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This page was written solely for the purpose of trying to help 'normal' people understand what some fat people experience with regards to food and eating. Most people write us off as being stupid for eating more than we need but until/unless you can experience what it's like to have a 'fat brain', you will never understand. The following is what I feel/experience with regards to food and eating.
From my experience, few doctors and virtually no thin/average people understand what a fat person goes through. It's not simply a conscious desire to eat. It's much deeper. This applies to those who are well over their ideal weight. I don't think it applies to those who are just 5 or 10 pounds overweight.
To understand what a fat person feels when hungry, visualize the following scenario... You are on an airplane and your flight has been delayed. You've been sitting in a plane on the tarmac for hours. The plane is hot. There is a baby in the seat next to you that's been screaming since you've boarded the plane. There is another child in the seat behind you that's been kicking the back of your seat since before you sat down and continues to do so even though you've repeatedly asked the parent to ask the child to stop. Imagine that you feel this level of agitation whenever you feel hungry, even when you're in an environment where there is absolutely nothing to annoy you. What if there was a way to make the children magically relax and fall asleep. What if that required you to eat, not a 'normal' sized meal but one that's slightly larger than what is required to maintain a healthy weight. Would you eat more than an average person or would you just eat normally and allow them to continue driving you nuts? What if you had work to do on your computer that had to be done to earn a living and, again, over-eating was the only way to quiet the children?
Some people would be able to resist over-eating in the one instance where this happened. What if the equivalent of this level of agitation was produced by your brain every day of your life, at least twice a day (at every meal). Would you be able to live with this level of agitation every day and still be able to function normally, bearing in mind that over-eating just slightly would reduce the agitation to insignificant levels and would allow you to go on with life?
Many thin people believe that they would do anything to prevent being fat because they feel such contempt for fat people. That's easy to say but those who believe that they could resist what their brain is driving them to do repeatedly every day are clueless. Fat people try repeatedly to lose weight. Most have lost and re-gained their total body weight several times over.
What if, like a drug addict, you had to eat a bit more every time to reduce the level of agitation to an acceptable level? To try to avoid gaining weight, you would just eat enough to get the agitation to an acceptable level but not reduce it completely. It's doable for much of the time but when other things go wrong, it takes eating much more to reach an acceptable level of calm. If you're life is stressful, it makes you eat enough to gain weight. The stress of being overweight and having to deal with idiots who don't understand (and make nasty comments) creates even more stress and the eating and weight gain avalanche.
People who are drug addicts and alcoholics have an advantage over those who are addicted to food. Drug and alcohol addicts can significantly reduce the cravings by quitting the addictive substances. That's not possible for those addicted to food. You can't give small amounts of heroine to a heroine addict and expect them not to want more. The same goes for alcoholics. Many can't take one drink and stop. The problem with an addiction to food is that you have to eat and every time you eat, it's like giving a small amount of heroine to an addict.
Some people will tell you to eat smaller meals. This simply doesn't work for me. If I eat several smaller meals in place of a larger meal, I will remain agitated and hungry. I could eat 3 'normal' meals during the time between meals and still need to eat a normal meal (for me - 2x what the average person would eat, generally) to feel satisfied to get on doing whatever else I have to do during the day. Even if the 3 smaller meals would be significantly larger (together) than the one I'd need to feel satisfied, I still must eat the one large meal to be able to function normally. It's also not possible to eat low fat foods. I could eat rabbit food until I couldn't force down another bite and I'd still be starving, unable to function until I ate what I needed to eat. To apply the analogy of the alcoholic to this, would watering down the equivalent of one drink with a gallon of water be satisfying. By the time they drank the gallon of water, they would be about to burst but their brain would still be screaming for more alcohol.
I've personally been on prescription drugs (drugs for depression) in the past that have completely eliminated my desire to eat and I was annoyed that I had to stop what I was doing because my stomach was growling so loudly that it was distracting (but even at that point, I had no desire to eat). This told me that the problem was not that I was some sort of glutton and that the problem was likely due to a chemical imbalance (because that's what the drugs corrected). This is important to understand. I know I need to eat less but there is something forcing me to eat more than I should. The problem with the drug was that after a while, my brain figured out that if I over-ate while taking the drug, I'd get twice the 'high' that I would with eating without taking the prescription drugs. This meant that the loss of appetite was temporary.
For the skinny people out there, try this. It will give you some idea of what fat people go through. At every meal (no more than 3 meals a day), eat one normal spoon full of whatever you were going to eat. This is a normal spoon full, not a normal spoon with food stacked a foot high on it. A 'normal' spoon, would be something that an average person would use when eating. As an example, let's say it's one spoon full of mac-and-cheese. Now, fill up on water or any other non-nutritive beverage). Drink enough so that you're so full that you can't drink another drop. Are you satisfied with what you ate? Most people would find that they were still hungry, even though that they were so full that they couldn't swallow another bite of food. Those who think that they're infinitely more intelligent than a fat person would be able to do this for a few days in an attempt to make it seem that they were right and fat people over-eat because they're stupid. I can assure you that that person would have to go back to eating normally because their brain would force them to do so. There's no way that they could continue this.
For me, I have to eat a certain amount to reach a level of calm that will allow me to get on with life. That quantity of food, is more than I need to maintain a healthy weight but eating less, especially for an extended period, isn't possible if I have to make a living and function relatively normally. Until others understand what fat people have to deal with, there will be those who make nasty comments about those who are over-weight.
There are those who exercise regularly because it makes them feel better. For me, exercise causes more anxiety and less of a sense of wellbeing than normal. I don't get the runner's high that some people get. People who do get a runner's high think people like me are lazy and most feel nothing but contempt for people who are fat.
There are a lot of people who, as a general rule, feel calm and can function normally eating a normal amount of food and without the intake of any other substances. Those people are lucky. I'm fortunate, food is my 'fix'. For others, drugs/alcohol is their fix. I think that people who initially abuse substances (food, drugs...) have a brain that is never calm until they get a sufficient quantity of their drug of choice. For me, alcohol, drugs like prescription pain killers and marijuana have no draw. They simply make me feel strange and some actually increase anxiety. Food is my drug-of-choice. I think that (all) doctors will have to realize that addiction to food is the same as an addiction to other substances and there is an underlying cause for the addiction. Some doctors understand this but not all (of the ones that I've dealt with anyway).
The next time you feel contempt for a fat person, try eating the one spoon of food and filling up on water and see how long that lasts. Could you do that for your entire life and function normally?