The word chubster—while universally accepted as a delightful that it has to have some
meaning — is fairly amorphous. Actually, UrbanDictionary.com, the definitive source
of information on made-up words, offers quite a few definitions,
two variants of which are interesting to us:
An overweight person who considers himself to be a hipster.
Someone who is proud to be a fatty mcfatfat . . . They
wear Old Navy jeans because they can’t fit into anything
from Urban Outfitters or from trendy thrift shops. They
try to squeeze themselves into small hoodies and H&M
T-shirts because slim fitting clothes look “dope” on them.
They avoid being an outcast loser because they are seen as
cool and desirable due to a magnetic personality and funny
jokes that compensate for their perceived lack of physical
Celebrity examples of Chubsters: Jonah Hill, Zach Galifianakis,
Fawn: Ugh! Look at that chick with the muffin top and those
Charlotte Russe flats.
Ruby: . . . and you know she got that Run DMC T-shirt from
Fawn: Oh em eff jeez, she’s such a chubster.
Someone who used to be chubby when they were a kid,
but became very in-shape, muscular, and attractive. It’s
almost like being a chubster is a compliment, because most
of them are very nice, they know what it’s like to be the fat
kid who’s everyone’s friend, no more (girls didn’t think of
him that way), so most chubsters don’t judge. He’s the guy
who everyone likes, but how could you not like a chubster?
Funny, nice, and able to relate to almost everyone? They’re
one of a kind.
Bob: Dude, this new kid came to our class, he showed us his
yearbook and he was like majorly chubby two years ago.
Sally: But not anymore. That new kid’s cute, that chubster.
For much of my life, I’ve been a Chubster1. Certainly, I
was not seriously ashamed of my weight, and I was kindasorta
proud of my indulgence. At the same time, I was always
trying to fit in with my usually-skinny hipster friends — not
always easy for a big guy. Now I’m working on becoming a
Chubster2: the cool, formerly fat guy. Actually, in calling this
book Chubster, I’m hoping to carve that definition into a metaphorical
stone tablet. Not that I’m always a nice guy — as
you’ll undoubtedly see throughout the book, I’ve never been
the sweet and beloved tuba-playing fat kid — but I’m trying.
I’m trying, folks. In the meantime, I’m doing what I’ve always
done, which is keep it real. That means giving you some cold,
hard, and unpleasant facts. I’m going to do that in the nicest
and most efficient way possible because I’ve been in your
shoes. I’m now an average weight, but luckily I still have
some of that renowned empathy that makes fat people beloved
the world over.
The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with
being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because
you’re fat. That’s the truth, and anyone who tells you
differently is an asshole. Sure, I lost 100 pounds in eight
months for the express purpose of not being fat (I’m 5'11"
and weighed 290 when I started). Still, I don’t see anything
wrong with being overweight, per se. It’s not a character
flaw. Being fat is pretty fun, actually. I had a great run. I ate
creamy, fried, and sickeningly sweet foods so delicious, most
of my thin friends could never imagine consuming them. I
imbibed mass quantities of the world’s most delicious beers
without a second thought — never did anything less caloric
than Blue Moon touch my lips. I sat around playing video
games, watching football, and listening to records on lazy
Sundays. Despite my girth, I had no trouble getting a little
action from attractive girls (my girlfriend is 5'10", a size 6,
and gorgeous), which is the major impediment faced by the
overweight among us.
Honestly, it was great. Sure, I was a little ashamed at the
pool, but not enough to change anything. And there was
that one time I could not fit inside a roller coaster. Only
the Insane Clown Posse seemed to sell concert T-shirts
that fit me. And I hurriedly untagged almost every photo
of me posted on Facebook. But that was my life and I was
But “happily fat” is not a sustainable lifestyle. Facing
my twenty-ninth birthday, I had to accept that. It was a
cherry Slurpee and my girlfriend, Kirsten, which made me
see this. It’s sort of a weird story, actually. We were headed
home from a Dave Matthews Band concert — part of my job
is to go to such concerts and explain to the primitive hordes
why they suck — when I stopped for a refreshing, sugary
beverage to quench my thirst and propel me through the
late-night writing process required to meet my 9 a.m. deadline.
I got the largest size and sucked down the whole thing
without a second thought. Kirsten, a nurse who works with
liver patients, some of the least-well humans on earth, was
horrified. We’d talked about my weight before, but never
I could tell immediately this conversation was going to be
“DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES YOU JUST
DRANK?” she asked. I guessed around 300 — it’s mostly ice,
right? When we looked it up (a ritual I would become all too
familiar with in the coming months), it was more like 600.
Some 600 calories for a bedtime snack! It was a lot, but still,
I didn’t see the big deal. Maybe a Slurpee was a bad choice, I
said, but I need to drink something to write. How am I supposed
to write with a dry mouth and tired eyes? Diet Coke,
she suggested. Ick, I said. No, she said, this is serious.
The health thing, obviously, was a big concern. But the
probable consequences — to be outlined shortly — also felt far
into the future. There was a more pressing issue: In a few
months, I would be meeting her health-nut parents for the
first time in New Zealand. Kirsten’s dad is a college professor
who studies pharmaceuticals, and her mom knows everyone
in her town’s co-op grocery store by name and does nearly as
much yoga as Gandhi — in other words, they’ve been granola
since before it was cool. I knew Kirsten was right. There
was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight
and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship
status intact. For me, it wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a
And thus began the transformation. A hundred pounds. A
snug 44 to a loose 34. A loose 3XL to a snug M. Some people
might prefer I say I dropped the weight with the help of
Whole Foods, reusable BPA-free water bottles, and an elliptical,
but the truth is, I didn’t. I changed my habits so little
that I might think it was pathetic — a sign that I’m pitifully
stuck in my ways — if it weren’t for how inspiring the story
seems to be to other people.