ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Food for Thought I: Why are Fat People Fat?

Updated on May 18, 2012

Reflections on Why Some People are Overweight

I have recently read an article indicating that some people are fat because of their “fat personality” and because they lack impulse control. Although I’m not fat, the article made me very sad and angry because I know a lot of overweight people struggling with themselves and none of them has poor impulse controls. The article reflects stereotypical views about overweight people and portrays them as lazy, incompetent people who lacks self-control and self-discipline. Unfortunately, this view is shared by many people including a number of doctors, dieticians and scientists who do not understand the problem accurately and blame the victim instead. While they attribute lean people self-discipline and will power simply because they can turn down food; fat people are accused of being lazy and undisciplined, unable to cope with their impulses. I personally know from my overweight friends, how these critical and judgemental remarks from their family members, doctors or unassuming friends hurt them and their self-esteem, so some of them also start to blame themselves for being weak, lacking discipline, lacking will etc.

Truth is, being overweight is not a personality disorder or a personal weakness. I observed that many overweight people have strong wills and proper impulse controls. Most of them are very disciplined and competent in their jobs and in their relationships. They don’t have a “fat personality” or whatsoever. They all have different personality traits which make them unique individuals. However, according to my observations, they share one thing in common: overvaluation of food, which has nothing to do with their personality traits but their attitude towards food.Overvaluation might be a strong word, but what I mean is that they truly enjoy food and see it as a prize.

I don’t want to make broad generalizations but I want to share my observations about overweight peoples’ attitudes towards food. What I observed in my overweight family members and friends is that they see food as a “prize” and lack of food as a “punishment”. Unfortunately, dieting makes the situation worse, because it strenghtens their belief that deprivation of food is a kind of punishment. That’s why many people gain more weight after they stop dieting; dieting only reinforces their belief that insufficient food is a total nightmare and abundance of food is heaven. That's why diets don't work. They really suffer quite deal of deprivation while dieting, which makes them even more hungrier for food, while food is elevated to the status of ultimate prize for their suffering.

It’s easy for normal weight people to turn down a plate of brownies, simply because it’s not a prize for them. It is not because they have super-human powers or highly developed impulse controls, they can turn down food simly because it doesn’t offer any temptation or it doesn't offer any extra enjoyment. If fact most of the lean people experience food as a prize only if they are hungry and as punishment if they’re already full. So normal weight people can easily decline what they didn't see as a prize in the first place without a remorse. But there is a catch 22 for overweight people, if they eat the plate of brownies they feel guilty, if they don't eat they feel deprived and frustrated, so it's not an easy choice. Even if they maintain strict diet and work out regularly, it has a high price for them: a feeling of constant deprivation and frustration. I think those people who are portrayed as having high discipline about food and sports, with high controls to keep them fit are just supressing their problems with food. It’s just the other side of the same problem.

The problem with some overweight people is that the natural link between hunger and food was broken in their early childhood due to their upbringing. Most of them were fed when they were not hungry and deprived of food when they were actually hungry. So, in their adult life they can eat when they are not hungry and some of them may not recognize if they’re hungry or full, and they feel deeply frustrated when food is denied due to the broken linkage. Hence, they repeat this trauma later in life by successive periods of dieting (deprivation of food when they are hungry) and "relative" indulgence in food (eating when they are not actually hungry). I said "relative" indulgence since I have yet to meet an overweight person who is overindulgent or who eats too much.

I love overweight people, and I personally don’t think being overweight is a problem as long as they’re healthy. In fact, studies show that overweight people can be healthier than thin people, and they live longer ( There is also nothing wrong with enjoying food and seeing it as a prize. Some of overweight people accept themselves as who they are, yet, some of them are in a constant battle with their body and themselves. I know how difficult their life and their struggles could be. I don’t like when they are blamed for their personalities. I also know that being overweigt has nothing to do with their personality traits, its only their relationship with food may create problems for them. I’m not an expert, I just wanted to share my personal observations. I will be happy to read it if you could share yours.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)