How Does Being Fat Benefit You?

Hi Davey,

I’m 32 years old, 286 pounds and have a body fat percentage of of 41%. I’m worried that I’m heading for a health disaster but can’t seem to find the motivation or energy to do anything about it. How do I break the cycle and get motivated?



We all know the benefits of exercise and a proper diet. So why is it so hard to change our behavior?

Hey Stu,

Thanks for your honest question.

With more and more adults overweight and obese, the current approach isn’t resonating. You already know the benefits of exercise. You already know the health risks of being overweight. And yet, none of it is motivating you (and many, many others) to change behavior.

So I have a different question: How does being overweight or obese benefit you?

At first, it might sound like a silly question. But consider it deeply.

An article on PsychCentral asked that question of patients. Though the question is initially met with nervous laughter, some of the bravest patients find the courage to answer it honestly:

  • “My obesity gives me an excuse. I am not held to the same standards as others; they don’t expect it, because I am morbidly obese.”
  • “My obesity keeps men away; I was sexually abused by my dad for 4 years of my life.”
  • “My marriage is so distant that food has become my only lover/friend. I’m lonely and food gives me comfort.”

If weight loss was as easy as eating smarter and moving more, we’d all be at our goal weight. But we’re not. And it’s clear that, for many of us, there’s a psychological element that cannot be ignored. As personal trainers, it’s our responsibility to be aware of this – and to give our clients the tools that they need. And that means more than just a treadmill and a calorie journal.

So…. how does being overweight benefit you? Yes, you. In the comments below, please find the courage to answer that question honestly. And because you deserve to be healthy and happy, give yourself the gift of professional help.


P.S. If you’re not sure where to start, consider downloading Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program. Beyond nutirtion and exercise, the program is written with the help of a psychotherapist and spiritual weight release coach to address the psychological component of weight loss.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I am 33 years old 15.7 stone and need help. Please

  2. Honestly, food = comfort. But at the same time there is a tricky balance. When I’m thin I feel I look good but I worry all the time about gaining weight and my standard level of confidence is much lower. When I’m heavy I kind of give up worrying about it and my confidence shines through. Also, as a woman, my breasts get larger and fuller when I’m 10-20lbs heavier. I feel curvier and sexier but when I look in the mirror the lumpy chunky woman isn’t the curvy goddess I see in my head. Also, I don’t feel healthy and have back and knee pain from the extra weight. It is a ridiculous push and pull between the two mindsets. Laziness and depression also have a huge effect on my will power

    • I too, am much more sceptic of my body image when I am fit, and seem to disconnect easier to the mirror of self scrutinization when I am heavier. It makes sense though. Fat has an emotional barrier……It covers and distorts the natural form of an active strong naturally fit body. But, always focusing on body fitness can cause the mind to be in a constant check on our fleshy bodies, as our ever-so-pervasive minds can decompartmentalize us into mere “parts”…….Bottom line is we gotta love ourselves!!!….There is a strange association of Self Love and Narcissism. Aren’t we all a little narcissistic,unless someone is self loathing or being destructive? Most people want to be turned on by their own bodies and sexuality, to be desired and have fulfilling relationships. Who doesn’t feel better when they are attractive and sexually fit? ….I know I do…..I will avoid exciting sexual encounters when I feel like I am too heavy. So fat really does interfere with aspects of my life. So Davey, it’s great that you have therapists (synergy) on board with your weight loss program and that you tackled this question of fat….cause nearly everyone hates fat, but so many people have it, including me 🙂

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  3. I am 27 years old and 19 stone, I was a stunning 12 stone when I was just 18 and met my boyfriend, but I seem to have let myself go. My boyfriend loves me no matter, hell, I think he even likes me as a bear lmao.. but I know I should change. Problem is, I like things done yesterday, and numerous attempts I have attempted to calorie count, attempt water diets, and all the time I end up thinking meh I really can’t be bothered I am happy with the way I am and I need not impress anyone. But, the issues I have is going in to clothes shops wondering hmm will they have anything in my size? I flew on a plane recently and my biggest concern was Omg am I gonna have to ask for that dreaded extender seatbelt?! Then at a theme park, seeing larger people doing the “walk of shame” because they can not fit in the safety harness. Thankfully on all of these times, I was fine, but I shouldn’t be concerning myself over these. (although, my safety harness on the ride was loose and had to bring the ride back to re-fit it.. I would like to think it was because of me being stupid at connecting things, than being too big, but who knows!).

    Bla bla.. only I can help myself, but it seems far too difficult. I keep yoyo’ing, I was a big kid, thin teenager, and now big adult.

    Deary me..

  4. Jesus Romero says:

    I wish you would do a fitness challenge series on your youtube
    where you train someone for a month or two. fly them out to LA
    and kick their ass! and see the amazing results and journey a long the way.
    I for one would be the very first to volunteer. <3

  5. We lost our daughter in 2013. The weight I gained during my pregnancy is all I have left of her and I’m afraid to let it go. I was 50 pounds lighter when my fiancé met me. He still love me but when He see picture of my 100 pounds lighter there’s the “wow!” response. So maybe that is motivation…

  6. I was mentally abused by my father for decades. Even when I was thin, I was told that I was “built funny” — tall torso, narrow feet (and flat to boot), bad knees, big nose, etc — and no matter how much I tried to not be “built funny,” he continued. So eating gave me comfort, especially in college when I would stop myself from going out because his words carried over — if I was built funny, then everyone else would see that, so why put myself out there. So I ate more. At my fattest, I was 285#; I’m 260 now and that’s been a hard-fought battle to lose those 25#. I can’t seem to lose more. I’ve tried portion control, diet pills, exercise (which is difficult w/ flat feet and bad knees), color diets, and so on. I’m on a limited budget, so it’s not like I can spend tons of money on a gym membership or all the healthy foods folks like yourself advocate. :-\

  7. I’m 22 years old, weigh 315 lbs, and have been overweight for most of my life.

    Let’s begin with food. Personally, my appetite varies due to my mood or cravings. I can’t force myself to eat less, because I’ll just binge eat later. So most of the time I’ll eat until I feel full. Plus I’d rather have something that has flavor and tastes good, than tastes bland.

    Secondly, I’m not inactive. Ever since college, and meeting the friends that I made, I go to the gym regularly and I walk two miles a day to work because I don’t own a car. I bet if I changed my diet, I would see results with the little bit of physical activity that I already do; if it weren’t for my last point.

    Lastly, I have a few medical issues. Some were my own fault (ie; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc), and some were genetic or random (ie; asthma, hypoglycemia, glandular issues, etc). But the thing is, I don’t let those issues get in the way of me trying to lose a little weight. I just look at them as walls to overcome on this journey.

    It’s very intimidating being an overweight male in today’s world. Especially with all the health and fitness fads and trends that we have now. But it’s even more discouraging being a gay, overweight male. You’re either “out of shape” and “disgusting” to twinks, or you’re “beautiful” and “masculine” to bear chasers.

    But why should I get fit just to try and appear attractive to some judgmental men? And why should I risk my own health (and possibly risk getting bigger), to sexually please someone who is already attracted to me?

    In the end, I don’t judge anyone who’s out of or in shape. You can be slim and healthy, and you can be fat and healthy too (trust me, I’m a pre-med student). But just as long as it’s not threatening your health.

    I believe that being overweight has benefited me with inspiration. It’s inspired me to not only do my best to improve what I can with the walls of my health issues along the way; but to also love myself for what I already have.

  8. Peter Petrov says:

    I am a tall and I was quite fit 2 years ago 190cm 90kg.
    But during my relationship my boyfriend was very controling, jelouse and invading my personal space. Thats why I started eating and for a very shor amount of time I gained 40kg. It was like a rebelion or a helpless action I dont know why I did it. I couldnt separeta with him cause I was in love.


  9. I can definitely related with this. The benefit of being overweight for me was to keep people at a distance when it came to a relationship. Now that I’ve lost 80+ pounds I realize that I have an unhealthy relationship… with myself. I have never wanted to let anyone really know the true me because I don’t like her. Being overweight made that task much easier – people didn’t want to get to know me then, or at least not in the way that could ultimately hurt me emotionally. Now I’m trudging through life learning to love myself so that others can love me now that the fat is gone. We all have insecurities and I have more now than when I was heavy. I feel emotionally vulnerable and naked 90% of the time. I don’t take comfort in food anymore so I am having to find the strength within myself to battle my inner demons. It feels so good to admit that my weight was my biggest defense mechanism. It feels even better that I am slowly allowing people in my little crazy world!

  10. allan santos says:

    Back in highschool and college I was as fit as I could have ever been. I spent a significant amount of time in the gym and doing sports. All that changed when I was nearing graduation and got worse as I started working. Gym and sports bacame a thing of the past. I entered depression and turned to food for comfort because I was scared to get out of the closet. Then one day I saw myself on a full body mirror and to my horror, i was huge. From 135lbs I went up to 225lbs. From a size 28 waist to a 46. I almost wanted to die. I was not the person I wanted to be. So I knew I had to start doing something about my weight issue.

    I got into latin dancing, watched my diet and came out of the closet to everyone. That was 3 years ago… Today Im down to a size 36 on the waist and 187lbs. Still a long way to go from ideal, but at least I’m getting there. To top it off, my self confidence is in much better shape now than 3 years ago.

  11. Physical activity is so painful since my accident. I’m okay for a few days, and then the pain is so bad that I can’t even think. I’ve had physical therapy, medications–nothing helps. My husband has a terminal illness and hardly touches me. So what’s the point? I doubt anyone would even notice of I died.

  12. Im 26. 5’5 and weigh 235 lbs. I’m down from almost 280. But I can’t seem to get lower. I workout everyday, running, weights, circuits. I change my eating habits etc. then I fall off track for years I’ve maintained this cycle… I constantly workout trying to lose the weight ‘. But then I eat crap foods. High calorie, even though I shouldn’t. Idk if I have a reason “why” I do this… Comfort? Stress relief? I don’t know. I wish I didn’t. It’s like an addiction… And I feel alone. Lost. Mocked. 🙁

  13. i am 33 and 314 pounds. I have back problems, leg problems, exhaustion, very low T, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, sleep apnea and chronic depression and anxiety. I’m on a regimen of about 8 different pills and should be on a few more but I don’t want to ruin my liver further. Been on all these pills since I was 26 and show no signs of improvement. I have a gym membership that I pay dearly for and never attend because I’m way too sleepy ALL THE TIME. You would think all of these horrible things my body is going through would be enough to make a change, but I have an addiction. My addict brain runs my life and binging and pleasuring myself with foods are pretty much all I think about. Exercising is a pain (literally) and no matter how many thinspirational stories I read my addiction takes center stage.
    So how has being obese benefited me? It clearly doesn’t. However my mind is so f’d up I can only think in terms of failure and some day I hope enough psychotherapy will help calm the demons I deal with every day. I feel hopeless and some day I wish I could feel hopeful.

  14. I’m 7’2″ and 420 pounds at 38 years old. I have lost 50 pounds in the last year. I try to eat healthy and succeed most times. My main problem, dietary that is, isn’t what I eat, but how much. I consume so much food every day, and don’t know how to stop it.
    On the exercise side, I have a couple of problems. It’s hard to workout with machines at my size. Gym equipment isn’t made with someone like me in mind. I toured my local gym and found that I could use less than half their equipment. I have a weight set at home, but that gets boring fairly quick. Secondly, I have several physical limitations. Arthritis in my knees, hands, and ankles, bursitis in my left shoulder, slipped disc in my neck, pinched nerve in left arm, to name some.
    I know I will never be ripped, but I would like to be lighter than I am right now and I know that’s possible. I would be happy to get down to 300 pounds.

  15. I’m 26 and weigh somewhere around 320 pounds. (I haven’t weighed myself since the summer). I use food as a coping mechanism to help me when I feel happy, sad, nervous, etc. I’ve turned to food my whole life and just thinking about changing my habits makes me nervous, which causes me to eat more. I’ve tried changing my eating and exercise habits, and it works for the first couple of weeks. Then the high I get from doing something good for myself diminishes and I’m right back to where I started from. No one likes change. It is scary, and the unknown is unnerving. Even if the change is for the better, it is scary nonetheless. Eating to find comfort is familiar to me and puts me at ease. Even though I’m killing myself in the process, sometimes continuing this habit is easier than changing for the better.

  16. I’m 36, 6’1″ and 235lbs. Being heavier only helps me in the winter months of Michigan to stay warm, and added bulk/size to move large objects around in the shop. Other than that, you are correct David. I know that I am at high risk of cardiac disease based on family history, diabetes as well, and I continue to struggle with my weight. I try to eat better, but as we know sugar is loaded in even “healthy” foods. I wish there was a part of my brain where I could take out and replace to make healthier decisions, but social anxiety and the mental block to change prohibits me from making that change. I would love to meet with a group of similar folks and figure out a way to break the vicious cycle. Im a smart and educated person, just cant get it through my thick head. Any ideas?

  17. I am 60 and what’s known as a smaller fat. This serves me in many ways. I had an easier menopause being heavier than average. I & my family love my comfy, curvy body. I’m an awesome cuddler, and have fabulous breasts.

    I’m not afraid of fitting in or being judged, and I like taking up space. I command a room when I walk into it. I’ve never understood the sexist nonsense that is the pressure women feel to get smaller & take up less space.

    Being big is who I am. It’s incredibly freeing to accept my inherent worth as a larger woman, espevially in the face of all the body hating, misogynistic junk that circulates the interwebs. It’s time to stop judging people based upon the size & shape of our bodies.

  18. I’ve recently turned 60. For the bulk of my adult life I maintained what most consider to be a “healthy” lifestyle, including both aerobic exercise and/or weight training 4 days a week, eating primarily a Mediterranean diet (with the exception of a 3 year period as a vegetarian), and careful selection of vitamins & supplements with my doctor. I work in sales, but my profession requires the setup of displays which typically weigh several hundred pounds, which I deliver to my customers 5 days a week.

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been hit with several medical issues, despite my degree of care. In 2010 I had a bilateral pulmonary embolism. Within 6 months I was back to my traditional diet & exercise. Since then I’ve also been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type II Diabetes.

    With all that said, I have to comment that your question asking people how being “overweight” benefits them reminds me of the fitness model who earlier this year asked fat women “What’s your excuse?” To me it sounds like you feel like you know the answer, and expect everyone to fall into place to say that being overweight has NO benefits.

    The reason I gave you my history is because even doing all of the right things in a journey towards health, there are obstacles, many of them genetic (as in my case), though some may be due to other issues to include medications, depression and other factors.

    I’m pretty sure that some will take issue with this statement, but contemporary research is showing that fat people can be as healthy as any average sized or thin person. My point is that “overweight” (and my question to you now is over WHAT weight?) isn’t a death sentence, despite what you or others may think. The problem is, the medical community & pharmaceutical companies have a financial interest in making fat people worry about their health, when in fact that fat people who get exercise have as few medical maladies as the average person.

    I have to say that I find the question insulting to those people who don’t make your weight requirements.

  19. Daniel Uribe says:

    I’m 25 years old and I weigh 110 kg, I’ve been up and down in weight the heaviest I’ve been is 160kg while the lowest 80kg…for the past 4 years I’ve been trying to lose weight, I’m always told you have a cute face but that body is nasty…being gay and overweight is very hard and since people don’t accept me I find comfort in food…I do want to lose weight not only for health reasons but also for self esteem and just to be able to go out and talk to guys and finally feel accepted. Please help I really need it!!

  20. Hi,

    It’s so true.

    They why is so important. It’s nice to see that more and more sights are looking at unconscious beliefs. I wrote an article about just that months ago: I think I’ll write another,

    Be well,


  21. Kasalaba says:

    I know its a bit late but I wanted to add my part.
    Did you know fat people don’t have to worry about osteoporosis unless they literally don’t move from the bed at all?
    Each body works differently but you don’t get cold as easy as a not fat.
    When you are sick its not the end of the world.
    Calves. Whatever you say about us don’t forget we have strong (and fit sometimes) calf muscles.
    Injuries. Anything, car crush, punches, kicks. We are hard to injure. Its literally a layer or armor.
    And last but not least. Being fat/overweight does not mean you can’t work out. A little bit of exercise does not mean you have to weight less or even have less fat, but it helps keep healthy.
    Now thats all that pops up at the moment. Have a good one.