy one week of training or consulting.  Find a gym that doesn’t penalize you too heavily for paying weekly or monthly.  Because working out is not an obligation to be dreaded, but a very special treat.


The Fat Chick