Can I call you a Fat Bitch?

I need your help guys.

Over the last few months a number of people have said to me after hearing about my blog, “oh you should read that book, you know “Run Fat Bitch Run”, and I figured that perhaps I should as it seems we have a shared interest.

So I picked it up from my local library today (a little apprehensively I might add) I was a little reluctant to buy it, ie put money in the pocket of someone who thinks it’s ok to encourage fat people to call themselves “fat bitches”, but I guess I had to read it before passing judgement so freely.

The thing is, I’m a few chapters in and although I agree with some of the running advice in the book, I still find myself a little uncomfortable with the author dishing out advice to overweight ladies when she admits herself she has never really been fat.

Now don’t get me wrong I embrace the word FAT, as it is one of those Ronseal titles, everyone knows what it means, hence the name of my blog…I suppose it just feels wrong to have someone who doesn’t really understand the complexities of being a true overweight runner dishing out such harsh motivational advice.

I mean there is a huge difference between someone with a bit of a muffin top forcing themselves to run to shift some pounds and an overweight runner who has over 3 stone of extra weight and close to 20 years attachment to their fatness attempting the same.

So guys, help me out am I being too sensitive here? Is it ever ok for someone who is not overweight to have this tough love approach to kicking us big girls into shape? Anyone else read this book? What’s your verdict?

Grit Doctor – I’m happy to hear your views if you are reading this!!


42 Responses to “Can I call you a Fat Bitch?”
  1. JustDeb says:

    I totally agree with you. I have never been “fat”, only 10 to 20 lbs overweight. My sister is overweight(hard for me to use the “f” word) and has been her entire life. I hear her pain and would be pissed if someone called her that without walking in her shoes. She now blogs about it and her journey to lose the title.

  2. I completely agree with you! It’s so frustrating when you hear of celebs who go on diets and lose a stone (which is in reality baby weight which they probably would have lost anyway in a few months!!!)

    I believe there are different types of eaters/weight loss people. Women who just have a few pounds to lose have no idea what it’s like to have that much weigh to lose, not to mention the emotional and phycological issues that most overweight women have!

    The title of the book is good and she’s used it as a PR stunt which is clearly working – it’s getting people talking and reading about it – but perhaps for the wrong reason.

  3. tina says:

    No, you may not. I would not respond well.

  4. mawil1 says:

    I read this book. I thought the advice
    about getting running was really good but I’d already done my walk run programme so it was a bit late for me. I think the stuff about the grit doctor and finding your inner bitch was supposed to be funny but it made me feel uncomfortable. I’m a bit overweight and not very fat but evens so I’m not gong to indulge in the kind of self talk that I wouldn’t say to someone else. So not a book for me I had bought it but it went to the charity shop.

  5. Gemma Clarke says:

    Totally agree with you Julie….my friend has always been slim and last year he ran the marathon. He feels it wrong calling someone fat….he is motivational but not in a way that it almost puts you down.
    Yes I am fat…but it is ok for me to say that because that’s what I am….however I do find it quite rude and insensitive when those who don’t completely understand what it’s like to try and motivate you in a way that they think that you feel.
    I’m not interested in reading this book after finding out that the author doesn’t and never really has had a weight problem….I don’t think she can advise the best way to do things if she has never been through it herself. Well that’s my opinion, but perhaps I’m just a bit sensitive on the subject. At the end of the day, I’m doing this for myself and don’t really care for others opinions who think know best 🙂

  6. Stacey says:

    I would hate it completely. I think you are doing fine. What does a skinny girl know about being big? You are doing just great. Send the book back.

  7. mercyjm says:

    I am muffin-top pudgy and not big; I really think that you can only apply terms such as ‘fat bitch’ if you are part of the group you are referring to. In the same way that you can afford to make Jewish-focussed jokes only if you are Jewish, otherwise it smacks of bullying or prejudice.

  8. Amanda says:

    A. You can only refer to someone as fat and get away with it, when you are joking with your friends who are thinner than you or are around the same size
    B. You are referring to them as Phat-aka cool, hip, dope, fly etc.
    and again
    1. You can only refer to someone as a bitch and get away with it, if you are close friends and you are using it in a joking manner
    2. They really are a bitch, however in this case you must be prepared to have your ass kicked if you are overheard saying it and can’t hold your own.

    I don’t think I would be very motivated by a book written by an author who was slightly chubby, telling me to ” Run Fat Bitch Run” . The reason why Bob and Jillian are so successful on The Biggest Loser is because they would never call anyone the “f” word, Jillian used to be very overweight herself and… well… Bob is just fabulous! Otherwise nobody would want to listen to their skinny asses!

    • fattymustrun says:

      Good points being made on this post.

      I have now read a little further into the book, and there are many references to “fatty”, “fat bitch”, “flab” that have had me jumping between angry, upset and horrified, but from pages 100-150 there are 50 pages of absolute common sense in regards to food…and no derogatory mentions of the F or B word.

      Keep the comments coming people!!

  9. missriki says:

    I would never even touch this book with that type of title, especially after reading the author’s bio and finding out she’s never been overweight. Who the hell is she to call an overweight runner a Fat Bitch? I’m appalled that anyone would even bother with this book. Clearly from the reviews it’s short on actual content and big on idiotic slogans. Forget it!

  10. I have never heard of the book, but I am always up for reading someone’s advice on getting fit. Everyone’s journey is different, and while her journey is not similar to mine, there is always something you can take away from it (even if it is anger to run harder!). I do think the word “fat” is offensive, and I get upset when women call themselves “fat”. Everyone has “fat”…just more then others. Most people would look at me and say I am “fat”, but I am in some cases stronger then they will be. I worked hard to get to this point. When a woman called themselves “fat”, I want to tell them are beautiful and talk to them about being healthier. Just my opinion.

  11. Mmm…I’m kinda good on having someone call me a bitch…let alone a fat bitch. I don’t need that, thanks. I will admit that it is hard to have someone who hasn’t been through the struggle of being overweight to give some dose of tough love. You don’t get my walk/struggle, sooooo how can you really relate to me? Not saying that a person couldn’t but empathy goes far when it comes to something like coaching/training a person. I wouldn’t read the book off of the strength of the title alone, but I know I’m hard headed any way. I decided awhile ago that if I was to lose weight, it’d be on my terms and in a manner that I could sustain and that made sense to be me. Running is a part of that plan, and you don’t need a book to tell you how to do it. One step in front of the other, and repeat. Whatever your speed may be. 🙂

  12. This is really interesting and clearly a bit of a minefield. If people could only comment on things they had personal experience of then there might be a lot of circular arguments. I think she has a lot of really useful advice but I can see how her language could offend. But I also think that perhaps getting advice from someone who is slim and has managed to remain slim is useful for anyone who is aiming for this.

    • fattymustrun says:

      Part of the issue with running as a larger person though is the fear of being laughed at or judged and the book doesn’t really help with that.

      And you are right there are lots of really good nuggets of information in the book that will help you lose weight and run more often, if you can’t get over the negativity or identify with the author then it’s unlikely you will have any amount of success.

      • Yes I think you’re right. I felt like the author tried hard in the book to emphasise that she didn’t judge people for being fat and didn’t condone an unhealthy body image attitude. It was all meant to be light-hearted.

        But I can see that if these were thoughts that were much more serious for you (not you specifically, just someone who had always struggled with weight through their life) and had been a source of pain and frustration through much of your life, then the book would be much harder to read and enjoy. And if you can’t enjoy it then it’s harder to appreciate the advice!

  13. Aileen says:

    I read this book assuming that the author was slightly overweight at least, but when I kept reading I realised no matter what size we are we all have that inner fat b**** she had her fat days just like the rest of us wether we are 5lb’s 14lb’s or 3 stone overweight. And the book was motivating all of us no matter what size to yell at that inner fatty and say RUN.

    I did not think she was saying hey all you fatties you can run and look like me, I thought she was saying I have fat days and this is what I say to Myself

    In the end it’s a book and we will all interpret it differently, by I loved it and found it motivational, although I was already running it really spurned me to go a bit further and more often.

    I loved the book, and although I did feel a little bit cheated when I saw how slim Ruth Field was, it made me realise that it doesn’t matter what size we are lots if us feel insecure about our bodies .

  14. I’m turned off by this title. If that’s what you call your book and that’s the type of attention you are seeking, then I’m not buying and this author should be ashamed of herself. People get into fitness to help people bwtter themselves; not to name call like we are still on high school. I hadn’t heard of her book, nor do I have the urge to go out and buy this book.
    I don’t seek out advice from people who do ‘t have the experience. I don’t take big girl running advice from those who aren’t/haven’t been bigger.
    Put it this way: I don’t ask a male doctor about vaginas.

  15. rozette30 says:

    Well, I am from an older generation that did not use the word bitches when referring to her girlfriends (unless said girlfriend stole your man). But nowadays it is almost a term of endearment among girlfriends. Or sorta slang when used in sentences like, “bitches be like…..”. It is also used to grab an audience, like in the title of the diet book Skinny Bitch.
    I personally would find it offensive if anyone called me that. But I am more offended by the word bitches than the word fat. And since I don’t respond well to verbal abuse, I probably wouldn’t buy the book or listen to her.
    Everyone’s perception of what is fat and what is not is personal. Ask any teenage girl about her body and she will probably consider a part of her body fat, yet she may medically be defined as within normal weight. All many 20-30-40-50 year Olds and you will get the same thing so I won’t comment on whether or not her idea of her own body is valid or not… It is her perception and her perception is her reality.

    Bottom line for me… Poor taste of a name of a book and it doesn’t motivate me took buy the book nor take her advice.

  16. mandimon says:

    Nobody KNOWS how hard it is unless they KNOW. Kudos to you…can’t wait to read more 🙂

  17. kat_rocket says:

    I hate the word fat. I discourage my children from using it. But I also hate the word skinny. I have been referred to as a skinny bitch and I took offence. I don’t see myself as skinny, I’m just how I am and yes I am a runner. I’ve never had the issues with food and weight that a lot of people have and I am grateful for that because as a health professional I know how hard it can be and how those issues aren’t just physical but psychological too.
    There are a lot of these self help running books coming out now and personally I have a problem with them because they aren’t based on any actual evidence or coaching experience. I have read this book and it’s ok but I didn’t feel I gained anything from it particularly. The title is obviously to get people’s attention, I don’t think it really reflects what is inside. Maybe if she’d just called it The Grit Doctor it would have been better. But then I’ve only been running and competing since I was a kid, what do I know about running.
    The question as to whether it’s ever ok for someone not overweight to comment on someone who is though? Yes it is. Health professionals have a responsibility to point out to people when their weight gain could be harmful. It’s like saying midwives who haven’t had children shouldn’t help new mums (which I was told once). It seems a very restrictive attitude to have. Someone may not have been overweight but they may have other life experiences or knowledge that can help another individual.

    • fattymustrun says:

      I don’t have a problem with health professionals, personal trainers etc who are a healthy weight advising overweight women, my issue is in slim people talking like they know how to cure us, and using derogatory terms and self esteem pounding and in my opinion anti motivational techniques.

      There are some good beginners guides to running out there, but I do feel that there are lots of issues unique to those who have significant amounts of weight to lose when it comes to running advice.

      Something as seemingly simple as “pop along to your local sports shop for some nice new kit” is actually not very useful when my local store for example doesn’t stock anything larger than a size 16.

      This is a huge issue, but I’m glad this post has started such a healthy debate!!

  18. mbcrower says:

    A friend once said to me that we only ever see the world as we are, and not as anyone else. So no matter how hard I try I will always see the world from my frame of reference.

    I have not read the book you refer to, but I am assuming the author has never been obese. For me that means she doesn’t know how it feels not to be able to get great cloth’s, dreading social events, being brave enough to enter a gym, take an exercise class, run out in public. She won’t know the hurt in her joints, the tiredness, the chaffing and the humiliation. Therefore, she hasn’t got the right to use the f word or the b word.

    I do find it a useful philosophical state of mind, to try to see things from others point of view. That way for me, lays consideration, respect and understand. Which I think we should give to everybody, regardless of size,( or sex or colour).

  19. WeightWatched says:

    I think there are some special considerations for running when overweight. It’s like trying to run when you’re carrying a couple of suitcases, and neglecting the implications that has (like this book sounds it does) is pretty irresponsible.

  20. Penniless Veggie says:

    Calling someone else a “fat bitch” is totally unacceptable. “Fatty” “fat girl” “fat boy” can all be friendly affectionate ribbing, depending on the context. We all do this to ourselves and our friends and family to some extent. A total stranger who doesn’t know you can’t mean it affectionately, especially when the entirely abusive word “bitch” is appended. I think it’s purely and simply a way to make money out of women who’ve already learned to hate themselves – and consequently be abusive towards themselves – because of being overweight. So it’s not only abusive but exploitative too.

  21. diawalker says:

    I think it’s insensitive. I don’t even like the “skinny bitch” cookbook. I think people think it’s funny and it’s not. Her authority and credibility would definitely be a question if she has never been overweight – regardless of whether or not she sounds like she knows what she is talking about. I think I would be too offended by the book to get through it. Personally I don’t even say it even in jest, because the people that are smiling and laughing along with you, can be crying on the inside and just putting up a front…sorry that’s just me.

  22. mad.ass says:

    Thanks for the link to my post on a similar subject ( Having originally written the above article for an online newspaper, I received quite a few comments back, and it was interesting to see that the majority of responses centred around my use of the term ‘chubby one’ to describe myself. Apparently some people thought that I shouldn’t be throwing around words like ‘fat’ unless I myself weighed over some arbitrary ‘fat’ kilogram threshold. While I agree that it is extremely insensitive and simply plain rude for a ‘skinny’ person to harass a ‘fat’ one under the guise of constructive criticism, I also don’t see the point in curvier people who are insecure about their bodies lambasting other people for their use of the word ‘fat’. I think that referring to oneself as ‘fat’ is completely a matter of self-perception, and all people who perceive themselves in this way should work with one another in trying to rectify low self esteem. I am not morbidly obese, but I am on the plumper side of the spectrum. I think that I can and should be allowed to write advice for all those who feel similarly to me about their body, regardless of literal weight. One can be overweight, but ‘fat’ has increasingly come to be a state of mind. Those who use the words ‘fat’ and ‘skinny’ to judge others about the way they look, regardless of their own shape are not cool. Everyone should also be able to be self-depricating to an extent: it’s only when this leads to an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality based on measurements of human mass that an unhealthy attitude begins to fester.

    Check out for more on the subject.

  23. When I initially read this book, I thought it was fun. And yes it is fun but I really don’t like the negative thinking of calling yourself a fat bitch. Running is great, self empowering, challenging and this book covers all that. But the name calling to motivate yourself just doesn’t work for me.If you take these sections out, you have a fairy typical running book.

    • fattymustrun says:

      I agree. It is the name calling that bugs me. It is targetted at a certain type of runner (or non runner) and the fact she doesn’t have hands on experience of being properly overweight is worrying. There is nothing else on the market that does cater for women wanting to get into the running world but too scared or embarresed to!!

  24. Earl C. Edwards says:

    The problem with this book is, it’s split into two parts. Ruth Field combines some very interesting ideas with a really horrible, negative attitude. I agree with her premise, that some people need a boot to get started but she comes acros as really smug and rude with it.So much of this book jarred with me. She encourages you to hate your body, to stand in front of the mirror (naked) and chant ‘I’m a fat bitch’…why? Probably everyone who bought this book (for £10.99, mental) bought it because they are already unhappy with themselves – why make it worse? She then attempts to lighten the tone with ‘oh, come on, it’s just a laugh – I laugh at myself when I’m chanting this, it makes me megalolz, it’s so funny ROFLcopter’ but it’s not funny, and it’s not helpful.She even admits herself that she was never fat, that she was slightly overweight due to a few lunches that she ate while training to be a barrister ( you may as well get this fact into your brain now, she talks about it enough), so really, she has never struggled with a long-term weight problem. And a lot of her methods are backed up by her family – I don’t know about you, but I reckon my family would back me up if I wrote a book too. It probably wouldn’t make for very accurate case studies but it would probs shift some books (£10.99 a copy, bonkers).Oh, I am trying so hard not to be annoyed by this book because I really do think the tough love approach would work well. But if you are looking for someone to identify with you and to understand how tricky weight loss can be, then this book is not for you. Spend your £10.99 on something lovely, like flowers.

    • fattymustrun says:

      I know…using your friends and family as case studies, unbelieveable. I would never have the option of that as most of my family are lazy buggers, my Fiance is as slim as they come, and most of my friends like to enjoy my running antics from the safety of a computer screen.

      However in saying that, the ladies I have recruited from around the world are fast becoming my friends, in fact I’m going to stay with one of them in Portugal in October to do a half marathon.

      I agree that to some extent tough love is good…but in my case I had to find that tough love from within and only when I was ready for it, and only when I had the right support, information and encouragement from others around me!!

  25. cindysleepspinresearch says:

    I haven’t read the book, but I find it hard to take advice from people who have no idea what it is like to be 50 or more pounds overweight. If you haven’t been there you have no idea how I feel and what a struggle it is to be a fat runner. I’ve been encouraged to eat more because so and so who is at least 75 pounds less than I am can eat 2000+ calories a day. Sorry, my body just doesn’t handle that amount well, unless you mean gain weight instead of lose.

  26. Patricia Saponari says:

    That sounds like the author may have had a bit of self loathing going on. Oh glad to hear I’m not the only ‘fat’ girl who is out there running!! I started running a year ago, went from a size 22 to a size 16 (size 18 for wedding dress!!) I’ve kinda plateaued right now. Sad thing is I’m still ‘fat’, and I am the sum of both of my sisters dress sizes ( 8 +10 ) though I workout more than either of them. Anyways about this book you’re reading, it sounds so familiar. Well the pompous, critical, and empathetic attitude does.

    I checkout the book Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!). What a load of crap! 1) it was PETA In disguise. 2) This book made me feel bad. and my biggest complaint 3)The authors themselves have never been fat or overweight at all! One is an ex model the other an ex modeling agent. The little ‘funny’ comment they make I found to be rather snarky and just made me feel like I was back in middle school being teased. If that wasn’t the greatest motivation back then, why would it work now?

    I think unless the author (or whoever is giving the advice) has truly been there in the same situation and has made it out to the place I want to be, than I shouldn’t take advice from them. However if they have been truly over weight (and I don’t mean baby fat) and they have struggled and triumphed over the obstacles I will face, then I will listen to them.

  27. Patricia Saponari says:

    I mean unsympathetic!! LOL oops

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