Told a fat woman to go swim with the dolphins.

By Matt Perryman

Eat less, weigh less, they say. That’s right, but that’s not the half of it.

The other day I read through a thread on Reddit titled “what’s the worst thing about being fat?”

There’s some eye opening stories in there. It wasn’t the big problems — so to speak — that stood out. It’s easy to understand the health problems, the physical limitations and discomforts, the social stigmas.

Most of these stories were about that only in the most indirect way. They were telling of the many small indignities, insults, infirmities and incapacities that happen as a direct result of obesity.

Not being able to fit in clothes you want to wear. Being out in public and knowing you’re “the fat one”. One girl told of how drunk young lads at the bar would often draw the short straw in a dare and have to hit on her.

It was sad to read, honestly, with so many of them had given up on being able to do anything about it.

Even sadder, I know from experience that anyone, minus an unfortunate few with genuine metabolic problems, can make that change. I’ve seen it more than once, even done it myself in a more modest way, and the steps to get from “big” to regular sized are anything but complicated.

I found myself asking why anyone would continue living in a self-imposed hell when the solution is so obvious. (This question applies to far more than obesity.)

You almost want to shout, “Just put down the fork! Just go for a walk!”

Tempting as it is to take a hard-axed approach to shaming the fatties, the strategy is not that effective. For every one that responds to tough-lovin’, 56 more retreat to the Oreo bag in a vicious guilt-spiral.

There’s not a fat person out there who doesn’t know that they’re big. If knowledge of your bigness were the path to lean-body salvation, nobody would ever get in that condition to begin with.

Something else is happening here besides pig-ignorance. Education ain’t the problem — or the solution.

Us folk that haunt the fitness world “get” this on a deeper level than the general public, which is exactly why so many experts and pros and trainers struggle with clients who seem unmotivated to change. We suffer from a curse of knowledge, knowing a lot of “what” while often struggling to say how we do it. The gap between what we say and what we’re really doing passes right over our heads. Not all knowledge is available in words.

If you’ve lived a good portion of your life as an overweight person with an overweight frame of mind, the advice to “just eat less and exercise” is as strange to you as the flippers on a dolphin. Fall into the water? Just swim, bro. It’s easy.

Sure. But how do you do that when you’ve never done it, lived it, and made it part of your life?

That talk is all about effects with not a word about the causes.

Losing the fat on your bee-hind is all about calorie balance.

Losing life-long habits of negative thoughts and behaviors takes something else.

That game is the alchemist-like transformation of a “wish” into a “want”. How do hopes and dreams turn into real desires so urgent that you can’t wait to hop out of your chair and sprint after them?

There’s three parts to it, and nearly all personal trainers and coaches focus on but one corner of the triangle (and they don’t do it in a way that serves the client).

That’s the kind of thing that I say more about in private messages that go to my email list.

If you want those secrets to land in your inbox, go here:

Matt Perryman

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