The Anxiety of the Formerly Fat

Alison Rosen

Back in the old days before everyone carried some kind of visual recording device 24/7, people could re-invent themselves. Before the Internet, it was possible for a movie star to go through an entire career without anyone ever being able to locate a copy of their high school yearbook to see how geeky they looked back then.

Media personality Alison Rosen is smart enough not to read random online forums, like one that discussed how much Adam Carolla might pay her for being the “news girl” on his TV show. But if she did, she would stumble over such gems as this irrelevant titbit of information: “I went to grade school and high school with Alison and she was actually the ‘fat girl’ growing up.”

Who needed to know that? The world, apparently, and there will always be some smart aleck ready and willing to tell. During one episode of his show, Carolla gave Rosen a left-handed compliment, remarking that though she is now beautiful, her head contains so many facts it’s as if she spent all the Friday nights in high school watching TV and eating ice cream. Rather than deny it, she “outed” herself as a former fat kid.

She had written before about being haunted and “mentally scarred” by that past, but mentioning it on TV brought a whole new level of scrutiny and discussion among fans, to which she responded by recording an eight-minute “vlog.” Rosen discusses how the impulse persists to hide that fat, sad girl in the closet.

I was not an ice cream eating fat person. I don’t know what I was. Just a “my body wanted to be fat” kind of fat person, as opposed to now, where I’m a “my body wants to be fat but I won’t let it be” kind of fat person, in a not-superfat body.

I have done videos where I’ve discussed the fact that there used to be a lot more of me. It’s just weird that even though I’ve already revealed this, and so technically I’m not revealing anything that I haven’t already put out there, my first instinct is to hide it…. I still feel like the safest, smartest thing to do is to is to deny who I used to be.

My fear is that is if people know I used to be heavy, they’ll look at me now and think I’m heavy now…. It makes me feel scared to put that out there, even though I think there’s strength in doing it.

Always the comic, Rosen signs off with “I’m going to go stuff my feelings.”

One problem with being an obese child today is that life is pictorially so well-documented. Those photos of a chubby youngster will never go away, and it’s probably a good thing that children are not capable of thinking so far ahead. Otherwise, the prospect of a never-fading archive of fat pictures might add an unbearable amount of anxiety to whatever psychological problems they already cope with.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Here’s where I pour my fat heart out,”, 11/08/11
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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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