Quickie Reblog: Fategories

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

I don’t usually do this, but hey, if cutting and pasting’s good enough for D** S***age, it’s good enough for me. About a year ago, I did a post called “Fategories” (yes, I finally fixed the spelling in the post, although I can’t manage to fix the URL), wherein I came up with my theory about why so very many people are so very eager to hack up unsolicited diet tips anywhere there’s fat people, especially fat people who say they DON’T want their farkakte diet tips. It’s because there are four basic human metabolic categories, and people giving the diet tips mistakenly essentialize their experience in getting and staying thin as universal.

To wit:

Category 1 is people who can get and/or stay thin through no effort whatsoever; in fact, they would have a very hard time not being thin, if ever called upon to do so.

Category 2 is people who can get and/or stay thin with a token effort — that is, doing so doesn’t take over their entire life. (Although they might not be able to get quite as thin as they think they should be, if their body ideal hovers somewhere below a BMI of 20.)

Category 3 is people who can get and/or stay thin (or even anywhere close to it) only by devoting their entire lives forever to the cause.

And Category 4 is people who won’t be able to get and/or stay thin (or anywhere close) no matter what they do.

Most diet-tip hacks are category 2′s, who mistakenly think everyone else is a category 2. But occasionally you do get category 3′s who think everyone should have the exact same degree of obsession that they do (and for the most part, either haven’t passed the 5-year mark or haven’t lost more than 30 pounds to meet their goal). And sometimes you get category 1′s who are blissfully unaware of their genetic privilege.

Once more, with ketchup: If you think you believe in human diversity but you draw the line at body size, sleep requirements, physical and mental ability and predisposition to sustain daily multi-hour “vigorous workouts” forever, and indulgence in the desire to have a decent-sized slice of one’s own birthday cake…you don’t believe in human diversity. One of the Slog posters on Lindy West’s post said something like this, which I will shamelessly paraphrase in order to avoid crashing my browser and yours with a mega-comment thread: If you only need five hours of sleep to feel fresh and alive…GREAT. If you never eat sugar or flour and never ever want to…FABULOUS. If you have such a great time in the gym at 5 AM that you never want to leave…WONDERFUL. If a spirulina shake at lunch fills you up for the next six hours…CONGRATULATIONS. Really. But why does everyone have to be your clone?

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9 Responses to “Quickie Reblog: Fategories”

  1. sannanina Says:

    Meowser, I love you.

  2. Meowser Says:

    Heart pingback to you too, sannanina!

  3. Michael Says:

    Well said.

    I’m fat and doing the Aids Lifecycle. What would surprise most people is that there are a lot of fat bikers doing it. These are people who are biking in the thousands of miles per year – athletes – and they’re still fat. Type 4s, all of ‘em, and still criticized by society :(

  4. closetpuritan Says:

    I remember this! Still good, though.

    I think that some people also switch categories as they get older. I went from category 1 to category 3 as I went through puberty. I think Dan Savage used to be a fat kid, so maybe something similar happened to him?

  5. Theresa Says:

    I AGREE! I would also like to add my annoyance of what I term “mom style advice” which states that fat people don’t eat enough so they have no energy to move and that’s why they stay fat.

    I would also like to point out to anyone who cares that there is a system of Chinese martial arts that I practice called Pa Kua in which many of the masters and grandmasters got fat on PURPOSE to protect their vital pressure points and make them harder to maim and kill.

  6. Snuffycup Says:

    This is way late to the game, but I had to say, “Preach it sister!” You’re right on with your words, as always :)

  7. clambake Says:

    I guess that I’m a category 2, so from that vantage point I will say that I find category 3′s the most insufferable. They assume that everyone must have their “discipline” to maintain their weight. Even if I work out regularly, I’m pretty sure that this has little to do with me having a culturally acceptable BMI. I can see that. I also can see that I can eat a lot more than some fat people. Category 3 people seem to be too busy congratulating themselves to notice what others are doing. Plus, they really seem to think making your body your life’s work is an admirable goal. “I can do it. So should you. Unless you want to kill yourself of course.”

  8. Anne R. Allen Says:

    I’m a category 4 who has spent years impersonating a category 3–endlessly starving and dieting and eliminating this food or that, while exercising an hour a day–and I still gain about 5 pounds every six months. And get endless abuse from doctors and family. I despair. It helps to read blogs like this.

  9. DebraSY Says:

    Not all type 3s are sh*theads. Just sayin.


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