The Fat Man's Guide to Being Skinny
Practical advice for keeping the pounds off
Throughout my childhood, I was usually in the running for being the fattest kid in my grade. When I was in middle school, the top spot was taken by this guy named [first name] [first name]son, whom we can call John Johnson here. If you imagine all the kids lined up by BMI, picture me near the front, but then a long stretch between us normal fat kids and Johnson. I can still remember his massive thighs, where an abnormally high percentage of his fat was concentrated, jutting out as he waddled around in white shirts and gym pants. None of this seemed to bother him that much. Johnson was far from cool or popular, and if his morbid obesity didn’t make it clear enough, his clothes also indicated he was poor. Nonetheless, the kid often had friends around, and went through life perpetually amused, his obnoxious voice booming throughout the cafeteria hall. It’s possible that when you’re that big of an outlier, literally in this case, you basically realize that there’s nothing you can do and just learn to live with yourself.
I could never accept my flaws that easily, especially when they are things that can be controlled, and unlike Johnson I was always unhappy with my weight. Nonetheless, I felt emotional relief when he was around, as I could always console myself by looking at Johnson and saying at least I’m not that. When I was around 15 or 16 something finally snapped in my brain, and I got myself down from 210 to 160. That’s about the range I’ve stayed in throughout adulthood. When I first started becoming a popular writer, I was at the higher end of this spectrum. I realized that I didn’t want people to know me as a fat guy. After appearing on Tucker Carlson Tonight in summer 2021, I noticed that I really hated the way I looked and started losing weight immediately, going from 215lbs in June to around 170lbs by the end of the year. When I went on Tucker again in February 2022, I looked much different.
I’ve stayed around the same weight since then. By being public about my support for fat shaming, one goal is to make it psychologically impossible for me to ever gain substantial weight again. Something I’ve always believed is that you should be able to sign contracts where if you don’t lose weight, or quit smoking or whatever you want to accomplish, then a business or whoever else has the legal right to kill you. If such agreements were legal and enforceable, they might catch on as people saw them work for their friends and family and all social pathologies could be solved. But we can’t do this obviously because people seriously underrate the benefits of freedom of contract. I’m a libertarian because I believe that we can have nice things and fix many of humanity’s problems, but it would require letting go of the delusion we can save everyone or prevent every potential harm. Almost every non-libertarian philosophy is based on the belief that we need to restrict liberty and ultimately make everyone worse off to protect the most irresponsible among us. Hence we can’t have “lose weight or shoot me” contracts, even though I suspect they could end obesity, and drug abuse too while we’re at it. The penalty doesn’t even have to be killing, maybe breaking a person’s leg or some form of public humiliation would be enough. The market would find the best arrangements for balancing different considerations, just as it does in every other area of life.
In the absence of true freedom, I’ve done the next best thing, which is put my reputation and sense of self-worth on the line. I’m confident therefore I’ll never be fat again, barring some unforeseen event like an illness that makes me immobile or some kind of brain damage that removes my capacity for self-control.
In terms of tactics, weight loss mainly requires thinking carefully about what I eat. It’s not about consuming the same foods I would if I couldn’t get fat but just in lower quantities. Rather, what’s required is a delicate balancing act that involves taking into account the merits of different kinds of food on multiple dimensions.
In this piece, I’m going to talk about my eating habits, and how I am able to in effect outsmart my fat guy genes. My brain thinks that my life is a nonstop feast, while in reality I’m satisfying my tastebuds while also limiting my caloric intake and achieving the desired macronutrient balance. If you identify as a should-be-fat guy, like I do, but want to be skinny, this may be the article for you.