The Quiet Harm of #TransformationTuesday

On the healing fantasy of thinness, and what your before and after photos tell the fat people in your life

Your Fat Friend
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readSep 24, 2019


A photo of fitness balls on a rack at the gym.
Photo: Mint Images/Getty Images

I make a new friend.

We spend hours on the phone, over coffee, over drinks. We talk at length about his breakup, his new love interest, how to court her. We interpret her responses together, look for opportunities for him to tell her how he feels, how he longs for her.

“It’s no use,” he tells me. “She’s never going to want a fat f*** like me.”

I comfort him, reminding him that he doesn’t know that to be true. “Have you seen anyone she’s dated? How do you know?”

“Years of rejection,” he snaps, before the server arrives with our next round. He sighs. “I just know.”

“Just think about telling her,” I suggest plaintively. “You can tell her respectfully, tell her you don’t need an answer right away, that you won’t be offended or hurt.”

A long silence.

“But I will,” he offers quietly. “I have to lose weight before I tell her anything.”

I breathe deep while I decide whether or not to ask.

“Will it hurt any less if she turns you down as a thin person?” He does not respond.

Days later, he tells her. She declines.

He and I continue to talk. He discovers a love for exercise, shows me his form while he does pushups. I applaud as his daily tallies increase, as he buys free weights, as he joins a gym.

“I can eat whatever I want,” he tells me. I tell him he is always in charge of what he eats. “You know what I mean,” he snaps.

I ask about his sleep, his stress levels. He tells me he can’t wait for his body to change, can’t wait to show the girl. I ask him how he thinks that will go.

“Well,” he says confidently, “either she’ll want me, or she’ll regret what she said to me. Either way, I win.”

Months later, he is losing weight rapidly. He posts pictures of his newly muscular body, shirtless for the first time, carefully pointing the camera away from the pockets of loose skin hanging from his arms, hips, belly. He filters…



Your Fat Friend
Human Parts

Your Fat Friend writes about the social realities of living as a very fat person.