Fat Camp | Teen Ink

Fat Camp MAG

By Anonymous

     Fat camp - for most, this subject is a joke, an issue that is far from their slender lives. For some, though, it is a reality. Amidst a prison of aerobics with bars of tofu and officers of hunger pains, there are the few, the hungry, the deprived - the fat campers. So to the chubby, obese, festively plump, and “big boned,” this is for you. I'm a fat camp alumni.

In my years at fat camp, I've experienced it all and lived to tell about it. Whenever I bring up that I've been to fat camp, I receive a laugh and something along the lines of, “Are you serious? Is it like that movie? Tell me more!” People are usually really curious about the mystery that is fat camp, and I always graciously tell them my stories. They wonder what it's like in an actual chubby acres - do all the fatties hook up? Is food snuck in? Are Snickers black market material? The answer to all of these questions is yes.

A normal day, and I use the word normal very loosely, goes a little like this:

One would be awoken promptly at 7 a.m. to trek down the soul-breaking hill, still in pajamas. After entering the mess hall and waiting in a seemingly endless line, after feeling starved from an unsatisfying dinner and a horrible sleep, you finally get food and then wish you hadn't. You're almost mortified at what stares back at you from your plate, but you eat it. You eat it because it's your only choice, you eat it because it's sustenance, and you eat it because you need to survive. You eat every little squishy bit of powdered eggs, every crumb of soggy cardboard diet toast and carcinogenic jelly.

After breakfast you begin your hike back up The Hill. The hill is meant to physically, spiritually, and emotionally break you. It is steep and must be climbed to escape the dining hall. You must do this three times a day for equally delicious meals. And inevitably, every time, you will see someone stop midway up and exclaim “Dammit!” as their body gives up but their mind recognizes that they have to make it the rest of the way because they can't just sit there for three weeks. Weak or clever, there is always the one who pretends to be hurt in hopes that the golf cart will bring them up the rest of the malevolent hill. Then there's morning stretch and throughout the day you rotate through periods of swimming, arts and crafts, three sports, and one or two aerobics classes. That sounds like summer fun to me, but what else do you expect from a fat camp? Oh, and that's another thing - it's not “fat” camp, no, it's called “fun and fitness camp.” Ha! Because of course when I think fun, I think fitness.

Anyway, after all the day's activities comes the real drama. At night, the camp becomes a chunky love fest. This aspect of camp scared the heck out of me because the guys all thought they were Casanovas when really they were pushy creeps, so I stayed in my bunk and read Harry Potter. If you think that I joke, I do not - a girl actually got pregnant there. Imagine the poor kid who was conceived at fat camp.

Wacky nights aside, there were great parts to camp, like the friendships. Everyone seemed to bond over starvation and the need for food. It became a game to see how much food one kid could acquire during his or her stay. This is where strategy comes in. Many would bring a stash, but inevitably be raided. My technique was to befriend the counselors. Through my connections I received candy, soda, fried chicken, you name it. Also, as soon as one camper left, they would send the others things from home. Packages were confiscated and checked behind a glass window as you watched in pain from the outside, but the solution was to stuff a regular envelope with candy and put as many stamps on it as possible. This is obvious, but the only option.

In the end, through the struggles and triumphs of fat camp, you really do come out with an appreciation for life. Whether you have realized the value of taste, gained friends, or lost weight, no one will ever forget their experiences at fat camp. I hope you now realize that fat camp is no joke - it's a whole other world with drama, hardships, and revelations, foreign to anybody who has not experienced it.

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This article has 13 comments.

on Apr. 27 2018 at 11:56 am
soniacortess BRONZE, Wyoming, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
Hilarious, good job!

i love this so much!

on Mar. 8 2014 at 8:53 pm
Rose_13 PLATINUM, Farmington, New Mexico
40 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you try and teach a fish to climb a tree, it will live it's life forever thinking that it is dumb. ~Albert Einstein

I've never heard of a "fat camp" before, but it sounds like it's either fun, or really sucky. I suppose it's a little in between those based on your article. This is great! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

on May. 19 2013 at 2:09 pm
MckennaS PLATINUM, Port St Lucie, Florida
21 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
Well, I’m well.
Well, I mean I’m in hell.
Well, I still have my health
At least that’s what they tell me
If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness?"

Through my experiences at multiple treatment centers for anorexia nevosa, I used to joke that they were my own version of fat camp. I always wondered if they indeed existed, and weren't just imaginary, made-for-movie camps to fear. I really liked reading this, hearing about your experience. Thanks for sharing!

on Aug. 22 2012 at 11:55 am
KnitsandPurls GOLD, Mahtomedi, Minnesota
13 articles 0 photos 83 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I cannot live without books"
--Thomas Jefferson

You are hilarious! You are funny without seeming to try to hard, and... I do not now what else to say, but I will rate this five out of five!

on Jan. 15 2012 at 7:35 pm
redpanda26 SILVER, Chevy Chase, Maryland
5 articles 5 photos 51 comments
I really like the way this is written!! You're sarcastic in a serious way and I like that you incorporated anecdotes. Good job!

C.Pearl BRONZE said...
on Apr. 4 2011 at 9:27 pm
C.Pearl BRONZE, Wayland, Massachusetts
3 articles 5 photos 7 comments
Its great to read an article about an incredibly stereotyped topic, but one that people hardly know anything about.

cheer1018 said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 12:56 pm
cheer1018, Spotsylvania, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
Great piece.  People who make fun of fat camps are just rude.  Thank you so much for posting this because ive always wondered how it actually is. Very mature.

on Dec. 15 2010 at 11:37 am
foreverwelsh BRONZE, Cardiff, Other
2 articles 4 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Thin, like butter over too much bread" JRR Tolkien

This is a fantastic piece. I'm so glad you chose to write this, because hopefully the kind of people who make jokes about "fat camps" will read this and it will make them grow up and realise that it's just not funny.
Fab piece, as I've said before, I'm really glad you wrote it!

paperflowers said...
on Sep. 18 2010 at 2:05 pm
paperflowers, Imaginary, Indiana
0 articles 0 photos 176 comments


I've never heard of one of these before. 

on Mar. 26 2010 at 7:33 am
LihuaEmily SILVER, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
7 articles 3 photos 196 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is said that there's no such thing as a free lunch. But the universe is the ultimate free lunch." -Alan Guth

This is a truly brilliant, creative, and mature piece. Thanks for sharing your experience ... and I'm going to link to it on Facebook.

on Mar. 4 2010 at 8:35 pm
Someone_Who_Is_Loved GOLD, Mount Forest, Other
10 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
This quote is one I made up.....
"You can't climb a mountian without a harness." It means that you can't go where you want to get in life without the help of your friends or family.

Some kids at school say I should go to a fat camp but reading this article I realized that I wouldn't be able to live on cardboard diet toast. I'll just eat whole grain.

Mscaledonia said...
on Dec. 2 2009 at 8:32 am
Mscaledonia, Fukuoka, Other
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
i believe that lovers should be tied together
thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather
left there to drown
left there to drown
in their innocence

I've always wondered what it's like! Thanks for sharing your interesting experience!