This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Corpulent



“My doctor says I’m too heavy.”

“I feel so huge.”

“I just hate this roll of fat on my hips.”

“I’ve always been on the big side.”

“I’m just a little overweight.”

“When I was a kid, I was considered chunky.”

I was a registered dietitian for many years, providing one-to-one diet counseling at hospitals and clinics. Doctors referred patients for weight loss diets…for a variety of reasons. Blood lipids too high. Blood pressure too high. Blood sugar too high. Joints wearing away.

Or…”to be more healthy.”
As if it was that simple…

I met with a young woman who cried with the shame of being criticized by her mother growing up. Because she was overweight.

A man whose parents belittled him at the dinner table when he served himself a second helping of potatoes.

A teenage boy who needed to be weighed on the hospital wheelchair scale. Bullied at school. Dropped out. Working on his GED.

A young man whose wife would put a box of chocolates in his bureau drawer to tempt him. She was chubby too.

Countless women – of all ages – were embarrassed to be sitting across from me, as if they had committed a sin.

To be fat. Corpulent. Obese. Chunky. Chubby. Portly. Overweight. Whatever you name it…is to be branded less than. Ostracized in our first world society.

Often facing an exhausting lifetime battle with food.
How much. When. Where. Why.
Most doctors don’t realize that food is just one piece of this puzzle.

You don’t have to do this, I’d say when calling to set up an appointment…if I sensed reluctance.

But the doctor said I have to.

It is your decision no matter what the doctor says.

There would be a pause in the conversation.


Yes. It’s up to you. If you aren’t ready, we can wait.

Most of the time, the appointment was made.
The patient showed up. Often wary.
And we’d talk. About goals. Typical meals.
Eating history. Likes. Dislikes.

Sometimes there was crying. Or almost crying.
Stories of shunning. Lost opportunities. Self-hatred.

So much emotional pain.
Because a body is large…
Soothed for years
With foods that comfort.

Only to face doctor’s orders
to take those foods away.

I often asked myself…
Is it worth it?

9 thoughts on “Corpulent

  1. This is such a good post. I have wondered also about this societal obsession with weight. To a point, it is health driven, but our focus on fitness is also a huge moneymaker. We come in all sizes and you would know better than me about how genetics, environment, etc play into it. Some cultures covet a robust figure. Sometimes our ‘norms’ need to be examined. So much more can said about this, and I appreciate your input.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, V.J., for this comment. I saw so much fat shaming going on during my career – either via my patients’ experiences or in medical records’ doctor notes. A truly healthy weight can deviate so much from any chart, graph or scale reading. And the choice about accepting or changing body size…and it should be a choice in my opinion…need not be laced with harsh judgement. I totally agree with you…norms do need to be examined.


  3. A powerful post, resonates with me. Aside from the health concerns with being overweight, in a perfect world we would be accepted for who we are, as we are . . . so skinny our ribs show, so overweight we waddle trying to balance the excess around our mid drift. Seems our society shuns those who are considered outside of the norm with that norm being subject to a select opinion. A friend called it “fat-shaming”. So many feelings associated with our body image. Glad you were there for your clients in a supportive way.

    Liked by 1 person

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