No More Fat Days

One evening before I started writing a blog post, my fiancé asked me what I was going to post about (he does this every night, sometimes it really stresses me out).  “Fat days,” I answered.  “Fat days?  What’s that?” he asked.  “You know, fat days? ‘Blech, I’m having a fat day’?” I said, at a loss as to how one might explain a fat day further than that.  He stared at me blankly.

  “A day where you just feel fat?”  I ventured.  “Oh,” he responded.  “I’ve never really heard of that.  I haven’t heard anyone use that expression, at least.”  Well, in that case I guess I should get credit for not having complained of having had a fat day within earshot of him.  Beyond that, though, let’s just go ahead and say it: what the hell?  Who doesn’t know what a fat day is?

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If you think about it, though, it’s not all that surprising that he would be perplexed by the concept of a fat day.  I mean, really?  A fat day?  The phrase itself is nonsensical.  Is it like Mardi Gras?  How does one have a fat day?  It seems physically impossible”“ I mean you can’t just go from one physical shape to another overnight.  And that’s where things start to fall apart, because fat days have no basis in the quantitative.  They have nothing to do with actually being fat; they exist on a plane that is completely independent of your height, weight, size, or any other physical attribute you have.  They exist solely in your head.

If I hadn’t abolished the very notion of fat days from my system of thought, I’d go ahead and say that today I’m having a fat day.  My jeans feel tight, I feel icky, bloated, crabby, lazy, and annoyed.  It’s as though I turned into a slug somewhere between yesterday when I went to bed and this morning when I woke up.  It’s totally disgusting, right?  Well, no, actually.  Wrong.

In spite of the way I may be feeling, I’d be hard-pressed to really and truly call today a fat day.  For one thing, saying that those adjectives I listed above are synonymous with being fat is extremely unfair and only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes that have unjustly been created to describe what fat people are like (and in many cases, to justify discriminatory and prejudicial behaviors).  That right there, in and of itself, is extremely problematic.  For another, fat isn’t a feeling, it’s a physical descriptor.  I may be feeling lazy, run-down, and crabby.  I may actually be bloated because I’ve had too much salt lately, or because of (ahem) hormonal fluctuations.  These things don’t add up to “feeling fat,” they add up to feeling kind of crummy and having kind of a bad day.  Finally, and this is related to my first point, what’s wrong with being fat?  When we say we’re having a fat day, we’re accepting the fact that society has taught us that fat is a stand-in for a variety of negative things.  It’s not.

So I want us all to take on a challenge: no more fat days.  When you feel compelled to say you’re having one, dig a little deeper and try to identify what you’re really feeling.  Me?  I’m stressed out from a job I don’t love, and uncertainty about the future.  I’m tired.  I’m frustrated about living in a city that is, even on the best of days, hard to live in.  That’s what’s really going on, and now that I’ve articulated those things, I can address them.  And isn’t that better than calling it a fat day, throwing up my hands in despair, and buying into the idea that everything going on is hopeless and beyond my control?  I think so.

By Emilie

Runner, yogini, knitter, Manhattanite in spite of myself. Also blogging at

4 replies on “No More Fat Days”

You’re right: it’s disappointing and frustrating that we’ve been taught to associate so many bad feelings with being fat, and have disembodied fatness into something it’s not. (Me, I’m delighted with my body, fat and all, and so having a “fat day” first of all is every day, and second of all SHOULD be a source of delight. Yet, I’ve used exactly the same words, usually to mean either greasy from not having showered in a day or so, or bloated from bad eating habits. Neither one of which is fat at all. Why do we do this? It’s silly.)

I accept your challenge.

Alternately, for some of us, every day is a fat day, except there’s no negative connotation to the word “fat.” I’m having a fat day today, just like I’m having a tall day and a redhead day. While I love the logic behind this piece, I personally would advocate for removing the negative stigma from the word fat, rather than the word itself.


I have no choice in the matter. It’s not all in my head — I am fat. Every day.

So, yes to the end of this. Instead of just saying it’s a “fat” day, think about the real issue. Remove the negativity (like lazy, greasy, sluggish, etc) from the term fat and use it as a description.

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