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View Full Version : Why do obese people do this?


fifty-six
11-10-2008, 12:22 AM
Be at a buffet line, pot luck or just a family dinner with a fat relative I have discovered a disturbing behavior. I can not help but find it utterly repulsive. It almost ruins my appetite.

While picking out my food and getting my plate full I am suddenly disturbed by a god awful sound. The sound of high BMI individuals heavily breathing. I have no idea were to post this. I do not want to be entirely offensive, although the sound is terrible so no Pit. It seems to start right about the time they pick up a plate. I can not say that all obese folks do this but I have only noticed only obese ones doing it.

What is going on? It seems so uncontrollable. Like they are out of breath for some reason. Just from picking up a plate. For real. I do not want to be mean but I just need to know biologically what is going on?

Sleeps With Butterflies
11-10-2008, 12:29 AM
If I had to guess, I'd say they were doing it (worldwide, I'm sure) to piss you off in hopes that you'll leave.

Little Nemo
11-10-2008, 12:30 AM
Why are they breathing? Because they need oxygen.

Why are they breathing harder than a smaller person? A combination of reasons. Being bigger, they need more oxygen. Carrying around a lot of body weight is an effort (you'd be breathing harder if you had a hundred pounds strapped to your chest). And the extra weight makes it take more effort to breath.

fifty-six
11-10-2008, 12:44 AM
Well I know that they need to breath.

I have a very obese family member. He breathing is increased significantly right before a meal. And I noticed it at other potluck, self serve, type events. Right about the time of plate pick up.

Is there I biological reason?

astro
11-10-2008, 01:45 AM
I'm be willing to wager I've been in more buffet lines than you and the only people I've seen do this had respiratory problems. Obese people as a rule don't breathe extra hard unless they are exercising. If someone is mega insanely fat and has respiratory problem (not an uncommon combo) then you might have a point, but fat people don't normally start huffing and puffing in a buffet line.

If you're claiming this is commonplace you're just being a drama queen.

atomicbadgerrace
11-10-2008, 01:47 AM
I defer to Lavell Crawford.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZKRYPGfx4g

:30 or so in.

DMark
11-10-2008, 02:40 AM
Living in the buffet capital of the world, Las Vegas, I have never noticed this to be a major problem.

More annoying in buffets:

The otherwise attractive woman who, for some reason, cannot possibly wait two minutes until she gets back to her table and has the need to use her fingers to pick things off her plate and smacks her lips loudly while continuing to roam the lines.

People who don't seem to get the concept that you can indeed go back for more. They fill their plate as if they were trying to feed a family of wolves. Piled high with meat, potatoes, pasta, and rice - all smothered with gravy and a piece of apple pie tilted sideways on the side...I have seen dumpsters that look more appetizing than their plates.

Parents who allow their children to go through the lines unattended, and these kids put their grubby little hands on everything and then put the food back after they sniff it and decide they don't like it.

I once saw a woman take a plate of shrimp that was piled so high, it was almost falling off the plate. She sat at her table and, thinking nobody was noticing, wrapped most of it in a couple of napkins and put it all in her purse.

Trust me when I say an obese person breathing loudly is hardly the worst thing you will see at buffets.

Harmonious Discord
11-10-2008, 04:51 AM
I'm be willing to wager I've been in more buffet lines than you and the only people I've seen do this had respiratory problems. Obese people as a rule don't breathe extra hard unless they are exercising. If someone is mega insanely fat and has respiratory problem (not an uncommon combo) then you might have a point, but fat people don't normally start huffing and puffing in a buffet line.

If you're claiming this is commonplace you're just being a drama queen.

You pretty much said what I had to say.

pbbth
11-10-2008, 08:05 AM
I've never noticed this to be true, but as a plus sized woman I can tell you that people are a lot more likely to attribute things to your weight if you are heavy than they are with smaller people.

I once started to feel really ill at work and a coworker thought it would be helpful to mention to me that," maybe if you ate less you wouldn't feel so sick" despite the fact that all I had eaten that day was a chicken sandwich. Turns out I was coming down with the flu and ended up missing the next two days of work because I was throwing up every hour like clockwork, but he insisted that my poor diet (he assumed I have a poor diet despite never having seen me eat anything) was the reason I felt bad.

Hampshire
11-10-2008, 08:45 AM
I'm thinking you're just hearing their breathing because when you are in a buffet line you are in very close proximity to other people. They probably always breathe like this but you normally aren't that close to them to hear it.

fisha
11-10-2008, 09:28 AM
I haven't noticed this particular behavior, but then I am rarely in buffet lines.

I have, however, noticed the loudly chew with your mouth open while breathing heavy when people are standing up eating. Say at a party with chips. They don't have to be fat, either.

Those people must be shot.

malkavia
11-10-2008, 10:50 AM
We just breathe that way to steal all of your oxygen. *evil*



I can't eat around nose-whistlers. You know who I'm talking about.. those individuals whose booger placement is JUST SO each breath is like a tiny steamboat whistle. Agggh. I think if I had one of these people follow me around all day, I likely wouldn't be fat anymore.

WF Tomba
11-10-2008, 10:54 AM
Obese people tend to be in poor physical condition, so they are more likely to breathe heavily when standing up, walking around, etc. You notice it in the buffet line because you're standing next to them.

Anyway, if you find the sound of breathing that offensive, why do you associate with other human beings at all?

phouka
11-10-2008, 11:27 AM
Confirmation bias?

You have an aversion to obese people (probably the morbidly obese and super-morbidly obese), so you notice everything they do that bugs, disgusts, or repulses you.

As morbidly and super-morbidly obese people have a higher rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and have to work harder to stand, walk, and do other daily activities than the rest of the population, it wouldn't be surprising to see that the proportion of them who breathe heavily at any one time is larger than in the general population.

And, speaking as a borderline morbidly obese person, thank you for the care you took in composing your post.

SCSimmons
11-10-2008, 11:31 AM
People who don't seem to get the concept that you can indeed go back for more. They fill their plate as if they were trying to feed a family of wolves. Piled high with meat, potatoes, pasta, and rice - all smothered with gravy and a piece of apple pie tilted sideways on the side...

I have a friend who does this. He can't seem to stop with just one plate, either--he always comes back from the buffet line balancing a plate in each hand, each one piled with as much food as he can manage within the limits of his physical strength, the size of the plates, and the placement of ceiling fans and light fixtures.

He's not obese, though--thin as a rail. The bastard. :D

KneadToKnow
11-10-2008, 11:42 AM
Like they are out of breath for some reason. Just from picking up a plate.

I don't know about the buffet places you go to, but at the ones I go to, the sequence goes like this: walk in from the car, stand for a second until seen by the host, get shown to a table, then while still standing at the just-shown-to table, tell a waitperson what you'll have to drink, then walk over to the buffet, then pick up a plate.

Is it possible that you're under-estimating how much physical exertion these people might have just been through?




BTW, thanks. Now I really want some Chinese food for lunch.

The Great Sun Jester
11-10-2008, 11:52 AM
It's because they're losing their minds, like they always do in a buffet line. They held it together getting through the door and getting their seat, but the anticipation of the gorge-fest is just too exciting! Their hearts pound, their chests heave, the adrenaline surges...plus when they breathe hard it gets you the hell outta their way!

Ok...I got nothing. Just the mental image from the OP and I just had to share it.

jsgoddess
11-10-2008, 11:54 AM
Completely OT, but:

Does anyone else start breathing funny whenever the topic turns to breathing? Just talking about weird breathing makes me breathe weird!

Happy Lendervedder
11-10-2008, 12:32 PM
Completely OT, but:

Does anyone else start breathing funny whenever the topic turns to breathing? Just talking about weird breathing makes me breathe weird!

Indeed, but not only that, when someone talks about choking or suffocating, or someone can't breathe on TV, I find myself trying to take a deep breath.

Risha
11-10-2008, 01:04 PM
Completely OT, but:

Does anyone else start breathing funny whenever the topic turns to breathing? Just talking about weird breathing makes me breathe weird!Absolutely. It reminds me of the thread about the woman who itched her way through her skull. I spent most of the day feeling itchy after reading the article in the OP.

lieu
11-10-2008, 01:09 PM
jsgoddess, when you're walking do you breathe in sync with your left or right foot?

KneadToKnow
11-10-2008, 01:18 PM
jsgoddess, when you're walking do you breathe in sync with your left or right foot?

Stop that! You're going to make the poor thing hyperventilate or trip or something.

Telperien
11-10-2008, 01:25 PM
I can't eat around nose-whistlers. You know who I'm talking about.. those individuals whose booger placement is JUST SO each breath is like a tiny steamboat whistle. Agggh. I think if I had one of these people follow me around all day, I likely wouldn't be fat anymore.

It is frowned upon to turn on these people and shove breadsticks up their nostrils to quell the sound, but I consider doing it anyway.

Malacandra
11-10-2008, 01:29 PM
It is frowned upon to turn on these people and shove breadsticks up their nostrils to quell the sound, but I consider doing it anyway.

Hee. I had some serious anxiety before my recent math exam in case the class mouth-breather was going to be sat right next to or behind me for three inescapable hours, but I lucked out there. No sign of her (I guess she went to a different assessment centre). :D

Telperien
11-10-2008, 01:31 PM
Hee. I had some serious anxiety before my recent math exam in case the class mouth-breather was going to be sat right next to or behind me for three inescapable hours, but I lucked out there. No sign of her (I guess she went to a different assessment centre). :D

And let me guess--since you were taking an exam, you had no breadsticks?

Pencils or pens will do in a pinch, but they are more likely to fall out of people's noses.

jsgoddess
11-10-2008, 01:36 PM
jsgoddess, when you're walking do you breathe in sync with your left or right foot?

You're evil.

Risha
11-10-2008, 01:49 PM
jsgoddess, when you're walking do you breathe in sync with your left or right foot?ARRRGGGHHHH!

(not jsgoddess, but obviously a relative.)

Carol the Impaler
11-10-2008, 01:51 PM
And let me guess--since you were taking an exam, you had no breadsticks?

Pencils or pens will do in a pinch, but they are more likely to fall out of people's noses.

Not if you cram 'em up there far enough.

Freejooky
11-10-2008, 02:09 PM
I have absolutely noticed this trend, and just always assumed it was some sort of subconscious excitement about preparing to eat. Clearly there's a "food = good/exciting" reaction in people who are obese.

Risha
11-10-2008, 02:16 PM
I have absolutely noticed this trend, and just always assumed it was some sort of subconscious excitement about preparing to eat. Clearly there's a "food = good/exciting" reaction in people who are obese.Oh dear Og. I don't think I have the strength for this one today.

Just... just please don't think with your prejudices, OK? And we'll all be good.

Jeff
11-10-2008, 02:24 PM
I'm amazed that the OP finds that overweight people breathing heavy is either a) noteworthy at all or b) puzzling on anything more than a microscopic level.

fifty-six
11-10-2008, 02:25 PM
OP here.

Look I have a small sample. Small nearly isolated town. I now feel confidant this is not common.

Obesity is a disease I though there could have been some reaction going on did not know about. Maybe a hint as to why people overeat or put more food on the plate than would be considered normal. I know that during my drug days my body would react differently at different times. I at times would feel drunk or sometimes high just at the handling of my drugs, before even using. Something was going on. The receptors were already firing off.


I now know I was just merely being annoyed for some other reason. Hey, we all got our things. I am sure many people have problems with my short, balding, egocentric, dumb ass.

Miss_Gnomer
11-10-2008, 03:23 PM
Not sure I agree the phenomenon actually exists ... but if it did ... could it be anxiety over food?

I'm overweight and I know around food I get quite anxious ... might check on my breathing next time I go near the fridge!!!

WF Tomba
11-10-2008, 04:43 PM
I really don't see why there needs to be a more complicated explanation for this than "poor physical condition --> heavier breathing". Occam's razor, people.

Freejooky
11-10-2008, 04:49 PM
Oh dear Og. I don't think I have the strength for this one today.

Just... just please don't think with your prejudices, OK? And we'll all be good.

Well, I'm reporting this based on when I was taking care of my morbidly obese father and his sister leading up to their deaths...so I don't really think "prejudice" plays into it. :dubious:

WF Tomba
11-10-2008, 05:06 PM
Well, I'm reporting this based on when I was taking care of my morbidly obese father and his sister leading up to their deaths...so I don't really think "prejudice" plays into it. :dubious:
Let's not make this a discussion about who is prejudiced. The point is that there's no good evidence that this heavy breathing is in any way linked with food. People who are physically unfit tend to breathe heavily any time they exert themselves. And everyone has a "food = good/exciting" reaction.

LVgeogeek
11-10-2008, 05:19 PM
Living in the buffet capital of the world, Las Vegas, I have never noticed this to be a major problem.

More annoying in buffets:

The otherwise attractive woman who, for some reason, cannot possibly wait two minutes until she gets back to her table and has the need to use her fingers to pick things off her plate and smacks her lips loudly while continuing to roam the lines.

People who don't seem to get the concept that you can indeed go back for more. They fill their plate as if they were trying to feed a family of wolves. Piled high with meat, potatoes, pasta, and rice - all smothered with gravy and a piece of apple pie tilted sideways on the side...I have seen dumpsters that look more appetizing than their plates.

Parents who allow their children to go through the lines unattended, and these kids put their grubby little hands on everything and then put the food back after they sniff it and decide they don't like it.

I once saw a woman take a plate of shrimp that was piled so high, it was almost falling off the plate. She sat at her table and, thinking nobody was noticing, wrapped most of it in a couple of napkins and put it all in her purse.

Trust me when I say an obese person breathing loudly is hardly the worst thing you will see at buffets.

slight hijack...This is the funniest thing I have read all day, but how freaking true.

Some people who come to Vegas think it's acceptable to act like pigs here, because they don't live here. Rule of thumb, if it's not acceptable to do in your home town, don't do it here!

To the OP, I have not noticed 'obese people at buffets' huffing and puffing and/or breathing heavy.

QuercusMax
11-10-2008, 06:36 PM
Not if you cram 'em up there far enough.

Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X2qT7Ki29Y)'s another option you can try if you don't have any breadsticks or pens.

I'm not sure exactly *what* they were thinking when they came up with that commercial, but I certainly think it was selling Cheetos.

PopeJewish
11-10-2008, 07:53 PM
Hee. I had some serious anxiety before my recent math exam in case the class mouth-breather was going to be sat right next to or behind me for three inescapable hours, but I lucked out there. No sign of her (I guess she went to a different assessment centre). :D

That's NOTHING! I was taking a summer math class back in High School at the local community college and this chinese dude always sat near me (I have nothing against chinese people, mind you, just this one guy, but I've noticed a lot of asian people have a flatter nose bridge than westerners and this contributed to the problem) ANYWAY, he most have broken his nose too many times or something, cause about every five minutes or so he'd take off his glasses and hit his nose to the left or right, audibly relocating either the cartiledge or the bone itself so it was in a more proper position. It was absolutely disgusting, I would get physically ill after every class.

Back on topic: To the OP, it's possible this particular person has some sort of warped Pavlovian reaction to buffets ;)

Merhouse
11-10-2008, 07:54 PM
OP here.

Look I have a small sample. Small nearly isolated town. I now feel confidant this is not common.

Obesity is a disease I though there could have been some reaction going on did not know about. Maybe a hint as to why people overeat or put more food on the plate than would be considered normal. I know that during my drug days my body would react differently at different times. I at times would feel drunk or sometimes high just at the handling of my drugs, before even using. Something was going on. The receptors were already firing off.


I now know I was just merely being annoyed for some other reason. Hey, we all got our things. I am sure many people have problems with my short, balding, egocentric, dumb ass.

I kinda like this idea. I can now blame my weight on my breathing disorder.
Take THAT, all you skinny people who don't have my breathing disorder :)

As for your balding dumb ass, I'm not sure, but have you looked into Rogaine?

Risha
11-10-2008, 08:05 PM
And everyone has a "food = good/exciting" reaction.To the point of becoming aroused? Apparently I've been doing it wrong. :dubious:

Look, that was my problem with what Freejooky said. There are plenty of obese people who overeat, and plenty who do not. But it's a vanishingly small number of people in either group that pant with excitement at the thought of a buffet. As in, I suppose they exist. Somewhere. Maybe.

Freejooky, if your father and sister actually had a disordered enough relationship to food to do that, then they were sick, sick people, and that's a shame and I'm very sorry about that. But that's in no way a typical reaction of any group of people, thin, normal weight, or obese. Your projection of that to obese people in general is an offensive one.

elmwood
11-10-2008, 08:21 PM
While picking out my food and getting my plate full I am suddenly disturbed by a god awful sound. The sound of high BMI individuals heavily breathing.

Sure it wasn't an NAAFP meeting (http://s117.photobucket.com/albums/o71/LollyHedderman/?action=view&current=FAT.flv)?

Mister Rik
11-10-2008, 08:41 PM
Their hearts pound, their chests heave, the adrenaline surges...plus when they breathe hard it gets you the hell outta their way!

I have absolutely noticed this trend, and just always assumed it was some sort of subconscious excitement about preparing to eat. Clearly there's a "food = good/exciting" reaction in people who are obese.

Just... just please don't think with your prejudices, OK? And we'll all be good.

To the point of becoming aroused? Apparently I've been doing it wrong. :dubious:

Look, that was my problem with what Freejooky said. There are plenty of obese people who overeat, and plenty who do not. But it's a vanishingly small number of people in either group that pant with excitement at the thought of a buffet. As in, I suppose they exist. Somewhere. Maybe.

I don't think it's any secret that some obese people suffer from food addiction, as opposed to being plain old overeaters. I spent a few years living in a homeless shelter with many other long-term residents, and a number of these men were obese. In some cases the obesity was the result of eating as much as possible when ample food was available as a hedge against those times when food was scarce. One particular man, though, seemed to most of us to have an honest-to-goodness addiction to eating. He was not technically "homeless", as in "lived on the street"; he came to the shelter under other circumstances, and already obese. Under normal circumstances walking, sitting, or standing this man did not noticeably breathe heavily.

Unless it was meal time. At meal time he loaded up his plate and sat down at a table, and that's when the heavy, audible breathing would start. His eyes would bug out and his face would get flushed as he crammed as much as possible into his mouth at one time. Frankly, he always looked like he was having an orgasm while he ate ... complete with loud, heavy breathing.

Captain Carrot
11-10-2008, 09:52 PM
I've never noticed this to be true, but as a plus sized[my emphasis] woman I can tell you that people are a lot more likely to attribute things to your weight if you are heavy than they are with smaller people.
You misspelled 'attractive'.

Influential Panda
11-10-2008, 10:22 PM
Dopamine regulates the excitability of the respiratory network. Possibly the sight of food in in people prone to become obese excites dopamine production more than in those with more normal eating behaviors, causing more rapid breathing. I would not be surprised by this in the slightest, as dopamine is a critical player in the appetitive system.

The question isn't as stupid as fellow dopers would have you believe.

pbbth
11-10-2008, 10:39 PM
Originally Posted by Captian Carrot

You misspelled 'attractive'.

Oh, there is no doubt that I am incredibly sexy (my cite is in the doper picture thread in MPSIMS) but I am also not small. I have a few extra pounds on my frame to be sure but that doesn't mean I'm not super hot!

Nava
11-10-2008, 10:46 PM
And everyone has a "food = good/exciting" reaction.

Not everybody, there's folks to whom it's just fuel. They tend to be lousy eaters, as they take no pleasure from the eating act itself. It's like being frigid in the mouth...

sunacres
11-11-2008, 01:28 AM
Freejooky, if your father and sister actually had a disordered enough relationship to food to do that [pant with enthusiasm for food], then they were sick, sick people, and that's a shame and I'm very sorry about that. But that's in no way a typical reaction of any group of people, thin, normal weight, or obese. Your projection of that to obese people in general is an offensive one.Wow. It seems that we've had enough supporting testimony to say this might actually happen (I've certainly observed it). Yet, the offensiveness of asking about it keeps it in the hurtful, taboo, deny-deny-deny, how-dare-you category of inquiry.

My weight goes up and down. When it's up, I wheeze. I don't know why, but I'm guessing that it's the dislocation of my internal organs (that's a polite way of saying my gut is limiting the movement of my diaphram and I have to exert extra effort to evacuate my lungs).

The Great Sun Jester
11-11-2008, 07:41 AM
...It's like being frigid in the mouth...
This is pure gold. You've always been one of my favorite posters, you know that?

Risha
11-11-2008, 08:49 AM
Wow. It seems that we've had enough supporting testimony to say this might actually happen (I've certainly observed it). Yet, the offensiveness of asking about it keeps it in the hurtful, taboo, deny-deny-deny, how-dare-you category of inquiry. Way to misinterpret what I said. I said that it was possible for some people, no matter what their weight, but not typical. He was implying that it was common among obese people, i.e. that they all have a disordered relationship with food, which is an offensive statement. It's not taboo to say that there might be people becoming aroused at the thought of eating, though I don't personally know any. It also isn't, unfortunately, taboo to say that most fat people become aroused at the thought of eating. I'm sure you can see the difference.

We are, however, entering into Pit territory, so I'm going to stop here.

sunacres
11-11-2008, 09:36 AM
Way to misinterpret what I said. [...]He was implying that it was common among obese people, i.e. that they all have a disordered relationship with food, which is an offensive statement.

Way to misread the OP.

I can not say that all obese folks do this but I have only noticed obese ones doing it.

gigi
11-11-2008, 11:56 AM
My guess would be the exertion from getting up and walking to the buffet.

If I have given myself permission to gorge on a buffet, I do get excited/high, but I don't think it results in my breathing more heavily.