Gainers

So it seems that while a whole bunch of us are diligently trying to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and eat better, there’s an entire movement afoot fighting to do the complete opposite.

First, certain restaurants rebelled against adding “low fat, low cal, low sodium, low appeal” items to their menus and added, instead, grotesque foods like Wendy’s Baconator Double and KFC’s new Double Down  (a bacon and 3 cheese sandwich which uses two hunks of fried chicken in place of the bun).

These sorts of novelty menu items are amusing, but then I read about people who are deliberately trying to get fat because they think….well, I actually don’t know what they’re thinking.

Like Donna Simpson, a 42-year-old New Jersey mother whose goal is to get to 1,000 pounds. To pay for her $750 per week grocery bill  (12,000 calories a day) she has a pay-per-view website where men pay to watch her eat.

And she’s not alone. There are a whole host of “gainer” blogs out there where people document their day-to-day adventures in gaining as much weight as possible, gainer dating sites and discussion forums (e.g.: Git-BiggerFatness Follies,  BiggerCity,  or BellyBuilders )

I’m not even sure what to say about this.

Yes, there are plenty of healthy people who appear to be larger than average – people who exercise and have good blood pressure and good heart function and good cholesterol levels and live perfectly normal lives. But these people are not like that because they go out of their way to eat stuff like donuts and fast food and make a point of not exercising in order to gain weight. And Donna Simpson needs a motorized scooter to get around. By the time she’s 1,000 pounds, I reckon she won’t be able to get around at all.

And yes, there are plenty of overweight people who don’t get enough exercise and can’t seem to stop overeating, but these “gainers” are not like that either because they love being fat.

I always knew that outgrowing clothing and searching for stylish bigger clothing would be kind of a pain as I got bigger, but for some reason, I kind of like this side-effect of gaining. Something about how uncommon my body is becoming is kind of nice. Every time I pick up a bigger size, I think “This thing is huge! There’s no way I could fit into it.” But, lo and behold, the pair of shorts that I thought were big enough to use as a sail end up being too small for me –Git Bigger

Are these people mentally ill do you think? And if they are do we have some sort of obligation to save them from themselves? Or is this just a dangerous bid for attention like pretending to send your kid off in a hot air balloon?

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40 responses to “Gainers

  1. I saw an obit of a young man that was a son of my second husband’s best friend. I found a phone number and called and the best friend’s other son had the same name as his father so I got that guy’s wife on the phone. Her brother-in-law had died from complications of gastric bypass surgery. She told me horror stories about obesity. He could not reach his penis to pee and made a giant mess in the bathroom. Also they can’t even reach to wipe after a bowel movement. They get weird sores and skin conditions in the folds that are all over their body. There’s a lot of gross stuff that had never occured to me. My vote on this is a severe mental illness. And the stories on TV where they are stuck in their bed? SOMEONE is feeding them and that person should be put in prison.

  2. I think to get that fat, you can’t do it on your own…you need an an enabler.

    Those 800-lb. people they show on the Learning Channel who are so large, they literally can’t even sit or get out of bed?

    Someone needs to cook and bring them their food. Wash them. And (*Ugh*) take care of their body functions as they crap where they sleep and lie in their own waste.

    Makes me wonder…at what point do they cross the line? One day, they fat person will decide it takes too much effort to walk to the dinner table and sit down and eat. So they ask for food to be brought to their bed. And their caretaker, instead of saying “Get your ass down to the table and come and eat!”….does it for them…!!!

    Makes me think…at least two people have mental problems, here.

    And how to these fat people support their 20,000 calorie-a-day-diet? They obviously aren’t working for a living.

    Are they independently wealthy? Or are their enablers helping them, again?

    That being said, I would like to try that Double-Down…just once, to say I did.

    But at least I can walk to the store under my own power, and get it.

  3. That was disturbing… There’s often a link between depression and the kind of obesity you are talking about.

    I’ve seen shows where they talk about how lonely/ sad they are and how they eat when they don’t feel good etc.

    I think the points about the enabler are bang on.

    We have a weird culture where we preach thinness and pressure to have a nice body, but at the same time come up with things like the Double-Down.

    I’m appalled at things like the baconator (been somewhat tempted, but never have tried it) and the doubledown.

    Anyways maybe this will be motivation for reducing my fastfood eating and getting into better shape.

    I’m always amazed at what people will do for “celebrity”

  4. Yes they are mentally ill. Just like the ones that starve themselves to death. There is obviously some imbalance going on that anyone wants or needs to live like that.
    As others have mentioned here though what is with the people around them that help them on this route through life.
    Anorexic or gainer something serious has gone wrong and professional help is needed.

  5. People that do this have no self-esteem and are desperate for attention, pathologically so. Obesity is a problem for many people, but responsible, mature individuals who actually have some self respect will try and help their situation. These people are just a drain on everyone around them. They are selfish and have little regard for the pain they are causing themselves and their loved ones.

    Like Dave said, they need therapy and personally, I think its a very sad reflection on society that people will actually pay to watch someone slowly destroy themselves.

  6. Ooh, the Double Baconator.

    Oooh, what a horrible, evil sandwich.

    Ooooh. How can anyone EAT that?

    For crying out loud, we need to ligthen up.

    It’s just a bacon-freaking-cheeseburger. It’s not the End of Civilization As We Know it.

    If you don’t like it…don’t EAT it.

    But (we have to learn to accept this) a lot of people actually LIKE the sammitch. Myself included.

    And there’s nothing wrong with indulging in decadent unhealthy food. Provided it’s done in moderation.

    And yes, I realize there are people who DON’T do it in moderation, and it’s a problem for them.

    But so what? There are also people who drink too much. Smoke to much. Play too many video games. Gamble too much. Drive too fast. Don’t use condoms. And do dangerous extreme sports.

    Does that mean we should pick on bars, smoking, X-boxes, casinos, sports cars, sex, and ice-climbing?

    If the answer is “YES”, then sign me up for the commune.

    We’ll all just sit around, wearing our hair-shirts and singing Kum-ba-Ya, as we all eat the nuts and berries that we’ve foraged.

    Because that’s what it will come down to, eventually.

  7. These folks make Charles Manson look like a calm and stable accountant-type dude.
    Seriously – they need professional help. “Big” time… so to say.
    But is this any different from those folks who deliberately pull stunts that border on the edge of madness? Or push to the extremes some normally routine act.
    Those dudes that ski off the edges of cliffs in avalanche zones, swim with Great Whites, try to set extreme Guiness records… they are all crazy too, aren’t they?

  8. I had a Big Mac on Wednesday as I got busy, was out in my car and was starving. I felt ill after and I didn’t need much of a dinner. And people eat this stuff everyday?

    If you want to eat it, go ahead, but if you do, they will continue to make it.

    And if you want to get fat, go ahead. It’s better than a drunk getting in his car. BUTT! Don’t expect our healthcare to pay for your bypass, and your care when you blow a gasket.

  9. @Friar

    If you’re gonna walk to get a Double Down, you better start walkin’. Reports are that there are no plans for KFC Canada to serve them up here.

    How far is it from Splat Creek to the border? 🙂

    I wonder if we are so different in our eating habits than Americans that the marketing people decide that something like the Double Down will fly in the States, but not up here.

  10. I’m not sure what would make anyone want to be massively obese but I don’t get super thin people. Or people obsessed with exercise either.
    To each their own I suppose..

  11. I did hear about this woman. Someone tweeted something about her having children. And how could she do this to her children? The whole thing is so bizarre, but sad at the same time. Like the others noted, the ‘gainer’ themselves seems to be mentally/emotionally ill or needy but the enablers play an enormous role — both the enabler that feeds them and the enablers that are paying to see a ‘gainer’ on a website.

  12. That’s the argument you hear a lot: The Health Care System shouldn’t bail out obesity-related illnesses.

    Okay…if we want to be that way, fine.

    But will we use that same argument for HIV-drug addicts who refuse to share needles?

    Or the stupid 20-year old who breaks his back doing an extreme snow-board trick?

    Or the smoker addicted to nicotine?

    Or the homeless protitute suffering from STD’s?

    No. We say nothing about those cases, even though their life choices are at least (if not more) risky than obesity.

    But we pick on smokers and obses people. Because it’s more “PC” to pick on easy targets like that.

    And of course, there’s the tired old argument of: “Well, why should my tax dollars pay for a fat person’s health care?”

    My answer is: Fine. But then we should allow people to BUY their own health care. And let them PAY for their own lifestyle, and it wont’ cost the taxpayers a cent.

    But nooooo…they dont’ want us to do that, EITHER.

    Sigh. Double standards. You just can’t win.

  13. I had no idea there are websites and blogs devoted to “gainers”. So disturbing and sad beyond the person intentionally gaining (and slowly killing themselves) Who pays to watch? Who is shopping/enabling this behaviour? Gee, we are one messed up society. Happy Friday.

  14. You may find this interesting.

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/04/12/i-doubled-down-and-lived-to-tell/

    I have been eating Paleo now for some time, high fat and protein from good sources, lots of veggies and some fruit, no grains.

    I’ve lost almost 60 pounds.

    My blood pressure is normal now. My blood chemistry is better than ever.

    Low fat is a farce.

    If you don’t want to follow the link, here is a quote:

    “So let’s review: a sandwich consisting of bacon, cheese and fried chicken produces a blood-sugar reading of 94 mg/dl. A bowl of Cheerios produces blood sugar of 250 mg/dl, at least for some people … but in a nation of type 2 diabetics, Cheerios are promoted as health food, while the sandwich denounced as the equivalent of a WMD.”

    Now, I’d prefer that my meat come from healthy sources and not be breaded, of course… so KFC’s not off the hook for how they prepare the food.

    Maybe two grilled free-range chicken breasts with nitrate free bacon and unpasteurized cheese would be acceptable?

  15. @Friar, I’d pick on those people as well but we are talking about WILLFULLY obese people here.

    @Brett, you cheated, I saw the bill for you liposuction.

  16. @Eyeteaguy

    Maybe there should be reverse liposuction…where you pump fat INTO people who want to gain weight.

    I bet you there’d actually be a market for that.

    Because nothing suprises me anymore, at this point.

  17. Thankfully, I have never eaten a Baconator, nor do I plan to. That’s just too disgusting for me. I’ll stick with salads or chicken if I visit a Wendy’s. Maybe the odd burger but that’s a bit too much.

    I’d have to agree with some of the previous comments. It has to be a mental illness, or some sort of “distorted” body image issue.

    Who knows for certain, but something we can all agree on is that something is seriously wrong with these people.

  18. Dr. Monkey – Dude!!

    Geewits – I read once about how maggots start to invade the deep belly folds – the same maggots that consume dead flesh. This woman’s husband is encouraging her quest to become the fattest woman in the world, too. It does all seem kind of sick.

    Friar – Apparently, this Donna is paying for her habit by appearing on the internet and charging people money to watch her eat…and they pay. And the other bloggers I assume are making some money from their blogs or maybe they live in a shit hole place and spend all their money on food. Then again, the most high calorie junk costs the least.

    Meagan – Ya, that was my reaction.

    Justin – And the baconator wasn’t disgusting enough so they came up with the double baconator. The crazy thing is that all these “gainers” claim to be happy and fulfilled and are getting fat because they really love being fat.

    Jazz – An obscure little publication we underground types call The Globe & Mail.

    Dave 1949 – I was going to say anorexia is a hidden thing and people who have it won’t admit it, unlike these gainers, but then I forgot that there are plenty of anorexia-promoting websites and blogs now too.

    Pauline – The whole thing is just incredibly sad and bizarre. I don’t know what we’ve become sometimes as a species.

    Friar – But then what’s wrong with being a “gainer”? Because your last comment seemed to imply that there was something seriously wrong with them…and now you’re saying it’s all okay??

    Trashy – That’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s a lot like those guys who do insanely dangerous things for fame and fortune or just because they can. Welcome back.

    Eyeteaguy – Luckily most of these people are Americans. I think one of the women whose blog I linked is Canadian. And we’ll pay for whatever health issues arise, just like we pay for drunk drivers who maim themselves or idiots who ride motorcycles without helmets and everyone else who isn’t living a completely healthy and safe life.

    Alison – Well the US already has a huge market in deep fried everything possible. Our worst food is poutine and that’s child’s play compared to the deep fried bacon, and heart-attack burgers and other shit they eat down there.

    Glen – Yes, you’re too kind. If we all took the “to each their own” attitude we would have no need for blogs anymore!! Lol.

    Julie – As far as I know she has one child. There are photos of her with the kid on the internet. Poor kid indeed.

    Friar (again) – That’s pretty much what I said to Eyeteaguy, too. It’s a national health care system and it bails out and/or helps everyone…in theory.

    MM – Thanks, you too. And I agree.

    Brett – I totally agree about good fats and getting enough of them. I don’t think animal fats/saturated fats are good fats…and then there’s the whole sodium/nitrates thing in bacon. And it’s good you lost weight – as long as everything else is good too then more power to you.

    Nathan – For a lot of reasons, including their refusal to even consider healthy alternatives to anything, I don’t eat at Wendy’s. Even their “salads” are loaded with salt and fat. How they manage that I’m not sure.

  19. @XUP,

    Well, see, that’s the thing… research on people who eat and have eaten animal fats for thousands of years (e.g. the Tokelau or the Masai, for instance) will tell you that it isn’t as bad as our “nutritionists” are telling us.

    I don’t have any faith at all in what Health Canada or any of the “common wisdom” tells us anymore.

    About half of our cell membrane structure is saturated fat.

    When you burn body fat for energy, during exercise or if you’re dieting, you’re basically consuming large amounts of saturated (and monounsaturated) fat.

    If you don’t eat for several days (say, you’re lost in the wilderness), your body would burn up your belly fat – that is a natural thing. And since there’s very little difference between that, and the fat in a ribeye, I can’t understand why people think it is bad.

    But what do I know, I’m not a nutritionist, I’m just a guy who lost 60 pounds by doing *exactly the opposite of what they all told me to do*.

    🙂

  20. @XUP

    I’m not saying it’s okay to be a gainer. I’m just saying we should lighten, regarding taboos on junk foods and picking on obese people in general.

    Because there are different levels of obese.

    There are obese people who eat the occasional Baconator, yet lead active, productive lives. Who, despite their weight problem, are quite fit, who can run 10 km races, backpack, hike and cycle, and maintain full-time jobs.

    And then there are those will eat 10 Baconators a day. Who weigh half a ton, and are unable to sit up under their own power, and would lie in their own waste, if someone didnt’ take clean them up and care of them.

    One group has serious mental health problems. The other does not.

  21. I read a stat somewhere (can’t recall where, though I know someone will ask) that non-obese/ normal people actually end up costing more for health-care in the long run… because obese people generally have a much shorter life-span and thus die before complications of old age can factor in much. Given that, I have no problems with the health-care angle.

    What irks me is the lack of self-discipline. Sure, it’s hard staying fit, especially if you’re burdened with bad genes or an underlying physical condition… but that by no means should excuse anyone from making the effort, let alone wearing grotesque weight as a sign of pride.

    Having said that, I cannot determine exactly *why* I feel it’s important that we should all be fit… isn’t it just self-evident??

  22. Brett – Okay. I agree totally that all the conventional wisdoms don’t really know much – especially since they keep changing their minds every couple of years. If you feel good and look good and your medical tests are all at good levels then whatever you’re doing is fine. And I don’t think the same things are going to work for everybody. Lots of people’s bodies just produce a lot of bad cholesterol for instance; some people can burn off thousands of calories every day without much effort and some people can’t, etc.,.. Are all your blood tests and blood pressure, heart tests, etc good? Then stick with whatever you’re doing.

    Friar – I agree. I think I said something just like that in the post. Healthy doesn’t just look one certain way. Same sort of thing I just said to Brett, too. I think if you’re really in tune with your body and it tells you it wants to eat a certain something then for some reason you probably need that certain something at that moment. It takes some time and discipline to get to the point where you are really hearing what your body needs and wants and can separate it from what you eat out of habit or addiction to sugar or fat or caffeine or whatever.

    Susan – Like Friar said, healthy and fit comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. However, I think it will probably surprise you to know that there are a whole bunch of people who do not understand the relationships between diet, exercise and health. A whole bunch. And then there are just really crazy people. But that’s a good point about the obese and the health care system.

  23. As many people have commented before me, people do all sorts of crazy things that destroy them. Lots of things.
    I get really, really tired of people who think that their healthy eating entitles them to wear a halo. It’s similar to the overkill that makes every soldier a hero.
    Healthy habits are common sense. Just that. I really wish that we could add eating choices to the unmentionable in polite conversation list.
    Poor sicko lady. Sad.

  24. Sort like the opposite of anorexia eh? Interesting, I wonder if it’s another eating disorder.

    There was a diet doctor who said he would pay her (insert stupendous amount of money) if she would just get on a plan any plan to lose weight. Sad really.

  25. Good heavens. What are these people thinking? I worked in an operating room years ago and doing surgery on obese people was so difficult-moving them, having instruments long enough to get where the problem was. One patient couldn’t be weighed normally. There wasn’t a scale that went that high. I think they had to use some sort of industrial scale. People with a lot of fat don’t heal well either. I’m thinking that gaining weight must be much easier than losing it.

  26. @XUP,

    Oh yes, everything else is good, that’s why I feel strongly about this (as do many others) – hope I didn’t sound too strong though, I wasn’t trying to jump on you personally 🙂

    That is one point for sure, what works for one may not work for others (much as, eating “low fat as approved by Health Canada and His Majesty the King, Stephen I” didn’t work for me, and doesn’t for many others, it seems…)

  27. You know what’s interesting about obesity,? It’s that it’s so visible. You see a fat person, and it’s just too easy to make a snap judgment about their lifestyle and their character flaws.

    As opposed to skinny people. For all we know, they could be gambling addicts, alcoholics, Neo-Nazis, they could kick their dogs and beat their wife.

    But we don’t know that…because their faults aren’t instantly apparent to the outside world, not like with fat people.

  28. These people are as sick as people who would actually send their kid off in a balloon and they need help.

    Whether they are doing it conciously or not, they need counseling.

    You cannot be healthy at 700 pounds. Your heart is not meant to carry that weight.

  29. Is this the fat lady who’s trying to break the record for fattest woman? I read about her somewhere. I don’t usually care what other people do in their private lives but the minute I saw her photos I did wonder how she wipes her own ass. Is it physically possible to have sex when you get that big? Not judging, just sayin’

  30. Mary – Well, there’s a real problem with obesity in this part of the world and with all the lifestyle related health issues that go with it. I do my best never to discuss food choices unless someone else starts it first – and you’d be surprised how many people bring up the conversation. It usually goes something like “Oh, I wish I could eat like you do…I really need to stop eating so much junk…”

    Nat – It’s very sad for sure. I wish she’d take that doctor up on his offer. I don’t know what her stupid husband is thinking either.

    Linda – I’ll tell ya, gaining weight is a snap. It’s not a big important accomplishment, so I fail to see how this makes these people feel special. The real challenge is trying to stay fit as you get older and as you’re surrounded by so many good things to eat and so little incentive to keep moving.

    Brett – The biggest scam going is the Canada’s Food Guide. Personally, I think if you’re active and watch your portions and eat a good variety of things, you’ll be fine. Portions are the big problem for a lot of people. I think we eat twice as much as we need to at every meal.

    Friar – For me, I think it depends on the fat person. I make my snap judgments based on a few other things (see post from earlier this week) like teeth and facial hair. But you’re right. We see a very overweight person and assume that person has no self-discipline or self-esteem.

    Sheryl – Hey! Where have YOU been? Ya, no one is pretending that this woman is healthy –mentally or physically. I have no idea what her point is.

  31. I’m usually a lurker but this…I am from the U.S. This type of thing is actually “quite” common. Men go to certain adult eater sites regularly to indulge.

    It is the ultimate control and domination fantasy. They make the woman eat, or tell her she’s more “desirable” in the fetish world while obese, or that the physical intimacy is different, unique, erotically strange, enticing, and more intense.

    The U.S. is very,very often a very sick and unhealthy place. I try to see the good in things but when this “woman” is using any of her skills or benefits for such ridiculous things while children and elders starve…ugh.

    Sometimes American culture is the equivalent of a dare. The second something is deemed “not able to be done” or “inappropriate” is the very second someone will attempt to start making cash from it.They are usually successful. P*rn is one of the top money makers on the globe-as is, the world’s number one, oldest profession, prostitution.

    The saddest thing is that this woman gets worldwide press attention. Starving kids? Nope too boring. Uneducated kids? Nope-we’ve already done that. Mistreated spouses and elders? Nope we have talk shows for that.

    I think I need a nap. Music is going on in 3,2,…

  32. Before my trip to the “Floor of Hot Nurses” at the QCH in November, I was 280 lb. Now, I didn’t mind being in the 260 range, even though I was obviously fat despite being 6’3. In part, I suppose, it stems from having been ridiculed for being skinny for decades.

    Nevertheless, by 270 or so, I was feeling uncomfortable with the weight, and by 280, I was feeling like a fatass. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. That bothered me a lot, and I had started taking steps to deal with it then.

    Unfortunately, not fast enough… I got sick. Now I hover around 230-235. I could still lose more, but I’m a lot better off than before.

    I don’t know how people can get that huge if a serious glandular disease is not involved. To go out of your way to make yourself effectively crippled – it’s not like there’s any other POSSIBLE outcome if you want to be 1000 lb – is insane.

  33. Lili – Thanks for delurking. You’re so right. All we seem to be interested in is sensationalism – nothing real or valuable. This makes politicians’ jobs so easy. They just have to pick some hot button topic and get people all riled up and watch the votes come rolling in without ever having to produce anything tangible. The unwashed masses are so damn stupid.

    Squid – I’ve never understood how people get accidentally fat. When my clothes start to feel snug I know I’ve been packing on some extra pounds and I make an effort to get back to where my clothes are comfortable. I don’t go out and buy new clothes thinking there might be something wrong with the fabric of my old clothes. How do people put on 50 or 100 or 150 pounds without noticing it? Without at some point looking in the mirror and saying “Whoa, I’d better cut down on the fried chicken and ding dongs for a while before the weight thing gets out of control”

  34. I sure noticed as I was packing on the pounds. Noticing and caring are, however, very different things. I didn’t care as long as I could do the things I wanted to do.

    Where I lose understanding is when people get so fat and out of shape that they can’t do the things they’d normally do. To me, that’s a sign that it’s time to start caring about one’s fitness, at least a little. To many people it seems to be a sign that they need to get people to wait on or otherwise accommodate them.