Voices of Those Portrayed

Most obese grownups started out as overweight children, and a discouragingly large number of overweight and obese children will never achieve a body that is considered within normal range. Childhood obesity and adult obesity are not two separate entities, and awareness of both stems from the media.

Much is written and said about people who carry extra pounds, and thanks to the wide-open nature of present-day media, there is ample opportunity for them to have their say in return. Frequently, they extend mutual aid by validating experiences, sharing feelings, passing along helpful tips, and cheering victories.

One example is “The Waistline Podcast,” a relatively new program from veteran podcaster Lee Syatt, who worked for eight years with comedian Joey Diaz. As host, Syatt talks with people who have lost weight and people still on their journey, which in this case actually includes those successful “losers,” because as they will undoubtedly admit, maintaining the loss over time is the hardest part. He also brings in experts. A typical guest is Dr. Tyler Manley, of whom Syatt says,

I previously had him on my What Was I Thinking podcast to answer all of the questions I was always too afraid to ask doctors. In this new episode Dr. Manley and I talk about the changes my body went through losing 100+ pounds and what to expect in the future.

A different mode

Even in the flood of media, discerning critics treasure certain scenes as gems. An episode of “Louie,” starring Sarah Baker, includes a talk between her and Louie C.K. that has been characterized as brutally honest, hard to watch, a healthy and brilliant dose of honesty, and a fat girl rant.

The setup is, Sarah had asked him out a few times and been turned down. Now they’re walking near water in New York City. She remarks on how difficult the dating scene is for a fat girl. Politely, he says “You’re not fat,” and she is crushed by disappointment. What she wants from this man is, at the very least, honesty. Louie himself is noticeably overweight, and she points out that, to a casual stranger, they would look like a well-matched couple.

With his consent, she designates Louie to represent all the guys the entire overweight sisterhood has been rejected by, and asks, “Why do you hate us so much?” Among other things, she explains to him a very perceptive psychological point. She flirts all the time with men who would be considered out of her league. But…

The high-caliber studs flirt right back, because they know their status will never be questioned. But guys like you never flirt with me, because you get scared that maybe you should be with a girl like me.

In other words, an observer with a basic mindset would see a hot guy hitting on her and think, “He’s just having fun, leading her on, because they both know he could never care about a fat girl.” On the other hand, if a corpulent fellow like Louie showed interest in a Sarah, the other guys would think “OMG he’s serious!” and make him an object of ridicule. They would rather see him remain single and miserable than hook up with a thick chick.

Anyway, once her emotion has been vented, Sarah says, “All I want is to hold hands with a nice guy, and walk, and talk.” Louie takes her hand, and they walk. And talk.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Waistline Podcast #026,” undated
Source: “Sarah Baker on ‘Louie’,” undated
Image by fromcolettewithlove/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

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.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


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
TEC and UNC 2016

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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