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Can fat people not be good leaders?

it seems that one needs to have control over oneself before they can lead or motivate others. And until one gets their weight under control they really can't lead. But when they do, they can be great leaders- look at weight watchers leaders for example.

Fri. Jan 18, 9:52am

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I agree. If someone is seriously overweight it sends a signal that they dont have things in order and that they cannot prioritize. there are always exceptions but as a generalality, largly obese people cannot get the respect needed to lead others.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 9:58 AM

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you know, being overweight is really not the only thing that says signifies that one is not in control of themselves. Honestly, I think there're not that many people who 're that much in control of themselves (any idea how many top managers have a drinking problem? etc.), but that doesn't mean that they cannot be in control of a project and do a great job at it!

Friday, January 18, 2008, 10:08 AM

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Martin Luther King Jr. fit in the obese category......I think he was a great example for this country.

Bill Clinton wasn't the skinniest guy in the world and look what he did.



Friday, January 18, 2008, 10:11 AM

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It has to be at an extream to make a difference. Neither of those men are morbidly obese. And if a person was a serious alcoholic then they would not be able to properly lead a team.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 10:20 AM

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the OP never defined FAT by morbidly obese. Someone who's 110 pounds might see a 170 pound person as FAT or morbidly obese. Others might view that person as normal weight.



Friday, January 18, 2008, 10:21 AM

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Wow, you all just made me want to cry or get pissed or something!!!! I am obese, I have at least 100 lbs to lose and I'm busting my butt to lose the weight! I'm having major difficulties at work and I can assure you my weight has nothing to do with it! However, your onesidedness makes me feel otherwise. No wonder ppl get depressed when they are over weight, especially when people think negatively instead of trying to build someone up. Think of the models and crap that are told they are fat, only to become anorexic or worse and almost die!!! How about some encouragement for a change. An "atta boy" or "way to go" Maybe all ppl need is a little motivation and then everything else will work itself out in time. Someone encouraging and believing can make a world of difference in one's life.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 10:49 AM

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Here's some encouragement...
I work for a very large tech corporation, and although the really high execs seem to be pretty skinny, all the others are normal or even overweight. I'm a manager and my manager, despite having 3 chins, is a GREAT leader who just eats too many bagels and cream cheese at his desk during the day. I don't think your eating habits influence your ability to lead.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 11:14 AM

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Agree with OP

If a corporate leader is overweight (very) it sends a poor signal to their employees. It means they don't care enough about their appearance, or health, and therefor may not be care about their staff.
The reference to the execs who drink, or even smoke is a COMPLETELY different scenario. If anything they make the best leaders because they are so intense.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:26 PM

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what? are you insane? a leader who smokes and kills people with their second hand smoke or a leader who drinks and could kill someone by drinking and driving is a BETTER than a leader who may over eat to keep their fuel going?

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:36 PM

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how is drinking and smoking showing their staff they care about themselves? But if you happen to be fat, that means you don't give a crap?

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:37 PM

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Have you even been in the corporate world? Leaders are NOT FAT!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:38 PM

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It's really sad that we as a society judge people just by how they look. I know its a fact but nonetheless its true. Imagine if we didn't judge people the way we do, we could have some really fantastic leaders in all sorts of areas.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:49 PM

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Want to make a bet? Our Area Vice President has got to be about 300 pounds and i work for a Nationwide company so it's a huge corporation and one of the fortune 500 companies. Also, I am a Sr. Manager and I smoke (sed to be overweight but am not anymore) and am still and excellent leader. I think some people just think up this stuff to get everyone de-motivated. I agree with the other poster who said how about some positive comments for a change instead of just trying to get a rise out of everyone. For you 12:38... get a life and don't just use your own company as a guide. Good example, look at Oprah... head of a magazine, network etc and lets face it, she's FAT! Jeez what would this world be like if we all made such stupid, general statements like that without really having any facts!

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:51 PM

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12:256 your a moron who should pay more attention to what sort of crap your spewing. You should reread your comment because clearly you didn't the first time.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 12:52 PM

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The CEO of my company was identified as the fattest CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and it was a really big deal when he took the job. People talked about it a lot! But he is very effective. However, although he is overweight, he seems as though he is also very active. He was a lineman in college. People know that. People don't see him as "the fat guy who got that way by being lazy." If they did, I don't think he could be as effective of a CEO.

I also don't think, in my industry, someone who smokes could really rise to the top. We work long hours doing work under short timeframes, and someone who's getting up to go outside and take smoke breaks just wouldn't be appreciated.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 3:50 PM

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if they are truly an alcoholic they could not be leader.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 3:56 PM

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I don't see how fat has anything to do with it.
Just because you are out of control in one area of your life you may be over controlling, perfectionistic in others.
I think you rarely see a fat person as a leader because too many people stereotype them.
We all, for the most part, are capable of greatness until someone tells us we aren't. Or a lot of someones tell us we aren't and we believe them.

So to all of you overweight people out there trying to rise above others opinions and limitations that have been put on you, you keep working on it.
You can do it. I believe in you.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 5:30 PM

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It's not about an overweight person's ability to be a good leader. It's how he/she is perceived by others. Other groups have experienced (and still do) similar discrimination.

Unfortunately, obesity is kind of like wearing your addiction on your sleeve - can't really hide that like other behaviors. And others judge that. I'm sure some would change their opinion of their leaders if all their 'vices' and 'bad behaviors' were there for all to see - drugs, alcoholism, bulimia, call girls, affairs, drunk driving, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 7:05 PM

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The arrogance and Ignorance is overwhelming

GET REAL!
I was a gifted student and am extremely intelligent.
Beside the paper routes from 5th grade on, I started working at "regular" jobs from the minute I turned 16 while on the school BB team. In college I cooped - working ft every other qtr taking classes at night and working pt while in ft classes the other qtrs and still graduated in 4 years. I work 50 - 60 hrs per wk most of my career and I'm in my mid-40's. Additionally, I walked, played BB, VB, WB, golf, tennis (for a while) and did aerobics and push-ups,etc and when I was a kid I rode a bike for more than an hour a day at least a few times a wk. Currently I work 50+ hrs every week and exercise fairly vigorously 8 - 11+ hours a week. (I am female and play sports with men from their early 20's to a couple in their early 50's; usually 4 days a wk.) On almost every job – I am a consultant so I have had quite a few – I am always considered a leader and my work is rated at or near the top. I have been offered almost every job/contract for which I’ve interviewed.

However, I CANNOT lose wgt. So lack of discipline or leadership?

I cannot lose weight - along with 8 to 11 hours of exercise a week I do a very low carb diet. (In the past while on 1000 cals a day for 8 wks. . .I gained 8 lbs! Another time after 2 wks on 600 cals I gained 2 lbs - I know 600 is "not healthy - but I actually had the endocin. tell me that if Iwas gaining on 600, I need to go to 400!). I have diastasis recti so I cannot do sit-ups/crunches, but I do most other type of exercises.

Every doc has tested my thyroid - but they keep saying it is "normal" (actually all that means is the # is in the normal range). I am not diabetic - but the NP suggested maybe insulin resistance?
I am over 200lbs but I don’t know what since I refuse to get on a scale; but I am defined as obese. The only time I ever lost weight in my adult life was about 8 yrs ago on my own vsn of Atkins – never over 20 carbs 20 wks on and a weekend off and then back on – but even though I could my ribs stuck out and I lost several clothes sizes – I was still over 200. I slowly started started gaining; but the same eating habits where I lost an est 80 lbs and now nothing happens - except maybe the wt gain slowed.
I was underwater weighed in my mid-20’s and they said my “IDEAL” wgt was 154 lbs. My frame is large although I am not tall.

So I am hurt and angry and frustrated by all of the insults and arrogance.
How are your uninformed and callous insults any different than racial prejudice?
Maybe instead of insults you could share some of your sooo extensive knowledge and solutions?
I am sure that I am not the only person who would benefit! AND you’d get rich.
Everyone doesn’t get the Skinny gene. Not every fat person is sitting on their couch “stuffing their faces”!

Friday, January 18, 2008, 7:40 PM

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I don't think its a question of leadership...

You can be a fine leader at any size, what strikes me, especially as I work with our sales team to get new clients for our business, i wonder if the potential clients look at me and say to themselves, "how can she do a good job and be on top of things when she can't even get herself together' I have 50lbs to lose. I also think our sales team (who are all good looking, really suave types) probably think they could sell more if i (the person who runs our operations) were more presentable or more "together". Trust me i have everything looking good and right when we meet with clients face to face (hair, makeup, nails, beautiful outfits etc...) but just being big seems to be a detriment in that arena - atleast to ME.

Friday, January 18, 2008, 11:23 PM

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Back to the op question:

I think it depends on the individual and how they carry them self as a leader.
Just because someone has been given the roll or title of being in a position of leadership doesn’t mean they are a leader. I’ve seen many with this title come and go and all in varying shapes and sizes. Some I respect and others I don’t and none of it was based on looks but their demonstrated ability and integrity in doing their job. The op said they thought one needs to have control over oneself before they can lead or motivate others, well if this was the case we’d all be in a world of hurt when you consider the varying addictions and struggles some face today, weight, alcohol, drugs, pornography, anger management, time management and oh yes self righteousness. I’ll admit I’m human and do appreciate seeing a well groomed person and they are usually not 50 lbs overweight, but I don’t agree at all with the op that you have to be thin to be affective and for the record just because someone can loose a bunch of weight it doesn’t automatically qualify them to be a leader as proved to me at a weight watchers meeting which I felt the gal in charge was doing more damage pretending to know what she was doing then helping.

Being an affective leader is hard work and you don’t have to be thin but if you are overweight and on this site to get motivated to lose a few pounds than you’ve already made a quality decision so find a good team and stay active with it. Don’t let the ignorance of some on this site discourage you; keep moving forward towards a healthier life style and you’ll be amazed at the extra energy you’ll have.

You can do this!!!!!!


Saturday, January 19, 2008, 6:42 AM

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Perceptions are a powerful thing

I hope I’m an affective leader but I also know when I’m heavier I’m not as outgoing which may be taken as not affective even if doing my job. Not all men are this way but I believe most men are very visual beings and unfortunately if a worker is overweight I think they start focusing on that and not their abilities. Ok in fairness some women do this too but there are more male bosses then women and on average I’d say the women bosses aren’t exceptionally overweight, so sadly enough if you are heavier and want a promotion I believe looks do play a part (even if I don’t agree with it, I see it everyday)

Sunday, January 27, 2008, 11:16 AM

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Why am I STILL surprised when I read this kind of crap?

I am used to hearing the kinds of comments expressed by some posters in this thread. Of course 99% of the time they are never to my face, rather, they come from people either hiding behind computer screens or in the form of whispers behind my back - god forbid people had the balls to direct these shameful comments directly to me. And yes, you really should be ashamed).

Just to be clear here - because I, as opposed to most of you, am not ashamed of who I am - I am a 36 year old woman, have been anywhere from obese to morbidly obese all my life, and at the moment I weigh 340 pounds.

I have two B.A. degrees (both with honors) and a Masters degree. I own a private language school which has flourished from the moment I bought it due to the care and hard work I have put into it. In order to do that I have worked 70 hour weeks, 7 days a week for the past two years. I have a staff of 6 teachers and this number is growing year to year. In the past I managed a retail store with great success for years, during which time I had up to 13 staff members working with me.

I consider myself a relatively successful woman. Along the entire road of my achievements I have always, ALWAYS been 300 pounds and above. The reasons for why I have been successful in many different areas of my life are not at issue here. What is at issue though, is that I am not alone. There are many other very successful people out there like me who are my size. Alternately, there are uncountable unsuccessful people who are less than half my size.

The sweeping generalizations that a lot of people make about fat people are nothing more than that - just generalizations fostered by those who are small minded enough to buy into stereotypes without thinking about the issues in depth.

Likewise, I find these types of people to be so unhappy with their own lives and have such low self-esteem that they try to bring other people down to make themselves feel better. I can honestly say that I have never seen a very successful person who feels good about themselves spew hate and misinformation. They neither have enough time to do so, nor do they really care. And why would they?

I guess this is where the old saying fits: Doctor, heal thyself. Then I believe you wouldn't even be bothered to try to heal me. You'll see that there was nothing wrong with me in the first place. :)

Cheers! (And not the "successful" drunk executive kind)



12:56 - Either you're just trying to stir the pot here or you have a seriously skewed sense of reality. Whatever the case, these kinds of comments are both unproductive and completely misguided.



Monday, January 28, 2008, 10:52 AM

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10:52 good for you and your success in your life. I am sure with your determination and skills your successes will continue to flourish. I have one question though, why are you here at PT? Is it to help you loss some weight? Most people are here for that reason. I ask because even though you are successful and happy with what you've accomplished in life so far your here for the same reason we all are. To get control of our personal lives and to loss the weight. I think it is great that you are confident in yourself but you are here also so something tells me you would like to loss the weight. I am sure not for other people or for your business but certainly for yourself, health and other personal reasons. I am sure the world in general do not really think that overweight or obese people can't be leaders, some of the greatest people in history and our time are not fit and perfect. But sadly with all the studies done on the subject it is clear that to a certain degree of being overweight people are judged and receive less in the business world then average people. They get less pay for the same job, less promotions and usually work in the background. Do I think this right, absolutely not but it is the truth in a lot of places. Why is this? WHo knows? It is a stupid image thing I suppose. I myself have know countless overweight people who are amazing at everything they set their minds to and accomplish way more then the trim and fit, so called "beautiful people". But that is the screwed up world we live in, most people judge others by first impressions, its stupid but its a fact. I'm not saying all people do this but a good majority do and this taints everything else. And of course there is the media, which I can't stand so I won't even go there. So for whatever reasons you are here at PT I am sure like other things and challenges in your life you will be successful. Good luck to you.

Monday, January 28, 2008, 11:42 AM

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Yeah, no one wanted to follow Winston Churchill. What a fat loser. And Teddy Roosevelt? Who wanted to listen to his fat mouth blubbering...

Size has nothing to do with ones ability to lead brilliantly. If it did, we'd be consulting super models and the Olson twins on what to do about the economy.

Monday, January 28, 2008, 11:53 AM

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Ha Ha!!!! Love the supermodel kick!!! However there is one supermodel that I do respect because of her views on size. I watch Tyra Banks and her talk show. I loved here SO WHAT movement. She is a great insperation for those like me who just want to be healthy. Not every one on PT has issues with socialization and success. Some, like 10:52 are doing a wonderfull job with their lives. Sometimes, we just need a little push to help get us healthy is all. I am also a fairly confident person and I always give 110 percent at my job. The only reason my weight is an issue to me, is because it's not healthy. I could care less about the whole "fat appearance" stigma. I just want to be healthy again. SO to 10:52 and the others that are trying to get their health in check, KUDOS to you and keep going. A healthy you is around the corner!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008, 1:05 PM

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One word: OPRAH

Monday, January 28, 2008, 2:32 PM

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in my personal situation, i don't think i can be taken seriously as a leader until i reach a healthy weight. i'm working towards executive leadership and in my particular business, what's on the outside is very important. no, it's not fair but life isn't. i know i can't truly be taken seriously until i fit the physical mold versus being the jolly girl in the room. i'm on my way and 15 pounds to my goal, and sadly i immediately noticed a different kind of respect from my superiors. of course it wasn't just the physical aspect, they've noticed that i've taken control of my life and now i'm taking control of my career. it's a double edge sword that even though i'm getting healthy for me, it also adds to my dedication to my career.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 11:11 AM

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