Saturday, March 2, 2013

Another Interview with a Friend: Fat From a Male Perspective

When I was doing interviews with Pam, I had acouple of other friends jump on the recorder later. I started talking to my friend Don, about the time of my 400lb weight gain. Now part of this conversation is kind of telling, the part where he says I barely looked female. He was absolutely correct. At the time, they found that I had immense testosterone going through my body. Even at smaller sizes as a teenager girl, I never looked feminine, when I had the weight gain this severely worsened. In fact, going on one drug I am on now, that helps the heart and also feminizes a person, Spironolactone I forget how much of my appearance changed since being far more swarthy and masculine looking. The androgens were coursing through doing their damage. The discussion of steroids, too is of interest as I was on steroids constantly for severe asthma, and later what would become COPD, and even am on one inhaled steroid today. Another interesting part of the discussion is when we cover weight and the affect of sleep deprivation. This interview is circa 2004/2005.


[FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP starts by asking Don what symptoms he noticed about her illness.]

DON: Well, let me think…I do remember, amongst other things, you had no problem moving around. You were pretty big, but you had no problem moving around. I did notice, A), you tended to get bigger, [it was] much harder to move around. Towards the height of your weight illness, you barely were able to get up and down the stairs – it was a good thing the cars I had were able to fit you in.


DON: Tiredness; and I would say, towards the height, a definite androgyny came over you. It got awfully hard to be able to tell whether you were male or female, just by looking at your face, and such – you almost had to depend on the clothing [to tell]. I also think part of it may be, as you pile on weight above a certain level – I notice that also w/guys.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Am I much more feminine now?

DON: Oh, definitely female, no problem telling there. I also think part of it was, you get above a certain pound of weight – or you get below a certain level, gender differences do come out.


DON: Well, basically, it was like you just said: people were very mean towards you. Especially in [name of huge city I lived for a time], I think, people were just basically mean towards you – that may explain part of your [past] involvement w/NAAFA, because suddenly, there was this safe zone for you. I also think that part of it was, again, you got above a certain level – and I do think that people -- at a certain point -- sort of think, when you get above a certain weight, you’re supposed to hide yourself away. Not necessarily out of shame, but – out of the simple fact that, above a certain level, it takes so much for you to keep your body alive, that you walking around would be a physical impossibility.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Did the weight loss from the 600s, near 700lbs(pounds) to 500 range help?

DON: Yeah. You get above a certain level, I don’t think people expect you to move around. Also, the androgyny [was a problem]: at a certain point, people want to know whether you’re male or female. They tend to base it on obvious physical characteristics, or your dress.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Do you remember some of my emotional outcomes when I was having this weight gain? What would I say about it at the time? What was my manner? You can be honest in this.

DON: I’m trying to remember, that’s the problem. Not only that, but I don’t think I saw you that often. If you see somebody on a constant basis, you may notice something, but it’s much more noticeable than if you have a two- or three-month period [between visits]. I do know you were talking about why you were putting on so much weight. I think you were putting on…30 pounds [a month].

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: That’s almost like a pound a day.

DON: And I do remember, you were always talking about your asthma: I remember, it started w/your asthma, now that I think about it. You were complaining about having to do asthma [treatment?] for an extended period of time, much longer than people suggested – and that, I would say, crosses all borders.

I remember I’d been having some trouble w/my eyes, before I figured it had something to do w/allergies. I remember getting these droplets, and basically sticking it in the eyes, and they’re some sort of steroid. Basically, they cleared the stuff out. A little bit later, I’d go through this stuff, and the lady [WHO?] said, “Don’t use it, throw it away! Keep using that stuff, you may get cataracts.”

And generally, they say, steroids are best for short-term [use]. At the time, I wonder how much of an effect on the weight gain that that stuff [prednisone] had.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: I think it actually triggered a lot.

DON: Yeah, ‘cause you’re talking [about] long-term use of a steroid.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Also, I know towards my late twenties, as my asthma got worse, I couldn’t move around as much.


DON: There’d be friends and family, I’d put them on the line: “This is FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP, she’s awfully fat, she’s suffering from a few things,” and they always took my word at it. When I was much younger, there was this woman named **********: very infamous. You mention that name, it’s like [sounds “Dragnet”-style music]. You knew this was a girl to be feared – I think somehow, I spotted her, and she was very overweight…to the point, again, of androgyny. [Was in elementary school.]

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Was she tortured in elementary school?

DON: By the fact that her name had with it, a lot of infamy based on it, I’d assume that she was tortured, and picked on. For some strange reason, I remember just looking in a classroom, seeing this overweight girl: “Oh, that’s **********.”


DON: I think part of the problem w/society right now is, we’re in a very odd, very unusual situation. Historically, fatness has always been the exception, not the rule, but there’s been a major change, starting in the ‘50s – when you had this image of the “ultimate,” Marilyn Monroe, statuesque, extremely built – almost manic, you’d say. And it happened, during that period of time, actually matched up to where women were able to develop in that sort of situation. Also, remember, we had gone through the Depression, and World War II – two periods of starvation – and suddenly, we got plenty, like you wouldn’t believe. And since then, the ideal has directed itself towards thinness.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: The focus on thinness actually makes people fatter, because it brings an over-concern w/food.

DON: I think our diets have changed: It used to be, women would stay home, and cook food. We used to have smaller portions, and we used to eat in the home; nowadays, we drive in our cars, we stop off, and everyone’s working. What’s really interesting – look among the rich. Women who can develop careers and run companies are actually staying home, raising their children. They’re choosing it. If you were able to choose it, they choose it. Because, basically, you’re eating at home: there’s something about women that they actually enjoy keeping house more.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Actually, I had so many problems the work world. I felt forced to be a hyper-feminist by my family with none of the benefits – I was rejected on one level, because of “you being an art teacher”; that’s kind of a female profession.

DON: Well, teaching has been considered a female profession – basically, anything to do w/nurturing generally is considered female. And I think there’s some aspect about that, I can understand you feeling like you were forced to be a feminist – basically, you want to protect yourself. You have to get out in the work world, and it’d be a good thing if you could rise up in that world, take on more responsibilities…

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Well, a lot of my friends felt like we were set up – we were told, “You can do all this, and have all this,” and it turned out to be a bust for most of us.

DON: Well, what they didn’t really tell women is – basically, you could choose this, or you could choose that: the idea [of], “you can have it all, bigger and more is better, blah-blah-blah.” Life is a definition of choices: every choice reduces the amount of freedom, ‘cause it forces you up on one line. The only way you could maximize possible freedom is to just keep yourself undecided as long as possible, and even [in] that [scenario] – time starts closing down stuff, eventually.


DON: Let me think: I had a friend named *******]: he was sort of fattish. He developed this fantasy world where he made himself out to be much bigger than he actually was – and he was much better at it. Your husband is not the thinnest person in the world. He made himself out to be much different than most people.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Would say being fat has some people form more distinct identities?

DON: Having weight, ‘cause some cases, if you develop fatness, it can cause a withdrawal.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: What differences do you see in me, from other fat people?

DON: Well, basically, you seem to be out there more than most fat people. I don’t think you grew up w/the stereotypically fat profile, which is “Keep on being beaten down and up, you just withdraw.”

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Yeah, I had some years of normalcy.

DON: The thing was, I don’t think you were specifically fat, until you moved to [big city I used to live in].

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Until I had the huge weight gain – yeah, I know. I was considered “large” or “Amazonian,” by most, but not “huge fat pig,” or anything like that. I wasn’t really noticed.

DON: I think part of it is, “fat” itself is sort of a loaded term. The idea is, you’re talking about all this weight pressing down – part of the definition of fat is, so much weight pressing down on an inner mass.


DON: And it is kind of interesting – I look a little bit fat, but most people don’t notice it, because I’m still able to move around quite a bit.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Yeah, you have gained some weight. I’m not trying to be mean, or nothing, but you have in the last year…

DON: Well, right now, I’m up to 265, 270 pounds. I had been steady around 260 since, I would say – since the second year of living w/my girlfriend, that’d be ’99, 2000, and I’d been around 240, 250 before that.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: That makes sense, yeah – see, you can carry it, because of your height, too. But if you were to gain 50 more (pounds), you would enter “Fat World.” You know what I mean? It is kind of almost a different existence. I would say “Fat World” came for me when I hit 320, and then, of course, it went up, and up, and up.

DON: It depends on how you carry it – one thing about guys versus gals is that guys tend to carry their stuff around here [the waist], whereas, w/gals, it’s lower down.I think, in some ways, it is an adaptation – but, like I said, it’s kind of weird how you can get around growing fat, too. I remember, before I had my pneumonia, I think I was around 240, and I lost some weight because of the pneumonia…recovering from that…recovering from the weight loss, I think I sort of overshot to about 250 [pounds]. So, maybe in some cases, the dieting is there, but you’ve also got all the food you eat – to be honest, for your average person, if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to do some heavy duty adjustments to your diet, and such.


DON: The thing is, most people – you lose weight, and it’s like, “Good, I can relax”…

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: And they go back to the way they did before. In my case, if I ate fried chicken every week, I’d be dead.

DON: Well, basically, w/most people, your comfortable weight adjusts upward…in fact, one of the things I noticed during the first couple months I was living w/my girlfriend, I sort of leveled off around 260.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: Can you understand why people get themselves off the diet rollercoaster, though, and just kind of give up on that whole world, to some extent? Well, I have some health problems – that’s why I’ve refused to get weight loss surgery. It is difficult, ‘cause they always expect you to be on the constant diet.

DON: You do have to have constant vigilance, even if it’s just the idea of portion control – as Americans, we’ve grown used to eating so much, and we’ve also grown used to, when we feel the least bit hungry, we snack.


 FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: I think the whole American lifestyle is messed up. I know, for me, when I was gaining the weight, I had no time to relax – especially during that job – no time was mine. Never could cook. I didn’t even have the right facilities to cook!

DON: I’ll bet you part of your problem was the weird time, because I do know that people who have trouble getting enough sleep, they tend to fatten up, because you’re taking about cortisol – basically, from what I can guess…I’m not gonna say I know everything about it….but my understanding is, it basically makes your body burn energy efficiently.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: There’s a hormone that’s released during sleep, and I even have that in my theories about weight gain; there’s a hormone that’s released when you sleep. I know people who’ve had serious sleep apnea, have gained 200 or 300 pounds. I know – for me – I have the sleep apnea finally treated and it seemed to be another factor in not gaining weight anymore.

DON: And, basically, ever since the wide distribution of lightbulbs, Americans have had one hour less sleep per night, on average, than they used to get.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: I think it’s even worse than that, now – people brag about having no sleep. Now, I can sleep as much as I want; that’s one blessing of disability [laughs], ‘cause [what] I remember, for years, is being absolutely sleep deprived.

DON: Well, I would say, not being sleep-deprived – but I’m aware that my body, if given the chance, would happily drift over to ten hours of sleep a day. I know eight is generally the average; some people can get less. But, generally, the average most people get is six [hours] – you know there’s massive amounts of sleep deprivation going on in this society today.

FIVEHUNDREDPOUNDPEEP: OK, well, thanks for the conversation, Don.

DON: You’re welcome.


  1. I always like to read your Blog because you give support to other fat people and at the same time you have a honest opinion about being fat. It is refreshing in Fat Acceptance to hear a fat woman speak about any fat woman not being automatically fat and feminine, curvy, sexy and etc. I find this current trend in
    Fat Acceptance to be very Fat Fetish-like.

    Recently I have been getting on people’s nerves because I comment on articles by fat women who focus on the feminizing effect that fat can have on fat men. I am not saying that this is not a subject that should be discussed, but it should not be the primary or initial message that Fat Acceptance should be giving to fat men. Over the years I have shared the issues I have with living most of my life with very large moobs and issues of even needing a bra or support garment.

    This type of discussion is made even more pointless because so many fat women do not want to acknowledge that many fat women who are not pear-shaped or Hourglass-shape share many fat male body traits, in fact coming up behind them on the road it is hard to tell if a person is a fat male or female until you see their face, hair style or breasts (in a regular bra).

    I have been taking Spironolactone for years now, but my breast size was already large and it did not cause any problem with my primary sexual organs. I also can grow quite a beard if I wanted to. Funny that the two women that I have known who have full beards also are very curvy, their testosterone did not block breast development or their reproduction systems.

    I think that by ignoring the existence of “less” feminine fat women that Fat Acceptance itself is practicing one of the worse forms of Fat Bias.

  2. Thanks William I appreciate it. I think some upper echelons of fat acceptance are hearing the siren call of mainstream culture which by the way some of us are just tired and sick of where focus on looks comes first, so now you get even the divisions there, where the "pretty" get all the attention. I am sorry they are ignoring your discussions of the less feminine fat women and needs of the men.

    I have severe PCOS, I looked very very very masculine especially in my 20s. I was pear shaped but in my case, with the facial hair and swarthiness it didn't do much to help my case. The testosterone was surging on through me. I had to go off Spiro around 9 months ago to take a serious kidney drug--the two totally contradict, and I can feel the testosterone is back and have noticed a change in my face though not so much hair as before and a higher level of aggressiveness in me. I think since my heart numbers have improved being off this drug they may not let me go back on it, and I will be concerned about the affects on my looks. I was on Skype with someone recently and barely recognized myself.

    I do not relate to mildly overweight curvy women, who can wear heels and just a little bit larger versions of the latest fashions. I am flat chested almost from my PCOS too in my case--wear about a A/B--I just don't bother with bras in my case, there is really no need. I know you have suffered the opposite. I do believe men are often ignored in the size acceptance movement and that is one problem is so much of it was geared for FAS and hyper-feminists leaving quite a large swathe of the population out. The FAs are looks based and well thus the fat fetish time, all it seems some want is just a fat version of Cosmopolitan rather then escaping from the consumerist looks based prison of the never ending beauty contests in this culture. I do not fit the norm in that I do not want to look sexy, and being a Christian, I dress very conservative.

    I am getting old too now, and have noticed there is a huge focus on YOUTH even in some size acceptance circles and articles being published--this may be the doing of the mainstream magazines that only give a voice to the younger crowd.

  3. You are right about some of the nasty attitudes towards feminized fat men. I have seen this for myself. When I see fat women saying fat men are no good and they'd never date one, this gives me fits, because these same women will cry when some men reject them. For many women weight will masculinze, the friend above is correct. This is why all the focus on looks is just leading things to a very bad place. I am old enough to remember when the feminists even said don't objectify me, look at my personality, my character not my looks, but I guess that has been now totally thrown out the door.

  4. Well I have started to re-do my website/Blog and plan to talk about Fat Acceptance and representing fat people of all sizes, shapes, appearances.and levels of confidence.