Many obese women in the “healthy at any size” camp claim to be healthy and feel great.

But is this actually an issue of being habituated to aches and pains and not really knowing what feeling great truly feels like?

Men and women who’ve lost a hundred pounds report how much better they feel.

Many report that they never knew how crummy they’d actually felt while obese until large amounts of weight fell off.

Even those who are moderately overweight will report that this affects how their joints feel and their level of stamina.

When a morbidly heavy woman, who’s deep in the vortex of the body positive movement, claims she’s healthy, fit and feels great, it’s very fair for everyone else (regardless of size) to wonder just how “great” or “fit” she actually feels.

It’s fair to assume that if she dropped 100 pounds, she’d feel and move so much better.

People who are only moderately overweight – who suffer from weight-related issues such as knee and back pain – will often affirm that there’s no way that a morbidly obese individual can feel fine – at least when moving.

Being that morbidly obese and even moderately obese individuals certainly must be experiencing pains and aches throughout the day, we have to wonder what those in denial of the dangers of obesity blame their symptoms on.

In addition to aches, pains and poor stamina, the problems also include mechanical difficulty performing basic functions such as climbing a few steps, walking smoothly for a short distance and efficacy with movements such as lowering to pick up laundry baskets, scoop up preschoolers, unload shopping carts, etc.

“Yes, people prefer to ‘blame’ aches and pains on other things — partly because if it is due to a ‘disease,’ a pill can be given to treat it rather than do the work to lose weight and exercise to improve health. (Taking a pill is a lot easier!),” explains Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore; Diplomate, American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

10 Things Obese People Blame Their Pain on Other than Weight

Bad Mattress

Waking up every day to a stiff sore back is easily blamed on a poor mattress.

Shutterstock/Motortion Films

Poor Sleep

Those in denial will attribute persistent fatigue or low stamina to poor sleep, which they in turn will then blame on any number of factors such as stress or that bad mattress.


Whether from the workplace, relationships or family, a very overweight person may readily blame stress for the aching joints and low energy levels.

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Don’t be surprised if a morbidly obese person claims that his or her aches, pains or getting short of breath are due to being over age 30 – even if they’re 31.

Non-Size Friendly Construction

Difficulty getting out of a chair or car seat is credited to a flawed design.

Difficulty fitting into restaurant booths or airplane seats is blamed on manufacturers not being size friendly.

Poor Fitting Shoes

Aching legs, knees and/or feet (even for short periods of standing or brief walking) may be attributed to footwear.


Getting quickly winded, or feeling sore, drained or exhausted is blamed on “working too much” or “extra” housework.

Caring for Young Children

The demands of “keeping up” with a few preschoolers or even older kids is a commonly blamed culprit.

Inherited Problems from a Parent

“Bad” knees or a “bad” back may be blamed on inheritance of this problem from a parent who has the same problem – even if the parent is very obese.


Shortness of breath upon mild exertion can easily be blamed solely on smoking.


Let’s Look at These Excuses for the Aches and Pains that Obesity Causes

Bad Mattress – Certainly, if you suspect this is interfering with sound sleep, then replace the mattress and then see what happens.

Poor Sleep – Insomnia and difficulty overall with sleeping will cause problems during the daytime for many people.

Obesity is a major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, which can result in daytime grogginess and lack of energy.  Nevertheless, sleep apnea does not cause aching joints.

Stress – Stress can make a person feel drained, but a physically fit individual (who’s trained from working out) will be affected only minimally.

Age – With people in their 90s competing in the Senior Olympics, and people in their 70s hiking mountains and running marathons, it’s not practical to hastily blame age more than obesity on aches and pains, especially if the complainant is under 50. With that said, obesity combined with progressing age are mortal enemies.

Shutterstock/Aaron Amat

Size Unfriendliness – It’s logical that a morbidly obese person would have difficulty getting in and out of a car or fitting into a restaurant booth.

With weight loss, you’ll notice that the design of standard items will be friendlier.

Poorly Fitting Shoes – These can cause aching feet, but will not drain you of energy or make you easily short of breath.

Overworking – A fit person who’s light on his or her feet will not suffer aches and pains from doing extra housework or overtime on the job.

Chasing After the Kids – Romping around with the kids and even basic childcare will be difficult for a morbidly obese individual. But a fit person will not have issues with this.

Inheritance of Pain – There may be an inherited risk of osteoarthritis, but remember: Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

Smoking – A sedentary smoker will be easily winded upon mild exertion. What will make this worse is obesity. If you’re obese and smoke, quit smoking!

Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Narikan