There Are No Fat Animals

Andrew R. French
10 min readAug 27, 2022

There are no overweight animals in the wild, only animals that have extra fat layers to survive.

Here in the Midwest we like to joke about hibernating through the winter, but we don’t actually hibernate and we shouldn’t pretend that we do. Instead, we gorge ourselves on late-night lasagna, cookies, and cocoa, all while watching the TV or reading books. As a result, we put on the pounds in the winter. But they don’t come off in the spring, because we continue to live the same way.

Being overweight is not a healthy way of being for our primate bodies. We operate best, depending on our daily activity, at a lean to stocky body fat level. Since most of us do very little exercise on a day to day basis, we really shouldn’t need a lot of calories But since we have created intensely stressful modern lives, we tend to eat all the exact foods which make us put on the pounds.

Somebody else’s body is really none of our business. We should only focus on our own health. But we don’t need to create an atmosphere of body positivity around being overweight, either. Being positive about everything, regardless of how harmful it may be, is foolish.

If you walk around drunk with a loaded gun and the safety off, I might leave the room. If you ask me what I think, I will tell you that you are not acting safely. If you demand that I refer to you as a safe person, I will refuse.

We overfeed our domestic animals and think they are cute and we laugh at them as they waddle around but in fact all this merriment is hiding a darker story, a story of heart disease and cancer just waiting to happen.

Why do we insist that being fat is funny, or that being overweight can be beautiful? At the core, obesity is our body storing excess calories in the most efficient way possible, in case of food scarcity, so thank you to our bodies for doing a great job. But the problem is that there are very rarely any times of scarcity these days, and so we simply continue to grow fatter as we glide through our sedentary lives.

This is not okay. Diet-related diseases are the number one killer of us all in the United States.

A bear in the wild will put on as much fat as possible so that it can get through the lean times, which can sometimes stretch on for…

Andrew R. French

Writer at the Intersection of Ecosystem and Culture