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Why Am I Fat?

Why Am I Fat?

by macdaddy on September 5, 2008 · 28 comments

In a nutshell, I’m fat because it’s easier to be fat than it is to be a healthy weight.

It’s easier to be sedentary than to make time to exercise every day..  It’s easier to eat at Sonic, Outback, Denny’s, and Taco Bell than it is to shop for and cook healthy food for your family every day.  And it’s definitely easier to go with the flow of the group that is doing these things than to stick to your guns and make the right choices when you’re out of your routine.

This is the situation that I found myself in this past weekend.  Every year for as long as I can remember, the men in my family–my dad, uncles, and cousins–spend a few days on a bird hunting trip in Arizona.  We get up REALLY early, stop at Circle K for coffee and doughnuts (I had a powerbar instead) and hunt until around 11:00.  On the way back to the hotel, we stop at one of those aforementioned restaurants for a VERY healthy meal.  Then, we take a nap, eat dinner at another one of those restaurants, go to bed early and do it all again the next day.  Oh yeah, there’s lots of beer involved  and an occasional trip to DQ for a blizzard.  Of course, there’s no exercise in sight, unless you count walking from the truck to the place where you set up your stool in the field for the morning shoot.

It’s really hard to make good choices when everyone around you is making bad ones.  None of the men in my family are skinny, a few might be considered normal weight, but most of them are overweight or worse.  It’s easy to see where I got my eating habits and body weight issues.  Unfortunately for me, my problems started earlier in life than the people in the generation above me.  This is why it’s so important for me to get my lifestyle under control.  So that my kids see a two healthy weight parents every day for as long as they can remember.  So that they know being inactive is not a choice.  So that they know that eating healthy is very important and something that can be done most of the time instead of only when life cooperates.  These are the things that I must continue to work on and can never give up on.

So, after a summer of moderate exercise, moderate diet control, and lots of time spent away from the house, I have allowed myself to gain a few pounds.  I’m back up to 192 this morning.  Eating and exercise is a struggle for me right now.  I’m allowing myself to make poor choices in both arenas.

We’ve got one more small trip planned for this weekend.  Pam’s running the McKenzie River 50K trail run this weekend.  The whole family is going down to support her.  We’ve got a cute cabin booked for the weekend and then next week, it’s back to school.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of school and kids’ activities that start up again next week.  My diet and exercise habits thrive when we’ve got the daily schedule made up for us in advance.  I’m excited to get down to my goal weight by the new year.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Getz September 5, 2008 at 8:33 am

Holy cow, you are so right on. I agree completley. I am fat because its easier than being normal. I have to say no to most of the strange out of nowhere cravings I get, I have to actually coax myself off the couch. And when I’m at work or somewhere else working on a project or event, I usually do well, but when left to my own devices at home without any structure, my eating is literally out of control lately. I had done so well, but its all been shot to crap in the past couple months.

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2 mhb September 5, 2008 at 9:27 am

Did I read that right? 50K? I almost choked on a grape (hey, at least I’m not eating a donut, which is what I used to do). Pam is amazing. Good luck to her!

This is just what I needed right now. After a summer filled with family, visits from out-of-town friends and LOTS of weddings, I’m back up to 2 pounds shy of the heaviest I’ve been. Sigh. I felt so discouraged when I stepped on the scale this morning, and I thought I had been doing well.

I am in better cardiovascular shape than I was 6 months ago (Thanks, couch-to-5K!), but I’m still fat. Because, you’re right, it’s easy. Thanks for this post… here’s hoping the back-to-school routine is good for all of us!

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3 dee September 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

mnb, I just started the couch-to-5k program, do you find you can easily jog 5k now? I’m a little nervous about it, but I am optimistic.

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4 Scott September 5, 2008 at 10:42 am

I totally understand this.

I’m in the same boat. Exercise and Weight Loss have been struggling for me too. I wonder if it is the late summer/fall air or something?

As for your comment about weight loss in a group, There was a study done that complies with your results.

Here’s the Time Magazine Article on You can Catch Fat from your Friends.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1649321,00.html

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5 Val September 5, 2008 at 10:43 am

Good post. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m with you. I’m way overweight but taking baby steps in the right direction. It’s been a long journey and I have so far to go. But I want these changes to stick, really stick. That’s why baby steps are critical, eh? I admire Pam very much. I aspire to do something similar. Right now I’m just trying to get 2k in without dying. :-)

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6 worthey July 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Just came across this website … how’d you do on the running/weight loss?

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7 Jen September 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Just found both your sites yesterday, subscribed to your feeds; really like your blogs, just wanted to wish you good luck, and hope you achieve your goals by the new year!

I agree with your article, it so much easier to go with the flow then turning down starbucks and going out for lunch. i dont consider my hugely overweight, but i could stand to lose a few pounds. I think once you can start saying No to things in the beginning, it becomes easier as time goes by. I’m gonna try that method…

Thank you for this.

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8 Blake September 5, 2008 at 3:27 pm

it’s crazy how easy it is to slip away from the health lifestyle habits we create. it is especially hard when everyone around doesn’t care about health, just like you said.

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9 Metroknow September 5, 2008 at 5:01 pm

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with routine, at least for me. My son went back to preschool this week, and although we are now readjusting to that routine, I can already feel the momentum building to meet my goal of a total of 50 lbs lost this year. I am halfway there, and feel totally confident that 25 lbs spread over 4 months is doable for me.

Thanks for the post Mac!

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10 Will September 5, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Wow I thought you wrote that post about me! I feel the same way! Thanks for the post I feel better knowing there are others out there, and that they are actually doing something about it… which will get my ass in gear because I can do it to0!

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11 Sheamus September 5, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Bird-hunting?

Really?

Best of luck to Pam.

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12 monica September 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm

You said it, bro. I live in England and while we’re spoilt for choice in London, restaurants in the country are primarily pub food and pints. Very little for vegetarians. Overcooked, overcheesed lasagna. Vindaloo. Frozen vegetables. More potatoes than I ever want to eat in a lifetime. And of course, beer. It’s hard to explain my choices to people for whom pub grub is normal. And I don’t want to make them feel bad. But I don’t want to feel bad, either!

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13 MizFit September 6, 2008 at 3:50 am

powerful sentence which has stuck with me since the first time I read this.

IT’S EASIER TO BE FAT THAN HEALTHY WEIGHT.

Id have never had the gumption to say that to a client—but you make a compelling point and one which Ive lived.

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14 elisabeth September 6, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now, because while I understand what you’re getting at, I can’t quite agree. It isn’t easer to be fat than at a healthy weight, it’s hard in all kinds of ways, mentally and physically.

It’s only easier than losing weight and maybe easier than maintaining weight loss.

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15 Andrew is getting fit September 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Amen to that. I need routine. It helps me make being fit easier.

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16 deepali September 6, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Great post. It brings up another question for me – why can’t we make it the easier choice?

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17 brad September 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Reading yours and J.D.’s most recent posts, I’m struck by something else: for you and for many of us reading this blog, exercise and diet are the first things to go when our routine gets upset, a crisis emerges in our lives, or we go through a period of stress.

It reminds me of a company going through layoffs: the most recent hires are the ones who lose their jobs, while those with seniority stay on. Your most recently acquired habits are the first to be jettisoned, because they’re new and easy to give up. And let’s face it, like you said they’re also easy to give up because they’re intrinsically hard work to begin with.

The approach I’m taking now is to make diet and exercise the last things I give up when the going gets tough, rather than the first. Every day when 7am rolls around I have a million very good excuses not to go for a bike ride or to sit on my rowing machine. Sometimes I listen to those excuses and give in to them. But the mental trick I’m trying to use is to view exercise as something that’s just as essential as the other “essentials” in your day…a cup of coffee, your morning shower, lunch, or whatever. The longer I can keep up the habit, the harder it will be to let it slip, because it will gradually acquire “seniority” among all my daily habits and it won’t be something I would even consider avoiding. That’s the theory anyway ;-)

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18 mhb September 9, 2008 at 9:02 am

@ dee: Yes, I promise the couch-to-5K program works. I hadn’t run more than 3 minutes straight in the last 10 years, but I started it in early June and completed a 5K race in mid-August (slowly, but I ran the whole thing). I think it helped me to be training for a specific 5K race that all my coworkers were running in. Talk about peer pressure!

Now I’m considering running an 8K at the end of October, something I never would have thought possible before. I’m sort of modifying the run/walk/run program for that… we’ll see how it goes.

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19 Greenman2001 September 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Mac,

It’s true: routine is your friend. You know this as a stay-at-home Dad. The further you stray from a consistent routine, the more chaos ensues.

But for you, stress and boredom undermine your exercise and diet routines. And breaking the routine has been an important part of your ability to combat stress and boredom, and therefore are important ways of sustaining your own fitness, whether it’s frequent vacations, having family help with the kids, or frequent changes in the kind of workout you practice.

I think you’ve been smart about this. You have an intuitive grasp of what works for you. The problem I’ve observed through the blog is that breaking the routine — vacations, hanging out with family — also knocks you off your exercise and diet program almost completely. Changing things up works well for you, but the transition points are rough. I suspect that the massive fitness failures in years past, which you described in your intro, have taken place at these transition points from one settled routine to another.

So, you have two tendencies that work at cross-purposes with each other. But you seem very, very comfortable with this, and the general trend has been in the direction you want — your weight’s lower and you’re exercising more, on average, than you ever have before. So I’m not sure that you really have a problem here. It’s not happening as fast or as consistently as you set out in your goals, but I’m not sure that the speed or consistency of all of this is really very important to you — it makes for good blog fodder, but the rewards of “failure” for you — those vacations, extended family time like the wonderful-sounding hunting weekend you describe here — are significant and, frankly, don’t sound like they’re worth giving up just for the sake of “consistency.”

So, I’m going to change your headline a little. Instead of “I’m fat because it’s easier,” I think it should read, “I’m fat because it’s fun.” And, in parenthesis: (and I’m not really fat).

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20 Dr X. February 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

OH MY GOD!!! You’re fat because of other people!?…Wow you really blame other people because you eat too much and you’re too lazy to go for a run. I hate how FAT people don’t just accept the responsibility for their own lives and do something to change it. Just because your friends and family are fat doesn’t mean you have to copy them. If they were heroin addicts would you just do the same??? No of course you wouldn’t.

Fat people need to accept that there is no fat gene, there is no get skinny quick diet, there is just a simple difference between fat and normal (not skinny) people; normal people only eat take-out once a month, normal people will walk a mile to the shop and not drive it, normal people don’t take a nap after eating in the middle of the day!

I also hate this FAT is Fun business…If shortening your life, heart desease, certain forms of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression is fun to you, then you are stupid!

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21 macdaddy February 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for the really positive constructive criticism Dr. X! BUT, if you actually read my post, you should have been able to see that I wasn’t blaming people or making excuses for why I was fat. I was providing some insight and history as to how I got where I was…and saying that I was making progress and making better choices. Thanks again.

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22 Joe February 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm

dr x is right, you kinda blamed being fat on others and didn’t take responsibility for your own bad choices. fat people seem to take confort in others being happy about being fat. it’s a dangerous culture. fat people should be outcast and made to feel bad because it’s the only way to stop people being fat. it sounds harsh to say that but why would anyone actually want to be fat?

if you’re fat and reading this just ask yourself “am i happy being fat?” you probably want to say yes to prove others wrong but in reality i bet you hate looking in the mirror.

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23 Getz February 20, 2009 at 7:41 am

Thats right, shun people who already have enough self esteem issues and misguided ideas that they manifest in food/weight problems, so they will have even worse self esteem issues and bigger food/weight problems. Wow, what a prick! No, fat is not fun, big is not beautiful, plump is not pleasant, and most fat people are not happy that their fat. (I hate being fat, I am trying to lose weight and be healthy again, while there have been some negative contributing factors to my being fat I blame no one but myself, and I do fine when I’m with other people, its when I am alone that its the hardest so making me even more alone certainly isn’t going to help!) Yes, some try really hard to convince us that they are, especially those crazy “Fat Acceptance” people who talk as though it should be embraced, and yes there may be a few who actually are fat and happy; but, to actually claim that fat people should be ostracized and “outcast and made to feel bad” is ignorant, cruel, and downright idiotic. Yes, all the little platitudes such as “I’m a larger guy”, “plus size”, “a little extra baggage” are obnoxious and just ways to say fat without saying fat. I’m fat and I say I’m fat. I actually have to argue with people around me because when I say I’m fat they actually revert to all those platitudes. I don’t beleive in sugar coating being fat, but criminy, outcasting is not the answer. I’m sure there have been some wonderful people who could have contributed something good to your life, but they were fat, so you missed out. Fat AND lazy/denial/apathetic is bad, but encouragment and help go alot farther than hatred and cruelty. Lastly, if anything, Mac was blaming himself for his poor choices, stating that HE doesn’t stand firm and make good choices and instead takes the easy way out and follows the crowd. He wasn’t claiming it was a good excuse, just that it is a factor that can affect his behavior, whereas I am the reverse and it is easier for me to make healthy choices despite the crowd.

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24 Jane Don't February 27, 2009 at 8:29 am

I laughed a lot reading this site and the comments. Spend less time sitting at the computer writing crap in order to make your self feel better and make the effort to loose weight. Too many fatties spend a lot of time talking about doing something but then make a half assed attempt and fail! And to Joe. I’m not sure shunning is the right way to do it, but people should be made to feel ashamed. Get rid of all these programmes and websites where they say fat is ok, its not!

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25 riley December 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

hey is it normal to weigh 85 or 90 pounds at the age of 12 and be 5 foot 5 cause i think i am fat i keep getting called anorexic and to thin please help

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