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Happy Fat summary

Sofie Hagen

Taking Up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You

4.1 (45 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen is a candid memoir and a powerful call to action. Hagen explores the implications of weight stigma and offers a compassionate, body-positive alternative.

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    Happy Fat
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    From the time she was young, Sofie was taught that food was bad and her body was wrong.

    Sofie Hagen’s relationship to food became complicated when she was just five years old. A nurse told her mother that she was overweight and would have to go on a diet because it was “dangerous” to her health. 

    The nurse had done no medical tests, but she was so persuasive that Sofie’s mother immediately started trying to find ways to help her daughter lose weight. Sofie was introduced to a regime of dieting and portion control. But all this did was make her even more fixated on food and determined to find new ways to get it. It also gave her the message from very early on that there was something wrong with her body. This was extremely painful, and she started to eat more as a way of numbing the pain.

    As a teenager, Sofie’s attempts to lose weight only intensified. She tried countless new diets, consumed only diet shakes, and did every form of exercise she could think of – from swimming to pilates to karate. She would periodically lose weight but always put it on again when she could no longer comply with the unrealistic demands of whatever diet she was on. 

    This made her hate herself and her body even more intensely. She saw herself as a weak person without any willpower. She dissociated from her body and resorted to bulimia in an effort to lose weight. 

    The outside world only reinforced her negative beliefs. Her mother was complicit in trying to force her to diet, giving her the message that her body needed to be changed. Her PE teacher would humiliate her in class, taunting her and forcing her to shower naked in front of her classmates. 

    Sofie became so convinced that she was unattractive that even when boyfriends tried to tell her that they liked her body, she was unable to believe them. 

    She dreamed of the “thin Sofie” who lived inside her, who would come out one day when she lost enough weight. Thin Sofie would be attractive and happy and successful. Thin Sofie would be fit and graceful and wear beautiful clothes. 

    The desire to be thin took up much of Sofie’s childhood and all of her teens. But that was all about to change.

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    What is Happy Fat about?

    In Happy Fat (2019) Sofie Hagen reveals how painful it is to grow up fat in a society filled with prejudice and discrimination. She dispels entrenched myths about fatness, arguing that the correlation between being fat and being unhealthy has been misrepresented and that fatphobia – rather than fatness – is the dangerous social epidemic that we as a society need to challenge.  

    Happy Fat Review

    Happy Fat (2019) by Sofie Hagen is a refreshing and empowering read that challenges society's narrow definition of beauty and promotes body positivity. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offering a unique perspective on body image and fat activism, it encourages readers to embrace and love their bodies as they are.
    • With honesty and humor, the author shares her personal experiences, creating a relatable and engaging narrative that keeps readers hooked.
    • By debunking stereotypes and challenging societal norms, Hagen's book opens up important conversations about self-acceptance and social justice.

    Who should read Happy Fat?

    • Comedy lovers who want to learn more about the life of a funny, fresh voice
    • Fat activists looking for resources on how to deal with fatphobia
    • People curious about the commercial interests that fuel the weight-loss industry

    About the Author

    Sofie Hagen is a celebrated comedian, fat activist, writer, and podcaster. She won the Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 and has since sold out venues across the UK and Europe. She has also appeared on the BBC, ITV, and Comedy Central. She presented a documentary on fatness for Danish TV channel DR2 and is currently recording a special called How To Love Your Fat for BBC Radio Four.  

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    Happy Fat FAQs 

    What is the main message of Happy Fat?

    The main message of Happy Fat is that everyone deserves to be happy and comfortable in their own bodies, regardless of size.

    How long does it take to read Happy Fat?

    The reading time for Happy Fat varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Happy Fat a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Happy Fat is a refreshing and empowering book that challenges society's beauty standards. It's definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of Happy Fat?

    The author of Happy Fat is Sofie Hagen.

    What to read after Happy Fat?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Happy Fat, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Hunger by Roxane Gay
    • Selfie by Will Storr
    • The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
    • Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield
    • Gut Check by Steven R. Gundry
    • The Body by Bill Bryson
    • Be Here Now by Ram Dass
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King
    • I Didn't Know I Needed This by Eli Rallo