I’m squishy, but I’m NOT obese

You may have seen today’s Pickles.

Panel 1: Nelson asks Earl: Grampa, are you obese?
Panel 2: Earl: Obese? No, I’m NOT obese.
Panel 3: Nelson: [pokes tummy, with a “squish” noise]
Panel 4:  Earl: I’m squishy, but I’m NOT obese.

This illustrates much of the “obesity” discussion. Earl knows he’s fat.  Earl assumes he’s overweight, not obese.  He forgets that the definition of “obesity” was changed to include people at lower weights.  He sees news stories about “obesity” that are illustrated with photos of very fat people like myself, and assumes that I’m a typically-sized fatty.

Sorry Earl.  The truth is I’m not typical.  Check out the Illustrated BMI project: if Chris and Angelos are nearly “obese”, Earl probably is too.



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21 responses to “I’m squishy, but I’m NOT obese”

  1. Phyllis Jeans Avatar
    Phyllis Jeans

    I don’t care what people call me, fat, obese, overweight. I let it roll off my back. I am happy about myself, and every time I have gone and dieted, I’ve gained more weight so I won’t do that any more. I really prefer being called Fluffy. But Phyllis is even better.

  2. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    I am squishy, I am fluffy, but I proudly own fat. I actually kind of like squishy, it sounds kind of cuddly & appealing, but I passionately HATE the judgmental terms, the medicalizing terms, like ‘obese’ & ‘overweight’. Over WHAT weight, & ‘obese’ is a made-up word which says that normal, natural variations in body size & shape are pathological. My body is not pathological, it is fine just as it is.

    Oh, & I caught a headline which says that those trapped miners in Chile, who are supposed to be trapped underground for something like 4 months, have been told to lose weight to make it easier to get them out. I should think their survival is of paramount importance, & instead of making a hole that only people with a waist of 35″ or less can get through, how about making a bigger hole? It says a lot about the state of the world & priorities that you can be trapped in a mine cave-in & be told to lose weight….as if they almost certainly are not doing so anyway.

  3. Karen Avatar

    My hubby calls me “comfy”….and loves my tender underarm flesh.

    @Patsy – I believe the limit for the miners is based on a specific cage that will be lowered down to them. It may not be possible to have a new, larger cage constructed in time. It may also be the fact that every cubic foot of earth moved takes time and officials want to begin the rescue as soon as possible.

    1. PixieSaurus Rex Avatar
      PixieSaurus Rex

      @Patsy Nevins,

      With regards to the hole size for the miners, I work for the company that drilled that bad boy. A 36″ hole is generally the largest diameter hole that one can safely drill and maintain, and as that stands, it would need a bit and an underreamer to make that size of a hole. I can’t remember how deep it needed to go, but at least in offshore Norway, the section of borehole that is the maximum diameter (36″) is only a couple hundred meters deep maximum. It all has to do with tools available and time.

      Larger underreamers may be available somewhere in the world, but they would not have the known reliability and working life of the commonly used ones.

      I hope this gives some insight. I truly believe it was in the interests of easily and safely returning the miners to the surface as quickly as possible with the equipment available.

      PixieSaurus Rex
      The glitteriest oil rig worker you ever did see.

  4. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    In their present situation, I suspect that they are losing weight anyway. And, since they want to rescue them as soon as possible, if they do so they might not have time to lose much weight. The other thing in the article that tweaked me was that they had to go on & say that, unfortunately, most Americans in this situation could not be rescued, because the average American male has a 39″ waistline & the average American has a 37″ waistline. So they take a serious, life & death situation, & use it as yet another opportunity to point & giggle at ‘porky Americans’, almost with an undertone of suggestion that we fat slobs don’t deserve to be saved anyway.,\

  5. DivaJean Avatar

    I hate squishy and fluffy and all the other cutesy names.
    Fat is a simple descriptor- that’s all.
    Someone calls me fat (in a nasty, calling me on the street kind of way), I usually respond with “Dingdingding. You’ve won the prize for the blatant obvious today. ” or something similar.
    I own it. I live it.
    However- fat is not a synonym for: lazy, stupid, and all the other nasty things people equate it with these days.

  6. Mimi Avatar

    I personally prefer the term “squarshy” as it sounds more lovable to me. Not that I’m not squishy too…

  7. Jenn Avatar

    I personally dislike the term “obese” because it seems to be used solely as a diagnostic descriptor of how your body is WRONG. Kind of like “overweight”, “normal” or “underweight.” All of these words seem to signify that there is a very narrow window of good sizes, and that all bodies outside of that window are bad and sick and need to be fixed.

    Yes, I’ll own fat. I’m fat. I know it. But at 5’2” and 170 lbs, I know I’m also considered medically “obese”. Fuck that. I’m only labeled as “obese”, and that word is only used, in reference to my supposed sickness, my malfunction, the disgusting nature of my being and body. It’s a medical term packaged with guilt, shame, and disease. It’s coupled with “epidemic” for shit’s sake. Most people agree that it’s not good to equate fatness with badness, but it’s perfectly okay to talk of the “obesity epidemic” like obesity is a disease.

    Nope, obesity is a just a made-up point in a statistical tool that has little to no moral, medical, or rational content. I’m not obese. Nobody is obese. Obesity is a myth, created by statisticians. I am fat, I am large. I am chubby and I have rolls. But I am not sick. I do not accept this asinine scale arbitrary defined in order to sell me shame.

    1. Living 400lbs Avatar

      Usually I prefer the term “fat”, but I do use “obese” and “overweight” to reference the CDC definitions. (In this case, talking about how many people perceive “the obesity epidemic” that the media routinely panics over to mean people my size or larger, when in fact most people who are officially labeled “obese” are much, much smaller than I.)

  8. wriggles Avatar

    I suspect this is illustrating an element of mental self defence. If you see yourself as a decent person why would you be drawn to identify with people who are defined as fat people are?

    1. Living 400lbs Avatar

      Indeed – and the more negatively you view fat people, the more you want to deny being fat. Or being “that fat”, as in “I’m not THAT fat”.

  9. crookedfinger Avatar

    Hah! I thought the EXACT same thing when I saw that comic.

  10. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    I remember a children’s story where the main character showed a positive body image & declared that she wasn’t too big, she was too small, or any other thing people would say…”I am ME sized”. I have always liked that; I am ME sized, & so is every other person in the world.

  11. Natalie Avatar

    Hello. I’m on my colleges competitive Speech and Debate team, and I’m currently putting together a piece on being fat and happy, about loving yourself no matter your size. Your blog has been such a beautiful inspiration to myself and for my piece, and I wanted to thank you, dearly, for writing and speaking things most would be afraid to say.

    I may end up filming myself performing the piece, and I’ll send you a link to it if that ends up being reality.


  12. sleepydumpling Avatar

    I think it’s quite indicative of a male perspective too. Many men don’t consider themselves obese, but they will often call women who are smaller than them so.

    I prefer the term fat. “Obese” makes me feel like I’m a medical problem that has to be solved or eradicated.

  13. Shira Avatar

    I have a problem with the word “obese” because, aesthetic considerations aside (and it is an ugly word), it comes from the Latin obesus, which means “to eat away”. Because OBVIOUSLY all fat people just eat and eat and eat! I refuse to use a term which makes assumptions about my habits, or the habits of any other person.

  14. Godless Heathen Avatar

    I had an uncomfortable conversation with a member of my nerd herd who wanted to draw lines between acceptably fat and what he thought was “obese”. He’d never seen a full body picture of me, all he had was my face and my voice. I said “Hon, you’re talking to a fat woman. I wear a women’s size 30. I have to shop at specialty stores for everything. I think you either need to walk it back a bit or get the hell out of my chat room.” I don’t know if he realized that even if he wasn’t talking about me specifically, just talking negatively about fat people in general wasn’t going to be tolerated.

    I am what people think of when they hear “obese” and definitely what they think of when they hear “fat” but I’m closer to the “super obese” category as well. People really do have a skewed idea of what fatness looks like on different people and where the lines are officially drawn.

    I don’t like the word obese though, besides splitting hairs between different types of fat, it’s just medical terminology. My body isn’t a disease in and of itself.

  15. […] I’m squishy, but I’m NOT obese […]

  16. Bronwyn Avatar

    Yeah, well I’m obese according to the waist to hip ratio definition (no more than 0.8 for women). And I’m 5’6″ and only 154lb. I have no butt and no waist, and never have had, even when I was really skinny. I don’t think anyone looking at me would even call me overweight. I have a friend who was labelled obese (and discriminated against on the grounds of it) by a doctor who’d never seen him, based just on his BMI. He’s actually not even fat, just not terribly tall, very wide, and very very muscley. All these obesity measures are averages. You know if you feel healthy.

  17. Bella Avatar

    I happen to be just under the separating line from overweight and a healthy weight in terms of my BMI, but I see girls around me who have the same shape “size” and me and I’m so frustrated that they’re so firm-like on their arms, stomach etc, though they are the same shape as me. I don’t like being squishy, especially not “pull it away and watch it tentatively wobble back” squishy, so I start to wonder, perhaps my body is trying to tell me something :( But in terms of the term squishy, I can’t say I like it, nor obese (a word that phonetically practically screams offense regardless of meaning) and “overweight” sounds like feigning sympathy with judgmental eyes. My term, would be “plump”. I mean peaches are plump, plums are plump and when I say plump I’m reminded of those beautiful shiny white women in classical painting with spilling over bodices and little feet. So – all in all, I encourage to beat back those terms we’ve all come to despise, and embrace the plumpness of our fellow plumpers :)

  18. brian Avatar

    Wud like to chat email me. I weigh 398lbs

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