Is the term coined by the Reddit board of the same name for the heady mix of woo, pseudoscience, scamming, and out and out denialism that body positivity activists and their hangers on routinely traffic in in order to enable each other in their addiction and enforce in-group compliance.
In this and many other ways, it has a lot in common with the anti-vaccination movement. Not least because there's a hard core of grifters and con artists pulling the wool over the eyes of desperate marks with stuff that sounds true but isn't, conspiratarding, and taking items where there is a grain of truth and turning it into a ginormous scare. And which has a body count as well, BELIEVE THAT. I also suspect that there is also, much like a lot of pseudoscience, a rich vein of surreptitious backing from big business and that a lot of body positivity influencers are funded or backed by Big Calories a bit like how wellness influencers are funded by the supplement industry (a division of Big Pharma.) Fatlogic comes in a variety of flavours but they can be grouped into four main trends, each of which I plan to examine and thoroughly deboonk in turn.
1. Denial, General and Personal
This is by far the largest form of fatlogic. It is basically the idea that you, the prospective weight-loser, are helpless in the face of your own appetites and our abhorrently obesogenic society. It appears to have been popularised by a hideous grifter called Marilyn Wann with a book and/or magazine called "Fat?So!" in around 1997. The gist of it is that nothing you can do will result in you ever losing weight, and besides, there's no real evidence that being a hamcannon is bad for you. And like all the most pernicious misinformation out there, it contains a grain of truth. Specifically, when people say things like "95% of diets fail," or "you'll just gain it back anyhow," or similar, they're not wrong entirely. The vast majority of people who do set out to lose weight don't manage to do it, but it's not for the reasons that godawful charlatan Wann claims. No, it's because most intentional efforts to lose weight are basically half-arsed. "Oh, I think I'll not have those donuts and I'll totally join a gym this January!" but then by Valentine's Day they're back to sitting on their arse troughing again. Oh, it's just this once. And then again. And again. I do get this. That was me that was. Even recently I have had to fight off the urge to nibble late at night as my mass stalled for a bit. Or, they crash diet and starve themselves for a week or two before feeling so utterly hungry that they binge eat again. I'm sorry, but no. The fact that 95% of diets fail is because most people never truly learn to put down the fork. They never really change their relationship with food on a fundamental level and adopt the strict willpower of knowing how much you eat and knowing how much you really need. They just mindlessly throw whatever they feel like onto their plates without really thinking about it. They'll go and order a McSalad then slather it with godawful sugary dressing and so much mayo that it looks like Peter North fucked a greengrocer's stall. They'll have a skinny latte at Costa and then have extra cream, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, sugar, extra sugar, and marshmallows that it's basically a half kilogram of sugar and milk fat that vaguely tastes like coffee. Or, they just plain forget to count what they've actually eaten. Unfortunately, it does. The reason 95% of diets fail is not because you, the weight-loser, are powerless in the face of our obesogenic society. It's because you, honestly, have a skill issue.
It's like when you see someone who says, "oh no, I put on weight even though I eat barely anything!" Oh really. So you've disproved thermodynamics have you? Created matter from absolutely nothing, have you? Hah. In a pig's arse you have. Where's your Nobel Prize in physics for this extraordinary feat then? Thought as much.
Then there's the denial that being a land-beluga is in fact bad for you. This overlaps with item 4 below, in that they claim that ackchually, mega fatties dying young is because of societal prejudice against them. Sorry, but that's bollocks. Surely being unable to climb stairs without feeling light headed is a sign something is wrong? Also, the fact that during the COVID-19 Pandemic enormous people died far more frequently of the Kung Flu than normal sized people, adjusting for age, sex, and pre-existing conditions. Or maybe the fact that you have to inject yourself with insulin when you didn't before or you might just pass out is another sign something isn't quite right? Nah, it's just lack of affordable clothes in your size and having difficulty getting through doors.
If you're still not convinced, riddle me this. How come you never seen anyone aged over 70 and weighing more than 200kg? Well then.
If you're STILL not convinced, riddle me this. How come fat acceptance activists keep dying before age 40 of heart disease and strokes and similar causes that are TOTALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING GIGANTIC, U GUISE. Well then.
The list of things that are shown beyond reasonable doubt to be caused or contributed to by obesity are legion and I will not recite them here because it's well known. Let's just say that when I weighed over 150kg I constantly felt tired and floppy just from getting up, going to work, and concentrating all day. But now, at a less flabberous 121.7kg, I don't, and have way more energy. But nah, it was being constantly sneered at by nonexistent yet omnipresent thin people who roam the streets like hyenas just aching to pick on larger than average citizens that did that, right? SPARE ME. At this point the fatlogicians tend to come out with unintentionally hilarious stories about marauding gangs of thins that slap donuts out their hands, steal slabs of chocolate from their shopping trolleys, or evil waitresses that when they order a Double Greaseburger with Cheese, Bacon, Cheesy Bacon, and a Gigantic Gulp of High Tar Cola, come back with a salad sans dressing. Needless to say, these things never happened and it's kind of telling that they're all the sort of things you'd see in a film like Mean Girls because most fatlogicians have never really grown up. If they were to act their age and not their shoe size they would realise that nobody believes them, but the don't, so... there you have it. It's all part and parcel of the fact that they are in denial about the effects of their inability to stop troughing is having on them.
Going back to the 95% of diets fail point. Alcoholics and drug addicts relapse. This isn't a valid reason for them not to go to rehab in the first place, now is it? Or to make a decision that they have a problem and that they're going to do something about it, right? Recovery is a marathon and not a sprint. My ex wife was an alcoholic. She went into rehab over Christmas one year and though I escaped shortly after her coming out, I believe she relapsed because later that summer she filled my inbox with shrieking which the e-mail headers resolved to Rise Recovery in Newton Abbot. But the fact she relapsed doesn't mean she shouldn't have bothered going in the first place, no?
If the canard that fatties only suffer early deaths and health problems as a reaction to haters is pseudo-social science, then the following items are pseudoscience proper.
First, set point theory. This is the laughable belief that changing your weight long term is impossible because everyone has a magical weight and size that they naturally will gravitate towards by mechanisms unknown and therefore attempting to be not fat is a futile battle against the forces of entropy. Once again, it's clearly bollocks. Similar to the 95% of diets fail canard, the grain of truth in it is that people just don't work the programme enough. They are in denial and therefore underestimate the long term nature of the changes they need to make. In a grope around for explanations, they come across set point theory and think, "hmmm, that's like me that is, I must just have a high set point." Right? WRONG. You will never hear a non-obese person refer to having a set point in this way. Funny, that. You never see a non-obese person refer to their set point.
Then there's the idea that calorie counting doesn't work because genetics and condishuns. Nope. It doesn't work because you're doing it wrong. Like I said above, how's that Nobel Prize for physics for your breakthrough in matter creation coming along for ya?
There are medications, to be fair, that are associated with rapid weight gain. Venlafaxine, the antidepressant, is one that springs to mind. I was on it for a number of years after I escaped the Alcoholic Ex and was jobless and stuck miles away from anywhere I knew because she'd drank all my money. Evil stuff, venlafaxine. And yes, it is associated with rapid weight gain. But it doesn't directly cause you to gain weight. Rather, it fiddly-fucks with your brain's chemical imbalance in such a way that although you might not feel like you want to just lay down and die any more, you also have no real motivation to do anything worthwhile. From there it's very easy to recommence comfort eating and sitting on your arse bingeing entire box sets one after another or shitposting on social media. It basically keeps you conscious enough to survive but not conscious enough to be productive. This is a mentality, that it pushes you towards, that is obesogenic. Therefore, you will gain weight while on it unless you make an absolutely grim attempt not to. Similarly, depression and similar can also lead to large weight gain. But at the end of the day, it is you who makes the choice to insert a large bolus of sugar and lard into your face-sewer repeatedly. Nobody else. Just as nobody but you chooses to swallow a bottle and a half of Sainsbury's Basics Vodka every day, or skinpop repeatedly. While there is truth in that you will have to get to the bottom of why you comfort eat, drink, or use, at the end of the day the only person who can stop you doing that is you. And the fact remains that even with things like depression, use of medication, and similar, they say the best form of treatment for this is behavioural activation. That is, forcing yourself to do something, even if it's only a small thing, which forms an easy win. Oh, I think I'll clean the bathroom floor today. It's not a hard job or a long one, but if you fill with easy wins like that, this can help you good-bye depression. But that's a whole other node, and which doesn't involve constricting anus 100 times everyday.
The point is that while other things can lead to you becoming a mega fattie they are not a direct cause of it. The direct cause of it is that you shovel tons of crap in your pie hatch on a daily basis. Maybe if you stopped doing that you would have more motivation to get to the bottom of what is causing you to overeat so much. It is the same as with alcoholism. You need to get to the root of why you drink, but in the meantime you need to make an active effort to stop drinking.
And this is why the whole "muh condishuns" thing is fatlogic. It's another form of denialism really. I'm totally powerless over my enormity, so why bother, and besides, it's not my fault. No, it isn't your fault, but only you can fix the problem. That is life and life is tough.
Then there's the claim that they must eat healthy, because they're vegan, and are still fat, so it has to be something else (set points, maintenance phase, starvation mode). After all, veganism is totally healthier and more moral than those filthy bloodmouths who sneer at them, yes? Yes? No. In fact, being vegan makes it harder to have a properly balanced diet because you're wilfully cutting yourself off from key proteins and vitamin B12. Not to say it's impossible, but it makes it a lot harder than otherwise it needs to be. Moreover, with "vegan" being a marketing point in current year so much, a lot of stuff that is mentioned as being vegan is, yep, you guessed it, highly processed and extremely calorific. Vegetable oils and refined sugar are both vegan suitable ingredients after all. And as for ersatz stuff like Beyond Meat and sausages made of hideous soymash and all the other stuff that supermarkets throw out because not even the bin-dippers want them, they are all very calorific but far less "filling" than real meat. Therefore because of their hyperpalatable nature, the ersatz meat is more easily binged on because you don't get the "fullness" signals that you would get from real meat.
3. Moral Objections
Fatlogic having emerged from the glutinous slough of selfrighteousness that is Tumblr in the early 2010s, with its bone-on for intersectionality and other social justice buzzwords, there are lots of reaching that is still engaged in as to why weight loss is "problematic."
Firstly, the idea that by losing weight you're suffering from internalised fatphobia. Nope. As I have said before, a phobia is an irrational fear and speaking as a recovering lardbucket, why would you not fear heart disease, strokes, aneurysms, the beetus, the coof, seriously injuring yourself from falls, joint trouble (I still have iffy knees from my years of enormity), and so forth. It doesn't real. and
the idea that you only want to be less large is because you hate yourself is laughable. I want to be less large because I don't want to die at age 50 of the above. Allied to this is the idea that if you intentionally attempt to lose weight, and you are a woman, you're being a "pickme" or "anti feminist" because you are just doing it for male attention. To this I would say, I. really? and II. what's wrong with that? Self improvement to make oneself more attractive to your preferred sex is normal. This sort of claim also comes over as a wee bit hypocritical because the usually morbidly obese women who sneer thus always, ALWAYS, have an incel-level sense of entitlement. Like they're owed attention from 10/10 uber muscular gigachads because, well, they just are, right? And they will be more than happy to shriek about "red flags" for any man any of their friends shows interest in who isn't like that. Meanwhile, the 10/10 uber muscular gigachads are not interested because people tend to be attracted to commonality of values and someone who takes physical fitness that seriously isn't going to want anything to do with some lump who spends her time inserting vast amounts of beige calories in her face and isn't going to want to enable her in such a way. And as for it being anti-feminist, I'm pretty sure feminism doesn't preclude attempting to find a man if that's what you like, no? Notwithstanding the loony separatist ones that is.
Like I said before, real Mean Girls shit. See also: "real men like curves" (a sphere is a curve, singular, you fool, not plural) and "if he likes thin women he must be a paedophile". Also also, the sniping about how some fativists are going to steal you thins' men with their bootylicious, thick, abundant, succulent, selves. Lol nope. I've podged a mega fattie before, and I couldn't get the deal over the line without thinking about someone else. It's also a values thing. I'm not going to go with someone who might enable me to backslide into Bad Ways because I've had enough of being a Big Lad for one lifetime.
More recently, there's been a theory that losing weight is somehow wrong because it's racist. Usually this comes from a book called "Fearing the Black Body" by one Sabrina Strings. This book posits that modern beauty standards came about as an attempt by white people to look as different in every way from black people as possible following the abolition of slavery in the United States. There may be a grain of truth to the concept of "black people = bad, therefore, must not emulate them" in the 19th century in America as a concept which drove fashion and aesthetic standards in that period, given how fantastically racist most Americans were at that time even in the "free" states. Then again, how much of this was race and how much of this class; pale skin at that time was valued because most poorer white people worked outdoors in the sun and got tanned or burned, while wealthy and aristocratic white people spent their time indoors in the shade and were pale. Paleness therefore was a sign of wealth. But then the book goes completely off the plot thereafter. It then claims that because black people, and especially black women, are more likely to be fat because genetics, the diet and wellness industry sprung up as a way for white people to differentiate themselves by being thin. Also because African beauty standards historically revolved about being fat.
This is of course utter bollocks. It's also, in and of itself, racist in a soft bigotry of low expectations way. Oh, black people should be excused because they don't know better. Yeah. Real progressive of you there Sabrina. And once again totally forgets the idea of class. You know how in mostly agrarian societies like large portions of Africa in the present day or Europe and America in the 19th century, the poorer people worked outdoors and the wealthy stayed inside? Well, in such societies the poorer people who work outdoors are likely to be in manual labour. Farming and herding is tough physically and you expend a lot of calories doing it. Digging all day in a field is the very definition of back-breaking labour. So is mining and steel-milling and working in heavy industry, which was the preserve of the mostly urban poor in 19th century Europe and America. If you're working all day with your hands and your body and expending those calories, while not eating much because poor, you will of course be thin. Meanwhile, the wealthy who are mostly indoors and have abundant access to food, well, they'll be fat as they're consuming more calories than they're expending. This is why in those parts of Africa in the present day, being fat is a sign of wealth and therefore beauty as it shows you have access to a sufficient supply of calories.
Nowadays, with everyone being able to access more calories than they need in modern Western society, obesity is sadly increasingly the norm. Which brings us on to the next reason why intentional weight loss is morally bad according to these people. That being thin is a luxury because the poor can't afford healthy food or to exercise or the time to do either. I am not sure how true this is in all honesty. Food deserts may be a thing in poor rural areas in America, but my understanding of the concern over same is access to fresh food as opposed to canned or dried or long-lasting foodstuffs. In short, quality, not quantity. Are these more likely to be hyperpalatable? Yes, possibly. But then again, if you are extremely poor that access to food is a problem, you aren't going to be able to afford the sheer calorific intake that morbid obesity requires to sustain. Food deserts are therefore more likely to be associated, surely, with malnutrition rather than obesity
Food deserts notwithstanding, though, is obesity of necessity a disease of the poor? Arguably yes, but not entirely because of affordability. I and others have done some digging. For the cost of a slap up binge meal at your fast food emporium of choice, you can buy multiple meals of things that you cook for yourself which are not too difficult to cook either, are tastier, and are nicer. And don't require going to expensive weave-your-own-muesli crunchy granola outlets. So why, then, is obesity more likely to be associated with poverty in the current year West? Well, educational standards seems to be the most part. Poverty is associated with poorer quality education for reasons that are outside the scope of this writeup. Poorer quality education means less chance of understanding nutrition and healthy eating and calorie counting and suchlike, and also less curiosity about the world in adult life and thus less chance of picking this up later, and also more chance of falling for the fatlogic set out above. Therefore the association of poverty with obesity and thus moral revulsion at actually losing weight in some twisted solidarity is a rod that the fatlogicians have made for their own backs. If only proper diet and nutrition was taught in schools more than it is, maybe this would be less so. But that's wrong because you're foisting "diet culture" on young people! Reeeeeeeeee!
And this brings us on to...
4. Eating Disorder Baiting
The pro-ana movement is a fucking cult and thankfully most sensible people in current year know as much. The glorification of starving yourself and calling it a lifestyle, and the hideous practices of the fashion industry and what they do to models to turn them into ambulatory clothes horses should merit the people in charge of said industry being flogged raw and bloody.
Unfortunately fativists have turned their opposite numbers in pro-ana into a recruitment and compliance tool.
Do you limit your calories because you don't want to be enormous? That's DISORDERED EATING!
Do you like to exercise? That's SELF PUNISHMENT when you should instead be engaged in Joyful Movement. Whatever that is. Exercise is self punishment? What in the name of sanity is this woo. Exercise isn't a penance. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do you fool! Just this week I hexbar deadlifted 130kgs for a set. That was the first time I've ever lifted more than my own weight. The sense of satisfaction was incredible. Similarly, going and banging out 90 lengths in the pool. It's kind of meditative as well as burning calories. The satisfaction you get from doing this and being able to do things that your previous fat, or weak, or unfit self just couldn't is worth it. Even if nobody else you know cares. Had an annoying day at work? Lift heavy stone, make sad voice in head go away. Or get on the rower and see if you can crush your PB. Or get out the door, hop on a bicycle, and enjoy the beauty of your local countryside, possibly interspersed with feverishly trying to ascend steep hills. Exercise doesn't have to hurt or be suffering. It should be something you enjoy and you find something you enjoy.
Do you only have one donut from the bag that's being handed around at work? That's DENYING YOURSELF when you should be listening to your body and nourishing your tummy! No, it's not listening to your addiction. I am guilty of this in both ways. I love donuts, especially sugary ones full of jam. But I also know that if I have more than one, I'll finish the bag. Same with chocolate. If I get a slab of something of a multi-pack of it, I won't just have one then put it away for ever. I'll chain the entire packet. I know that, so I don't put myself in a position where I'm likely to let myself backslide.
Fat activists also hate it when some of their number lose weight and really, really, hate it when plus-size celebrities lose weight. When the singer Adele shed a lot of mass in the mid 2010s, they seethed fit to burst, complete with social media death threats and suchlike. There are also stories about them cutting each other off for deciding that maybe being as big as a house isn't such a hot idea any more. Usually this is when they realise that while they can get away with being huge in their 20s for the most part, by their 30s they... can't. I was like that. I was able to get along okay at a very high weight in my 20s but since lockdown, it was a struggle. One of the things I regret is not making my decision to fuck off the fat at age 27 as opposed to at age 37. Had I done that I would not have knees that complain if I run for more than two minutes or so or scream if I do certain single-leg exercises. But yeah. Like I said before, Mean Girls.
Needless to say, there is nothing at all disordered about counting your calories and avoiding excessive intake of sugar and beige crap. That is in fact normal. What is disordered is putting away what some of these fatfluencers do and brag about on ShitTok. What is disordered is claiming that swallowing an entire XL chocolate cake after a 17 inch deep pan pizza is "nourishing your tummy." And this is where fatlogic really gets to its core, doesn't it. All the above I've mentioned? All the pseudoscience and pseudo-social science and glomming on to isms and phobias and bargain basement intersectionality flailing? It's all excuses for the fact that they are the ones with the eating disorders. The addictions. And they are making excuses not to get help. They may not be responsible for their addiction in the first place, but the first step is admitting they have a problem.
Hopefully the recent spate of fativists who have died of being enormous (Cat Pausé, Jamie Lopez, Adrienne Bennett, et al) might just cause the rest of the body positivity movement to change their tune. But then again, probably not, because they already are making with the "ackchually, they died of the stigma of being massive" nonsense.
In the next writeup, we'll discuss ways to avoid backsliding.